Before dancing was outlawed in Footloose‘s Beaumont, a town called Marshfield in Massachusettes outlawed coin-operated arcade games from local businesses in 1982. The ban endured for decades, but this year a passionate citizen took up the case and managed to have the rule overturned in a 203-175 town vote.
The original reasoning behind the ban was as unreasonable as you’d expect.
“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.”
So banning the games was obviously the solution.
Ticked off citizens attempted to overturn the ban in 1994 and 2011, to no avail. But Marshfield resident Craig Rondeau was the hero they needed: This year, with the support of local businesses, he was able to put the rule to a new vote and have it overturned.
“They want the opportunity to choose [whether they have arcade games]. Let’s give them back their right to choose.”
Union! Union! Rondreu believes he’s doing important work, and is proud he was able to get it done. And video games, according to him, help children learn social skills, hone their problem-solving skills, and encourage creative thinking.
There are still residents who feel this rule is sensible and not totally insane, as evidenced by the close margin of the vote. As one Mr. Rogers-y citizen said “There is gaming all over the place, and there’s nothing fun about it.”
Priorities, people.The Patriot Ledger, h/t Yahoo]