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Father’s Christmas Eve conscience tosses bloody games from arcade

ALGONQUIN — Kevin Slota awoke on Christmas Eve Day knowing that he had to get rid of the shooting games at his arcade or he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.
Slota, 56, was in the concert promotion and guitar equipment businesses before he and partner Mark Battaglia opened the No Limit Video Arcade at 2719 W. Algonquin Road in December 2011. The phrase “No Limit,” based on the name of a rock band that Battaglia once played in and Slota helped promote, refers not to the kind of video games inside but to how customers can play every machine all day for a flat $15 admission fee.

Big fans of the “classic” arcade games, Slota and Battaglia set up one “pod” of games that their teenage customers’ fathers would recognize — “Donkey Kong,” “Q-Bert,” “Asteroids,” “Frogger” and “Super Pac-Man.” Another pod has sports games such as “Golden Tee Golf” and even the girl-attracting “Dance Machine.”
They dedicated the main aisle of the store to exciting racing games such as “Hydra Thunder.” But they also left a rear corner — 12 games of the store’s total of 60 — to a “Shooters Pod,” with games in which young fans could imagine grabbing hold of a rifle or shotgun or handgun and mow down opponents.
It was that Shooters Pod that haunted Slota’s mind when he awoke the morning of Monday, Dec. 24, 2012.
“I didn’t even want to think about those school shootings. But I have two grown-up boys of my own, and I thought about what it must be like for those dads in Connecticut as they looked at Christmas presents under the tree for children who wouldn’t be opening them,” Slota said as he rang up visitors on Friday.

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