Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation pulled a Time Crisis cabinet and seven other light-gun video games from rest-stop arcades along the Massachusetts Turnpike, after the parents of a 12-year-old complained they were inappropriate, reports The Boston Globe. The removal was attributed to the December 14 gun massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
The move will strike most gamers as completely tone deaf considering that arcades have been in steep decline across North America for many years, and how much more objectionable content than Time Crisis or Lethal Enforcers is available on home consoles. Still, it happened.
The Globe says Andrew and Tracy Hyams visited a rest stop in Charlton, Massachusetts, heard gunfire rattling off the walls, and wrote the state DOT commissioner. Being a no-lose political position, not to mention a game like Time Crisis can pull in, what, seven dollars a day at a Mass Pike rest stop, he ordered them removed.
“We were struck by walking into a [state-owned] rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game,” said Andrew Hyams. Considering it’s New England, six states which would be a collection of counties in most any western US state, practically everything is within an hour of Newtown, Connecticut.
“Bottom line is I think there isn’t a person who doesn’t believe that there isn’t too much violence in our society, and games can glorify that,” said Richard Davey, the state secretary of transportation. “A video game in a public space could be used by anybody of any age.
“At the end of the day, those games are there to entertain kids, probably for a few minutes, while their parents are resting from a long trip. I just think it makes all the sense in the world to have it be a more passive” game.
The Globe visited a rest stop for reaction, and found only Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, and Cruis’n Exotica. Of the arcade games removed, Time Crisis and Beach Head 2000 were the only ones mentioned by name. As the Hyams were offended by the plastic machine gun control mounted on the game they saw, it’s safe to assume the nine titles removed were of the light-gun variety, one of the last genres to have any substantial presence in the remaining American arcades.
The state can do this because the rest stops are on the Mass Pike and therefore operated under state contract; they’re there so travellers can gas up and eat without exiting the road, which would require them to pay a toll.
State removes violent games from rest stops [The Boston Globe]