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Massachusetts town to launch violent game buyback program

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While the town of Southington, Connecticut decided at the last minute to cancel its controversial plans to collect and destroy violent video games, a Massachusetts town is following in its footprints.

The town of Melrose, Massachusetts is planning to launch a program that would encourage kids to turn in violent video games in exchange for gift certificates and homework-free nights. The city’s mayor, Robert Dolan, says he hopes to have things up and running by the beginning of February.

The program, called “New Year, New Direction” was started after the Newtown, CT school shootings.

"If they were to take away all of these things, it'd still be bad people doing bad things," Dolan told Fox News Radio. "But in our small nook, we can maybe foster some real discussion and some action on our violent society 'cause we know something's broken."

While Mayor Dolan has not spoken about what the town plans to do with the games, they will likely be destroyed, as the plan in Southington called for. Violent music, movies, and toys are also being accepted by the city. And, of course, the entire program is voluntary.

[Related: Biden seeks video game industry input on guns]

In addition to the Melrose program, the state has announced plans to remove all violent games from its rest stops. Previously, arcade games like Time Crisis and Beach Head 2000 could be found at the locations. (Other games, like Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga remain at the facilities.)

The decision to remove games from the state’s rest stops didn’t come from the high levels of state government, though.

“It didn’t get to my desk,” said state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey. “My guys well below me were making the right call on this one. I’m just happy that folks in this organization are thinking and making swift changes when appropriate.”

The impetus to remove the games came when a family stopped at a rest stop near Newton on Christmas Eve and caught wind of the shooting. Days later, they sent a note to the state complaining about the inappropriate nature of the titles so close to the site of the tragedy.

All totaled, nine games were removed from the rest stops.

“At the end of the day, those games are there to entertain kids, probably for a few minutes, while their parents are resting from a long trip,” says Davey.” I just think it makes all the sense in the world to have it be … more passive.”

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