Massachusetts Town Lifts 32 Year Arcade Ban
1982 was a huge year for arcades. New titles like Q*Bert, Dig Dug, Robotron: 2084, Pitfall!, Ms. Pac-Man and Joust helped the burgeoning game industry move forward, and claimed countless quarters from arcade-goers’ pockets. The gaming experiences found in these dark, noisy, crowded dens far surpassed anything that could be found on existing home consoles, making them the true home of the era’s nascent gaming community. For the residents of Marshfield, Massachusetts, however, it was the end of an era that had only just begun.
Thomas R. Jackson, a retired narcotics agent and resident of Marshfield, proposed a town-wide ban on coin-operated video games, claiming that arcades served as a hub for gambling and drug activity. The measure was voted on and passed, and for 32 years there were no arcades in the town most famous for being the birthplace of Aerosmith and Steve Carell.
Appeals in 1983, 1994, and 2011 all failed to overturn the law, but this week the residents of Marshfield voted 203-175 to finally nix the ban. According to Game Politics, Resident Craig Rondeau spearheaded the effort, gathering support from local businesses and citing the town’s right to choose for themselves.
While this is certainly a victory for freedom and liberty and all that good stuff, it also comes about 20 years too late. With the exception of Dave & Buster’s, the arcade business is all but extinct in the US, rendering the ruling largely academic. At least there’s a town full of people with the opportunity to experience Dragon’s Lair for the first time.