A phenomenon that sometimes happens in pinball games.

Usually multiball is a mode in which high-scoring shots are available, but in a challenging situation since they only remain lit as long as you keep at least two balls in play.

Sometimes you can play an effective one-ball multiball if you manage to get a ball stuck somewhere, such as in the plunger lane, or just hung up somewhere (possibly someplace the ball is normally not supposed to go), or even held on a flipper, though this last requires you use only the other flipper to shoot the other ball. Pinball wizards learn how to pass a held ball from one flipper to the other, which is particularly useful in this situation. However you get it, this can be a lucrative situation because you can shoot at the valuable jackpots while effectively in single-ball play.

Many modern games have automatic plungers and will fire them if a ball falls in the plunger lane during multiball. But you can still try to use the other methods above to play one-ball multiball.

The other way one-ball multiball occurs is when one or more of the switches the game uses to detect when balls leave play are broken. If the game can't tell the difference between one ball in play and two balls in play, then very likely all of your multiballs will last until the end of the ball, including a period of one-ball multiball. You can't really do much about this, though, and it sometimes interferes with other parts of the gameplay.

Getting one or more of the balls out of your way during multiball is extremely useful, as it allows you to concentrate on making more difficult shots which score a lot of points.

On most machines, shooting the ball into the bumpers and gently shaking the table from front to back, you can get it to just sit there and bounce off the bumpers and any nearby rubber for a while.

Some machines also have specific features that make it easy to get one or more balls out of the way during multiball. For example:

  • Creature From The Black Lagoon: Shoot the left ramp, and the ball takes an interesting roundabout course, winding up spinning in a little vortex-shaped thing that drains into the right inlane. This process can take up to 10 seconds!
  • Earthshaker: Shoot the shelter, and the machine will hold the ball. This won't give you one-ball multiball; it'll just take you from three to two. When one drains, it will kick this back out to the right inlane, resuming 2-ball multiball.
  • Twilight Zone: During Powerball Madness, battle The Power. If you get two or more balls onto the Powerfield, the balls bouncing off each other is VERY likely to push one of them through the victory hole at the top, defeating The Power.
  • The Addams Family: The way the bumpers are set up on this game is awesome. A good hard shot to the right orbit will take anywhere from two to five seconds to come back out, cranking up the Grave value as it does.
  • South Park: This isn't really related to one-ball multiball, but worth trying out anyway... The plunger is an auto/manual type, like that on Data East's Checkpoint, and will usually send the ball somewhere just above the bumpers. Pulling the manual plunger all the way back and releasing it during the brief delay the machine allows for the ball to settle on the pickle fork will fire it right into the jackpot targets. In addition, the machine will relaunch any ball that drains before it has all five in play. I suppose this is all dependent on how your machine is set up; YMMV.
  • Pin*Bot: Re-lock one of the balls while the visor targets are still down. This will automatically lower the ramp to allow you some time to shoot it.

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