Kristin Croft, owner of the Roadhouse in Marshfield, called her father’s old partner, John Maguire, and asked him to take the arcade games out of storage when the town’s ban on video games ended.
Kristin Croft, owner of the Roadhouse in Marshfield, called her father’s old partner, John Maguire, and asked him to take the arcade games out of storage when the town’s ban on video games ended.
DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

Could VCRs be far behind?

Residents in Marshfield tackled one of the great debates of the (very early) digital age at its town meeting this year, when residents voted to finally lift a 32-year-old ban on coin-operated arcade games.

The town first forbade the machines in 1982, when finger-wagging moral panickers rode a wave of hysteria about the machines and their purported effects on idle youth.

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“I’m a former narcotics officer, and I’ve seen what these machines do to kids,” Tom Jackson, the author of the bylaw, even told residents at the time.

Apparently, the impression stuck—even a generation later, the move to overturn the prohibition barely squeaked through with a 203-to-175 vote.

One bar in the town, the Roadhouse, was the first establishment to reintroduce the now vintage games into the local nightlife this month. Owner Kristin Croft told the Boston Globe she dusted off some old units her father had collected from his former arcade distribution business:

On Thursday, when her sons Jack, 9, and Sean, 6, got home from school and stopped into the Roadhouse, they took on the machines, immediately blew through the quarters, and then yelled for more.

We’ll see how long it takes them to go back to their smartphones. Or, how long it takes for Marshfield to ban those, too.