Massachusetts Town Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of Public Video Games

April 25, 2011 -

In 1982 the south coastal Massachusetts town of Marshfield banned arcade games in public businesses. The town wanted to maintain the town's image as an authentic "Massachusetts seaside" destination. Though the fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the town prevailed and the ban has remained for 29 years. Now a new effort hopes to let the residents of the town overturn that decision and allow games in businesses that want them. At the time the ban was passed, parents were worried about the effects of coin-operated Donkey Kong and Pac-Man on their children.

"People wanna come in, it's another form of entertainment," Stephen Drosopoulos, owner of the Venus II Restaurant. "(They) wanna come in, have a couple drinks, play some video games in the bar."

But some residents are holding on to the ban, saying that it will change the image of the town:

"It would definitely change the type of entertainment we offer," said resident Faith Jean. "We’re a coastal town. Now are we an amusement coastal town or are we fishing and swimming and sailing?"

Oddly enough, the ban does not stop Marshfield from allowing electronic gambling games such as Keno in bars, restaurants and some stores.

Soon the town will vote on repealing the ban. We hope they stop being silly and simply lift it, allowing businesses to offer whatever kind of entertainment they want to.

Source: CBS Boston


Comments

Re: Massachusetts Town Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of ...

Someone ought to tell them not to worry.  I doubt a couple of pinball machines and old arcade games are going to muck up their town.  No one goes to arcades anymore. 

Re: Massachusetts Town Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of ...

Arcades no, but coin op games are still a  multi-billion dollar business in places like bars, restaurants, waiting rooms, etc.

Re: Massachusetts Town Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of ...

I was in Massachussetts in 2009 (Eastham visiting relatives and an online friend) and had heard of all this "keeping it looking traditional".  One of the big flaws beyond "Lack of public video games" is that they can't really do much to any of the stores unless it makes it look like its from that coastal town.  It was extremely annoying since everything blends in with each other.  Half the time I wasn't sure if I was looking at someone's house or a McDonald's.

Point is, this is an extremely small thing.  It's indoors, so the obvious "Coastal Town" look isn't going anywhere.  If this arcade machine was outdoors, fine, but its not (as far as I know) and it should be allowed.

Re: Massachusetts Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of ...

"We’re a coastal town. Now are we an amusement coastal town or are we fishing and swimming and sailing?"
 

Can't it be both? It'd be a pretty crappy image if, during a slew of storms, nobody had anything to do in "fishing and swimming and sailing" coastal town. Imagine that people get there, are met with bad weather, and then realize that the town has nothing else to offer. I'd probably pick a better location with a more diverse selection of things to do.

Re: Massachusetts Will Vote to Undo 29 Year Old Ban of ...

That, and, aren't fishing, sailing, and swimming all forms of amusement?

 
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