The State of Georgia v. Ms. Pac-Man

August 2, 2011 -

Last week officers from the Georgia Department of Revenue showed up at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta and seized eight of the establishment's vintage arcade games because for "vending law violations." Seized doesn't mean taking physical possession of the machines; instead the machines were unplugged and tagged with bright red violation stickers.

The arcade machines were lacking stickers showing that permit fees had been paid. Plaza owner Jonathan Rej puts it a little more bluntly: "You've got to give the government its cut." Rej claims that there was some confusion on who was supposed to pay the permit fees. He thought that the vending company that owns the machine paid its share of the fees. Rej acknowledges that the required tax stickers weren't present and that the Plaza certainly hadn't paid any of the fees it owes to the state, as the venue where the games are located.

"I'm not trying to say this is a huge injustice or that I'm outraged," Rej says. "It kind of makes sense that there would be some kind of permit fee, but we just didn't know about it."

The annual fees for an old video game machine aren't particularly expensive (around $25), but since the machine only earns about $200 a year and spends a lot of time out of order, Rej isn't sure the games are worth keeping. Sadly the Plaza was the only place interested in giving the machines a home.

"Nobody else wants these old games," says Rej. "All the sports bars want Golden Tee or Big Buck Hunter."

The Plaza had brought in several of the machines months ago to join the familiar game machines like Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga and Defender games.

"I'd wanted to turn the room into a full-on '80s video arcade with black lights," he says. "It's not a big money-maker, but my goal was to cultivate a cool vibe."

Rej still hopes to keep two or three of the older machines, but needs to make arrangements with the vendor at this point. But the worst part of the story is that some jerk apparently dropped a dime on The Plaza to the government. The Plaza is a non-profit arts charity and one that struggles from month to month to pay the bills even as it is hosting numerous screenings, film festivals, movie-related events and new releases.

Source: Creative Loafing Atlanta. Thanks to Jäger Wolf via The ECA's Facebook Page for the tip. Image via.


Comments

Re: The State of Georgia v. Ms. Pac-Man

Well, the owner's story sounds plausible at least.

When I used to work in coin-op, the configuration menu on newer machines was configurable to make the process of figuring out which cut when where and who paid which fees.  It allowed the fee schedule to be configured by the distributor so there was no confusion between the distributor, operator, location, or people on the routes, regarding who had what responsibility.

Handling it by paper, I can easily see confusion creeping in.

 
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quiknkoldSyringes can break. And in a transcontinental delivery, the glass could've broken when crushed. I work in a mail center. Shit like this is super serious09/21/2014 - 3:25pm
E. Zachary KnightIt doesn't matter what is inside the needle. As long as it requires him to take the step of purposefully injecting himself, the threat of the substance is as close to zero as you can get.09/21/2014 - 1:27pm
quiknkoldEzach: I'm not talking about the needle. I'm talking about what's inside. Geeze. Depending on what it is, the sender could be guilty of bioterrorism.09/21/2014 - 12:51pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, No. That syringe is not worse than white powder or a bomb. The syringe requires the recipient to actually inject themselves. Not true for other mail threats.09/21/2014 - 12:49pm
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InfophileThat's what they call it? I always called it hydroxic acid...09/21/2014 - 11:57am
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james_fudgewell I hope he called the police so they can let us all know.09/21/2014 - 9:07am
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james_fudgeI just looked it up on UPS.com09/21/2014 - 8:56am
james_fudgeand expensive for an American to ship to London.09/21/2014 - 8:55am
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quiknkoldThere's some more tweets regarding it with more pictures09/21/2014 - 8:09am
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Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
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