This lawmaker wants to ban all violent arcade games

3 min read

Judgement time

I want you to picture the following scene: It’s a Friday night, you’re young, wild and stuck in a dorpie that makes the classic film Escape from Absalom look like a tourist brochure. Naturally, your only salvation is that arcade game for The Punisher outside the Greek corner cafe, waiting for your 50 cent coins. Now imagine if that arcade saviour of yours had been banned straight into video game hell.

That’s the bleak future facing some New Jersey residents if Assemblywoman Linda Stender gets her way again. Fresh off a successful smackdown on iconic light-gun games that were removed from public areas in the state of Massachusetts, Stender is now trying her hand at killing some fun and misplacing blame by banning violent arcade games from public places altogether. Here’s the official statement from her office:

Assemblywoman Linda Stender will introduce legislation that prohibits any kind of public accommodation—movie theaters, rest stops, bowling alleys, arcades—from making games rated Mature or Adults Only available to the public for play.

As Kotaku quite correctly pointed out, there happens to be around zero arcade games in those areas that happen to carry a mature or adults only age restriction on them. That’s partly thanks to the ESRB not rating such games, but also due to the fact that the popularity of those cabinets is on a declining trend.

Stender though, isn’t backing down and is proposing a fine of $10 000 for first offenders, and $20 000 for each time afterwards. Because finding an arcade cabinet running Soldier of Fortune: Payback, is more common than you would think.

The main point here is that Stender is effectively targeting an industry that is only really active in less than a dozen locations. She’s also remarkably out of touch with the industry, how it has changed over the years and a little thing known as common sense.

Stender is essentially trying to piggyback on the momentum that a new state task force recommendation that adults accompany children when they purchase more adult-themed games. Having consent from a guardian at that age is a good idea, I’ll admit and agree with that. Due to the fact that retailers have been doing just that for years now.

But jumping on the “Vidjeo garmez are turning our kids into killers you gaiz” bandwagon? C’mon, there’s no way that your constituency is going to fall for that. And before I get a submarine thrown at me, I’m genuinely not writing a stupid Americans article here. It’s a stupid American politician piece that I’m writing.

And believe you me, we’ve got more than our fair share of idiotic tax cash wasting, alcohol-banning morons on this side of the globe.

Last Updated: April 15, 2013

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