Two video games removed from theater arcade

Danielle Broude

Two Sega video games have been removed from Century Theatres’ arcade after one Evanston parent complained about their violent content.

Lisa Kupferberg, a member of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board, raised concerned about the video games in early March after seeing her son play one of the games, in which players try to shoot human characters.

“You put money in the game and pull a gun out of the shaft,” Kupferberg said. “You then point the gun at a big interactive screen and shoot at the enemies, which are people.”

Nancy Klaskey, spokeswoman for Century Theatres, did not return numerous phone calls regarding the video games.

Kupferberg said she was so appalled that she complained to Mayor Lorraine Morton.

“I agreed with (Kupferberg) and told her that I would contact the manager with a complaint,” Morton said. “The manager agreed with me and said that he would look into it and would have those machines taken out.”

But Kupferberg said a few weeks after she complained to Morton, the video games were still at Century Theatres. Kupferberg then told fellow D65 school board member Rosie Rees, who sits on the City-School Liaison Committee, to bring up the issue at the next meeting.

“I really thought they should be removed because (Evanston) has a no-gun ordinance and zero tolerance in both districts,” Kupferberg said. “To see (violence) so blatant is counterproductive.”

Handguns are banned within Evanston city limits.

Although Rees agreed with Kupferberg and brought up the issue to her committee, the committee didn’t take action. Kupferberg then turned to Ald. Ann Rainey (8th), who Kupferberg said was also shocked by the explicit violence in the video games.

Rainey composed a letter to the owners of Century Theatres in California. By March 21 the games had been removed.

“The main reason the games were pulled out was because talk was mulling around in different venues: coming from concerned parents, the city school liaison committee, the mayor’s office and so on,” Kupferberg said.

Rainey received a response from Century Theatres announcing the removal of the games as well as encouraging Rainey to write again if any new issues arise, Kupferberg said.

Although the people Kupferberg spoke to agreed with her, many viewers at the Century Theaters in Evanston disagreed with the removal of the video games.

“I don’t think video games really matter,” 14-year-old Zoe Corcoran said. “I don’t think pop culture influences a child. It’s how they are brought up that matters. I think the video games should have stayed.”

Still others saw the advantages of removing the video games.

“I think that there is enough violence in the world,” said Sandra Washington, a mother. “I don’t think we need games that reinforce that kind of mentality.”