Imagine a town without video game arcades. It is hard to do. Now imagine that it is the law and you could go to jail for running an illegal arcade. That sounds ridiculous but that is the way it was in Marshfield, Massachusetts, they banned arcades. It is like the movie Footloose but instead of dancing it is video game arcades.
You see in 1982, Marshfield, Massachusetts banned coin-operated video games and although the ban had many opponents over the decades, it survived various legal battles and had remained on the books. That is until this week. As The Patriot Ledger reported on Monday, Marshfield residents voted 203-175 to overturn the bylaw and welcome Pac-Man back to town.
It was a slim margin to win by but they did. You see some people thought that video game arcades would cause the kids to skip school and play games with the money they stole from their moms purse. Back in 1982 they stated the arcades would bring in an “undesirable element.”
Here is the full rational for this.
“The games are said to be addictive to youth, who will skip school and spend unreasonable sums of money to play them at a quarter — and sometimes 50 cents — a pop, says Thomas R. Jackson, a retired narcotics agent and the resident who proposed the ban. Further, he says, gambling and drug activity are connected to the video game locations where youth congregate unsupervised.”
Resident Craig Rondeau helped spearhead the initiative to finally helped overturn the ban in 2014 after he got support from local businesses. “They want the opportunity to choose [whether they have arcade games]. Let’s give them back their right to choose. It is a big deal. Because if it ruffled that many feathers, that it took 32 years to get it done, we did something important.” He said. Craig believes that video games help children learn social skills, hone their problem-solving skills, and encourage creative thinking.
As the rather close, 203-175 vote indicates, the ban still had its supporters. One of those supporters, Sue Walker, said that, “There is gaming all over the place, and there’s nothing fun about it.” To which I say. Well that is your opinion.