Title:
Light-emitting game apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game apparatus is provided for placement on a table and playing a hockey-like game, using an air cushion for a puck and handheld paddles. The game apparatus includes a playing surface, a pair of sidewalls, a pair of backwalls, and a pair of opposed goals, one in each of the backwalls. One or more of the playing surface, the goals, the puck, and the paddles may be provided with a light-emitting source to emit visible light during the playing of a game. The light emitting source may be a phosphorescent material embedded in the game component. The playing surface may include the light source on various indicia disposed thereon. The playing surface may be substantially black in color other than at the light-emitting sources. The paddles may be provided with a groove within which a user may dispose the user's finger tips while playing the game. The goals may be provided with a scoring tabulator.



Inventors:
Fitzgerald, David J. (Hayward, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/367163
Publication Date:
08/26/2004
Filing Date:
02/13/2003
Assignee:
FITZGERALD DAVID J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F7/06; A63F7/07; (IPC1-7): A63F7/07
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLISCH HARTWELL, P.C. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as the invention is:



1. A game apparatus for playing a hockey-like game, the game apparatus comprising: a playing surface including a first end and an opposed second end and a substantially flat expanse therebetween; a pair of opposed goals, each at one of the ends of the playing surface; a puck configured to traverse the flat expanse of the playing surface and to enter the goals; and a pair of paddles for striking the puck, wherein at least one of the playing surface, the goals, the puck, and the paddles is provided with a light-emitting source to emit visible light during the playing of a game.

2. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein all of the playing surface, the goals, the puck, and the paddles include a light-emitting source.

3. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the light-emitting source is a phosphorescent material.

4. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the playing surface is provided with the light-emitting source, and further wherein the light-emitting source is a stripe running across a central portion of the flat expanse of the playing surface.

5. The game apparatus of claim 4 wherein the playing surface is provided with a plurality of stripes of light-emitting sources.

6. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the playing surface is provided with two pairs of circles of light-emitting sources, each pair located adjacent one of the goals, each circle of each pair located on one side of the adjacent goal.

7. The game apparatus of claim 6 wherein each circle is sized slightly larger than the puck, and further comprising three additional pucks of substantially the same size as the first puck.

8. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein each goal includes a goal housing defining a goal mouth, each goal also comprising a puck repository communicating with the goal mouth for receiving the puck when the puck enters the goal, and further wherein substantially all of the goal housing is comprised of a light-emitting material.

9. The game apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a pair of sidewalls extending alongside the playing surface, the sidewalls configured to rebound the puck onto the playing surface.

10. The game apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a pair of backwalls, one at each end of the playing surface, wherein each goal is located substantially centrally in each backwall, and further including curved corners interconnecting the backwalls and the sidewalls.

11. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the playing surface is substantially black in color.

12. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the playing surface is provided with an array of holes providing for a flow of air through the array of holes to provide support to the puck.

13. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein the game apparatus is less than about four feet in length and is substantially configured to be disposed on a table top.

14. The game apparatus of claim 13 further comprising folding legs for selectively supporting the game apparatus on the table top in a first, deployed configuration, or for storing the game apparatus in a second, stowed configuration.

15. The game apparatus of claim 1 further comprising three additional pucks, and wherein two of the pucks are a first color and two of the pucks are a second color that is visibly distinct from the first color.

16. The game apparatus of claim 15 wherein one of the paddles is the first color and the other one of the paddles is the second color.

17. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein at least one of the paddles is provided with a groove within which a user may dispose the user's finger tips while playing the game.

18. The game apparatus of claim 1 wherein at least one of the goals is provided with a scoring tabulator.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] Game tables for providing a hockey-like game are provided with a slick playing surface, an array of air holes through the surface, and an air pressure source for pumping air under pressure through the holes. The air flowing out of the holes can provide support to a game piece in the shape of a puck, allowing the puck to travel at a high speed and with little velocity loss from friction with the surface. The hockey-like game typically is played by a pair of players, each protecting with a paddle a goal at an end of the playing surface. The players use the paddle to block, trap, and strike the puck to prevent the puck from going into the player's own goal and to knock the puck into the opposing player's goal. The playing surface typically is surrounded by a sidewall that when struck by the puck, rebounds the pack and prevents the puck from leaving the playing surface.

SUMMARY

[0002] A game apparatus for playing a hockey-like game may be provided with game components, i.e., a playing surface, goals, paddles, and a puck, wherein one or more of the components provide for light emission during game play. The components may be impregnated with a light-emitting material or coated with a light-emitting material. The coating of light-emitting material may be in the form of indicia such as circles or stripes. Such indicia on the playing surface may define game-play zones, such as starting points for the puck or lines not permitted to be crossed by a player's paddle. The playing surface, other than the light-emitting indicia, may be substantially black in color to highlight the contrast and visibility of the indicia.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a game apparatus according to the present invention including a game table providing a playfield with a playing surface having an array of air holes provided therethrough, a pair of backwalls, a pair of opposed goals, one in each back wall, sidewalls running alongside the playing surface, curved corners intercoupling the backwalls and the sidewalls, a pair of paddles, a puck, and a score tabulator on each goal.

[0004] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the game apparatus of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0005] A game apparatus constructed according to the present invention is shown in FIG. 1, and indicated generally at 10. Game apparatus 10 is typically for playing a hockey-like game wherein typically two players sit or stand, one at each end of the game apparatus and try to score on the opposing player. Game apparatus 10 typically includes a set of stowable legs 12 for supporting the apparatus on a table top. Legs 12 may be coupled by a hinged connection to a playing field 14 where the hockey-like game is played. Legs 12 may selectively be deployed in a latching, extended configuration as shown in FIG. 1, or stowed, e.g., by folding under the game apparatus, for convenient storage of the apparatus.

[0006] Playing field 14 includes a playing surface 16 having a first end 18 and an opposed second end 20 and a substantially flat expanse 22 between the first and second ends. Playing surface 16 further includes an array of holes 24 extending through the surface and down to a plenum (not shown) formed beneath the playing surface. The plenum is coupled to an air pressure source, such as a fan (not shown) which blows air into the plenum and thereby through the air holes.

[0007] The playing field includes a first goal 26 at end 18 and a second goal 28 at end 20 of the playing surface. The goals are thus opposed, and each player defends one of the goals and attacks the opposing goal.

[0008] A projectile, preferably a substantially flat puck 30 is deployed on playing surface 16 and is struck, blocked, and trapped by the players in order to score on the opposing goal and defend the player's own goal. Puck 30 is typically formed of a plastic material and is light enough that the air flowing out of array of holes 24 tends to support puck 30, allowing puck 30 to traverse flat expanse 22 of playing surface 16 on a cushion of air. Puck 30 thus travels with little friction between the puck and the playing surface, and the puck glides over the surface similarly to a hockey puck on an ice surface. Preferably puck 30 substantially comprises a light-emitting material, such as a plastic impregnated with a phosphorescent material.

[0009] Each goal typically includes a goal housing 32 defining a goal mouth 34. Puck 30 is preferably sized in height and diameter to fit easily into goal mouth 34. Goal housing 32 includes a puck repository 36 communicating with the goal mouth, and puck 30, on entering goal mouth 34, falls down and is received in puck repository 36. Preferably, substantially all of the goal housing is comprised of a light-emitting material, such as a plastic impregnated with a phosphorescent material.

[0010] Each player holds one of a pair of paddles 38 and moves the paddle along the playing surface to block, trap, and strike puck 30. Paddle 38 preferably is comprised of a light-emitting material, such as a plastic impregnated with a phosphorescent material. Paddle 38 includes an outer striking surface 40, a handle 42, and a groove 44. A user may dispose one's fingers within groove 44 to protect the fingers from collisions with puck 30. Paddle 38 may be provided with a felt pad adhered to a bottom surface of the paddle to reduce the coefficient of friction between the paddle and the playing surface.

[0011] Playing surface 16 may be provided with indicia typical to a hockey rink, or with other indicia. Typically the indicia include a central stripe 46 broken up by a center circle 48 and a center spot 50, a pair of intermediate lines 52, and four circles 54 and spots 56 adjacent the goals. Typically each of the goal-adjacent circles is sized slightly larger than the puck. Typically each of the indicia are formed of a light-emitting substance, for example a compound or a paint impregnated with a phosphorescent material. Preferably playing surface 16 is substantially black in color to enhance its contrast with the light-emitting indicia and other light-emitting components.

[0012] Each goal housing 32 may be provided with a scoring tabulator, such as a numbered slot and slide marker combination 60. Alternatively an automated tabulator may be used.

[0013] Playing surface 16 is surrounded by a wall 70, including a pair of opposed sidewalls 72, a pair of opposed backwalls 74, and four curved corners 76 intercoupling the sidewalls and the backwalls. The walls present a rebound surface to puck 30 to keep it in play on the playing surface. Typically backwalls 74 include a cutout generally coinciding with goal mouth 34, and each goal is located substantially centrally in each backwall.

[0014] In use, the light-emitting sources are first prepared to emit light during the game. In the case of the use of phosphorescent materials, the sources are charged by placing under a light source, e.g., an incandescent light bulb for a time period, typically about ten minutes. Then the light source is removed and the game is played, preferably in a darkened room. Typically the phosphorescent light materials will emit light for about the same length of time as they were charged. Other methods may be used for light emission, including, without limitation, providing an electrical source, or a chemical source for light within the light-emitting sources.

[0015] In one mode of game play, more than one puck may be used simultaneously. For example, a total of four pucks may be used, in which case the players may begin the game with each of the pucks in one of the goal-adjacent circles, and then striking the pucks toward the opposing player's goal while blocking or trapping the pucks struck by the opposing player. Typically for such play, two of the pucks are a first color and two of the pucks are a second color that is visibly distinct from the first color and each player starts with the pucks of a particular color adjacent that player's goal. Also for such play, typically one of the paddles is the first color and the other one of the paddles is the second color.

[0016] Typically the game apparatus is less than about four feet in length and less than about two feet in width and is substantially configured to be disposed on a table top.

[0017] It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in its preferred form, the specific embodiments thereof, as disclosed and illustrated herein, are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions include all novel and non-obvious combinations and sub-combinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. Where claims recite “a” or “a first” element or equivalent thereof, such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring, nor excluding two or more such elements.

[0018] It is believed that the following claims particularly point out certain combinations and sub-combinations that are directed to one of the disclosed inventions and are novel and non-obvious. Inventions embodied in other combinations and sub-combinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of those claims or presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.