Massachusetts town ends 32-year ban on arcade games

Marshfield residents vote 203-175 to overturn a 1982 bylaw that banned coin-op arcade games.

Marshfield, Mass. residents this week voted to overturn a 1982 bylaw that banned coin-operated arcade games from all businesses in the town. A majority vote was required to overturn the bylaw, and it was a close one. The final tally was 203-175.

Town resident Craig Rondeau brought forth the petition to end the ban, which he says never made sense to him. "I was sitting thinking, 'why is this illegal in my town, to have fun with my friends," he told The Patriot Ledger (via Joystiq). He maintains that video games can help children learn social skills and practice problem-solving.

Not everyone agrees with the end of the ban. Marshfield resident Sue Walker said arcade games can disturb family gatherings at public restaurants. "There is gaming all over the place, and there's nothing fun about it," she said.

Marshfield originally banned arcade games in 1982 on the grounds that these games were too addictive for children. The ban gathered national attention and local business owners even attempted to have the case heard by the United States Supreme Court, but that never happened.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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84 comments
Sl4cka
Sl4cka

"There is gaming all over the place, and there's nothing fun about it," she said.

Translation:

I'm a miserable stuck-up bitch, and I don't want anyone else to have fun.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Can we make free to play scam games illegal?

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

There are no arcades anymore so this doesn't make sense. beside they didn't stop console gaming

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

haha...these chinese people are really behind the times...oh wait!

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

Well... Good, I guess? Pretty nonsensical law. The fact that so many people voted to keep it is kind of mindblowing.


Would have been a bigger deal like, 20 years ago though. How many kids even touch arcade cabinets anymore? Why would they when we have smartphones and really good mobile platforms like the 3DS/Vita. Little late on this one.

Lostat
Lostat

I find the fact that 175 voted to retain the game-arcade ban really bizarre.  Picture this scenario:  "Excuse me, I'd like the speak to the restaurant manager please, the person playing the game in the corner of the large room is disturbing so much that I can't concentrate on eating my big-fat McBurger"....said no-one ever!!  :D

GarGx1
GarGx1

I wonder when they repeal the law against dancing on the sabbath?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I must admit if it wasn't for the fact that my Gameboy Advanced was mobile I'd be a social wreck right now.

I mean what was I going to do instead run around and play football (soccer)!? Haha, I don't think so.

dragonfoxmem
dragonfoxmem

oh please, Sue Walker, there are more things that can disturb family gatherings at public restaurants like talking on cellphones..... sheesh, dumb people....

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

Banned arcade games in 1982? If there wasnt anything in town that was worth staying for, I would have moved out.

Barighm
Barighm

Well, no one really plays arcades anymore. They're disappearing like crazy. Everyone games on their mobiles now. What are they going to do about that? Ban mobiles?

Shmiity
Shmiity

How was the vote this close, in THE MOST LIBERAL STATE IN THE USA? I live in MA, this is embarrassing.  Also, arcades are pretty irrelevant.

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

Just in time for them to miss when arcades were relevant. Excellent timing.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

That lady just sounds like a bitch. No pun intended.

hystavito
hystavito

"Not everyone agrees with the end of the ban. Marshfield resident Sue Walker said arcade games can disturb family gatherings at public restaurants. "


I think restaurants can make a decision on that themselves.  Unless the machines make more money than the food and beverage, they'll probably deal with it just fine without a bylaw :).


I'm curious if such a ban would withstand challenges at higher levels.

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

Is noteworthy to point out  that 175 people still want this ban to be active.


Crazy.

feared4power
feared4power

how about we legalize something more important, I think you all know what I'm talking about.







































































































FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

End a ban on something 20 years after they pretty much ceased to exist. Nice.

Bladefist
Bladefist

Not a "hick" town. I have lived in Marshfield for almost 10 years, and I would not make that assumption.  "Rich, stuck-up c*nts" and lowlife white trash with no in between, sure.  Hell, Steven Tyler lives here!  Yippee!

NaturallyEvil
NaturallyEvil

People make such a big deal about what gets banned in little hick towns.  Who cares?  Can't you just drive about 10 minutes and go outside the town limits to do whatever is legal in the rest of the state? Is there a large desert expanse with a few towns scattered about in Massachusetts that I am unaware of? Fight back by spending your money elsewhere.

xcollector
xcollector

It is sad that after 32 years they could barely overturn the bylaw. The life expectancy of retards is too long now a days.

playstationzone
playstationzone

I bet child live there wanted play this  old acrade games and after he reading this say thx a lot i had crap child hood because this banned and know i want my 30 years back lol

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

Too bad you waited over 30+ years to fix this stupid law. Now you can sow the seeds of Satan's destruction on your town with evil arcade games like Pac-Man and defender. And then there is Donkey Kong... A true work of evil.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

now if only they had realized this 20 years ago when arcades were still relevant!

blackace
blackace

I'm from Massachusetts and we had plenty of arcades in our city. Use to go to the arcade after school every day. If I didn't have money to play, I would just chill and watch others. Can still remember playing the Star Wars game for almost 6 hours before the guy told us he was closing for the night. I set records on several of these Star Wars machines aat different locations. After about 2 years, I found one in a pizza place with my high scores still on it. Damn I'm old, but I'm happy I was able to witness video games from the start.

DrKill09
DrKill09

What kind of backwards hick town would ban video games?

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

God I feel old, I could tell what the guy in the little preview picture was playing before seeing the full picture.

normanislost
normanislost

had to do a double take on that picture thought the guy was playing an arcade machine called fapper

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

They must have like 2 restaurants in 1982 (with that small of a population), and they got annoyed with the kids at the arcade machines.  I kind of see what that old lady is talking about, when I was a kid sometimes my family would go to Godfather's Pizza on Friday nights, and the restaurant had several arcade machines and tons of teenagers crowded around them, being loud, having fights in the parking lot, etc.


I could see a law requiring establishments  to have a separate room or section for the machines, but banning them altogether?  I bet if you live right next to a church that the Wednesday night and Sunday church crowds would be annoying as hell too, does that mean they should not have a church too?

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

It's almost like Footloose.


What a bunch of stupid townfolks.

zeek_fox
zeek_fox

@Lostat I've never seen an arcade machine.  Though I do remember a McDonald's having a Sega Genesis and SNES set up in the same room as the giant playground long ago.  Wasn't coin operated though.


But also, it really does depend on the game and the crowd.  When guys get really competitive over a fighting game and have an epic/razor thin match, yeah they can get crazy.  Walmarts around here used to have X-Men vs Street Fighter cabinets out front, but nowadays it's only claw machines, rides that move, maybe a racing game, then perhaps a lame "Buck Season" shooter.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

@Shmiity Isn't that what liberalism (at least liberalism these days) is all about?  "We have to protect people from themselves!!!"

bluefox755
bluefox755

@Shmiity  That seems like a liberal law lol. Banning coin-op games because they disturb restaurant patrons? The sensible thing to do would be leave that decision up to the owner of the establishment, but liberals believe government is much better suited to make these decisions. :)

bluefox755
bluefox755

@hystavito  People can't make their own decisions! That's why we have government, to think for us. :)

sanchango
sanchango

@crunchb3rry  pretty much ceased to exist? Someone has not been to Dave & Busters

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

@NaturallyEvil  There's a better choice you know, you could just take a boat out to international water and no one can do anything to stop you from doing what you want, and I mean EVERYTHING you'd ever wanted.

sanchango
sanchango

@playstationzone  Childhood days of these people:
Random friend from another town: "Hey where are the arcades?"
friend living in Marshfield: "What's an arcade?"

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

@---Cipher---  I still go to arcades we have one in Huntsville that lets you pay by the hour instead of using quarters. $10 gets you all day access to every game you want.

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

@blackace  If you hadn't seen the ping pong game made with cathode tubes in the first place then you didn't really witness video games from the start.

sanchango
sanchango

@DrKill09  b...but DrKill09, there are too many video games around restaurants! D:
It would ruin families altogether

homelessgamer
homelessgamer

Great now I have too watch that to know what you mean

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@bluefox755 @Shmiity  That is because many of those who call themselves liberals, are actually progressives.


Classical liberalism is all about personal freedom, that includes keeping the government out of your business.

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

@blackace @djsimpson95  No, not Pong. The VERY FIRST video game was made by a university professor who was trying to make his class a bit more interesting simply with a cathode tube displaying a green dot bouncing from one side of the screen to the other.

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

@homelessgamer Yep.  The original is from 1984 if I remember well, but they did a remake 3 - 4 years ago.  Still, I prefer the original.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@homelessgamer Hmm, now I wonder if they were banned because the 'minority folk' were at the machines, and the rest of the simple townsfolk just couldn't eat their cheeseburger in the same room while that was going on?

homelessgamer
homelessgamer

Everyone is really religious and racist, I don't get it. Can't wait to move.