Red Bull Hive Hustle Brings Competitive 'Killer Queen' Action to Los Angeles

Thanks to the rise of barcade-style establishments people across the country have dished out countless quarters to play all kinds of arcade games. While most of these game cabinets are typical fare like Street Fighter and Pac-Man, only one is building a nation-wide competitive scene. And if you want to play, you'll need to bring friends.

Red Bull Hive Hustle brings Killer Queen action to Los Angeles Red Bull

Killer Queen is a five-on-five arcade game with teams fighting to win by eliminating the opposing team's Queen, collecting and placing enough berries around the map or riding a snail from one side of the map to the other. Like bowling and pinball, Killer Queen leagues can be found where most cabinets are located. The buzz caught the attention of Red Bull, who is sponsoring the first Red Bull Hive Hustle Killer Queen tournament this weekend in Los Angeles.

Organizing the event is Dylan Higgins, a Killer Queen fan with experience running tournaments out of the arcade he works at in Portland. Higgins is also responsible for organizing the Killer Queen National Championship next month in his home city.

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A team huddled around a Killer Queen cabinet Red Bull

"Killer Queen has very good timing," Higgins said of the game's rise in success. "This game is coming along at a good time with the rise of barcades. The cabinet even has cup holders built in."

While drinking may play a part in things, Higgins says it's the community that really drives the continued support for Killer Queen. "What sets it apart is it's such a social game. You have to play with others," he said. "It's like being in a bowling league. I've made so many friends across the country playing this game. I play a lot of video games, and there aren't many I've played for three years straight. It's not because of the buttons or gameplay, it's because of the community and people I play with."

The Red Bull Hive Hustle tournament this weekend is the biggest tournament the game has seen yet, from a hardware perspective at least. "It's the first time we're getting six cabinets together in one place," said Higgins. While this tournament may not be able to compare to other video game tournaments like The International, Higgins says it's still upward growth for Killer Queen. "The prizes are getting bigger, and Red Bull has a hand in that too," he said. "Red Bull believes in it and is putting their wallet behind it by buying cabinets and hosting tournaments."

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Two teams duke it out in a Killer Queen competition Red Bull

A version of Killer Queen is in development for the Nintendo Switch, although this version won't be identical to the version found at arcades. While some in the Killer Queen community view a home game as a potential threat to the community's longevity, Higgins thinks it will help both versions grow.

"What works for a lot of arcades is brand recognition. Most people don't recognize Killer Queen when they walk in, especially compared to big names," Higgins said. "With the Switch release, Killer Queen might become more of a recognizable name. I think that will really help bring people in. I think it can only help."

While Higgins is excited for the Switch version, he knows he'll still head down to the arcade to play the classic Killer Queen. That said, he hopes to incorporate both versions of the game into future tournaments. "We're having a Switch tournament at the National Championship next month," he said. "It'll just be for fun, since nobody will know how to play it yet."

Red Bull Hive Hustle takes place on Sept. 15 at Lot 613 in Los Angeles.

So what do you think? Are you excited to follow the rise of the Killer Queen competitive scene? How do you think it will be affected by the Switch release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.