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First-ever Beatles pinball machine will be sold at 2 Michigan locations

Game Room Guys is only Michigan retailer authorized to sell one of the most expensive pinball machines of all time.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Game Room Guys, one of the biggest pinball retailers in the world, will be the only Michigan retailer where people can buy a first of its kind Beatles pinball machine.

Only 1964 units will be produced in recognition of the year in which the world forever changed when TV show host Ed Sullivan introduced America to four young mop-topped musicians from Liverpool, England.

“The Beatles have millions of fans worldwide, and many of them are collectors. There's never been a Beatles pinball machine made before. This is the first one,” said Doug Wildey, CEO of Game Room Guys.

Just over half of the units will be available in the U.S. The release is timed for delivery before Christmas.

The game is available in three models, named for the recording industry’s sales award levels. The Diamond Edition, the highest level and most difficult to attain, is limited to only 100 units. The Platinum Edition is limited to only 250 units. The Gold Edition is limited to 1,614 units.

The pinball machines start at $8,000.

“The Diamond and the Platinum Editions could literally be the most expensive pinball machines that have ever been built,” said Wildey, who is prohibited by the manufacturer from disclosing prices to the media.

For those who want to see -- and play -- the three rare editions, they will be unveiled on Black Friday at Game Room Guys two retail Michigan locations. The stores are located in the Grand Rapids area, at 4741 W River Drive NE, Comstock Park, and in Metro Detroit, at 20694 Newburgh Road, Livonia.

Waiting to order one until after the holiday might be a mistake because the limited-edition machines are being snapped up.

“We sold quite a few in the first 24 hours they went on sale,” Wildey said.

Orders started rolling in after the official Nov. 6 announcement. But collectors, Beatle fans and pinball aficionados across the U.S. began contacting Game Room Guys in September after word spread that the first Fab Four pinball machine was going to finally be released.

The machines are being built by Chicago-area Stern Pinball Inc., the maker of other tables based on bands, including AC/DC, Aerosmith, Kiss, Iron Maiden, and Metallica.

Stern Pinball’s games having a wide following, from professional pinball players who compete in high-stakes international contests around the globe to novice players who are discovering the allure of the silver ball for the first time.

Creating the pinball machine required a complicated licensing process that required Apple Corps, The Beatles’ multi-armed multimedia empire, and Universal Music Group’s Bravado, which handles the group’s merchandising rights in North America, to sign off.

The colorful retro-themed game by designer Joe Kaminkow, of Ka-Pow Pinball, celebrates the band’s early days. Players can unlock versions of nine hits of that Beatlemania era:

“A Hard Day’s Night”
“Can’t Buy Me Love”
“Ticket to Ride”
“All My Loving”
“Drive My Car”
“It Won’t Be Long”
“I Should Have Known Better”

The retro-themed playfield has four flippers, 11 drop targets, eight stand-up targets, multiple skill shots, two opto-spinners, a ball-catching magnet and a magnetic spinning record disc in the center of the playfield. There is also full-screen animation as well as simulated reel scoring on the game’s high-definition video screen.

Wildey hasn’t seen this kind of excitement in the pinball world since the limited-edition Metallica and Star Wars pinball machines were released.

“The secondary market is where this will probably go a little crazy once there are no more left. That's when the prices will start to really skyrocket,” he said.

About Game Room Guys:
Game Room Guys, is one of the largest providers of arcade games, parts and repair services for residential and commercial customers in the United States. Founded in 2001, Game Rooms Guys now has two Michigan showroom locations: Grand Rapids and Detroit. In addition to the brick and mortar locations, the company operates online at www.gameroomguys.com, where customers can shop for new games and also get technical assistance for their own games. Game Room Guys ships to all 50 states and prides itself on superior customer service.