A common feature
games. During a multiball mode
than one ball
is put into play at the same time, intentionally
. The original intent
of multiball was to provide an opportunity for a big reward to be achieved by making a
while simultaneously keeping two or more balls in play
Originally it was a special game award to even be offered the chance to play multiball,
and then you'd have two balls and could score special bonuses as long as you kept both in
play, returning to normal play as soon as one ball drained.
Since then, pinball has suffered from multiball inflation in the same sense as score
inflation and jackpot inflation, so that multiballs occur early and often, and with
more balls. At some point three balls became the standard multiball, and some games
started offering special multiballs with four, five, or six balls. Automatic
plungers made these modes possible by allowing the game to shoot any number of balls
into play when it wanted to, up to the limit of the number of balls stored in the
machine. The maximum number of balls for multiball was in the Apollo 13 pinball which
had a 13-ball mode, mostly as a joke, as most of the balls would rain into the outlanes
out of control.
Williams Electronics trademarked Multiball, and as a result, Data East called it m-ball and tri-ball before they eventually licensed the term from Williams.