Guns N’ Roses have had a fascinating and ultimately epic history, complete with one of the more impressive revivals in rock history over the last few years. Throughout this history, we pay attention to the albums, the tours, the memorable quotes and disagreements, and again, recently, the comeback. But along the way, GNR has also established another bizarre legacy that separates it from most any other classic rock group: It has repeatedly tied itself to the video game industry.
This began, really, with something not so unusual. Guns N’ Roses featured heavily in Guitar Hero 3, which was characterized by SB Nation as the best music video game ever. Significantly better than its Rock Band counterpart, and a marked improvement on the first few Guitar Hero installments, this game was the pinnacle of the concept of playing a mock instrument along to real music. Naturally, the game featured a ton of hits from legendary rock groups. But “Welcome To The Jungle” is generally agreed upon as one of the most enjoyable songs to play on the game, and GNR guitar maestro Slash was more or less the unofficial face of the game.
Following Guitar Hero III and its success, GNR made additional gaming history through a strange story about a game that never actually came to fruition. Upset over the franchise’s decision to depict Slash playing “Welcome To The Jungle” (when the band’s leaders had parted ways) and angry that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was used in the game’s promotions, frontman Axl Rose tried to sue Activision for $20 million. According to Eurogamer, Activision — the game’s distributor — attempted to appease Rose by offering him his own video game. Again, it never came to fruition, but as far as we can tell this would have likely been the biggest game ever relating to a single rock star. If only it had happened….
The next actual game to come about relating to Guns N’ Roses was an online slot reel, which actually came out right on the eve of the band’s thunderous comeback. The idea of a slot game based on a rock group may still sound strange to people who aren’t familiar with it, but in actuality it made perfect sense. Leading gaming portal Cheeky Bingo’s collection of slots feature a number of rock enthused titles in this category such as the Monsters of Rock game, which actually came out in 2019 as a sort of nod to rock ’n’ roll’s growing influence in the arena. So really, the GNR-based game that was designed for this category by NetEnt was a stroke of genius, and one that put some of the band’s biggest hits back on the map with countless gamers around the world.
On top of these various direct and indirect forays into gaming, we recently learned of the Guns N’ Roses pinball game, based on the band’s comeback “Not In This Lifetime” tour and made available around the world. It’s a delightfully old-school move by the band, which partnered with Jersey Jack Pinball to create the game — apparently in line with Slash’s obsession with pinball. Featuring new riffs, classic music, and a mind-blowing array of original artwork, it looks to be one of the cooler pinball machines we’ve seen… frankly ever. It won’t be played as widely as Guitar Hero III or the NetEnt slot game, but it might just be the most interesting Guns N’ Roses game yet.
It all just adds to the band’s fascinating history, and given the group’s powerful resurgence, one can’t help but wonder what sort of game they might produce next.