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American Inventor Passes On BulletBall, But Keeps The Table

March 30, 2006 12:51 AM by Joe Blackmon

Bulletball_tableEarlier this week Reality TV Magazine ran an article detailing an invention that the American Inventor judges made a joke out of that seemed to be a good invention with a proven market.  Now, Reality TV Magazine takes a look at another good invention that we feel the judges made a mistake in overlooking.  Marc Griffin presented his game of BulletBall with passion and commitment, and the game seemed like a marketable product.  Marc demonstrated all the characteristics that the American Inventor show claims to be seeking, but the American Inventor judges seemed more focused on the inventor’s life story rather than seriously evaluating his invention.

Reality TV Magazine caught up with Marc Griffin, the man behind BulletBall and BulletBall Extreme, and he had an interesting story to tell.  For one thing, Marc tells us that American Inventor judge Doug Hall, who tried out the game, wasn’t a very good Bulletball player.  Marc also believes the judges were mistaken in their comments to him.  Mary Lou Quinlan told Marc, “You told us that you’ve given twenty-six years of your life to this game.  I think that’s more of a life than a man can give to a dream.  Please get your life back.”  Mary Lou might think that Marc needs to get his life back, but Marc would be happy if he could only get his game back.  Apparently, Marc left his BulletBall table at the Los Angeles auditions and the show was supposed to ship it back to him in a week.  Marc has now been trying to get his BulletBall table back from the American Inventor show for over two months, but no one seems to be giving him any answers.  Perhaps, the missing BulletBall table now resides in Doug Hall’s basement, and he’s getting in some much needed practice.

Reality TV Magazine:  Can you tell us exactly how much you have invested in the game in time and money?

Marc Griffin:  In terms of pure monetary investment, I have personally spent approximately $30,000 over the past 26 years in the development of BulletBall (patent, trademark, copyright, attorney fees, prototypes, ball selection, research, etc.). The bulk of my total investment of approximately $100,000 involves my time spent demonstrating the game at various venues  (universities, colleges, sport bars, boys and girls clubs, parks, and professional sporting events) over the years to determine the proper target market, and from the support of others who also gave of their time and money to help bring BulletBall to fruition.

After spending 20+ years (these were BulletBall years) as a manager making millions for major corporations across America, I decided in 2004 to "step out of the box" and work towards realizing my own dreams. It was then that Bulletball moved from being a hobby to becoming my "job". To look back at one’s life when retirement is just around the corner and wonder if things would have been different if "you had only taken the risk" is not the vision I want for myself. It’s a personal choice.

Reality TV Magazine:  What is the difference between BulletBall and BulletBall Extreme?

Marc Griffin:  BulletBall is a game. It’s age/gender neutral and is simple fun for the entire family. The rules restrict physical play by setting boundaries. This removes some of the "competitive edge" that can develop when a game is physical in nature and it also slows down the velocity of the ball.

BulletBall Extreme is a sport. The rules are less restrictive and designed for the professional or highly competitive players. The speed, hand-eye coordination, and accuracy needed to propel the ball past your opponent (and score a BULLETBALL) requires a greater sense of strategy as well as skill. Some players have described it as "human pinball with the skills of table tennis". 

BulletBall is easy to transport, played indoors or outdoors, and played while standing or sitting (the choice is left up to the individual player). BulletBall is wheel chair friendly which allows the physically challenged to play competitively with anyone.

Reality TV Magazine:  American Inventor judge Doug Hall played the game with you, but he didn’t vote to put you through.  Do you think he understood the game?

Marc Griffin:  The easiest games to learn can be the most difficult games to master. Doug Hall was not a very good player. I also believe there was not an attempt to really understand the game. The drama of my life story (which made for great TV I suppose) seemed to be the focus of all the judges and trumped the desire to learn about the game. We were told upfront that American Inventor is a "reality show" therefore nothing suprises me about how BulletBall or myself was presented. National exposure for BulletBall was my trade-off.

Reality TV Magazine:  What did you think of the American Inventor judges telling you that you had invested too much of your life into the game?

Marc Griffin:  On the cutting room floor is Doug Hall saying to me "I’ve been where you are". Am I to assume that he has invested too much of his life into his inventions? Just asking.

During the first 22 years since BulletBall’s conception, it was like a hobby, a game played among family and friends on weekends, during vacations, or summer picnics and parties.

I actually invested too much of my life working for Corporate America 5-6 days a week, an average of 10 hours a day, for 25 years. If I had my priorities straight I would have understood years ago that "it is better to have tried and failed than not tried at all".
Better late than never:)

Reality TV Magazine:  Do you think the judges were wrong in their advice and why?

Marc Griffin:  The judges were wrong because they mistakened my life as being BulletBall. Life is what you live everyday. BulletBall is not my life but my dream. I believe when we stop dreaming we stop living. I’ve climbed all the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Katahdin in Maine, saw a double rainbow while on top of Harney Peak in South Dakota, walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon, touched Niagra Falls, stood on Cape Flattery, attempted a climb of Mount Rainier, walked along Sunset Beach, and hiked the Appalachian Trail…..this is life. 

Reality TV Magazine:  Do you plan to give up or will you continue to pursue your dream of making Bulletball an olympic sport?

Marc Griffin:  This has always been a tough question to answer because when I say "Olympic Sport" everyone’s eyes start to glaze over with disbelief. Let me answer the question with a few questions. Who invented the Olympic Sport called Table Tennis? Who invented the Olympic Sport called Soccer? Who invented the Olympic Sport called Basketball? I suspect the inventor of every sport/game imaginable dreamed that one day their sport /game would be played all over the world. I can remember when snowboarding was scoffed at only a few years ago. It’s no different with BulletBall Extreme. I simply believe that its an exciting and fun sport to play. There are many other BulletBall players who feel the same…..it will continue to grow with or without me.  So, to answer your question, yes I believe one day BulletBall will be recognized as an Olympic Sport.

Reality TV Magazine:  Do you think Bulletball was a better invention than some of the other inventions that the judges let through?  If so, please give examples.

Marc Griffin:  Who am I to judge someone’s invention? I am proud of all inventors for their inginuity. In the end, the general public will decide what is acceptable and what is not.

I will say that some inventions were destined not to succeed on American Inventor because they do not meet the criteria of being mass marketed in 3 to 6 months. Not every invention can be merchandised on the shelves of Walmart and K-Mart in a matter of months. Certainly not BulletBall. Therefore BulletBall was predisposed not to move to the next round. But, I had a dramatic personal story worthy of TV time…..a trade-off I was willing to accept. 

Reality TV Magazine:  Do you have any plans to sell the game direct to the public?  Do you have a website?

Marc Griffin:  I am currently seeking investors for BulletBall.  Everything is in place to launch the game. Manufacturers have been identified and the target market has been identified. I am currently working on a website to show my video presentation of the game.

The skills required to play BulletBall are similiar to playing ping-pong. Table Tennis is the second most popular sport in the world (soccer is #1) with over 160 million players (40 million in the United States). It is truly an international sport. BulletBall Extreme is more intense than Table Tennis because the volleys last longer and you are utilizing your own hands to put "english" on the ball to create unusual spins and motions. For those that enjoy playing ping-pong….you will LOVE playing BulletBall!!!!! 

One of the most unique qualities of the game is this: One of the best BulletBall players is a 12 year old girl who can beat guys that are 18,19, and 20 years of age! 

Reality TV Magazine:  Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your American Inventor audition?

Marc Griffin:  I have not recieved my BulletBall Table back from the auditions in LA. It has been over 2 months and I have talked to several people connected with the show and have not gotten any answers. Prior to leaving LA I was assured by the American Inventor Team that my table would be shipped back to Chicago within a week. Can they be trusted? I’ll let you know.

Reality TV Magazine is your source for American Inventor news.  For other great American Inventor news, please also check out SirLinksALot: American Inventor.

Topics: American Inventor |

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27 Responses to “American Inventor Passes On BulletBall, But Keeps The Table”

  1. Simmsays Says:
    March 30th, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    I also think the bulletball was a good idea. It’s interesting how they choose their products. They seem to have little consistency in their choices.


  2. Dave Says:
    March 30th, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Wish I had met you in LA, being there myself and also “passed over” with my invention. (they kept my video tape of my invention as well with the promise to mail it back…doubt I will ever see it again) You are an inspiration to all inventors (and your life story) I was very moved by your determination and sacrifice. Think you nailed it on the head when you said…”you don’t understand”…only wish I had the resources to help you…

  3. Hiram Bolanos-Cacho Says:
    April 20th, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    It seems to be that AI judges rely more on the “story behind the inventor” than in the product itself, most of the time. Also, the guys are reluctant to any “offensive” or “intimidating” inventions or matters, i.e. How come they dont like BulletBall or the deodorizing anti-flatulence pad? Doug is even jealous of some guys and some others are rejected because of their origin or the narrow market niche. To be politically correct is one thing, play stupidity or “funny” a very different one. I was catched by the show when I was vacationing at the US, now, I have to see it delayed and downloaded via internet (thanks God). Since I am in Mexico and we mexicans love to improvise and invent I like the show, even sometimes I certainly not agree with some outcomes. Excuse my english and congratullations on your site.
    Hiram Bolanos-Cacho.
    Producer and Inventor.

  4. Darren Pettis Says:
    April 29th, 2006 at 10:18 pm


    I was looking at your table and I think it would be better if the sides (which I assume are for ricochet) were longer. That would make for a slimmer “goal area” opening. This would allow for less frequent goals. When you and the pudgy judge (Doug?) were playing, the goals came too fast.
    If you look at “goal” sports you will notice that excitment builds with the back and forth action.
    Finally, when someone scores it becomes “GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!”.
    Just my opinion.


  5. Mike Christian Says:
    May 4th, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Lets get real here, ya maybe your game could be fun, but seriously you honestly think this game that requires ZERO skill will be an olympic sport, It doesnt even compare to ping pong, there are so many more parts to ping pong then this, Rolling a ball back and forth is not a sport, No person in there right mind would EVER spend a CENT on this game, all it is a ball on a table, You dont need 30 balls either Marc.
    P.S. hows the volvo station wagon doing?

  6. Mike Christian Says:
    May 4th, 2006 at 8:12 pm

    My Point!

  7. murderrapelove Says:
    June 7th, 2006 at 7:32 am

    this guy has huge william hung-like potential. I’m sure hundreds of thousands of fans who witnessed his performance on the american inventor show would buy “bullet ball” just to have. I’d definitely pick one up. I’m sure he’ll make millions eventually.

  8. Parise' (Marc's REAL Niece) Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    To Darren Pettis comment:

    Let’s get real. you have some nerve to judge anyone. How can you judge anything and you never played. You need to get your act together. This is one of the best table games that I have ever played. And I’m not just saying that because he is my uncle. I’m saying this because I have sat down and played the game number of times. That 12 year old he was talking about was me. When I was 12 I was beating everybody. This game is going somewhere real soon. IT’S GOING TO THE TOP! Something you would never know anything about!

    To Uncle Marc:

    I support you in everything you do. and BEST OF LUCK.


  9. Marcelo Ferreira Fernandes Says:
    January 28th, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Im a Brazilian guy, and i like BULLETBALL.
    Marc Griffin, you are a famous guy here in Brazil, we like your invent, and we want BULLETBALL.
    I will show Bulletball in my blog, and many people are doing the same here.
    Your determination represents the own Bulletball, keep doing that and we’ll have Bulletball on the olympics games. I believe you.
    Sorry about my english, but im just trying to show you, what we brazilians, think.

  10. John Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Mark, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but this has already been done. It’s called AIR HOCKEY!!!!!!

  11. carl grevnor Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    well i doubt its going to be an olympic sport, unless marc allows fair use of the product’s development. anywayz.. marc, maybe you should start something else in the meantime.. i mean, you have the bulletball website, keep it up and stuff and start putting energy somewhere else.. it takes a few tries before getting a hit.

  12. Russell Katz Says:
    July 10th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Bulletball Sucks, Monkey Ass!

  13. Toni Kurtus Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    I think Marc is a delusional idiot and I find Bulletball to be a crappy idea and I wouldn’t have it in my home even if I got it for free.

    The game is moronic and if I was going to spend $400.00 on a table that costs $99.00 dollars at Homedepot then you are truly insane.

    If I was going to spend $400.00 on a game like that then I would buy Air Hockey at least that is a fun game.

    Marc Griffin you need to grow up and get a real job and burn those tables as you are wasting your life with this.

    Take my advice and please NEVER try to invent anything again as you are clueless.

  14. Toni Noodler Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I am thinking they can’t send it back to him as they promised, my guess is the janitor came in that night and said what the Hell is this piece of doo doo and tossed it into the dumpster, therefore killing the game after its Television debut.

  15. James Hewson Says:
    July 19th, 2007 at 3:23 am

    i watched the video of the american inventor bulletball audition and it was the saddest thing i can remember, i’ll never forget it. i think the invention is good, i agree that the walls should be higher and longer and add some sound effects and you got a kick arse game, that will sell. i also think it is good enough to be a sport, or at least become big enough to have national competitions and things. i am slightly happier reading this article when i realise that the tv spot was heavily over dramatised, and it was an idle hobby/dream that became an attempt at reality. it was really inspiring and i don’t think mr griffin should stop, full respect to that man who decided to get out of a life he didn’t enjoy to pursue something he loves. all this guy needs is a break so he can get the game down cheaper and it can be more accessible for families, i totally recognise the foosball like potential. word up to this game, and marc griffin. peace

  16. Jumpei Says:
    July 26th, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    it works out ur your hamstrings, quads, arms, AND shoulders!!

  17. denis mrkulic Says:
    July 27th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    I wish everithing best! denis mrkulic

  18. Parise Jones Says:
    July 28th, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    For all the haters you can kiss my uncle ass. yall just mad becasue you cant do the same. What a life you all have. sitting at the computer with your meaningless lives hating on the next person because he’s doing something with his life. Hate to break it to yall but i really believe yall are going to HELL. Hope you have fun there….LOL

    P.S I love you Uncle Marc

  19. Anonymous Says:
    July 28th, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    What the hell? Oh, it might be fun, but IT’S BECAUSE IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE BEFORE. Like another person has said, this is pretty much air hockey.

  20. denis Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    please delite coment that is not my coment, somebody use my porsonal name to post very bad coment on my name, again please delite that bad comentf!!!

  21. denismrkulic Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    I love bulletball!

  22. denismrkulic Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    I love bulletball!

  23. denis mrkulic Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 9:55 pm


  24. By the Gallows Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Anyone else see the great Bulletball Infomercial yet? You can view it here:


    Good luck Marc! We believe in you!

  25. - Says:
    August 20th, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Yup, going for gold in next year’s olympics in beijing.

  26. IngaOz Says:
    September 8th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    I saw some videos on YouTube and now read this post. I like the concept of game and Mr. Marc Griffin’s enthusiasm. He have a dream and he works on it. Although I dont like the fact that he sold wedding ring (LOL)…
    My best wishes to you Mr. Marc Griffin! I believe that one day your dream will become true :)

  27. Angus Casboult Says:
    November 1st, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Marc, you are an inspiration to us mentally challenged people everywhere. After watching the youtube clip I was astonished to see how the judges treated you so brutally and gave you no concessions for your mental handicap.
    I thought your presentation was awesome, it reminded me of the time I gave up my multi-million dollar corporate job to live in the back of a volvo sleeping between a bulletball table and a bulletball extreme table.
    To all those “full brained” people who are abusing you, I hope you take a step back and realise how hard it is for mentally disabled people like Marc and I to succeed in life.

    Marc, I keep a photo of you under my pillow and kiss it every night before the man turns off the light in my padded cell.

    You inspire me.
    You complete me.
    I love you
    xoxoxo Cashbowl

    Now Thats a Bulletball!


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