Friday, July 10, 2009

GameDr: A Young Gamer's Worst Nightmare?

GameDrIt is no surprise today that a majority of kids would rather spend their free time huddled in a dark room in front of a t.v. playing video games for hours on end instead of being outside or doing some other type of activity. Video games have become the most distributed and most productive area of entertainment all across the world grossing the highest revenue in years. Kids are becoming so enthralled in their games that parents are sometimes having difficulties making their kids turn off the game.

But now there is a device that forces gamers ti be cut off after a certain period of time. 79-year-old Jim Morrisey from Minnesota has created a product that will automatically shut down a video game system after a certain amount of accumulated play time. The GameDr is basically just a cooking timer with some added innovations. All parents have to do to get their kid to stop playing a video game is program a certain amount of time into the GameDr, enter their password and voila! At the programmed time the device cuts power to the game system entirely. The device connects to the power cord which means that the GameDr should work with pretty much any gaming console.

But, unlike some speculation, Morrisey isn't one of those game-hating people you see on the news (I'm talking to you Hillary Clinton). In reality, Morrisey thinks "video games are great. There is evidence that they improve the reflexes and thinking process. But right now, for many parents, the option is all or nothing. They either let their kids play the video game or they take it away for two weeks." But Morrisey, along with the device's developers Digital Innovations, believe that they GameDr will not be backed by everybody. according to marketing director Kara Lineal, "There are moms who say they love this, and that they know 10 people who need one. And there are gamers who say it's terrible and that parents should just monitor their kids."

There have also been some flaws brought to the surface that are pretty significant. One flaw is that crafty kids could bypass the GameDr by using a spare power cord, but seeing in how each power cord for each different console (i.e. PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) is unique to that system, I don't see that becoming a problem. Besides, pretty much every GameDrgamer out there does not have a spare power cord lying around mainly because you can't buy them in stores. Another negative factor for the GameDr is that similar products have failed to catch on. But probably one of the biggest problems with this device lies with the gamers themselves. If you play video games then what I am about to tell you is common knowledge. In all video games, you have an option of saving your progress so you can quickly pick up where you left off. Some games even have it save for you automatically at places in the games called "checkpoints". When a game is saving, a message appears that says something like this: "Saving Game. Please Do Not Turn Of Your Console." The reason for this is that turning off your console during a save corrupts the data of that saved game file, rendering it unplayable forcing the gamer to completely restart the game. A potential problem is the gamer becoming so encompassed by the game that they forget to save until the last minuet where in the GameDr shuts off corrupting their game data. But there are alternatives to buying a device like this. Some systems, like the Xbox 360, have a parental control systems setting area built in. This comes with a "Family Timer" that works the same way as the GameDr.

Whether or not this device is a good idea or not remains to be seen. Like video games themselves, this device is going to be met with much controversy, mainly between parents who don't wish for their kids to be playing games so long and gamers who think that this device puts too much of a leash on something they love to do.

Source: Engadget

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