By Tom Hoeler
If you grew up in America between 1970 and probably the turn of the century, chances are you’ve played air hockey at least once. A staple at arcades around the country, air hockey was also once a very popular addition for any family basement or entertainment room. That familiarity is the basis for Way of the Puck a documentary by director Eric D. Anderson that chronicles the growth, decline and near decimation of the sport, and the story behind those that play it competitively. Yes, there is competitive air hockey.
Watching the film certainly evokes memories of The King of Kong, another documentary that focused on the zeal and passion of a group of competitors devoted to another so-called fringe hobby, video games. While there are some similarities, The Way of the Puck seems far more tragic. For the players in The King of Kong video games are merely part of who they are. They have families, jobs and are relatively successful outside of the arcade. Additionally, the video game industry is booming, even if arcades themselves are dying out; so the pursuit of gaming records doesn’t seem as fleeting.
In contrast, for the players in The Way of the Puck this is their life…. (click link for rest of article)