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PlayLimit: perfect for parents and spiteful roommates

PlayLimit: perfect for parents and spiteful roommates

Getting li'l Jimmy to put down the game controller and do his homework is a problem that has plagued parents for generations (of game systems, at least). Joystiq found a nifty gadget called PlayLimit that lets parents regulate exactly how much gaming their kids can enjoy. PlayLimit is a small box that plugs into the game console and the TV and prevents all access to the gaming system. Feeding the PlayLimit box a game token adds 15 minutes of playing time before it disables the game again. Mindful parents can give their kids a certain number of tokens to force them to budget their game time. It's a surprisingly elegant, arcadelike solution to kids gaming too much. The box's main drawback is that it doesn't support high-def inputs--only composite and coaxial. The PlayLimit box costs about $100 from the company's Web site.

PlayLimit is a lot like Time-Scout, a card-reading device that also lets parents regulate their kids' game time. Time-Scout uses a card reader instead of tokens, though, and works by cutting off power, not audio/video, to the device in question. PlayLimit seems a bit safer for the equipment, and plunking tokens is a bit more fun than sliding a card.

Parents with PC-gaming kids can use WallFly by SmartGuard. WallFly is an application that lets parents limit the amount and the type of gaming their kids do. A trial version of WallFly is conveniently available at