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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

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2020.10.27 - Forbes - Slash On New ‘Not In This Lifetime’ Pinball Machine, Collaborating With Jersey Jack Pinball

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2020.10.27 - Forbes - Slash On New ‘Not In This Lifetime’ Pinball Machine, Collaborating With Jersey Jack Pinball Empty 2020.10.27 - Forbes - Slash On New ‘Not In This Lifetime’ Pinball Machine, Collaborating With Jersey Jack Pinball

Post by Blackstar Fri Dec 22, 2023 12:26 pm

Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Slash On New ‘Not In This Lifetime’ Pinball Machine, Collaborating With Jersey Jack Pinball

By Jim Ryan
Contributor


Collaborating with suburban Chicago game maker Jersey Jack Pinball, rock group Guns N’ Roses has launched its latest pinball machine, one which captures the live experience of the group’s “Not in This Lifetime” tour, one of the most profitable outings in music history.

It’s the second Guns N’ Roses modeled machine and the first since 1994. For GNR guitarist Slash, co-designing the new machine alongside Jersey Jack’s Eric Meunier was a labor of love.

“Slash went to Jack Guarnieri, the founder of the company back in like 2017 and said, ‘I want to make a game about the new tour,’” said Meunier of the game’s roots. “I was the designer that got to do the project. So I hooked up with Slash and he just had idea after idea after idea on what he wanted to see in the game. And we worked together. He was with me in lockstep every single day.”

“The reason that I wanted to work with Jersey Jack is because they just make really great, very unique and special pinball machines. Each one that they do is a real event. It’s not like they’re churning them out, you know? They do really, really fantastic, almost boutique, pinball machines,” said Slash earlier this month at Jersey Jack’s factory in Elk Grove Village, IL, just outside Chicago. “Once we got the green light to do it, I got hooked up with Eric. Him and his team of people are just amazing. Any idea that I might’ve had, they’d go to the ends of the earth to execute it. And they’re brilliant. There’s a bunch of different things that I wanted to do. Because, from the onset, we were trying to replicate a Guns N’ Roses show from that tour. But they took that and just ran with it.”

Elk Grove Village has become something of a pinball hotspot, home to several of the game’s biggest manufacturers as well as host to a number of other gaming companies.

Coincidentally, Slash’s pinball fandom is rooted nearby. Guns N’ Roses worked on the 1991 Use Your Illusion albums on the city of Chicago’s north side. Prior to that, the guitarist spent countless hours playing in the suburban Chicago basement arcade of an ex-girlfriend’s father.

From there, Slash collaborated on the ‘94 Guns game and contributed original music to the 1998 pin Viper Night Drivin’. The 1995 song “Be the Ball,” by the guitarist’s then side project Slash’s Snakepit, perfectly encapsulates his love of the game.

But his involvement on the new Not in This Lifetime machine takes everything a step further.

“It’s unprecedented. I’ve worked on games in the past where it’s, ‘You can have our likeness, give us our royalty,’” said Meunier. “With GNR, we got voice recordings from everyone, the likenesses, audio clips, video clips. [Guitarist] Richard Fortus and Slash and [bassist] Duff McKagan did instrumentation and sound effects. Slash did some original music for some of the album modes and the wizard mode at the end. There’s never been a game that has had this much involvement with the licensor.”

“It’s never been done before like this,” Jersey Jack co-owner Brett Abess concurred. “For a rock pin, you’ve never had concert footage like this. You’ve never had cooperation from the actual band members in the product. Not only Slash, but all of the band members participated in this. We like to say it’s a playable work of art. It’s an instant piece of collectible rock and roll memorabilia. It’s a special product.”

The new GNR pin was released in three tiers. Not unlike the special ticketing and VIP packages that accompany today’s hottest concert tours, the new Jersey Jack table offers a uniquely immersive gaming experience via standard, limited and collector’s editions, accessible to fans at all levels.

While the limited edition features additions like analog and bluetooth headphone connectivity, the collector’s edition provides fans a nearly one of a kind opportunity.

Individually numbered to 500, the collector machines feature a signature card autographed by Slash, McKagan and singer Axl Rose, as well as a special drumstick ramp featuring sticks signed by drummer Frank Ferrer. It sold out almost immediately upon release.

But what really sets the new game apart, and truly captures the “Not in This Lifetime” concert experience, is the inclusion of 21 complete Guns N’ Roses songs, presented via 120-Watt 2.1 stereo sound system, and utilization of Jersey Jack’s exclusive LED video screen, taking the general gaming experience to a whole new level.

“Each of the 21 songs is almost its own individual game. And that’s huge. It just does so many really cool things that have to do with what the show is all about,” said Slash. “Aesthetically, you’ve got very recognizable visuals. You’ve got a representation of the tour and everything in the center of the playing field. You’ve got a lighting rig at the back so you’ve got a light show that goes with each song.”

“The lighting rig in the back isn’t just a regular bunch of lights - it’s the hexagonal lighting rig that’s used at Guns N’ Roses ‘Not in This Lifetime’ concerts. It looks exactly like their stage does with the video walls and moving spotlights,” said Meunier. “I studied their concerts. We had I think eighteen concerts, each of them three hours long. I watched them on repeat and went through all of them trying to encompass all of the different aspects.”

While Slash worked in his home studio to create new sounds to accompany the game’s album modes, his involvement ran even deeper in his work alongside Meunier over nearly two years.

As an avid pinball player and collector, the guitarist had specific ideas he hoped to see incorporated in the new GNR table.

“You want really good gameplay. You want a game that is actually intriguing. A lot of games can be very repetitious. So you want something that is unique going on and you want something that’s exciting. You want to have a lot of modes to get into and a lot of achievements to unlock and those kinds of things,” explained the guitarist, who coined the term “power chord jackpot” for the new game, referencing the guitar playing term.

“I played it as it was developing. But this is my first time really playing it today. I haven’t picked a favorite but I did enjoy ‘Coma’ - because it’s pretty epic,” said the guitarist referencing the 1991 Guns N’ Roses deep cut included in the new pinball machine. “One of the things that Eric pointed out, and I remember as we were getting towards completion of the game, is that ‘Live and Let Die’ has a really great light show…”

“When the bomb drops on the lyric ‘live and let die,’ it just goes green and it’s like eyeball melting LED overload. It’s just fantastic,” said Meunier, referencing another Use Your Illusion track. “I sent him a video of it. And he lost his mind. It is an amazing experience.”

As the traditional idea of the video arcade continues to evolve, vintage arcades are on the rise. While the pinball machines of yore populated places like entertainment centers and bowling alleys, today, bars featuring games are an area of growth.

But the single biggest pinball marketplace is a new one. And, amidst the quarantine of pandemic, it’s liable to be poised for growth.

“It’s a ball, rubbers, bumpers and rails. But, what’s changed in the resurgence, is that they’re going in the home now,” said Jersey Jack co-owner Leonard Abess, whose ThinkLAB Ventures began investing in the pinball company in 2015. “This is the first game ever, if you can believe it, hooked up to the internet. So it’s going to update while you sleep just like your smartphone. This is what’s going to keep this going,” he continued, steering pinball’s future. “I love pinball. I’ve always loved pinball. And it was at risk. There was only one company. No competition. Just the same re-skinned game over and over again. But I saw this, and what [Jersey Jack founder] Jack Guarnieri had created, as a chance to keep this going. And to build it and to see to it that it doesn’t go away.”

As designer of one of the best-selling pinball games ever (Jersey Jack’s Pirates of the Caribbean), Meunier, a musician himself, is clear on the early goals he set in collaborating with Slash on the new Guns N’ Roses table.

“I design a game that I want to play. I’m a good pinball player. And I want a game that will last for a long time in my house - something that I enjoy doing. So there’s a lot of depth there for the homeowners,” said Meunier. “There’s also a lot for the people who grew up playing old school games - those easy to understand rules, hard to master rule sets. That’s the objective. We always want a game to be approachable by a casual player. But it also needs depth and to be long standing for the home environments.”

“It’s a trip for me. Because Eric called me to tell me about the collector’s edition selling out. And I was just thinking about when I was at the airport at LAX and I called Jack and approached him about doing this game. I remember it was before a flight and I was standing somewhere where I could find quiet. And I was talking to him and trying to pitch him the idea for the pinball machine,” Slash recalled. “And he said, ‘OK. That sounds really great.’ He asked me some key questions: ‘Who’s going to buy it?’ All of these business-like questions. He said, ‘Let me get back to you…’ A week or two later he called me back and said, ‘OK. Everybody wants to do it.’ And so I’m looking at the table now and remembering that. It’s really cool.”



Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash poses alongside the new Guns N' Roses 'Not in This Lifetime' pinball machine, which he co-designed in collaboration with Eric Meunier of Jersey Jack Pinball. Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at the Jersey Jack Pinball factory in Elk Grove Village, IL. Photo by Barry Brecheisen



Photo by Barry Brecheisen



Photo by Charles Acosta



Workers on the assembly line at the Jersey Jack Pinball factory put the finishing touches on the new Guns N' Roses 'Not in This Lifetime' pinball machine, a collaboration between rock group Guns N' Roses and Jersey Jack Pinball. Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Elk Grove Village, IL. Photo by Barry Brecheisen



Pinball designer Eric Meunier (left) and Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash (right) co-designed the new Guns N' Roses 'Not in This Lifetime' pinball machine, now available via Jersey Jack Pinball. Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at the Jersey Jack factory in Elk Grove Village, IL. Photo by Barry Brecheisen



Workers complete the new Guns N' Roses 'Not in This Lifetime' pinball machine, a collaboration between rock group Guns N' Roses and Jersey Jack Pinball. Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at the Jersey Jack factory in Elk Grove Village, IL. Photo by Barry Brecheisen

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimryan1/2020/10/27/guns-n-roses-guitarist-slash-on-new-not-in-this-lifetime-pinball-machine-collaborating-with-jersey-jack-pinball/
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