Town Lifts Ban on Video Games After 32 Years

Dan Joseph
By Dan Joseph | May 29, 2014 | 3:29 PM EDT

A 32 year-old ban on arcade games in Marshfield, Massachusetts has been lifted after the town voted 203-175 to lift the prohibition that had been in place since 1982.

The ban was implemented After arcades became popular in the early 1980's, due to concerns that the games would have a negative effect on young people and draw hooligans into town.

Since then, the ban survived several legal challenges and multiple town hall votes.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case on the ban in 1983.

The ban remained until Marshfield resident Craig Rondeau was able to gather up signatures from a group of local business owners that forced the town council to bring the ban up for a new vote.

Rondeau argued that decisions to have arcade game machines in local businesses was a matter of personal choice that should not be restricted by the government.

"They want the opportunity to choose [whether they have arcade games]. Let's give them back their right to choose."

He also argued that gaming could have benefits for kids, such as improvement in both problem-solving skills and creativity.

Despite the fact that the nation has largely come to view video games as an accepted part of the culture, the Marshfield vote was still surprisingly close.

Sue Walker, one of the ban's supporters, complained that the arcade games served as a distraction when she took her family out to eat and that people didn't understand that the games were not actually fun.

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

While it can't be confirmed, it is assumed that Walker returned home after the meeting and returned to her usual routine of telling kids to keep off of her lawn.

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