100 years old this year, ski-ball was born in the city of brotherly love <my birth town too> by j.d.estes in 1909.  originally lanes were 36 feet long – thankfully few people were strong enough to roll wooden balls that distance and were reduced to 14 feet, and eventually 10 ft as they are today.  several places banned the game entirely because it was considered a form of gambling.  in the 1980’s chuck-e-cheese picked up the classic arcade game and made it a national pastime.

want to improve your roll?

here’s a tip from maroongirl:
To win at Skee-Ball, I find it best to be either very short (LOL), or get on your knees. This somehow helps you with consistency, and that’s exactly what you need after you ‘calibrate yourself’. Let me explain: The best way to roll the ball is NOT straight down the alley. That way is much too hard to hit consistently; it’s so far away. It’s much easier to hit the ‘bullseye’ by selecting a point about halfway down the alley on the side-rail – this will resemble a bank shot in Billiards. This effectively brings the place you have to aim for 50% closer to you. You’ll see right off, once you make ONE ball in the middle, aim for the exact same spot on the rail and you’re home free.

You’ll want to start over to the left a bit, so you have room. Slide the ball as if you were playing air hockey; don’t try to do this under-handed, as in bowling or Skittles. Launch the ball by sliding it, and aim for that spot along the right side rail. This is something you’ll have to do yourself to understand, but it’s very easy to catch on, especially when you see just how accurate you can be this way. I used to empty all 9 balls in less than x20 seconds, rapid-fire style. Once you see the spot to aim for on the rail (it will be the same spot every time, and you can literally SEE it.), and you sink the first one, that’s it, every ball thereafter is an ace.

ski-ball is one of several amusements still active this summer season in coney island. yay