Ebonite: Game On

by Bob Johnson 0

48.5 Hook 15.5 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Game On’s asymmetric EMP-1 core is also used in the sister Game Plan ball. RG is medium at 2.51, while the Diff is .058. Mass bias is .001, almost non-existent.

Coverstock: The Game On’s .042 pearlized Traxion cover is a touch stronger than the Game Plan’s .039 coverstock. Coloring is an attractive blending of emerald green and silver pearls. The surface is sanded with 800, 1k, 2k and 4k pads, then highly polished. Accordingly, oil traction is limited, while response time off dry is quick.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Ebonite’s success with the Game Plan gave birth to the slightly kicked-up version of the Game On. Ebonite tells us that by strengthening the base resin formula, bowlers will see increased traction in the late midlane and back-end reaction. The strong .058 Diff contributes to the breakpoint move.

Test Results: The Game On could be one of those sometimes overlooked gems in that bowlers don’t realize how good it is until they’ve had a chance to throw it. The Game On featured about an arrow less total hook than this month’s other Ebonite release — the Vital Energy — on most test patterns. That said, the Game On required lesser amounts of oil up front or in the midlane to get to the breakpoint, while retaining its energy level. The motion shape reminded me of the Playmaker (July 2008), but it displayed stronger back-end reactions on some of our test patterns. Oil carrydown created some downlane wiggle, but a light surface scuff helped relieve this hiccup.

When to Use: The Game On will play great on oil patterns whose volume ranges from lighter to medium, or those environments where length in the front 40’ is needed. The core/cover ratio seemed very balanced, and this lessened its sensitivity to over/under reaction tendencies, even with box finish. Our favorite surfaces were between 2000 and polished box, a range in which our pin carry was optimal. At that point, you can simply apply your favorite benchmark or dry lane layout and enjoy the game. Our favorite layouts were balanced drilling with Val angles, and with 3 to 4.5” pin distances.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.