Monday, March 1, 2021

Why one Massachusetts town banned all arcade games

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Marshfield, Massachusetts, was faced with a crisis unlike no other during 1982, and it came in the form of arcade machines. Parents in the town were anxious that their children would become addicted to these new contraptions and start stealing money in order to continue to feed their gaming habit. In fact, they were so worried that they decided to expand an existing 1972 ban on coin machines to include arcade games.

The town was taken to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for this proposal, and they actually won the battle. The court ruled that the ban was “a proper exercise of the town of Marshfield's police power.” The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 1983, and children all across Marshfield were left out of the arcade gaming craze of the '80s. The ban was finally repealed in 2014, but considering that arcade machines had essentially died by the 2010s, it didn't really matter anymore. But who knows? Maybe someone who'd lived in Marshfield all their life finally got to experience Donkey Kong for the first time. And that's definitely worth over 30 years of waiting.

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