BOWLIN' BOWLIN' BOWLIN'...
Portsmouth is on England's south coast between Southampton and Chichester.
The Bowlplex is on Portsdown Hill which overlooks Portsmouth to the
North. It's located at the far eastern end of the road which runs along
Not an easy place to find, the Bowlplex. It sits besides the busy A3M motorway but unless you know the way, it's hard to reach from there. It sits in what is optimistically called a "Retail Park". Actually there's just the Bowlplex and a Homebase, but "Retail Pair" didn't sound quite right I guess.
Like many sites, the Bowlplex used to be better for pinball fans. A couple of years ago there were 4 pins in the side pool hall. This was a great place to play as it was well insulated from the hall's main activities, and being part of the bar it was for over 18's only. Unfortunately, it was also well hidden from passing trade so unless you knew the pins were there you wouldn't see them.
The old pins were classic games rather than ultra-modern ones. Games such as Whirlwind and The Addams Family could be found here. These were supplied by Pinball Paradise just up the road in Borden, so they were in very good condition.
Sadly things have moved on and the Bowlplex has cut the numbers and moved the games into the spotlight.
Upon entering the building, on your right by the service counter is a South Park machine.
Carry on past the front desk and you reach the arcade part of the complex. There are a couple of Pool tables in the centre with games around the edge. Nestled in amongst them is a Monster Bash.
During the day the Bowlplex is very quiet so there's no problem in getting a game and the sound of the bowling isn't obtrusive, though the large Namco game on the right is cranked up quite loud. The lighting in the arcade area is nice and dark and there are no nasty reflections.
So in all, once you've found the Bowlplex there is some good pinball playing to be had.
Update: The South Park pinball machine has now gone, though the Monster Bash remains.
© Pinball News 2002