Queen pinball machine | Pinball Brothers | Preview

For all those who grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s, there is music that will remain forever engraved in our memories.

A superb biopic that is largely due to the interpretation of the actor Rami Malek. A must-see to get you in the mood if you haven’t already done so.

Whether we like them or not, some of Queen’s songs have become legendary and have crossed the decades until today, in 2022, without having taken a wrinkle. It is not the recent success of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie (2018) that will make me lie, because many of you have plebiscited this biopic in theaters.

Although the rumors were getting more and more persistent, nothing had been disclosed by Pinball Brothers since the presentation of the prototype on September 27, 2021 in the Carnaby Street concept store dedicated to the group for its 50th anniversary.

So it’s without really being expected that this pinball machine has just landed, in the middle of a heat wave.

I’ll try to give you here the first opinions of the Pinball Mag editorial staff, based on what was published on July 21, 2022, i.e. some pictures and a flyer with the list of titles, elements of the board and some gameplay elements.

Empty spaces, what are we living for ? Abandoned places, I guess we know the score, on and on, Does anybody know what we are looking for ?

Who wants to live forever ?

And it’s with this evocative title and so rich in emotions that the communication wished by Pinball Brothers was delivered to us from 11:00 am this July 21, 2022, in the form of teasing. It inevitably brings back good memories, especially for Highlander fans (of which I am one)…

So beware!!! I’m obviously talking about Russell Mulcahy’s 1986 feature film since there is NOTHING on the subject after this film, absolutely NOTHING!

There can be only one

But I’m getting lost, so let’s go back to the main subject of this article and the communication of the Scandinavian firm. It’s around 4:00 pm (in Örebro, Sweden, where the headquarters of the manufacturer is located) that the first images of the two versions and the flyers have been made available on social networks and on the website of Pinball Brothers.

Two Versions: Rhapsody Edition and Champions Edition

As is customary from now on, the machine will be available in two versions :

  • The Rhapsody Edition will be limited to 1,000 units and will be available in September 2022.
  • The Champions Edition will follow in the first quarter of 2023 without any announced production limit.

The differences between the two versions are quite subtle if we believe the two pictures above. A “golden” finish for the Rhapsody Edition against a more standard finish for the other. Except for a few color changes, the two versions are aesthetically very close.

As for the equipment, we can notice that the shaker is optional on the Champions Edition while it is standard on the Rhapsody Edition. Also noteworthy is the lighting of the art blades and the backboard which is dedicated to the Rhapsody Edition.

The track-list: a flawless… or almost.

A quick look at the track list shows us that undeniably the greatest hits of the band will be present in this pinball machine (14 tracks in all according to the flyer).

It remains to be seen how they will be arranged in the code, but on paper it looks like a dream:

  • A Kind Of Magic
  • Another One Bites The Dust
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Hammer to Fall
  • I Want To Break Free
  • Killer Queen
  • One Vision
  • Play The Game
  • Radio Ga Ga
  • Seven Seas of Rhye
  • Somebody To Love
  • We Will Rock You
  • We Are The Champions
  • Who Wants to live Forever

Despite this, the fan that I am remains hungry, because it lacks a title that for me is THE emblematic title of Queen par excellence: “The Show Must Go On”!

Just the mention of this worldwide hit gives me goosebumps… so how can we “forget” this track in a Queen track list? My arms fall off. To have waited so long for a pinball machine based on this band to not be allowed to hear this song. Subjective you say? I answer “I don’t care”! This song should have been there and it’s not!

In the manufacturer’s defense, this song is one of the last recorded by the band, and therefore does not have a concert image to illustrate it on the screen.

…Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance, Another heartache, another failed romance, on and on, Does anybody know what we are living for?

Queen pinball : the playfield

Let’s get to the heart of the beast: its board, which is likely to divide the community. Unlike the Alien pinball machine, our Swedish friends at Pinball Brothers have abandoned the widebody format that was first suggested during pre-development by Heighway Pinball. A strategic choice that must surely have led to some concessions on the filling of the board.

The structure of the game is a classic fan-layout with, as usual, toys in the background of the board, among which :

  • An upper playfield in the shape of an electric guitar, with a dedicated drummer and targets, which reminds us of the Mandalorian’s helmet on the eponymous pinball,
  • A radio that looks good and is lit from the inside,
  • The Wembley Stadium, which seems to be made with a 3D printer (to be confirmed).
  • 3 Bumpers with classic plexiglass (no toys bumper like on the Alien)

The artwork will not be unanimous among pinheads, that’s for sure.

Although it is colorful, we have the feeling that the art direction tried to make a medley of the iconography of the band from its beginnings to its end. Fans of the band will certainly have fun finding the multiple references to its history and discography, but it gives a bit of a messy effect that could hamper the reading in game. You’ll have to test it with the lightshow in action to give a definitive opinion!

The back panel

How about tackling the controversial issue? In my opinion, this back panel is far from being a tribute to the group. It is sober… But too much for my taste.

Of course, there is an LCD screen that should brighten up a little with animations, but the artwork would have deserved a little more madness. Note that the artwork of the Rhapsody Edition is the same, only the color gradient changes.

That said, it is true that the sobriety was often required on the covers of Queen’s albums, especially for the “Greatest Hits”… Could it be a voluntary wink?

…Inside my heart is breaking, My makeup may be flaking, But my smile, still, stays on…

And the price in all this?

To date, we still don’t know the prices that will be applied on our old continent and especially in Europe. In the meantime, the prices of the two versions are already known on the other side of the Atlantic:

$9,295 for the Champions Edition,

$10,995 for the Rhapsody Edition.

In the EU, let’s hope for a bargain effect considering the fact that the manufacturing is assured in Europe and that no customs fees should be added to the selling price. We will update this article as soon as we get the information from the distributor(s).

In conclusion

The release of a pinball machine dedicated to the pop-rock band Queen remains an event. As it is and in all objectivity, this pinball machine is not the most audacious one we have seen in the last few years. If the Alien remake was well received, we’ll have to wait a little to know what this Queen pinball machine is really worth.

Passionate Vpinball maker since 2016 and DIY enthusiast

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