Hey, Sports Fans!
This time of year, we may be more inclined to find means of entertainment and challenging games indoors. The same way that Pool, Ping-Pong, and Darts originated from the outdoor sports Lawn Billiards, Tennis, and Archery, Air Hockey spawned from the sport—you guessed it—Ice Hockey. The game was moved indoors, shrunk down to tabletop size, and given a frictionless surface.
Air Hockey tables achieve a frictionless surface by means of thousands of tiny holes all pushing out air currents, creating a cushion of air on the tabletop.
Less than 100 Years of History
It was the early 1960s when three employees of Brunswick Billiards sought to create a miniature version of Hockey. The wanted it so the puck could ‘float’ across the table like gliding on ice. They hired an engineer named Bob Lumineux who designed them the perfect air hockey table, though it took him nearly ten years later in 1973.
New and Almost Extinct
Foosball and Ping-Pong were popular at the time which bode well for Air Hockey. It was an immediate hit when it came out. But despite that, it nearly went out of production in the coming decades. The 80’s and 90s saw the introduction and popularity boom of video games. This revolution of entertainment entered the scene and really created an uphill battle for Air Hockey to survive.
1974 Air Hockey Tournament Premiere
Against all odds, Air Hockey did survive thanks to its popularity and officiated tournaments from early on. Before Brunswick Billiards even received an official copyright permit for the game, Air Hockey saw its premiere tournament in 1974. With a whopping $5000 cash reward to the winner and a $1000 cash reward to second place!
I highly recommend you play Air Hockey whenever you find the opportunity to. There's some chance of finding an Air Hockey table in the rec room of the summer camp you're headed to next season. It’s quite fun for a first timer as it is for any expert. Enjoy your time on the ‘ice’ and, as always, thanks for reading!