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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Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.latino-review.com/news/exclusive-viola-davis-bags-amanda-waller-role-in-suicide-squad Latino Review says Viola Davis will be Amanda Waller. History of Latino Review says "wait for a REAL news site to confirm".12/17/2014 - 10:48am
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E. Zachary KnightA Game being on Greenlight is not an endorsement of said game by Valve, Steam or anyone related to Valve or Steam. Greenlight is a combined sales pitch to Steam and its users.12/17/2014 - 9:51am
E. Zachary KnightThe Life cycle of a Greenlight game: A game gets made->Developer puts it on Greenlight->Gamers vote for it->Valve decides it is worthy of a Steam release->Game is sold on Steam. While the game is merely on greenlight, it is not available for sale on Steam12/17/2014 - 9:50am
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MechaTama31From the Greenlight page: "Browse through the entries here and rate up the games you want to see made available via Steam"12/17/2014 - 8:59am
MechaTama31Greenlight games aren't sold through Steam? Then what exactly *is* Greenlight?12/17/2014 - 8:58am
prh99I just wish if they are going to curate (as selective and rare as that is) for content, they'd do little for quality (like does this game actually function at all). Personally, I avoid GreenLight and Early Access like the plague because of lax standards.12/17/2014 - 1:34am
prh99EZK: My point wasn't that they are responsible for people's purchase decisions, but that their policies and criteria for approval needs some work. As far as refunds go, you know it's bad when EA has a better policy. EA, former worst company in America.12/17/2014 - 1:21am
 

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