Massachusetts town overturns ban on coin-operated video arcade games

By Daniel S Levine,

Pac-Man and Donkey Kong can finally arrive in Marshfield, Massachusetts. It may be a little late, but the town has finally overturned a 1982 law that banned coin-operated video arcade games. Kids there will finally get the jokes in Wreck-It Ralph.

Residents in the town had a meeting last week, overturning the bylaw by a vote of 203-175, reports the Patriot Ledger. Craig Rondeau proposed overturning the ban, which never made sense to him, even when he was in fourth grade.

“I was sitting thinking, ‘why is this illegal in my town, to have fun with my friends,’” he told the Ledger, recalling a trip he took to nearby Hanover, where arcade games were allowed.

Back in 1982, Pac-Man and other games were at the height of their popularity, but Marshfield officials were apparently afraid that questionable elements may visit the town if games came. Voters actually kept the ban alive in 1994 and again in 2011.

According to HyperVocal, the ban was originally suggested by Thomas R. Jackson, a retired narcotics officer. “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,” Jackson believed.

However, arcade games are nearly extinct now, so they don’t seem to pose the same threat as they did before.

There were still some reservations about overturning the ban. “There is gaming all over the place, and there’s nothing fun about it,” resident Sue Walker told the Ledger, notes Gawker.

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