Georgia seizes theater’s vintage arcade games

If you head to Atlanta’s Plaza theater, you’ll notice a rather empty vibe in the lobby.

The eight vintage arcade games that usually shine and beep with pride in the historic theater are now unplugged and defaced with stickers from the Georgia Department of Revenue.

Apparently some vending law expert happened to swing by for a movie and noticed that the machines did not have the proper registration tags on them. Per local law, vending operators must renew their machines every year and have to place tags to prove their registrations have been renewed.

It’s similar to the way consumers have to pay registration renewal fees for their cars and place the stickers on their license plate or windshield. That is, even if you pay your registration, it’s illegal to drive unless you have a sticker proving you paid it.

But Plaza owner Jonathan Rej didn’t even know there was such a law. “It kind of makes sense that there would be some kind of permit fee, but we just didn’t know about it,” he was quoted as saying in an article on

Vending and arcade machine registrations cost about $25 per year, but they also don’t make a whole lot of money – especially vintage games like the ones here (Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Defender, etc).

Of course, these days, many theater arcades are replaced with irritating merchandising games like Stacker or claw machines. Someone should be rewarding the Plaza for keeping the old-school spirit alive. Instead, it got hit with a big slap from the government.