Sure, pool and ping-pong were awesome after-school leisure activities, but compared to air hockey, those pedestrian pursuits...well, blew. The action was fast-paced and airplane-bathroom loud. With the flip of a switch, the compressor would noisily shudder into action, firing air through tiny holes in the table and giving kids the power to levitate a tiny puck.
The mallet looked like a little sombrero, and let kids whack the plastic puck with the intensity of a pint-sized Wayne Gretzky. The puck would click and clack as it banked off the sides, until one killing blow would send it flying into our opponent's goal.
Although I haven't seen a real-life air hockey table since the last time I visited Chuck E. Cheese's (don't ask), my need to slap a puck around apparently persists: I just downloaded an air hockey app for my iPad.