In 1982, sensing that its quaint, coastal way of life was being threatened by the coin-operated craze sweeping the nation's youth, Marshfield, Massachusetts banned arcade games from public establishments. The local law was upheld
by the state's Supreme Court the following year and has remained in place ever since.
Three decades later, residents are starting to wonder if "the whole hysteria back in 1982," as current Marshfield Selectmen chair Patricia Reilly put it to WCBV Boston
, had misguided their good intentions. After all, state law permits Keno
to be allowed in bars and other public buildings in town. What could be so wrong about a little Big Buck Hunter
edged up against the far corner of the local watering hole?
The video game ban will be challenged at next week's town meeting when voters can overturn the seemingly archaic decree. Of course, there are still those who fear such change could forever alter the character of this South Shore Shangri-La. "We're a coastal town," insists former selectwoman Faith Jean, who helped pass the law back in '82, to CBS Boston
. "Now are we an amusement coastal town or are we fishing and swimming and sailing?"
"We are not talking about little video games that kids play or pinball machines. We are talking about slot machines, gambling machines," adds Jean in the WCBV Boston report. "Coin-operated devices are one more thing your kids will be asking money for. What kind of town do we want Marshfield to be?" For the record, Reilly expects the repeal to pass.
[Image credit: drsparc