The objective of the game is to gather up the members of the world-famous band, get them rockin', and whip the crowd into a nonstop frenzy. Ride a motorcycle with Gilby Clarke, start multiball with Axl Rose, and bring in Matt Sorum to Score. Rock out with Dizzy Reed, grab a Jackpot with Duff McKagan, get all the band members on stage for Multiball, then cut into a wicked Slash Solo. When you've completed all of the Guitar Modes, start a Riot and play the table to build up the Jackpot. All of this is, of course, accompanied by nine of the band's songs, including the exclusive "Ain't Going Down" (an outtake from the ''Use Your Illusion'' compilation album).
The game was originally conceived by Slash, who approached Data East with his initial table design ideas. There, he was paired with music fan John Borg, programmer Lyman Sheats, and artist Markus Rothkranz, and the result is regarded as one of Data East's best tables ever. Pinball players enjoy its moderately complex ruleset, good variety of modes, and satisfying shots, while GnR fans get another way to cut loose with their favorite band.
The table was only a modest success, selling 3,000 units; as a result, the ones available today fetch high prices, sought after by both music fans and pinball collectors.
The Guns N' Roses pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": A mild example; the game modes are "Guitar Modes".
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "G" and "R" ramps, which are plastic ramps shaped like the letters G and R.
- Fanservice Extra: The playfield is littered with various bikini-clad female groupies.
- Godiva Hair: Seen on one of the groupies, who's lost her top.
- Nice Hat: Slash's iconic top hat.
- Random Drop: The Mystery Value, available as a launch award or after shooting the mini-loop a number of times.
- Score Multiplier: The scoring on most modes can be doubled by shooting the mini-loop below the Guitar Mode saucer immediately after it kicks the ball out.
- Spelling Bonus: J-A-M increases the bonus multipliers, S-N-A-K-E enables the left-hand Rose plunger, D-U-F-F collects the Duff Jackpot, R-O-C-K starts the Rock Hurry-Up, and G-U-N-S-N-R-O-S-E-S starts a countdown bonus mode. Similar to the Wizard Mode of The Whos Tommy Pinball Wizard, the player must collect letters of R-I-O-T by hitting switches to light the Riot Jackpot.
- Stealth Insult: The "Mystery Award" is collected by shooting a scoop hole beneath Axl Rose's groin; some believe this is a Stealth Insult against Axl (or a comment on his mental state), and designer John Borg doesn't dissuade that:John Borg: [Axl] couldnt shine Robert Plants shoes. Please print that for me. Pardon off Axl, Love John.
- Video Mode: "Gilby Rides", where Gilby Clarke rides his motorcycle down a three-lane road, and the player steers him to hit pedestrians and avoid cars.
- Visual Pun: The game's left plunger is shaped like a blooming rose, while the right plunger is a pistol gun grip.
- Wizard Mode: "Riot", a six-ball multiball available after completing all of the Guitar Modes. Keep the balls in play as long as possible, trying to hit as many targets and switches to spell RIOT, earning more points for each letter achieved. After RIOT is spelled, the mini-loop is lit for the RIOT Jackpot, worth 1 billion points.