Technology: Dr. Nintendo

The Mario Bros. -- and $3 million -- go to M.I.T.

Poor Nintendo. The Japanese conglomerate may have enthralled youngsters with the world's most popular home-video games, but it gets no respect from adults. An antiviolence watchdog group has rated some 70% of the company's games "harmful for children." Physicians warn that too much rapid-fire button pushing can lead to hand strain, a condition dubbed Nintendinitis. And many parents, seeing their kids play Super Mario Bros. for hours on end, are asking what a nonstop diet of synthetic reality is doing to impressionable young minds.

Now Nintendo, with a $2.7 billion U.S. market to protect, may be trying to buy some respect....

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