Parental Locks For Video Games Used To Be Crazy

Parental Locks For Video Games Used To Be Crazy

These days, parental locks stop kids from playing games using simple software. In 1990, lacking that kind of technology, things were a little more draconian.

This is the "Homework First" video game lock, designed for the NES. It does not fuck around. Looking like a very hefty bike lock, it hooked underneath the console and pried the cartridge door open, meaning that unless you wanted to trash the casing of the NES, games couldn't be played while it was engaged.

Parental Locks For Video Games Used To Be Crazy

What's even more amazing than the product itself is the marketing campaign to sell it, which involved use of the word "Nintendonitis". My hat goes off to EW's archives for keeping stuff as far back as 1990:

To prevent what it calls ''Nintendonitis'' — irritability and obsessive behaviour — Safe Care Products Inc. is selling Homework First, a lock for Nintendo games that blocks the opening of the cartridge compartment. Safe Care president Tom Lowe invented the 15.95 device after hearing that a friend's 14-year-old son stayed up all night playing Nintendo instead of studying for finals. Homework First has received endorsements from a pediatrician and the Council for Children's Television and Media. Nintendo refused to cooperate with Lowe, but he has sold about 25,000 locks in toy stores and by phone (800-235-6646, ext. 480).

What an age it was.

[EW, via Neatorama]

Pictures: Mike Martin


    Thank god my parents never had/knew about one of those.

      We had a great thing in our house to stop us kids from playing nintendo. It was a little trick my parents had called "Being too poor to afford one."

      Tell me about it. I actually cringed when I saw that first photo. It's like my childhood is getting knifed in the face. NES was a dream console

        While all my rich parent friends were playing NES at home, I was button mashing it in the Arcades on double dragon, golden axe 2, final fight and streetfighter 2! :) Not to mention Space gun.

    Jeez. Over complicated much? My dad just took the power cord.

      Pretty much. My parent's use to take the RF converter.

    I love the copy and design on this sort of stuff, but yeah, hopeless.

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