I only recently realized that “The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987” (August 28, 2014) by
Mike Minkoff and I were the first in-house Mattel Electronics programmers to create an Intellivision game. We designed and developed “PBA Bowling” — John Sohl, developer of “Astrosmash”, helped with sounds — while working at APh Technological Consulting offices in Pasadena.
As a long-time bowler — about a 150 average growing up, and 160’s to 170’s in college — and part of a family of bowlers, I loved to bowl. I had already programmed Mattel Handheld Bowling (1979, I think) and looked forward to incorporating more aspects of the sport into the console game. Just to give you an idea of how much I was willing to do in order to bring the game to life, here’s a map of the kind of driving I was doing back then to work with Mike at APh in Pasadena, sometimes go into the office at Mattel (Hawthorne area), sometimes go to the computer lab at night at UC Irvine while I worked on my BSCS (Computer Science ’81), and then return home to Huntington Beach, CA. This was a major reason why a year later I chose to take a job nearer to Irvine to complete my degree.
But it was only decades later that I discovered that one of my cousins, Mort Confeld, holds (or has it been broken?) the American Bowling Congress record for conversion of 5 consecutive 5-7 splits in Minneapolis, MN 1957. An amazing feat, and quite a nice bowling history coincidence! “PBA Bowling” is featured on the PBS website regarding the movie “League of Ordinary Gentlemen” about the history of bowling.