It’s time we talk about the 10-player competitive arcade game that’s been at literally every barcade I’ve ever been: Killer Queen. Quite frankly I’m surprised we haven’t done this earlier.
Killer Queen is indeed and 10-person arcade game that pits two teams of five against one another in a best-of-3 competition. In order to win, you need to achieve one of three different victory conditions. The most action-based one is to get three kills on the opposing teams Queen (which is chosen before the game’s start). The second win condition is the economy one, which involves those not engaging in deadly combat to pick up and bring back to their base ten purple berries strewn about the level. The last, and slowest yet most satisfying, victory condition is via the snail: if you can sit atop a large snail and oh-so-slowly move it toward your side of the screen, you’ll win! There’s enough variety here, with just the right amount of game length, to make each match a hilarious and engaging adventure.
Even though the game released way back in 2013 to select arcades, it features a wonderful retro visual style. The graphics are right out of the NES/SNES era, but the frantic, fast-paced action is very much modern. For a nearly 10 year old arcade game, it’s still a massive crowd pleaser, easily the highlight of a night of fun and games with a group of friends.
The Killer Queen cabinet is unmistakable, as it is massive compared to other cabs. Rightfully so, with 10 total players. The huge marquee screaming the game’s name draws your attention from across the arcade, and usually the eruption of “Ohhhs” from those enjoying the game is the only attract mode you really need. Nice attention to detail on the production of the cabinet in the form of lit controller panels, unique side and front artwork, and a sleek and minimal color scheme make the cabinet a pretty one to look at.
A port of the game titled Killer Queen: Black released back in 2019 on a few consoles, including the Nintendo Switch where I played it. Black is technically a new game, as it features new levels and animations while retaining the core elements from the arcade. Though still a fun port, the home console version just doesn’t live up to the caliber of the arcade version, which is the one I would say you should definitely try.
There’s not many games you can play with 10 people all at once, let alone a video game. Combine that with the shenanigans you may have while at an arcade bar and you’ve got a recipe for a good time!
Played at Cidercade in Austin, TX 2021