Air hokey is a fun indoor game that can be played professionally or played for fun to help us pass time or rather a fun game to play with friends on that lazy afternoon that's too hot for outdoor games. The game has been around for decades now and it has amassed quite a huge fun base and a cult like following.
The game is played by two people on each end of a table that resembles a hokey pitch. The table has small perforations on it, a fan is placed underneath to keep the puck slightly floating in air as it is hit from one end to the other with the aim of scoring a goal. The player that scores seven goals before the other opponent wins the game.
To understand this game better, let's go back to where it all began
The games origin can be traced to the United States. The game first came to be when employees of the famous Brunswick Billiards company that specialize in creating table gaming consoles Employees with a passion for hokey thought of making a hokey table for fun. The concept quickly gained popularity in the 1970s and was a huge gaming hit in that era as it still is.
Hokey associations were formed to regulate the game and come up with rules as it became a competitive game and add integrity to the game. Since then the game has continued to gain more popularity in entrainment sports as it's used as a social game at times.
How air hokey is played
The game is played on a table by two teams on each end of the table. The ends of the table have goal boxes where the puck that is used to play (puck represents the hokey ball in the conventional hokey game) enters to score a goal.
A player has seven seconds to make a shot using the mallet to past the center line on the table. If a player does not make a play. They get penalized. The penalty in most cases is the forfeit of the puck.
If, an Air hokey player hits the puck so hard that it flies off the table, it's considered a foul. This applies to the defensive player too. If the referee in charge determines that there was more than necessary force used, then they can call a foul.
Players alternate sides during the course of playing a air hokey match
Each player uses a mullet that is used to cover the goal box and also hit the puck to the opponent's goal box. The aim of each player is to score goals. There are various ways of scoring goals using the mallet. One can hit the puck straight the opponent's goal or hit the puck against the walls of the table at angles so as to score goals.
If the puck knocks on a players hand on its way to the goal box and it could have been a score were it not for the hand, the goal still counts.
Also, a player is allowed to ask for time out but it should not exceed 10 seconds in friendly matches. Every player can only ask for one time out during the entire game. Although this varies greatly in professional air hokey matches as it can go up to 15 minutes.
It's important to note that a player can only exercise time out when the puck is in their possession or when the air hokey game is out of play.
A player wins the game if they are the first to score seven goals against their opponents. The mallet is placed between 9 - 14 inches in front of the goal when one decides to be a defensive player. Since the puck floats slightly due to the air flow from underneath, the puck can reach massive speeds when hit since it encounters minimal friction while moving around. This makes the game more fun as one has to be very alert and watch out for the puck once it has been hit towards their side.
Air hokey tables
Air hokey tables have evolved and have been improved overtime. The tables come in different sizes and this entirely depends on the space that one plans on placing them. The difference in air hokey tables can also be attributed to the fact that if one intends then either for either commercial or home playing purposes.
If one is buying a air hokey table for commercial purposes, then they should really consider the big hardy one that can sustain the aggression since air hokey is a rather physical game and the table is bound to deal with pressure. For home or indoor purposes, one can acquire a less hardy one as it will not be subjected to a lot of people all the time.
The tables also come in different sizes. The full professional table measures 90 by 50 inches while the small ones can be up to 4ft.
There are tables with the electric board that shows the digital score lines between opponents while there are the manual tables that don't automatically record scores of the game. The players have to manually record the scores themselves.
Air hokey table maintenance
Air hokey tables need enough room space where they are to be placed to give players good place to move around. They should preferably be placed at the middle of the room without contact with the walls. The air hokey power source should provide sufficient power that provides the recommended voltage.
The cabling should be done in a manner that placers won't tip over wires. If the fan malfunctions, the replacement should of the recommended standards and levels so as not to interfere with how the puck moves over the table while play is taking place. Mallets and pucks can be replaced from time to time if they are not in good conditions.
To conclude, air hokey is a fun game to play both professionally and as a fun, social game for family and friends. It's a high energy game that keeps one's mind and eyes alert and one can play the game over and over.