Nintendo puts the power in parents' hands

Revolution will utilize password system to let parents decide which ratings are appropriate for their kids.

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Ever since Nintendo insisted that Acclaim "sanitize" Mortal Kombat for the Super Nintendo, the company has had an image as a family-friendly gaming company, despite occasional evidence to the contrary (Conker's Bad Fur Day, the temporary GameCube exclusive Resident Evil 4, the blood-rich Super Nintendo Mortal Kombat II).

While the company's upcoming Revolution console is certain to change a few things at The Big N, don't expect that family-friendly tag to be one of them. Nintendo today announced that the Revolution will institute a play-control system not unlike that of modern V-Chip-equipped TVs.

The password-protected system will let parents set which rating categories are acceptable for their children, and prevent the system from running any software outside the approved range. The system is based on the Entertainment Software Ratings Board's industry standard ratings, and each game's rating will be encoded on each Revolution disc. Nintendo says the system will be instituted on every Revolution console worldwide, presumably utilizing the local ratings system of each region.

"Even though many Nintendo games are rated E, E10+, or T, we believe this kind of feature should be included in the hardware. It's the right thing to do," said Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales and marketing Reggie Fils-Aime. "Game ratings are on the front and back of every game package, so families can easily make a decision about whether a game is right for them."

The Xbox and Xbox 360 already incorporate such controls for games and DVDs, and the PlayStation 2 lets parents control access to DVDs.

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