Parental controls are nice and elegant these days. But what was a parent to do in the ’80s and ’90s? Well, one company came up with a simple solution: a literal, physical lock.
As outlined by the Gaming Historian, the lock was called Homework First. It was billed as “the first security system for your Nintendo” and might actually be the first form of parental controls in video games, even though it’s just functionally a larger, uglier spin on a combination lock.
The idea was to stop kids from inserting cartridges into the console, thereby forcing kids to do something else. Why this would be more effective than, say, taking away the power supply. Or the actual console.
The lock also didn’t do jack shit if your parents left a cartridge in the console. Unless your parents were epic level trolls, and bought an especially dogshit game and locked it into the console.
It’s quaint looking back at all of these accessories. The internet and interconnectivity of devices means software solutions are generally smarter, cleaner and just more effective. But it’s nice that people have gone to the time and effort to preserve little bits of gaming history like this.