Codex Gamicus

Elf Bowling is a video game developed by NStorm and released in 1999. In the game the player, as Santa Claus, attempts to knock down elves who are arranged like bowling pins.[1]


In Elf Bowling, Santa Claus gets revenge on his striking elf employees by using them as bowling pins.

During the game, the elves say phrases such as "Is that all the balls you got, Santa?" when the player misses their first spare opportunity or "Gutterball!" in a silly-sounding voice when a ball is rolled into the gutter. Other potential distractions for the user are a deer that walks up along the bowling lane that you can "hit" with your bowling ball if you press the right buttons, a frog wearing a Santa hat hopping back and forth across the player's field of vision (resembling Kalvin Kroaker from frogapult also made by Nstorm) if you hit him with the bowling ball his carcass is hauled away from the screen by one of the birds from frogapult, a white rabbit that also jumps and poops across the bowling lane, the elves mooning Santa (asking "who's your daddy" as they do it). Both during the game and after a game finishes, the elves do a dance, shouting "Elf elf, baby!" in reference to Vanilla Ice's song "Ice Ice Baby". One of the elves randomly moons the bowler (Santa). The elves can also randomly move out of the way of the ball, and one elf can be decapitated by the pinsetter.


In the sequel to Elf Bowling, the elves return, as they attempt to go on an island vacation with old Kringle. Dingle Kringle (a failure as a used ice salesman) is Santa's elder brother, who Mrs Claus takes a shine to. The brothers make a double-or-nothing wager in a game of shuffleboard. The winner gets the title of "Father Christmas" while the loser loses his job. The elves are used as pucks.

Gameplay and Scoring[]

The player grabs the thong bathing suit that the elf is wearing, then snaps it to propel the elf forward. There are 100, 200, and 300 point scoring zones and a player can score 400 points if their elf slides all the way to the edge of the board without falling into the ocean. There is also the possibility of an elf not advancing far enough to score, which happens if a player does not get enough power behind the snap. Only elves that are on the board after Santa and Dingle have taken their turns count towards the score, and it is possible for an elf to be knocked off the board by another elf (although it is also possible for the elves to be moved into higher scoring zones after contact). One elf per round is worth bonus points, indicated by a flashing bathing suit. In the first and second rounds the bonus elf is worth double the throw, and in the third, he's worth triple the throw (meaning that the maximum amount of points in these rounds that can be earned in one turn is 800 or 1200). The elf only appears once per round and appears randomly.

Bonus points can be gained by shooting the penguins and their balloons on an iceberg located to the right of the ship. The iceberg can also be shot, but doing so (in the right spot) will sink it and take it out of play.

Other Elf Bowling Games[]

To date, there have been seven sequels of the game released.

  • Elf Bowling 2 involved using elves as shuffleboard pieces on the deck of a cruise liner where the player could also shoot penguins off an iceberg, risk having your elves eaten by sharks or crushed by a falling Moai (Easter Island monolith). The objective of this game was to score more points than Santa's brother Dingle Kringle, who had "made an unmentionable wager regarding Mrs Kringle" and who would take over Christmas if Santa lost.
  • Elf Bowling 3 involved slinging elves in Mrs Kringle's pink bra onto distant ice-bound targets.
  • Super Elf Bowling (Elf Bowling 4) was a 3-dimensional upgrade of the original with more complicated ball control and a wider variety of backgrounds, elf antics and elf jokes. One could also play as a variety of characters, including Santa, Dingle, and Mrs Kringle.
  • Elf Bowling - Bocce Style (Elf Bowling 5) used the elves as bocce balls.
  • Elf Bowling 6: Air Biscuits involved bowling the elf over a mound of snow which sends the elf airborne. The elf could remain in the air by using "fart" power.
  • Elf Bowling 7 1/7: The Last Insult returns the game to its original bowling but with new wrinkles. A story mode is added, and the Elves can and will do anything to stop Santa from rolling a strike. Santa, however, has power-ups that can foil them.
  • Elf Bowling: Hawaiian Vacation - Elf Bowling in exotic places.

Elf Bowling 1 & 2[]

The first two Elf Bowling games were released under the title Elf Bowling 1 & 2 on the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. The pack was universally panned by critics and is considered one of the worst video games of all time, citing poor graphics, crude audio and controls, and no extras beyond the original freeware version. It ranks as the second-lowest scoring game at both GameSpot and Metacritic, receiving only 1.4 out of 10 at GameSpot[2] and 12 out of 100 at Metacritic[3].

Cancelled follow-up[]

Another Nintendo DS E10+ rated game of the Elf Bowling franchise was developed and about to be published in 2010, by Detn8, called Elf Bowling Collector's Edition, but was cancelled, alongside Party Crashers[citation needed].

Elf Bowling Movie[]

There was a film based on the games released in 2007 titled Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike. The film was directed by Dave Kim with Rex Piano as co-director [4].


Santa's brother, Dingle, kidnaps his elves and he must go to Fiji to save them.

Voice Cast[]

  • Joe Alaskey as Santa Claus
  • Sean Hart as Lex the Elf
  • Tom Kenny as Dingle Kringle


  1. Elf Bowling
  2. Provo, Frank (2006-01-03). Elf Bowling 1 & 2 Review for DS - GameSpot. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2010-04-25
  3. Elf Bowling 1 &2 (ds) reviews at Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-04-25

External Links[]