Beer Pong for a New Age
Valley-Dynamo’s Jet-PongTM a Favorite and High Earner, Says Factory
It’s been a long road to barrooms and arcades for Jet-Pong, the creation of Terry Ruddell and his sons Lucas and Levi via their patented Aerr Technology, which allows a ping-pong ball to hover over the game’s playfield.
They invented the machine back in 2006, but it evolved over many years and after attempts to work with other manufacturers, it was finally brought to market by Valley-Dynamo in 2020.
“We tested our first coin-operated Jet-Pong table several years ago at an arcade bar in Miami and it became one of their top five earners out of 150 games,” Ruddell said. That piqued the interest of Valley-Dynamo, which first showed the machine at Amusement Expo 2020 in New Orleans.
Added Trey Stites, national sales manager for Valley-Dynamo: “Terry had reached out to us pre-Covid and we had started a lot of the prototyping then with expectations for a 2020 release. Obviously, that didn’t go as planned, so we took the opportunity to really refine the game to make it something not only players would enjoy, but also our distributors and their operators in the field.”
A few small improvements were made, and the machine had its post-Covid debut at this year’s Bowl Expo and again at Amusement Expo.
Jet-Pong is a 1-4-player game. Green represents the “Home” team and red is the “Away” team. When the home team presses a flashing green button, the game begins, and a ball is delivered through an LED exhaust chute. Using that Aerr Technology, the ball floats 8-10” above the table.
Like beer pong, the “Home” team grabs the ball and tries to get it into one of the cups. If the shot is made, the green LEDs under that cup turn off and a rear video scoreboard shows that the cup was made (there’s also a touchscreen near the player that indicates this).
Now it’s time for the “Away” team to press their flashing red button. Once they do, the LEDs under the cups turn red and the rear video scoreboard and touchscreen will display the status of all cups made by red. Along with keeping track of score, the scoreboard also shows the number of balls thrown and a shot clock. Each player gets 10 balls in order to make 10 cups.
Once the game is over and tickets are dispensed (optional), a final score will display on the rear scoreboard and on the touchscreen.
For the convenience of players and operators, the table is equipped with remote control LED lighting, LED beverage holders, an LED advertising display on the table lid, LED-illuminated speakers, Bluetooth for playing music from a smartphone, plexiglas guards to keep the balls in play, up to two optional coin mechs or card swipes, up to two optional ticket dispensers and also an optional bill acceptor.
Ruddell also noted that the game has a service button that can be pressed to access configuration and troubleshooting screens on the touchscreen. “This allows an operator to customize the game to their needs and to assist with troubleshooting the game,” he said.
Troubleshooting and maintenance is fairly easy, Ruddell explained, because Jet-Pong only has three moving parts. If someone places their hand over the exhaust chute to prevent a ball from exiting, the system will recover without jamming.
Another nice perk for operators – the game can hold 38 balls, so if a few balls go missing, the game can continue. The machine also uses wire-framed ball return sections to allow debris like popcorn to fall on the floor so balls don’t get jammed.
For players who want an authentic digital beer pong experience, they’ll be happy to know that Jet-Pong was actually designed to meet official tournament regulations and has been endorsed by Beer Pong Canada.
That organization’s President Mark Taylor said: “Jet-Pong is the first true innovation in the bar and gaming industry in decades, something that beer pong players of all ages have been waiting for. The tables have been designed to meet official beer pong tournament regulations, and I am happy to say that these tables are not just a ton of fun but our team at Beer Pong Canada plans on using them for official beer pong tournaments too.”
With praise like that, it’s easy to see why Valley-Dynamo decided to partner with Ruddell on manufacturing this innovative game.
“We have gotten great feedback from our operators on a few test units we sent out, which we are extremely grateful for,” said Valley-Dynamo’s Trey Stites. “As with many of our products, maintaining this line of communication is absolutely essential to our business.
“In some of the test locations Jet-Pong is already the highest earner. In California at a bar called Brewski’s Bar & Arcade, it was the second highest earning game for September. Between testers in Florida, California and Texas, we are seeing earnings of around $500 per month.”
So far, Valley-Dynamo has only shipped a handful of games, namely due to supply chain and logistical issues that manufacturers have been facing. “Building an entirely new game in the climate of 2021 is next to impossible, so we have had to get creative,” he noted. “If it’s not supply chain issues, it’s logistics issues, so I’m both excited and impressed with what our staff has accomplished.”
Stites said he thinks the advantages of staying put in the U.S. “became more apparent” during the pandemic. Jet-Pong is manufactured at the company’s Texas facility.
“Other than the obvious benefits such as faster ship times than our overseas counterparts, it’s made my life a lot easier to be able to take a few steps outside my office to see our operations. Being able to see what is going on makes solving any issues that pop up much smoother.
“Making sure that Jet-Pong is a winner is our sole focus,” Stites continued. “I believe the industry needs a game like this to put the Covid economy in the rearview for good and we do not intend to disappoint.”
Learn more about the game at www.valley-dynamo.com/jet-pong.