You can tell the characteristics of a nation by the stuff that they ban. The Dutch ban as little as possible. Us English ban handguns, erections in movies and beer after 11 p.m. The Ayatollah Khomeni banned chess. The Taliban banned music. And now the Greek government has banned video games.
Such bans are enacted because of events filtered through culture. It's well known to thirsty tourists that you can't get a drink in London after you leave the theatre. That's because the government didn't want World War One armaments workers getting too squiffy to pack the cordite in and as no British government ever gives up puritan legislation without an enormous fight, it's stayed on the books ever since. I'll leave the reasons behind the Taliban's aversion to music as an exercise to the reader, but the Greek move, coming from a democracy sufficiently mature to be a member of the European Union, is a fascinating new addition to the list.
It all started with Mr Hrisanthakopoulos, who for the sake of my spelling checker I'll call Mr H. Mr H was a member of parliament and of PASOK, the governing party. Mr H was also fond of a flutter, and enjoyed the odd punt on electronic gambling machines. Alas for Mr H, this was not concomitant with his status, such things being illegal: alas and alack, he was also caught on camera. Exit Mr H.
Clearly, such scandalous behaviour could not be allowed to happen again. The Greek government decided that, although electronic gambling was illegal, it would be a good idea to make doubly sure and ban the machines altogether. But how could you tell an electronic gambling machine from one that was merely used for fun and games? The latter could easily be turned into the former, said the critics.
The government thought about it a bit more, and decided that they might as well ban all electronic games. Furthermore, although the problem was only with gambling in public places, all the newly banned machines would soon find their way into private clubs and houses thrown open for the continuance of the sin. So games at home would have to go.