Like one of Chuck E. Cheese's fever dreams come to life, a Michigan company has created what they hope will be the next big sport: Hockey, but on what's essentially a life-sized air hockey table.
It's called AirBlade, and it's a scaled-up version of your favorite bar and amusement park table game. Air is forced through tiny holes in the playing surface, creating a frictionless cushion to send the "puck" pinballing around. To demonstrate the technology, AirBlade has constructed a 24'-by-40' rink, and invited local youth hockey players to try it out:
"We literally had to pull the kids off the rink," AirBlade CEO Mark Sendo told MLive. "It was a great experience for everyone involved. It's got this wow affect that makes people delighted to even see it."
The puck is lighter and flatter than a traditional hockey puck, the better to get the lift from the airflow. And while goals will count as one point, there is a slot in the back of the net worth two—keeping the spirit of tabletop air hockey alive.
The creators have big dreams—they're envisioning a full AirBlade league, played on 85'-by-200' rinks. (They're currently trying to raise the money via Kickstarter.) But if this sport has a future, it's probably in the malls and entertainment centers of North America. I don't know that I'd pay money to watch anyone play AirBlade, but I would empty my wallet to have a couple of beers and step out onto the polyethylene myself. The best part is that while the company envisions players on inline skates, it works just as good on your own two feet. Like air hockey, it's the perfect casual game for overly competitive assholes like you and me.