The Time an MP Tried to Ban Space Invaders

By Gary Cutlack on at

An MP speaking in the House of Commons back in 1981 asked his peers to consider introducing laws to control the playing of Space Invaders, after a teacher in his constituency warned of the "increasingly harmful effects on young people of addiction" to the game.

The transcript of the speech in parliamentary record keeping service Hansard explains the dangers of gaming that we know all too well:

"They play truant, miss meals, and give up other normal activity to play 'space invaders'. They become crazed, with eyes glazed, oblivious to everything around them, as they play the machines. It is difficult to appreciate unless one has seen it for oneself. I suggest that right hon. and hon. Members who have not seen it should go incognito to an arcade or café in their own areas and see the effect that it is having on young people."

The upshot of this modern horror story was that the MP, George Foulkes of South Ayrshire, wanted to introduce a bill to require arcades, chip shops and the like to apply for a license to install this deadly video game. Obviously nothing happened and we all turned out perfectly normal. [Hansard via Simon Parkin]