Residents in Marshfield, Massachusetts, overturned a 32-year ban on arcade games this week, allowing public venues to set up coin-operated arcade cabinets. It was a close vote, 203-175.
The ban entered the Marshfield books in 1982, and in 1983, it was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The town attempted to overturn it in 1994 and 2011
, but both votes were unsuccessful. An article in the Christian Science Monitor
in 1983 outlined proponents' reasoning:
"The games are said to be addictive to youth, who will skip school and spend unreasonable sums of money to play them at a quarter – and sometimes 50 cents – a pop, says Thomas R. Jackson, a retired narcotics agent and the resident who proposed the ban. Further, he says, gambling and drug activity are connected to the video game locations where youth congregate unsupervised."
Marshfield resident Craig Rondeau led the successful petition to overturn the ban. Rondeau told the Patriot Ledger
that video games help children hone problem-solving and social skills, and they encourage creativity. Rondeau found six businesses to sign on to overturn the ban.
"They want the opportunity to choose," he said. "Let's give them back their right to choose."