TV News Story, 1981: `Video Games Are Colonizing the Planet’

A really interesting early example of the arguments for and against video games, and some good arcade footage to go with it.

Ronnie Lamm, President of the Middle Country PTA Council in Long Island, received national attention at the time for convincing the residents of Brookhaven to issue a 6-month moratorium on the issuance of game permits. If she’d had her way, video games would have been banned completely.

I found some good stories on her “crusade” at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (July 22, 1982) and two issues of the Spokesman-Review (January 16, 1982 and June 8, 1982). She calls the games “definitely addictive” and “not wholesome,” and says the proliferation of arcades leads to an increase in robbery and drug trafficking.

In the video, she laments that when kids go to the store to pick up something for school, they drop the leftover change into a game instead of bringing it home. Her solution: get rid of the games.

Another parent complains that his son took money in advance from his paper route to play games. His solution: take away the kid’s paper route.

One of the managers and part owners of Foosball World, soft-spoken Diane Lacicero, dispatches them easily with a small dose of common sense: “You can’t expect the game room to be at fault because they [parents] don’t have the control that they should have.”

I’m not all that convinced that arcades kept kids away from drugs and other nasty habits, or that they “discharge” violent feelings, but they sure did give us a place to be with others our own age in a non-school environment. They were little communities, with a special set of rules, and we had to learn how to function within them.

Kids have nowhere to go anymore partly because of people like Ronnie Lam. As a society, we no longer raise our children as adults-in-training, giving them the independence they need to learn how to act independently and handle tough situations. Instead, we’re raising them to be codependent, inflated, and entitled.

(Video via kamenliter/YouTube)

2 Responses to “TV News Story, 1981: `Video Games Are Colonizing the Planet’”

  1. 1 J February 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

    In my teens and twenties I used to think that video games were good for me. Hand-eye coordination, etc.. Now I don’t know. I will say that the generation of stoned Xbox dads that I see everywhere is kind of unsettling. It kind of reminds me of pachinko parlors in Japan and the many stories of young parents who neglect their children to gamble, leaving them in their cars for hours. Did people do things like that to play Pac-Man? I don’t think so. I definitely don’t remember hearing about children being beaten to death with controllers for knocking over a Nintendo.

    It’s too easy to just blame video games though. I don’t feel that my time hanging out in arcades as a child was misspent. Do I think that I could have been doing something better while wasting hundreds of hours on Phantasy Star Online in my early twenties? Definitely.

  1. 1 ‘The Ultimate Early ’80s Arcade Tribute’ | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on February 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

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