If you are unfamiliar with pinball history, the headline to this post might not make a lot of sense. Why on earth would anyone criminalize innocent ol’ pinball? Well back in the 50’s, pins were looked upon with distaste by some as they were considered gambling devices and as such, many places outlawed the machines, causing hard times for the still newborn industry. Eventually that mentality was lifted but it also appears that some cities had forgotten about making these laws in the first place. Los Altos Hills is one of those places and after a resident stumbled across the crazy ordinance (which would have landed you a misdemeanor for owning one), they brought it up to the town council who promptly repealed the law. The Mayor of the city is even quoted as saying: “There is no threat to public safety from pinball machines.” The only problem now, according to the article is that none of the public venues in the city happen to have any pinball machines so perhaps with the news they’ll look into getting some of the new games from Stern.
This makes me wonder how many other cities still have ridiculous laws on the books regarding both pinball and arcade machines. Some cities still have high taxes placed upon arcades thanks to city governments in the 80’s wanting to take as much as they possibly could out of the popular venues. One could argue that the high taxation is one of many factors that led to the demise of many arcades. Either way, if any of these laws are still being enforced anywhere, they should be revoked so our industry can thrive. At the very least arcades get kids off the couch and out of the house to play video games, consoles can’t say that now can they? 🙂