magazine's spikey-haired comic mascot, Nester
, finally broke into the big time in 1996, starring in his own Virtual Boy
game from Nintendo
: Nester's Funky Bowling
. Featuring Nester
and his twin sister Hester
, this is the next-to-last Virtual Boy
game released in the United States and is the one of only two second generation titles for the failed system. Much more importantly, it's one of the only two-player Virtual Boy
games; players can alternate between bowling frames. Unfortunately, like many other games for the system it does not make full use of 3D capabilities, nor is it truly outstanding in any way. What it is, however, is a fun little bowling
The core of Nester's Funky Bowling is a plain, ten frame game of bowling. Players can choose between playing as Nester or Hester (who play the same, incidentially), the weight of the bowling ball (between eight and sixteen pounds), and which hand your chosen character bowls with (left or right). Your character stands in the foreground with the lane leading into the background where the pins await. The spin meter cycles from left to right, determining the direction of spin that will be put on the ball. Pressing the A button stops the meter and brings up the power meter. Pressing A again stops the power meter and releases the ball. Depending on the amount of spin and power applied, the ball will shoot straight ahead into the pins or dive into the gutter. This continues for ten frames worth of funky bowling action. Other modes available include a practice mode where the points don't matter and a challenge mode where Nester must knock down a series of randomly-generated trick shots.
So what makes this game so funky? Why is it the funkified get-down-with-your-bad-self badass Virtual Boy bowling experience? It's because of the between-frame animations. After Nester/Hester rolls the ball down the lane, the screen changes to show just how many pins are knocked down. The lower half of the screen depicts the ball slamming into the pins, while the upper half shows a reaction pose from your chosen character. Nester will cheer, pout, scream, or any other number of reactions. When a strike, spare, split, or other bowling event occurs, the reaction shot is followed by a little animation that represents the event. For example, when a split occurs, you may see the animation of a buzzsaw blade slicing a bowling pin in half. There are a number of animations for each event, keeping the game fresh. Nester's Funky Bowling's didn't exactly shake up the Virtual Boy world when it was released, but these days the game is highly sought after by game collectors due to its limited release. It typically sells for up to three times the amount that common Virtual Boy games sell for on eBay. Sure, it's not packed with special 3D effects, but it is a fun game that is easy on the eyes and worth a play or two should you find yourself capable of acquiring it for a fair price. You'll be bowled over by Nester's Funky Bowling.