Date: 29th September, 2021

Location: 57 Carnaby Street, London, W1, UK.

On Monday of this week a pop-up store opened its doors on London’s Carnaby Street. Called Queen: The Greatest, the shop is dedicated to merchandise and memorabilia from the band Queen.

London's Carnaby Street
London’s Carnaby Street
The Queen: The Greatest pop-up store
The Queen: The Greatest pop-up store
The ground floor of the shop
The ground floor of the shop

Upstairs are assorted posters, records, T-shirts, teddy bears, coasters, pencil sets, drinks bottles and lots more.

Queen merchandise for sale
Queen merchandise for sale

Downstairs you can find more merchandise along with a brand new Queen pinball machine from Pinball Brothers.

Queen guitars, clothing , mugs and more
Queen guitars, clothing , mugs and more
Brian May and John Deacon
Brian May and John Deacon
The Queen pinball machines
The Queen pinball machines

Queen was one of the titles being developed by Heighway Pinball before the company collapsed and was liquidated in May 2018. The game was designed by Dave Sanders and Barry Oursler as a widebody machine and used assets from Queen’s live performances rather than their studio albums or promotional videos.

The Pinball Brothers version continues with to be based on the live shows, but is now a standard width game with a redesigned playfield, although some elements from the original design remain.

The Queen game from Pinball Brothers
The Queen game from Pinball Brothers

Before we go any further, it is important to note that the game on display at the Queen: The Greatest store is a non-playable prototype. It is very much a work-in-progress which was brought to London purely for display at the store. There are several mechanisms missing and there is no software other than to produce a light show and play audio and videos of the live performances on the backbox LCD panel and through the speakers.

The display game cannot be played
The display game cannot be played

While this prototype will be available to view until the store closes early in January 2022, the finished game probably won’t be launched for another 6 months after that.

However, this does give us a good opportunity to see progress on the game so far. We were also fortunate to be able to speak with two of the Pinball Brothers about the machine and get a good understanding of the intended rules.

The cabinet side art
The cabinet side art
The backbox artwork
The backbox artwork
The front of the cabinet
The front of the cabinet
The artwork around the start button
The artwork around the start button
The artwork around the shooter rod
The artwork around the shooter rod
The backglass artwork
The backglass artwork
The LCD panel
The 18.5-inch LCD panel

The images of the four band members were all based on actual photographs taken during their stage performances. They were then composited to fit within the backbox’s dimensions.

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Brian May
Brian May
Roger Taylor
Roger Taylor
John Deacon
John Deacon

The backglass is secured in place with a cylinder lock, while it also has cutouts are the bottom for the sound from the stereo speakers.

The lock for the backglass
The lock for the backglass
The speaker cutouts
The speaker cutouts
Behind the backbox
Behind the backbox

So, let’s take a look at the playfield.

Queen's playfield
Queen’s playfield

The game comes fitted with interior cabinet art.

Interior cabinet art
Interior cabinet art

Queen has three flippers; two in the usual position and a third on on a guitar-shaped mini-playfield at the top right.

The bottom arch and the two main flippers
The bottom arch and the two main flippers
The main flippers at the bottom of the playfield
The main flippers at the bottom of the playfield with the extra ball/ball saver insert

Above the flippers are numerous inserts designed to show your progress through the game. One of the main rules is to complete all four band members. This works in a similar way to Monster Bash in that you can collect the instrument for each member, but also have to complete their individual objectives in order to fully light them and get their signatures.

The instruments for each band member - piano, guitar, bass and drums
The instruments for each band member – bass, piano, drums and guitar
The band members with their signature inserts
The band members with their signature inserts
The progress inserts
The progress inserts

On the left of the flippers are the inlane and outlane. The inlane is fed from the left ramp return and features a multiplier insert under a rather cloudy clear plastic. The outlane has a ‘Break Free!’ kickback lane with artwork featuring the hairstyles worn in the I Want To Break Free music video.

The left inlane and outlane
The left inlane and outlane

The Break Free kickback uses an up-post to stop the ball, but this post hadn’t been installed on this prototype machine. Both lanes use inductive switches rather than mechanical rollover switches.

Above the outlane are the piano drop targets. These are intended to match piano keys, with white drop targets in front which reveal black standup targets behind.

The piano drop targets
The piano drop targets
The piano drop targets with standup targets behind
The four piano drop targets with three standup targets behind

Moving up the playfield we have the left orbit lane.

The left orbit lane entrance
The left orbit lane entrance

This lane is colour coded and features the zodiac sign (Leo the lion) for drummer Roger Taylor. The band’s logo is comprised of the zodiac signs of each member.

The lane leads up to the top of the playfield and under a model of Wembley Stadium where there is a controlled gate which can stop the ball and send it through a set of rollover lanes and into the pop bumpers.

The rollover lanes and drum pop bumpers
The rollover lanes and drum pop bumpers
The rollover lanes and pop bumpers
The rollover lanes and pop bumpers

The ball exits the pop bumpers into the left orbit lane. There is also a spinner at the left entrance to the orbit lane featuring artwork from the show crew passes.

Next to the left orbit is a lane which is guarded by a drop target and leads to an upkicker.

The upkicker lane
The upkicker lane

When the drop target is down and the ball enters the saucer, it is kicked up through a flap onto the wireform above, much like the Spider Hole kicks the ball onto the Boney Beast ramp in Scared Stiff.

The upkicker saucer and ramp return flap
The upkicker saucer and ramp return flap

As this is a prototype, the flap wasn’t made of the correct spring steel which will be used in the production model.

Either side of the lane are two standup targets. The are two of the E-A-D-G set of four standups which represent the pitch of the four strings on the bass guitar.

To the right of the upkicker is the centre ramp.

The centre ramp
The centre ramp

This ramp represents Freddie Mercury, having the microphone artwork and also his Virgo zodiac sign.

The ramp feeds to the left, behind Wembley Stadium and onto the ramp return wireform, but there are three devices which can interrupt its journey.

Firstly, there is a controlled magnet which can grab the ball and drop it down into the rollover lanes. A soft shot to the ramp can also achieve the same effect.

The magnet on the centre ramp
The magnet on the centre ramp

Secondly, there is a three-ball lock device which is used to start Wembley Multiball. This device wasn’t fitted to this protoype game, but the opto switches for the locked balls are visible.

The opto switches for the Wembley Multiball ball lock
The opto switches for the Wembley Multiball ball lock

Finally, once balls exit the lock on the way to the left inlane, a diverter arm can activate to send them on another wireform across the playfield to the right return lane.

Queen's playfield
The two centre ramp return wireforms

To the right of the centre ramp is another lane protected by a drop target.

The right inner lane
The right inner lane

This lane feeds under and feeds what is probably the game’s main ‘toy’ – the ‘Red Special’ guitar upper playfield.

The guitar upper playfield
The guitar upper playfield

A ball arrives on the upper playfield via an upkicker which send it onto the playfield on the right side. This then feeds the upper playfield’s full-size flipper.

The feed onto the upper playfield and onto the flipper
The feed onto the upper playfield and onto the flipper

The upper playfield flipper can shoot three illuminated standup targets which will light lock, an exit lane which leads to the three-ball lock below the guitar, or a captive ball.

The three standups on the upper playfield
The three standups on the upper playfield

The exit to the lock is to the right of the Radio GaGa model.

The Ragio GaGa  model with the lock exit to the right
The Ragio GaGa model with the lock exit to the right

The captive ball and its ball guides were not installed on this prototype, but there’s quite some distance between the newton ball and the captive ball target.

The captive ball feature on the upper playfield
The captive ball feature on the upper playfield
The back panel, lock exit and captive ball lane
The back panel, lock exit and captive ball lane

The ball can also exit the upper playfield just below the flipper, which send it onto the centre ramp’s right return wireform and into the right inlane.

The ball can also exit below the flipper
The ball can also exit below the flipper
The exit from the upper playfield
The exit from the upper playfield

There are three further lanes to explore on the main playfield level.

Directly below the guitar upper playfield is the right ramp lane which feeds the ball onto the centre ramp and so can be variously stopped by the magnet and dropped into the pop bumpers, locked for Wembley Multiball or diverted to the right inlane.

The right ramp lane
The right ramp lane

Either side of the right ramp lane are the final two E-A-D-G standup targets.

The right orbit lane is next, featuring the crab of the Cancer zodiac sign of Brian May. This lane can also feed the upkicker onto the upper playfield when lit.

The right orbit lane represents Brian May
The right orbit lane represents Brian May

The final shot is to another lane on the right side of the playfield, the Q-U-E-E-N lane.

The Q-U-E-E-N lane
The Q-U-E-E-N lane

This lane is also blocked by a drop target which is used to collect a jackpot after making combo shots. At the end of the lane is a standup target which adds a letter to spell Q-U-E-E-N.

The right side of the playfield
The right side of the playfield

Below the Q-U-E-E-N lane we come to the right inlane and outlane. The right inlane also has a multiplier insert and is fed from the centre ramp’s right return wireform. The outlane features and Encore virtual ball save as opposed to the physical kickback on the left side.

The right inlane and outlane
The right inlane and outlane

You will notice that even the shooter lane has playfield artwork rather than the more usual bare wood.

Shooter lane artwork
Shooter lane artwork

Apart from the band members and instruments to collect, there are also albums to complete and four extra features – Frenzy, Eh-Ho, Wembley Multiball and Red Special Multiball (named after Brian May’s guitar) – to get to the wizard mode.

Some of the albums to collect
Some of the albums to collect
The progress inserts
The progress inserts

That concludes our first look at this prototype Queen pinball.

Thanks to Pinball Brothers for their help with this article
Thanks to Pinball Brothers for their help with this article

Finally, there was a flyer for the game on top of the backbox. This lists the 14 live tracks used.

The game flyer
The game flyer
The back of the flyer
The back of the flyer

If you are in London you can visit the game in the basement of Queen: The Greatest at the end of Carnaby Street until early January. No changes to the game on display are planned before the store closes, so the next time we see it will probably be when it is officially launched later in 2022.

After this preview, we look forward to seeing the completed game.

We can barely wait!
We can barely wait!

As an added bonus, here’s a short video of the game in its attract mode. Because it contains Queen music there’s a chance it will be taken down due to copyright infringement, but we’ll give it a go.

The prototype Queen game from Pinball Brothers
  • American Pinball's new Legends of Valhalla

    LEGENDS OF VALHALLA REVEALED

    American Pinball today announced their fourth game as Legends of Valhalla, designed by Rio…
  • The 2021 Autumn Coin-Op Show

    AUTUMN COIN-OP SHOW 2021

    The Autumn Coin-Op Show is the little sibling of the annual EAG International which is usu…
  • Stern Pinball appoints Seth Davis as new President

    STERN APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT

    Stern Pinball today announced the appointment of Seth Davis as the company’s new Pre…
Load More Related Articles
  • American Pinball's new Legends of Valhalla

    LEGENDS OF VALHALLA REVEALED

    American Pinball today announced their fourth game as Legends of Valhalla, designed by Rio…
  • The 2021 Autumn Coin-Op Show

    AUTUMN COIN-OP SHOW 2021

    The Autumn Coin-Op Show is the little sibling of the annual EAG International which is usu…
  • Stern Pinball appoints Seth Davis as new President

    STERN APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT

    Stern Pinball today announced the appointment of Seth Davis as the company’s new Pre…
Load More By Pinball News
Load More In GAMES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

LEGENDS OF VALHALLA REVEALED

American Pinball today announced their fourth game as Legends of Valhalla, designed by Rio…