Violent arcade games removed from Mass. service stations

The knee-jerk reaction kicked into overdrive earlier this month – and I can’t believe I missed this story because I do love getting all knee-jerky to these things myself. First something happens, then you get the overly unnecessary outcry, then you get my outcry to the outcry. I’m like the Inception of public decency.

We’re back to the children, and the people not thinking of them, as the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has removed nine arcade games from four service stations near to Newtown, the town which suffered those completely reprehensible murders at its primary school in December – including “Time Crisis, Beach Head 2000, and an unnamed shooting game.” The Boston Globe reports that a local family wrote to MDoT to raise their objections to these games being played at public rest stops where anyone could see them and become upset.

“People have the freedom to have whatever video games in their own homes that they want,” Mr Andrew Hyams told the Globe. “We were struck by walking into a…rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game.”

That’s absolutely understandable and, again in light of what happened, it could very well cause distress to someone that was personally affected by the tragedy, but like one passing customer thinks, isn’t it a bit much?

“I think it’s just a little over the top,” said one local. “I do sympathize, with all the stuff that’s going on.”


Fair do’s, you walk into a rest stop and see this image, clearly this could be upsetting – but it’s not the game itself is it? It’s the promotional image plastered down the side of the machine which is glorifying the violence. (Incidentally, the game itself looks like shit. You might get a violent reaction from a kid playing it, but it would only be him or her kicking the crap out of the arcade machine because the game is so terrible.)

One local wasn’t so keen to pin the blame anywhere, although he did say in passing according to that article, that “he does not want his daughter playing video games of any sort when she gets older.”

I feel like we’ve all been over this way too many times before, but video games can do good things for people, too. Just think about all the things you’ve learned about the real world from playing video games – this column on Dorkly illustrates examples of it week after week for goodness’ sake. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of jobs it creates  – video games are now more popular and more profitable than films! Let’s just all stop and take a moment before we go off wagging the finger elsewhere, okay?

One thought on “Violent arcade games removed from Mass. service stations

  1. Man…I used to love Beach Head for the Spectrum. I’m guessing that a cabinet/gun version would be balls though.

    The bigger issue here is surely the idea we live in a world where walking into a rest stop and having games machines removed instead of walking into any large chain supermarket and asking them to remove the guns and bullets makes any kind of sense. The potential for upset is just as great surely.

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