Skee-ball is a game played by millions of people worldwide. And although Skee-ball play was once limited to arcades and county fairs, some people are now choosing to have their very own Skee-ball machine, either in the garage or a designated man cave or game room. If you are thinking about purchasing a Skee-ball machine, you are in luck. Below we have reviewed some of the best and most popular Skee-ball machines on the market today, and highlighted some of the advantages and shortcomings associated with each machine.
We have also included a Skee-ball Machine Buying Guide, in which we will outline and explain some of the factors you should consider when purchasing one of these items, and point out some of the features (bells and whistles) you should look for when making this purchase.
Best Skee-Ball Machine Reviews
1. BARRINGTON Roll and Score Game Set
- Standard size. Those looking for a skee-ball set that mimics the actual arcade-style of the game with fall in love with the BARRINGTON Roll and Score Game Set.
- Ball return. With its handy ball return, you will never have to fetch your own skee balls.
- Automatic scoring. The automatic scoring with LED lights and sounds not only adds excitement to play, it eliminates the need for keeping score manually.
- Premium priced. As you might expect from a game of this caliber, the BARRINGTON Roll and Score Game Set is not for the budget-conscious consumer.
Billed as a modern twist on an old-time classic, the BARRINGTON Roll and Score Game Set has a rustic design that recreates the essence and aesthetics of actual skee-ball. The board is accented with distressed oak wood with iron metal trimming, legs and net, making the table as much a designer piece as it is a high-performing recreational game.
The game mimics the actual dimensions of arcade-style skee-ball; and it features many unique bells and whistles, including a quick-response, automatic ball return, a slick and unblemished ramp for performance shots, and a jumbo electronic scorer with LED lights and sound effects to incite excitement in all who play it. Whether you are looking for a creative way to enjoy family game night, need to jazz up your game room or man cave, or just want to add some antique decorative pieces to a specific room in your house, the BARRINGTON Roll and Score Game Set is a great solution.
2. Skee-Ball Tabletop Classic Arcade Game
- Official game. Being that the Skee-Ball Tabletop Classic Arcade Game is the officially licensed version of the game, all of the aspects are very genuine.
- Portable. Small and portable, this skee-ball game is perfect for road trips, birthday parties and family reunions.
- Small. If you are looking for a life-sized version of skee-ball, the Skee-Ball Tabletop Classic Arcade Game is probably not for you.
The Skee-Ball Tabletop Classic Arcade Game is the officially licensed version of the game—the only game that is actually allowed to use the “skee-ball” name. Offering on the go portability, this tabletop game allows you to play skee-ball anywhere; and with its easy-fold game board storing the game for a later day is a snap. With this skee-ball game you’ll get the tabletop board, 5 wooden skee-balls, an easy to use scorepad and a book of rules describing the various games you can play on the board. Made of high-quality materials, the Skee-Ball Tabletop Classic Arcade Game is rated for players 8 years old and up.
3. Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table
- Attractive. The cabinet and playfield of the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table are very attractive, making the game look great in any room of your house.
- Durable. Made from wood that is engineered for strength, this game is very durable and long-lasting.
- No ball-return. Unlike other full-size skee-ball-like games, the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table does not feature a ball return.
Fun for the entire family, the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table offers smooth play and a competitive two-player mode that makes gaming with this machine all the more exciting. The game has a beautiful design, including a cabinet that features a rich, oak melamine surface that is very eye-catching and attractive. Its high gloss playfield features LED side lighting and sleek modern targets, as well as digital sound effects that offer a vintage touch to the game. The game is built to last thanks to its engineered wood construction that ensures long-lasting durability and stability.
Skee-Ball Buying Guide
When you are in the market for a skee ball game, there are many questions you will need to answer before making a purchase. There are also many factors, features and characteristics you should consider. To assist you in making the most educated buying decision possible, here we will cover some of these questions and considerations in detail.
How Much Space Do You Have for a Skee-Ball Game?
If your intention is to purchase a large arcade-length skee-ball machine you will need to have the requisite space in your game room or man cave to accommodate such an item. A high-quality, standard-sized skee ball machine measures about 10 feet in total length, is about 3 feet wide—give or take a few inches—and is seven feet tall at the top end. Needless to say, if you intend to accommodate a game of this size you will need to have a fairly large space in which to put it.
If your man cave is not large enough to accommodate a regulation skee ball machine, all hope is not lost. There are many companies that sell scaled down versions of the popular game. In fact, there are even some skee ball machines that are designed to be tabletop games and require very little space whatsoever.
Who Is the Skee Ball Game For?
Who is going to be playing the skee ball game most of the time? Are you getting the skee ball machine for your man cave—a game you can play with your friends? Or is the skee ball machine mainly for your children? You need to ask and answer these questions because it will help you decide on the proper size and type of skee ball machine you need. If the game is for you and your friends, then you should probably lean towards the larger, standardized skee ball machine. However, if the game is for your children a table top version, which costs just a fraction of the price, is probably a better idea.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Skee Ball Machine
There are several things you should look for when buying a skee ball machine—features and characteristics that make a “regular” game into a truly “special game.” Here is a look at some of these features and characteristics.
Durability is one of the main things you should look for in any skee ball machine. These games can be very expensive, so the last thing you want is to have the game fall apart on you after only a few months. You should definitely look for a skee ball machine that is made from a reputable manufacturer, a company with a long history of quality sales. A high quality, durable skee ball machine will also be constructed out of the finest hardwood materials, and all the moving parts should also be top of the line. Be sure to do your due diligence by researching any game you plan to buy before actually pulling the trigger on a purchase.
If you are going to purchase a standardized skee ball machine, one similar to the those you see in an arcade, it should definitely have a ball return that works in tip-top order. Machines that do not have a ball return force you to self-retrieve the balls after every shot. This can get old in a hurry. On the other hand, those with a high-quality ball return will ensure you can play game after game without ever having to leave your throwing/rolling spot.
Proper Target Sizes
If you have ever played skee ball before you already know that these games have targets at which you shoot. These numerical targets all have a point value. The widest circular target is worth 10 points, followed by a slightly smaller target just above that which is worth 20 points. These are followed in ascending order by targets that are worth 30 points and 40 points, followed by the granddaddy and smallest of all skee ball targets—the 50-point target. These targets should be made from hard, durable plastic, be clearly marked and properly adhered to the game board.
A good skee ball game will have a net over the target area. Why is this important? It prevents the balls from falling off the game after they are rolled up the ramp. Thus, your skee ball game should have a detachable net that is easy to assemble. This will protect the floor of your man cave or game room from the pounding of the hard-wood balls.
Regulation skee ball is played with 9 wooden balls of the same diameter, rolled in succession. After the last ball has been rolled up the ramp, your score will be tallied up and you will be awarded a certain number of tickets based on your score. Make sure your game comes with all nine balls.
Last but not least, a good skee ball machine, assuming you are purchasing a standard skee ball game, should have electronic scoring and an LED display. With electronic scoring you can track your score after each ball. The score is displayed brightly over the target area. With electronic scoring you can challenge yourself to get better with every shot, and you will not have to keep score manually with a pen and paper—another thing that can get old very quickly.