The Games We Played

A derelict gaming machine at the Golden Empire building in Yuanlin.

Immediately across from the train station in Yuánlín 員林 one will notice a massive building looming overhead. This is the Golden Empire Building, once the showpiece of Yuanlin’s burgeoning downtown core, home to KTVs, gaming parlours, and—if rumours are true—even an indoor swimming pool.

While the upper floors are all abandoned the subterranean parkade is still in use. I have tried without success (so far—I’m not done yet) to gain access to the rest of the building through the basement levels. Sometimes outer doors are sealed and locked but inner stairwells are left unguarded. No such luck here, though.

In my explorations I discovered many old gaming machines in forgotten corners of the parking garage, evidently dragged down there for storage. This is one such relic, an echo of a bygone era in middle Taiwan. I wonder how much amusement it brought to its patrons—and how much it divested them of their hard-won earnings.

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