Table Tennis Robots: Putting a New Spin on a Classic Game

Overview: A table tennis robot is a machine that automatically fires table tennis balls from one end of the table to the other in a controlled manner. Let’s see how this new invention can complement the classic game! 

Have you ever thought you might someday be playing or learning table tennis from a robot? We’re willing to bet you never did. But technology is changing seemingly every aspect of our lives, and that includes the world of sports. To get good at any sport, you have to practice a lot, especially when you’re new to the game. Could a robot help with this endeavor?

Table tennis is generally a two-player competition, but what if you don’t have a partner who’s equally keen to play with you every day? Now you have the option of a table tennis robot to play against so you can hone your skills alone. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what features you should keep in mind while choosing one for yourself!

 What is a Table Tennis Robot? 

Table tennis robots are a fairly recent innovation in the world of game equipment. First there were ball-serving machines for traditional tennis. Similar devices designed for table tennis were first made commercially available in the late 1980s. A table tennis robot is a machine that automatically fires table tennis balls from one end of the table to another while “playing” in opposition to you.

Table tennis robots usually have 3 elements:

  • A mechanism to load and fire balls

  • A control system to program the firing

  • A net to catch the returning balls

There are a number of different models, and the technology varies. Some basic models only have limited setting options with no net, which means the user will need to retrieve their own supply of table tennis balls after playing. Some models require a wall outlet for power, while others are battery-powered.

 How Do Table Tennis Robots Work?  

Today’s high-tech table tennis robots have gotten pretty advanced, with tons of features and an array of options for speed and spin variations. But no matter how basic or cutting-edge, the main job of any table tennis robot is simply to fire balls. So they all have a firing mechanism built at one end of the robot and pointed towards the opposite end of the table.

Depending on the programming and capacity of the table tennis robot, the supply of balls may be loaded into the firing mechanism section or stored elsewhere in the machine until the robot needs them.

Here are some of the options that may be available on a table tennis robot:

Ball frequency: You can change and switch the frequency at which the robot shoots the ball at you. Most robots fire about 80 balls per minute; others will do well over 100 per minute — this will be quite a challenge if you’re not a pro!

Placement: You have the option to choose where the robot aims when it shoots the ball. Some robots shoot balls to multiple positions and switch between functions for each ball; others will shoot only to two positions.

Spin variation: With the option to choose whether the robot shoots sidespin, backspin, topspin, or float, a table tennis robot does everything a human opponent will do. Some entry-level robots may not be able to do all of these, but mid-range robots can. There are some advanced, multi-spin robots that will change the spin with each ball, giving you an even more realistic table tennis playing experience.

Speed: This option lets you choose how fast the robot should shoot the ball. Some models can be set to vary their speed, so you’ll get a slower ball followed by a faster ball.

Pre-programmed drills: Intermediate and advanced table tennis robots enable you to play programmed drills to sharpen your gaming skills. If you’re spending some extra bucks and choosing an advanced robot, it’ll offer you a wider choice of competitive drills and even allow you to program and set your drills.

Megaspin has some fabulous designs and handy options for you if you’re looking for table tennis robot accessories!

 Convenient Features to Look for in a Table Tennis Robot: 

In addition to all the features, finding a robot that fits your playing preferences is also essential. Some convenient features of table tennis robots include:

 A Remote Control: 

If you’re choosing an advanced robot, it might come with a corded or wireless remote that allows you to change settings at a certain distance. Guess what? It’s very handy to switch between the settings from the other end of your table rather than having to leave your game and walk all the way over to change it manually! That’s one of the reasons we recommend looking for an advanced robot with all the features to elevate your fun level.

But wait, there’s more: Some of the more expensive robots come with a mobile phone application that you can use to change their settings. It’s a costly option, but indeed, a convenient one!

 Easy to Set Up: 

How easily do you want to set up your robot? A simple table tennis robot could be ready to go in a minute or two, whereas others with more features may take longer and require more effort. Alongside the basic setup, you’ll want to consider portability and where you’ll be placing it. Storage is another thing to consider, as some robots are larger and have more parts and pieces than others.


If you are using your table tennis robot at home, you’ll want to consider the comfort of the people you live with. With their whirs and clacks, table tennis robots can be pretty noisy, so make sure you check online reviews by previous customers to see if anyone mentions the product being particularly loud.

Built-in Memory:  

Last but not least, one thing to consider before buying a table tennis robot is how much memory it offers you to store your settings and drills for the next time. A robot that “remembers” this information will save you time and effort. You don’t want to start every practice session by changing your settings all over again.

 In Summary: 

Table tennis robots are an innovative addition to your games if you play solo, or if you want to practice regularly in anticipation of your next game with friends. Procuring a table tennis robot doesn’t mean your game is weak. Rather, sophisticated and user-friendly robots let you customize settings and track your strengths and weaknesses so you can constantly improve. If you can afford to purchase one, they’re a really cool investment for those who take their game seriously!

For more information and fun facts about table tennis and all things games, follow us at Games for Fun! Happy gaming!


 Why Is It Called “Foosball?” – Fun Foosball Facts

 Overview: Discover the exciting history of foosball and learn why it’s so popular among elders and youngsters alike.  

 Foosball is a fun game, typically pitting one player or team against another. Similar to soccer (or “football” as it’s known in many countries!), this tabletop game field includes two goals, and the objective is to be the first team to score five times on your opponent. Each competitor or team has access to four rods, and the rods are attached to figures of defensive and offensive “players.”

Turning those handles and watching the players move in sync is always a good time. We got to thinking: Why is it called foosball, and where does the game come from? Most people who have been to an arcade have heard the term foosball, but how many of us know where it originated? Not many! So don’t go anywhere — stick around and see if we can achieve our goal of learning more about foosball!

 Origin of Foosball:  

The first time you saw a foosball table, you probably noticed how similar the layout was to a soccer field. As we mentioned, soccer is called “football” in many countries, and it’s very popular in Europe. Although it’s harder than you might to think to pin down the exact time and place that foosball was invented, the evidence points to Europe being the part of the world where it first emerged.

Harold Searles Thornton – the first patent owner: The history of foosball is contentious, and a wide variety of similar tabletop games were created in the early 1890s. However, the earliest patent went to Englishman Harold Searles Thornton on November 1st, 1923. Thornton applied for the official patent for a game called “table football” in 1921, and that game contained all the features of what we think of as foosball today. Whether or not Thornton was the first person to have the idea, he was the first to make it official.

Lucien Rosengard – the other inventor? Since the identity of the game’s creator is uncertain, there are multiple theories and assumptions regarding who came up with the idea first. While some give credit to Thornton, others claim that the father of foosball was engineer Lucien Rosengart, who was known for numerous innovations related to transportation, including bicycle parts and small, stylish cars.

It’s been said that he wanted to create a new game for his kids to play indoors during freezing weather. The first name Rosengard gave to his creation was “babyfoot” — presumably because it was a baby-sized version of football, and not because he thought the table resembled an infant’s foot in any way!

Related Reading: History of foosball

 Why Is it Called Foosball? 

Here’s Harold Searles Thornton’s version: With the popularity of soccer/football increasing throughout Europe, he wanted to create a game replicating the sport that people could play in their homes. Inspiration struck while he was looking at a box of matches.

Picture a matchbox with the matches lying across the top of the box, parallel to each other. Do you see the resemblance to a foosball table? Thornton turned this vision into a full-fledged tabletop game that was played similarly to its real-life counterpart. Thornton called it “foosball,” a variation on the German word for football, which is fussball. So that answers that!

 Introduction of Foosball in America: 

Looking into American foosball history, we find that although the UK patent was granted to Thornton in the 1920s, it took a while to catch on across the pond. The gamewas introduced to Americans by a soldier Lawrence Patterson in the 1960s. Patterson fell in love with the game during time spent in Germany, and when he returned home, he wanted to share the game with his home country. He started his own company to distribute foosball tables in the US.

Patterson took an excellent marketing step by selling coin-operated versions of the game, which made them perfect for arcades full of teenagers with pockets full of quarters. In the meantime, E. Lee Peppard began hosting high-prized tournaments, and skilled players started to take an interest in competing with their peers.

Foosball proved to be a successful addition to American arcades. It lost some steam when the popularity of video games exploded starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s — it’s hard for some plastic guys attached to a rod to compete with sports video games with realistic graphics, sound and physics. But to this day, you’re likely to find a foosball table at any well-equipped arcade.

 Some Interesting Facts About Foosball That You Must Know: 

It’s a simple fact: Humans love sports. While some people enjoy heading outside to play sports in the sun and the open air, others prefer indoor games. There’s a misconception associated with indoor games that they’re not as thrilling as outdoor games are, but this is not necessarily true. Indoor games can be just as exciting and physically challenging as outdoor games are! Plus, they have an advantage in that they can be played in a climate-controlled space.

With that said, would you like to hear some exciting facts about foosball? Sure you would! Let’s dive into those facts.

 The Longest Foosball Match Ever Played: 

The longest foosball match is recorded in the Guinness World Records book, which lasted over two days and is considered a world record. That particular game was played for more than 61 hours and 17 minutes — an incredible amount of time considering how much energy a competitive game can require. This exhilarating and historic game was played by Alexander Kuen, Manuel Larcher, Bernd Neururer and Dietmar Neururer in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. It’s hard to imagine playing any game for 61 hours straight. We hope they were allowed to pause for bathroom breaks! 

 The Most Expensive Foosball Tables: 

Foosball is an interesting game in that there aren’t a lot of parts and pieces. Other than the ball, the table is essentially the entire game. Most of us wouldn’t normally think of a foosball table as a luxury item, but there have been a few models over the years that are surprisingly expensive!

Consider “The Beautiful Game,” a modernist table released as a limited edition in 2008. Each table took twelve weeks to build, and included sleek chrome players for an extra-fancy look. How much did it cost? $68,000 per table!

Then there was the VVT Foosball Table by Louis Vuitton. Yes, Louis Vuitton! This model was built in France and had real cowhide leather-coated handles and hand-painted players. How much would this one set you back? $87,000! Another Louis Vuitton model goes for $87,500!

 The Ball in a Foosball Game Moves Faster Than 35mph: 

If you’ve ever played or watched a foosball game, you know that the small ball inside the table can move surprisingly quickly as players move their “team” to kick it toward their opponents’ goals. How fast can it go? Some expert foosballs players have established speed records by moving the ball as 35mph! The next time you’re in your car going 35, imagine a foosball ball sailing alongside you, matching your speed. Wow!

 In Summary: 

Foosball is a fun game with an interesting, if somewhat vague, history. You can enjoy the game on a rainy day with your family, or as a weekend activity with your favorite people. To be really good — competition-level good — requires physical and mental  endurance, but it’s also fun to play a friendly game without worrying about who wins.

Has this article inspired you to seek out a foosball table of your own? Have you been thinking this entire time that you’d love to have your own foosball tournament at home? We hear you! Our foosball tables are on sale right now! Check out our selection today — we promise we don’t charge Louis Vuitton prices!


Understanding the History of Air Hockey 

Overview: The history of air hockey is fascinating — it’s a familiar game inspired by older technology that’s still fun to play today. Let’s find out more! 

Air hockey is a fascinating game for those who want to enjoy a fast-paced diversion with their family and friends. The game has been around for some decades, and the history of air hockey is something of a winding path, but it continues to be a crowd-pleaser, whether played at a public arcade or in a rec room at home. 

When it first started, air hockey was seen as a simple game, but its wide-ranging appeal stood out. Many of today’s most popular new games are played on screens and require an internet connection, but air hockey is a physical game. Anyone can learn to play, and anyone can enjoy being a spectator. We’re curious to find out about the history of this game that’s fun for all ages.

Let’s see who came up with this brilliant idea.

The History of Air Hockey:   

Let’s start with the basics – air hockey was officially introduced to the market in the early 1970s. A trio of men named Brad Baldwin, Bob Kenrick, and Phil Crossman developed the concept for a game. Their intention was to create a miniature hockey game with a smooth and sleek table surface. So far, so simple. But they also wanted the puck to float on the table — a more challenging goal!

Realizing their vision was a slow grind, and the most significant challenge at that time was creating a frictionless surface. The inventors’ efforts continued, but even as they built physical models, they couldn’t perfect it.

In collaboration with Brunswick Billiards, a leading manufacturer of pool tables, the founders decided to hire engineer Bob Lemieux, and explained their idea for the perfect table design. He understood the assignment, and the first air hockey table design was finalized in 1972 – consisting of two goal posts, a puck, and handheld variations on hockey sticks, which are commonly referred to as mallets. The continuous flow of air that allows the puck was an innovation that made air hockey stand out from other popular arcade-style games of the time.

The launch: Soon after the launch, air hockey became a huge success. The public responded to a game that was innovative and one of a kind.

The game was especially popular in Texas. In fact, when asked about the game’s fan base, experts noted that half of the game’s players were from Texas! With time, it gained popularity in major US cities including Chicago and San Francisco, and then European countries, where the game has inspired an international roster of champions to perfect their skills.  

Related Reading: The history of air hockey

The First Air Hockey Tournament:  

The first air hockey tournament was played in 1973, with an eye toward taking advantage of growing interest in the new sport. At the first air hockey tournament, the winner was declared “The Best Air Hockey Player in the World,” which is an impressive thing to have on your resume, even for a game that had only been around a year. The champ was also given a not-insignificant $5,000 reward!

The event attracted more than 31 teams from different regions, but the reward and title weren’t the only thing that made it notable. It also featured Marv Albert, one of the NBA’s most popular announcers, providing play-by-play commentary!

The tournament took place in a grand hotel in New York City, and two college students known by the names “Barnett” and “Spiderman” (presumably no relation to the Marvel superhero) proved to be the most adept players. In the final round, the two faced off in 40 intense matches, and in the end Barnett walked away as the champ. Spiderman lost the game but won $1000 as a runner-up. Not bad!

The Emergence of Regulatory Bodies: 

Although the game gained popularity quickly, it took a while for organized associations to be created. The Regional Air Hockey Association in Texas was formed to organize leagues, schedule tournaments, and keep a regulatory check on those tournaments.

This was followed by the formation of the United States Airhockey Association (USAA), which was built to establish regulations and other ground rules for the sport. The association kept working to bring together the best air hockey players – and it’s still the main regulatory body today, holding an essential place in the industry.

The Downfall of Air Hockey: 

The first decade after its introduction was profitable for air hockey, but the sport faced a number of challenges in the following two decades. Sales of, and revenue from, air hockey tables plummeted as video games grew massively in popularity. Brunswick even ceased manufacturing air hockey tables in 1978. The public was shifting their attention to a new style of playing arcade-style games at the expense of established favorites, a trend that continued into the 1980s.

The Revival of Air Hockey: 

Air hockey may have been overshadowed for a while, but it wouldn’t be left languishing in dusty corners of arcades forever. The downfall of air hockey was short-lived, and different organizations came together to support the revival of the game. The USAA also ensured that proper regulations continued, and prompted the emergence of professional-level tournaments to engage players and rebuild their enthusiasm for the sport.

In addition to various organizations, the contributions of an individual, Mark Robbins, were significant. Robbins is a legendary player with a few championships and records to his name. But he’s not just good at the game — he also played a role in re-invigorating air hockey as a popular competitive sport.

Starting in the early 1980s, Mark Robbins worked with Phil Arnold, the founder of USAA and an air hockey enthusiast, and they managed to save the game from becoming an obsolete artifact. The two decided to publish a newspaper ad asking anyone in possession of an air hockey table to contact them, and set about purchasing as many as they could. Robbins rented a truck to make the rounds, picking up air hockey tables wherever he could find them for sale. He kept them in an old barn in Colorado to preserve them for future tournaments and to continue the legacy of the sport.

Robbins and Arnold contacted Brunswick Billiards and attempted to persuade them to recreate the original air hockey tables — with Formica surfaces, rather than metal, to facilitate smoother play. Robbins then joined forces with a foosball table manufacturer called Dynamo Corporation, and worked with them to design new and affordable air hockey machines.

They didn’t exactly meet with immediate success. The first year the new tables were available, they could only manage to sell 100 of them. But their persistence paid off, and sales grew over time.

As the awareness of the “air hockey comeback” grew, manufacturers began selling thousands of air hockey tables annually. Mark Robbins later became the owner of Gold Standard Games, a marketplace that sells air hockey tables in hundreds of designs. Robbins also dedicated himself to organizing and maintaining tournaments with strict adherence to rules and regulations, ensuring that air hockey is taken seriously by its practitioners like any other sport.

Fans and industry experts believe that the efforts of Mark Robbins were the driving force behind the revival of air hockey. He struggled and dedicated himself to escalating sales and making air hockey a mainstream sport. Today, professional tournaments continue, and you’re likely to find tables at your local Dave & Buster’s or Chuck E. Cheese’s, or even at a bar or restaurant. And there are many devotees who have air hockey tables in their own homes!

 In Summary: 

After decades of providing fun and thrills, air hockey has proved itself as a game with staying power. Having an air hockey table at home is an excellent way to engage in some friendly competition, improve your agility, and keep your hand and eye coordination in check.

Unlike video games that require you to sit in a chair and stare at a screen, air hockey gets you up and moving. If you play enough games, it’ll give you quite a workout!

If you’d like to host air hockey games in your home or business, take a look at our selection of air hockey tables, pucks, and mallets. We at Games for Fun offer great prices on designs you’ll love. Float over to our website and take advantage of our lineup today!


Game On! How to Plan a Kid-Friendly Family Game Night

Overview:  Plan a kid-friendly game night with these fun ideas that everyone can enjoy.

With work and life responsibilities hanging on us, it can be challenging to set aside quality time with our young ones. Our kids will be the adults of tomorrow, and it’s essential to build relationships with them now that will last throughout their childhoods and beyond. And how do you make connections with people who are important to you? By doing things together that you both love! Playing games with kids is a great way to make memories and strengthen bonds.

A game night is perfect for interacting with your family and kids. Playing games together is an entertaining way to spend a few hours at home. And it might even enhance your children’s analytical thought processes and sharpen their language skills! (Yes, really!)

Here Are Our Tips to Plan a Successful Game Night: 

Schedule a Day: 

Choose a date when every member of the family is home – a weekend might be best. Try to find a consistent day for game night once a month, so you’ll be excited for it the rest of the month. For example, you could designate every first Friday as game night, or every third Saturday.

Decide on a Game: 

Here comes the tricky part. Playing a game that everyone likes isn’t easy — but we aren’t going to let this stop us from playing! If you don’t have a wide selection of games already, purchase a few before you start and gradually add to your collection. Board games are a great way to foster analytical thinking and improve reading and writing skills in kids.

The right game should be easy enough that everyone in the group can learn and follow the rules, but not so easy that anyone gets bored. Not sure what to play? Take inspiration from our list of best tabletop games to enhance kids’ gaming experiences in a fun way.

Gather Snacks: 

Who wants to play games on an empty stomach? Not us! You’re going to want something to nosh on while you’re waiting for your turn, so make your game night memorable with an easy-to-eat meal, snacks, or desserts standing by!

Try making pizza, tacos, or your favorite guilty-pleasure desserts! The kids and grownups both love to take breaks in-between games to eat.

Ditch the Electronic Devices:

We know. In this electronic age, it’s hard to turn off your phone – especially when you’re trying to keep that Snapchat streak going. But for a truly fun game night, we urge you to ditch your cell phones for a while and focus on the games at hand. Place your phones in a basket, and let the night begin. They’ll still be there when you’re done!

Related Reading: 20 quick family game night ideas for better bonding 

Fun and Simple Games for All Ages:  

Here comes the hard part – planning fun games for all ages requires some research, but we’re here for you. Like road trip games, clever party games should be tailored to the crowd playing them, and these game ideas are practically guaranteed to ensure that everyone has a great time.

What’s in the Box:  

You might’ve seen celebrities playing this game on TV or YouTube. It’s a very simple game — you just stick your hands into a box, touch an inanimate objects, and guess what it is. You can recreate it at your next game night with your kids!

The best part of this game is that you can literally put anything into the cardboard box. Just look around the house and find something interesting, put it in a box, and blindfold the player. If you’re playing with younger kids, you might want to help guide their little hands to feel around and give them hints. If you have some time to prepare in advance, you can go out and buy some food items with unusual textures. How will your family members react when they reach in the box and feel an artichoke, a lychee, or some Jell-O?

Never Have I Ever:  

This one is often played in decidedly adults-only settings, but it can easily be adapted to be kid-friendly.

Sit in a circle and begin with one person saying, “Never have I ever…” and finishing the sentence with something they have never done. Maybe it’s traveling abroad, eating sushi, or riding a roller coaster. If someone in the group has done the activity named, they’ll hold up one finger; but if no one in the group has done it, the person confessing must hold up a finger. The game is fun when you come up with some creative prompts, and you’ll get to know more about each other. Continue around the circle until one person has three fingers up: they’re out.

As we alluded to above, this fun game can get as racy as you make it, so play carefully and ensure that you set ground rules ahead of time – you don’t want to end up accidentally teaching your little ones about grown-up topics!

Related Reading: 150 Never Have I Ever questions for kids

React and Act:  

Do you need a good icebreaker to get your fun game night started right away? Well, this game is for you! In React and Act, your friends take turns demonstrating what their reactions would be to various situations – like winning the lottery, getting fired, or being surprised by an aggressive bear in the woods.

This game is kind of like charades – but you can use words and noises to make it even more hilarious. Trust us here – seeing one of your family members running around screaming as if a wild bear is chasing them is definitely a sight you shouldn’t miss out on!

Would You Rather:  

Gather in a circle and ask the person next to you, “Would you rather…” and present two challenging situations to them. (“Would you rather drink grapefruit juice every morning, or give up pasta for a year?” for example.) After their response, it’s their turn to ask the person sitting next to them. Continue until you’re out of ideas.

This game is similar to “Never Have I Ever,” in that it can be played in a more adult version, but you can also prepare fun, child-friendly questions for your kids to ensure the game is appropriate for them.

Related Reading: 250 engaging questions to get kids talking

Preparing Your Home for Game Night:  

To prepare for a fabulous game night, you don’t have to be a professional event planner. It’s all about organizing and bringing your creative self out to ensure you have everything you need to present your guests with a good time.  

Determine the guest list: Planning the best game night for your kids may sound intimidating, but the first step is determining who to invite. While this feels like a reasonably easy step, it often overwhelms people when finalizing the list. From budget to your home space and menu, there’s a lot to consider. It’s fine to keep the guest list for your game night small. Inviting your kids’ favorite cousins and one or two friends should be enough to let the good times roll.

You could invite your guests over text, messaging, or email… or if you want to get fancy, you can make some DIY inviatation cards with your kids and drop them at your potential guests’ houses!

Ace your space: If you want to go all out for your kids’ game night party, decorate your house! Light twinkle lights, blow up some balloons, or make waves by hanging some twisted streamers from the ceiling to add some visual interest.

Know your backup plan: Sometimes, you may find that a group of players just doesn’t take to a particular game, or the game isn’t as fun as you hoped. Don’t be afraid to end a game (with the players’ consent, of course) and move on to the next one or some other activities.

In Summary:  

Planning a game night for kids takes a little bit of effort, but it’ll all be worth it when you see the smiles on your kids’ faces — and on your own! Kids love to learn new games, and  they’ll play them again and again so they can constantly improve their skills.

A foosball game table makes for a great addition to your game night rotation. Multiple family members can play simultaneously, and kids love watching the fast-paced action.  At Games for Fun, we have a variety of foosball tables and accessories at great prices. Check out our selection and order a foosball table for your next kid-friendly game night here!

And enjoy your game night!

Games For Fun