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Game Table: How To Play Air Hockey

by Tom Stevens

For a frustrated ice hockey player like Bob Lemieux, inventing another game closely resembling the sport he loved so much can help channel his frustrations. He designed air hockey tables in 1972 for the manufacturing company Brunswick. The sport easily became a huge hit and easily became popular. Along with its popularity, Brunswick decided to host a $5000 worth Best Air Hockey Player in The World trophy. For the regional championships, New York City was chosen as venue. The battle went down between "The Spiderman" and "Barnett". Barnett is a college student, while The Spiderman is a 24 year old professional. Barnett won the much coveted title, leaving the Spiderman with blisters because of playing the game.

Air hockey nearly took its toll during the era of video games and arcade in 1980s. Asking for old air hockey game table in every household, the deemed hero of air hockey Mark Robbins placed a magazine ad. To convince the U.S. Billiards to manufacture tables, he collected these tables. This was a move to revive air hockey. He made negotiations with Dynamo Corp. to produce tables for tournaments.

This event was the rebirth of air hockey. Through the renovation of simple tables, Robbins was able to build a company which sold at least a thousand hockey tables a year. How do you play the sport? You will need a table, square mallets, disk, and puck. The game table must not have friction, and must be smooth. Dots which emit warm air consist the architecture of the table. The air cushion functions as the disk slider on the table's surface.

To prevent the mallets from leaving the tables, the combination game table is surrounded by rails. There are two goals at each opposite end of the table. The United States Air Table Hockey Association only approves tournament sized hockey tables manufactured by Dynamo. Tables such as Blue Top, Photon, Brown Top, Pro-Style, Black Top, and Purple Top and are also approved by the USAA.

How do you play air hockey? Two players are required to play the game. Game starts with a toss coin to determine puck possession. Each player's aim is to shoot the puck inside the opponent's goal. The first to score 7 points wins the game. The player commits foul when the mallet is placed on top of the puck. This act is also called "topping". The opponent will gain the possession in this case. The players are not allowed to touch the puck anytime during the game. Once the puck leaves the table, the opponent will have possession of the puck, and an offensive foul is called upon the player responsible. It is a game room furniture for all ages.

If you're thinking of the perfect game room furniture for your game room, then a hockey table may be the best option, along with other classics such as billiards tables, chess board games, and foosball tables.

Air hockey started in 1970s, patterned after the popular sport ice hockey. Hockey enthusiast Bob Lemieux designed air hockey game tables for manufacturing company Brunswick. The game table was soon reinvented by Mark Robbins, who made the game room furniture popular again.

Published January 20th, 2012

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