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Tech Overload – Slot

Is it a slot machine, or an iPhone with a handle?


Pretty soon, we’ll be able to play slots anywhere. We can get frustrated by near-misses when we’re in an elevator. We can curse and throw our iPhones against the wall when we lose. Won’t that be fun?

OK, either I’m getting too old for this slot machine gig, or the rest of the world is getting too young.

No, that sentence doesn’t make much sense to me, either, but it’s only because, like I said, I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, and the old synapses are starting to gather a little dust. What got me off on this tangent was this story I found on an Internet news site:

“Potato Tech announces slot machine docking station for iPhone/iPod/iPad.”

I figured any company named “Potato Tech” is worth looking into, right? The company’s full name is “Potato Technology,” and although I would have thought such a company would be involved in ventures like devising more efficient ways to produce French fries, or making some sort of space-age version of Mr. Potato Head, it evidently is a viable technology company, and its latest product is “Jackpot Slots.” Which, as far as I can tell, lets you put a handle on your iPhone or iPod or iPad and download a three-reel slot machine game over iTunes.

Now, I’m not completely against new technology, but putting a slot handle on a cell phone—or on a little computer shaped like a placemat—so I can spin teeny little reels while I’m on a plane or in a taxi is just a little much. Hey, I like playing slots as much as the next guy, but I don’t need to play slots every waking hour of my life. It’s like Groucho Marx told the contestant on You Bet Your Life when the man told him he had 12 kids, and responded to Groucho’s surprise by saying, “Hey, I love my wife.” Groucho said, “Well, I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.”

OK, so maybe I’ve been waiting for decades to find a way to squeeze that one-liner into a column, but nevertheless, I don’t see the need for an iSlot. Maybe I’ve just become too old and crotchety to be impressed by all this high-tech mumbo-jumbo. Why, in my day, you played a slot machine in a casino, con-sarn it!

And if someone wanted to talk to you while you were in the casino, they couldn’t call you on your iPhone. They had to have you paged over one of those ridiculously loud P.A. systems they have in casinos. “MR. LEGATO, TELEPHONE. MR. FRANK LEGATO, PLEASE…” Boy, that will get your attention at four in the morning. Not to mention making you bite through your cocktail glass.

(For the record, I’m not really an old man. I just feel like it.)

Pretty soon, we’ll be able to play slots anywhere. Imagine that. We can get frustrated by near-misses when we’re in an elevator. We can curse and throw our iPhones against the wall when we lose. Won’t that be fun?

And eventually, all this iPhone, iPod, iPad, iThis and iThat stuff will be making it to the casino floor. What slot-makers tell me is that members of this “younger generation” that’s coming into the casinos now—you know, Gen-Y or Gen-Z or Gen-XL, or whatever they’re called—are eventually going to want to play Xbox, Wii and other such games in the casinos. Casino designers will have to make special rooms for them so they can bring their friends and gamble on video games together.

I’m thinking the rooms will resemble their bedrooms at their parents’ houses. To complete the ambiance, there will be stinky clothes, pizza boxes and half-eaten sandwiches strategically thrown around, and there will be beds to sit on in front of the gaming machines.

What are we old codgers going to do in these casinos of the future? I can picture it now:

“Hey, sonny—where’s the Double Diamond machine?”

“Double what? This is the Metal Gear Solid room. I think those ancient things are over in the…Hey! I just blew a guy’s head off! I win a thousand bucks!”

I can picture myself on a rocking chair, with my grandson asking me what it was like in the old days:

“Grampa, did you really have to put quarters in slot machines? And were there really slot machines without video screens?”

“Yes, why, I remember when we used to… Hey, who the hell are you?”

By the way, I searched the Internet for Potato Technology, and I can’t find anywhere that such a company exists. I did find, however, that there is an International Potato Technology Expo every February at the Charlottetown Civic Centre on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

I’ve already booked my room for International Potato Technology Expo 2011. Maybe they have potatoes with little slot-machine handles. See you in Charlottetown!

Tech Overload – Slot.

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