June 8, 2023
Becky Helm

Pepper Pong: The Full Backstory

The making of a game that's about much more than a's about giving back.

Inventor Tom Filippini with his wife and 3 daughters, who deserve all the credit for Pepper Pong's creation. (L-R Annabel, Olivia, Tom, Emily, Lucy)
Pepper Pong formally launched for pre-order in the Summer of 2023. Just prior to that, our Founder, Tom Filippini, disclosed to friends & family the true purpose behind his spicy new game.

Below is an original copy of Tom's email explaining the "backstory"...spoiler's much more impactful than just a game. Enjoy!
(email to Tom's pals)
Hiya Friends & Fam, 

Pardon the interruption, but this note is about gratitude. Each of you, in your own way, has inspired my courage to share this personal story and, as my thanks for reading it, you'll get a very SPICY gift.

As you may know, I love anything to do with ‘PONG.’ So much, in fact, that in ‘21 I got busted by the City of Denver for – in the dark of night – converting a busy traffic island into a neighborhood ping pong oasis many still call ‘PONG ISLAND’ (R.I.P.).

But as it relates to my love for ‘beer pong,’ I last took aim at the ol' red Solo cups in August 2016.

Why would I remember that, you wonder? Because in September 2016 I was blessed with the gift of sobriety – a gift of greater importance than even my beautiful family or my life itself because, without it, the other two would today be in shambles.

This may come as a surprise, as I never may have seemed to have a problem and I’d been reticent to proactively share my story because of the stigma of alcoholism & addiction and the guilt & shame I felt for so long.

I mistakenly thought I was protecting myself, my family, and our shared reputation… until we collectively had the epiphany that my muted approach was doing selfish injustice to those still struggling and to the many societal challenges fueled by addiction.

 Today, having overcome my life’s most formidable obstacle, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, but far more acutely, immeasurable gratitude for those whose love, support & guidance made my recovery possible.

By sharing my story, I’m filled with hope that others might reach the bright light at the end of the hopelessly dark, spiraling tunnel I knew too well, for too long.

I am one of the fortunate few for whom that light has illuminated a life I could’ve never dreamed possible, thanks to sobriety’s enablement of what I now call the 3C’s -- clarity, connection, and courage.
- Mental CLARITY of my life’s purpose, what makes me ‘tick.’

- Deeper CONNECTION to faith & the inspiring people in my life.

- Undaunted COURAGE to chase seemingly dangerous or unattainable dreams.
Subscribe to Blog
Subscribe to our blog and receive a occassional "behind the scenes" of Pepper Pong updates.

The 3C’s have put a major dent in my life’s to-dos, like becoming a pilot, taking up kitesurfing w/ my girls, prioritizing authentic relationships, and building businesses around my passions, alongside great people.

But one squirrely box always seemed to remain unchecked…


For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of creating a novel pong-esque concoction that handicaps play so all ages & abilities can compete on a level playing field. One that converts any table, of any shape or size into a bustling center court. A take-everywhere boredom eradication kit, as universal as a deck of cards.

Once I gained clarity that I wanted to make this product (jury’s still out!), I trusted that the right connections would appear in my life and, finally in early 2020, I mustered the courage to put some elbow grease and dough against the kick-ass game we now call guessed it…PONG. Pepper Pong (@playpepperpong).

 After 3+ years, 100+ design iterations, 20+ factory prototypes, and a full-on global pandemic, we've tinkered our way to what field testers have called "The GOAT of Games," "pong-ish, but 100x better," "Nerf pong on steroids," and my personal fav "mini f%#king pickleball in my ACTUAL KITCHEN!"

Pepper Pong is the raw definition of a “passion project” with a purpose that's much more about slaying boredom & addiction than Benjamin'$.

So, even more than the game itself, I’m elated to unveil RALLY FOR RECOVERY, a program through which every purchased set contributes to a 2nd set that we donate to recovery facilities and addiction-focused homeless centers.

My vision for Rally for Recovery is that THE GAME OF PEPPER PONG will provide a light-hearted diversion in the heat of the recovery battle and a mechanism to stifle the isolation inherent in addiction. It is also my hope that THE STORY OF OUR SOBRIETY-INDUCED CREATION may provide inspiration to fight like hell out of the deep, dark tunnel.

Our limited first run is a one-time Founders Edition version of Pepper Pong, inscribed “OG Edition” with some spicy extras. They’ll sell out fast. Go to our website, click PRE-ORDER, use discount CODE [].

I’m truly humbled if you made it this far and, while I DID imply I like you, I look forward to a spicy Pepper Pong battle against you soon. But more importantly, I hope you’ll be my ‘dubs’ partner in our match against the REAL opponents - alcoholism & addiction.

Live spicy my friends,