Some parents are getting ready to say 'no' to new Nintendo

May 24, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

When Super Nintendo hits stores this summer, will parents rush out to buy?

"Kids all over America are going to go, 'Wow!' " predicts Peter Main, vice president of marketing for Nintendo of America Inc. in the Wall Street Journal.

But a sample of moms and dads say they've spent enough money on Nintendo products. And not only that: They're angry that the new Nintendo game system -- which costs twice as much -- will make the existing version obsolete.

They may also be having second thoughts about video games in general, says family psychologist John Rosemond, who writes a nationally syndicated parenting column.

"Parents," says Dr. Rosemond, "are comparing their first-hand observations of what happens to children once they start playing video games. Specifically, the preoccupation that develops. The lowered tolerance for frustration. The behavior changes.

"They're comparing those observations with all of the hype that surrounds the promotion of video games and they're realizing that the hype is empty. That these things really hold no value for children whatsoever.

"And not only that, they're counterproductive -- creatively and behaviorly."

While some families can hardly wait for Super Nintendo, the news has already disturbed Charlotte, N.C.'s Lucy Welch Allen.

"We're right back to the Almighty Dollar," she says. "It just irks me. It really does. The only thing that would bring the new system into our home is if [my sons] raised the money on their own."

Super Nintendo, which will debut next week and be on retail shelves by September, is said to have a sharper picture and better sound. At an estimated $190 for a new basic system, it will cost $100 more than today's version. Game cartridges, which now range from $20 to $60, are expected to cost more, too.

Nintendo wants to sell 2 million of the new systems in the United States through Christmas. Nearly 30 million U.S. homes have Nintendo systems now, but the old version will be incompatible with the new.

"Parents must know that it's OK to say no," says therapist Hannelore Bragg. "It's unhealthy to provide a child with everything in the world."

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