Old School Arcades & Slugs!


Where I currently work there’s industrial manufacturing, which includes a lot of steel stamping. So it’s not uncommon to find pieces of metal lying around the dumpsters near in the parking lot. Which can be a dangerous thing for your tires by the way if you don’t watch it!

Low and behold this morning I looked down as I walk to the path beside the factory to the main office area, I see something I haven’t seen in a long time. “Could it be?” I think as I get down on one knee and pick up a slug!


It’s not the kind that you find a garden. It’s the kind that in my world the late 70’s early 80’s growing up in Calgary allowed us to be game hackers in a certain way. Understand that while I had an Atari 2600 and the Intelevision to play home console gaming back then, where the vast majority of games good games were at were arcades. (Asteroids, Defender, Ms. Pacman, ect) These slugs helped us out a great deal of the arcade!

At the same period of time, Calgary was undergoing a housing boom as the oil market industry was booming as well. People were moving to town and therefore slugs were available

What the hell am I talking about? Housing and video games? Well…when you’re wiring a house, a typical electrical outlet will have little metal discs you can pop out when you put wires in and out of it. Check out this picture below, and look at the little circular discs on the inside of them. These are popped out by electricians as they plug wiring through them.


Now the time these electrical boxes slug sizes were basically the exact size of a quarter, which of course for those old enough like me to remember, was a universal cost of one video game.

As mentioned at this time Calgary was a boom town for the housing industry, so when a new development popped up and as soon as the frame went up in a house my friends and I would eyeball when the electrician was going visiting. Usually after school go over to these places and go all over the floor picking of these slugs that it been punched out as the wiring had been put in.

Our next trip was to the arcade of course! The trick of was that you had to go to a different arcades most time time because eventually the teenager (Cause it always seem to be some pimply 17-year-old teenager was working the arcade) would figure out that it was you and your buddies that it filled their machines full of slugs. We could of course throw caution to the wind and go to same place mixing slugs with real quarters. But one of my pals got busted as he got searched in the arcade with a pocket full of slugs, no matter how many real quarters you had on you.. having one slug was getting banned from that arcade!

Now nowadays of course, new arcade machines a lot more sophisticated, and can tell it’s a proper quarter popped in, so the slug thing won’t work. But I’m curious if I find an old-school Asteroids game somewhere, (And you see them in places from time to time) for I’ll be keeping keeping an this new found slug in my pocket and giving it another try, just for old time sake of course!


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