First, Mario Kart was brought to real life. Now it looks like another one of our favorite recreational games - air hockey - is getting the live-sized treatment.
PHOTOS: Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week
Michigan company AirBlade has developed a life-sized air hockey table, big enough for humans players. Just like its diminutive arcade version, AirBlade's 24-foot-by-40-foot rink features air forced through small holes on the playing surface, producing a zero-friction cushion of air on which the puck floats.
To replicate the wild ricochet effect of the original game, the puck is lighter and flatter than a real hockey puck. The rink includes traditional hockey nets, with one added feature: a slot in the back of the net worth extra points, which developers call the "hockey equivalent to the basketball three pointer." Players can either wear roller blades or tennis shoes.
"A lot of traditional inline hockey rules will apply, but the major differences with the new sport are in the flooring, the puck - which will resemble an air hockey puck - and the scoring," AirBlade CEO Mark Sendo told MLive. Traditional goals will count for one point, but like table air hockey, there will be a slot in the back of the net. If the puck passes through that slot the goal is worth two points."
BLOG: Mario Kart Video Game Brought To Life At SXSW
While the current rink is a kid-sized prototype, AirBlade creators have bigger goals on the horizon. They're finalizing the engineering and construction of what will become the 85-foot-by-200-foot AirBlade Professional Extreme Rink, featuring 2.2 million airflow holes and 10-foot embankments behind the baseline to accommodate trick shots. Developers envision a massive double-elimination air-hockey tournament this summer at a major sports arena in Detroit.
The company is currently soliciting funds via Kickstarter and will be hosting 3-on-3 youth matches in May to promote the new sport.