It took three tries, but it is now legal to have coin-operated arcade machines in businesses in Marshfield, Massachusetts. So if you're in the tiny coastal town (population: less than 5,000) and you get bored of playing arcade games on your smartphone for free, you can sink quarters into the real, 30-year-old machines, legally!
As The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Massachusetts, explains, the ban has been in place since 1982, which was around the time where arcades hit their golden age. It would be like a city banning selfies today (I'm sure one probably is thinking of it). Attempts to overturn the ban have failed (including an effort to get it before the Supreme Court), but a vote at the end of April finally did the trick, barely, by a public tally of 203-175:
The proposal was brought as a petition by resident Craig Rondeau, who said the ban on arcade games never made sense to him, even as a fourth-grader.
"I was sitting thinking, 'why is this illegal in my town, to have fun with my friends,'" he said, recalling a visit to a Hanover arcade as a child.
Apparently, though, the town's advisory board was still unanimously against removing the ban and Rondeau was told there was no "support" by local businesses to take action. So he rounded up six businesses to sign on to a petition and get a vote. And even so, one woman told the paper she was against removing the ban because, the paper notes: "'There is gaming all over the place, and there's nothing fun about it,' she said, adding that children running around restaurants is disturbing." Do not invite this woman to any of your parties.
The timing of this vote dovetails nicely with Reason's launch of our June issue, titled "Video Game Nation." Components of our coverage will be appearing on this site this week, so watch this space. Among the features is a timeline by Jesse Walker looking at the historical (and at times, hysterical) moral panics against video games, starting from the days of the pinball machine all the way up to our battles today over online poker.