MultiPong pounds the walls of iPads everywhere

Even bottom line readers will get into the excitement of MultiPong. It’s high stakes arcade action for up to four players. And if you really want to boost your bottom line, you can probably bet against the other players. (Just make sure they work for you and know better than to win).


  • Is fast
  • Is slick
  • Has more options than a Bill Walsh offense (although you may have to remember the eighties, and the original Pong, to catch the reference)

There’s little downside except the possibility of physical damage to your iPad from hours of hard play.

In addition, I explain why potheads were attracted to the original Pong, why my twelve thumbs virtually guarantee I won’t like arcade games, how most of my friends sold out to the establishment and why I don’t frequent smaller establishments with bouncers.

This isn’t your pothead’s pong

Almost anyone old enough to remember when people actually thought Nixon was a good President (I wasn’t one of those people) also remembers Pong, the original electronic game and source of fascination for pothead’s everywhere. Even before the home Pong game led nerds into the digital eighties, stoners would crank up the Grateful Dead on their Eight-Track players and drive to the local bar, polish off a doobie and wander into the nearest bar to pop down peanuts and play Pong until the bars closed down.

Something about that little bouncing ball fascinated people who could focus on only one thing at a time. Then came the Atari home gaming center, with Space Invaders, and stoners rapidly moved onto other games. Most straightened out, donned dress suits, told all their friends they were going to change the system from inside and, years later, tried to deny they ever smoked pot when they caught their kids with their first joint.

Apple featured MultiPong, the ultimate Pong upgrade, as its App of the Week a few weeks ago. Having lost many games of Pong to just about everybody I ever played, I downloaded it to see what it was all about.

Personally, I’m not a fan of arcade games, possibly because I’m a real klutz. I tilted at pinball so many times when I was in high school that several machines shut down completely and the guy with the Wiley Coyote and Popeye tattoos all over his arms told me that if he saw me in his place again he would pull my sideburns through my ass and scrape my tonsils clean.

So I didn’t visit an arcade until the Pong era when I was having a drink with Wolf Eldrid, an old college buddy. He convinced me that an electronic device wasn’t a pinball machine and I couldn’t possibly hurt it unless I spilled my drink down the console. By the time I spilled Wolf’s Tom Collins trying to clean up my own Black and Tan, the guy with the Hemp Rocks tattoos on his neck told that he would flush me down the toilet if I ever returned.

As did the guy with the dragon tattoo from his neck to underneath his shirt when I caused the Space Invaders arcade game to short circuit several years later when I tried my luck one last time.

Once, my first wife convinced me to try Breakout on our home Atari unit. My ball broke through the bricks and the top of the TV screen, knocking off the flower vase and spilling the water all over the ancient TV tube through the hole.

I thought this was a good thing, an excuse to spring for a color TV (which some couples didn’t have in those days). She didn’t see it that way, one of the many reasons I have a new wife. Sadly, if I were to do it again, Carol would take my first wife’s side.

So I pretty much stick to strategy and puzzle games. But I thought I would at least look at the game to see what kind of potential it had.

For what it’s worth I think people who love arcade games will love MultiPong. It’s certainly an intriguing idea to think of pulling out the iPad when the kids are driving you crazy on vacation, or when the family’s over for Thanksgiving and you would give anything to shut them up.

You can pit as many four players against each other, or you can play by yourself. This is my preferred option anyway. I might play against Carol, but she has a nasty habit of bearing me at games of skill. She claims it’s because she’s better centered from years of dressage and yoga. I think she cheats better than I do.

I could play with my sister and elementary-aged nephews in Dallas, but, on second thought, you’ll realize why I’m reluctant to do that by the end of the blog.

MultiPong delivers the razzle-dazzle

MultiPong is as close to that monochromatic bouncing ball and paddle as Herman’s Hermits was to the Beatles. It delivers and delivers with style.

When I first downloaded MultiPong I wan’t terribly impressed, but the upgrade knocked my socks off. The game offers more wrinkles and variations than a Bill Walsh offense. Or, if you feel intimidated by all those options, you can play in baby mode and practice with a ball that’s very difficult to miss until you build up your confidence.

You can start with Baby pong and a giant ball

MultiPong actually combines the old Pong concept with Breakout, the one-paddle ball game where you had to break bricks. With MultiPong, instead of breaking bricks, you aim for much smaller targets that will change the ball size, multiply the number of balls, increase or decrease the paddle size or even change the laws of gravity.

The longer you play the more options and balls you can play with.

To complicate matters, each corner has its own bumper that can send the ball spinning in a new direction. You may find yourself playing against additional bumpers in the middle of the field, or even lose track of the ball inside storms.

Try following the ball through a storm cloud.

How about a little bumper pong?

While MultiPong will never be my go-to game, it has plenty of action and cats often confuse the little balls for mice when they move fast enough. This is enough for Jenny to love it.

Before you rush out and download it, however, I should add a couple of warnings.

Wobbly iPad makes it the playing surface less stable

I made this observation when I reviewed browser4two. The slightly rounded bottom makes the iPad wobbly. As each person tries to access their side of the iPad it rocks away from the player across from them, or next to them. This means players will have to compete with the game and gaming device.

You could lose your iPad altogether

I can picture it now. You’re sitting at the table with your drunk brother-in-law, nineteen-year-old nephew just back from a semester at Party Hearty State University and your eight-year-old son. All of you are pounding away on your MultiPong paddles. Your eight-year-old forgot to take his Ritalin and the Lord knows what that powder is under your nephew’s nose.

There are seven balls in play and you need to block your son’s shot. Your nephew thinks he can get a bank shot past your paddle and suddenly your iPad shoots across the table, across the room and into Fluffy’s water dish.

“Don’t worry, bro,” your brother-in-law slurs. “We’ll pay for it.”

But you know he won’t because he’s been out of work since the first Bush took office and you’ve loaned him half the value of your IRA because your mom keeps calling you with worries about how your sister’s going to make it in today’s terrible economy.

Do the risks outweigh the benefits of downloading and playing MultiPong? That will have to be your decision. My iPad isn’t leaving my hands as long as MultiPong’s installed.

Jenny Manytoes rates MultiPong

Jenny Manytoes makes biscuits all over MultiPong. In fact, I swear that some nights I hear strange noises and when I wake up I see Jenny and two or three of the Siamese Rescue cats gathered around the iPad pawing the paddles.1 Before I can get my glasses on, however, they’re long gone.

1You didn’t think I could sneak a rescue reference into this post, did you?

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

iPad Envy is created entirely using apps from my iPad
iPad Envy.


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 5 Stars - Biscuits, Entertainment, Games, iPad, Time Wasters. Bookmark the permalink.

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