New invention informs Japanese parents of the time their children spend gaming

Introducing the “Kids Timer” – new worst enemy of Japan’s young gamers!

By J.D., November 10, 2009

Gametech's "Kids Timer", as advocated by Takahashi Meijin (possibly).

Gametech's "Kids Timer", as advocated by Takahashi Meijin (possibly).

Waaay back in the Eighties, champion rapid-button-presser Takahashi Meijin told the Famicom generation (of his own volition) that they should play videogames for one hour a day, and no longer. Did they listen? Nah. Has his philosophy instead resonated with the DS generation? Ha, no! Pretty much wherever you go in Japan – the supermarket, the shopping centre, the park, the train – you’ll see kids attached to their DSes and completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. Little zombies. (You’ll also see their mums attached to their keitais and completely oblivious to what’s going on around them… but that’s another story.)

Anyway, for parents who care, Gametech is launching a new gizmo called the Kids Timer, which is available around Japan as of today at a price of 1,680 yen. The Kids Timer can be set to time anywhere between five minutes and nine hours of play, and it’s small enough that it can be unobtrusively attached to a DS/PSP. When the pre-set time limit is reached, it emits a piercing alarm noise that WON’T STOP until a special key is inserted into the device. Obviously the idea is that the parent keeps hold of the key while the young gamer is traumatised by a deafeningly shrill tone until he/she runs to mummy/daddy, admits going over the imposed time limit, and screams “PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!”

Not ideal then, and I think the manufacturers may have underestimated the number of young players who would be willing to throw the timer out of the window/off the bridge, but for kids/parents who can use it responsibly it might relieve society of a few little zombies. Now Japan just needs an inverted redesign of the Timer to get the young mums off their phones…

Posted in Japan, and tagged with , , .

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