Have you always wanted a pet but you live in an apartment that’s just too small to swing a cat in? (Not that your cat would be amused at this form of ‘playing’, we hasten to add.) Or do you suffer from allergies and the mere mention of the words ‘fluffy’ and ‘fur’ give you itchy eyes and a runny nose? Well have no fear…the Tamagotchi is here!
The what? No, it’s not an exotic lizard that will blink at you as you summon up the courage to feed it live food for dinner. It’s the Japanese virtual pet that became a craze two decades ago and is back to celebrate its 20th anniversary!
Kids of the ’90s will rejoice as they relive their youth and promise to do a better job at keeping this pet alive than they did with its poor predecessor, which undoubtedly ended up forgotten in a drawer or down the side of the sofa.Never heard of a Tamagotchi? Then you’re in for a treat! Originally released by Bandai in Japan in 1996 and to the rest of the world in 1997, this handheld virtual pet is housed in a small, colourful egg-shaped computer attached to a keychain. The virtual pet hatches and it’s your responsibility to feed it, play with it and help it grow up into a happy adult pet. If you neglect your poor pet, it dies…it’s as simple as that.
Tamagotchis may have faded in popularity over the years but they never went away, particularly in Japan. Over 40 versions of the virtual pet have been released including features such as coloured screens, accessories, matchmaking versions and even family lines.
Tamagotchis have also featured in video games, arcade games, board games, plush toys, films and anime series. In 2013, an app was released for iOS and Android as well as Tamagotchi Friends, which ‘bump’ into and interact with each other.
So now you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy (because, let’s face it, your virtual pet won’t), it’s time to rekindle your love for your digital pet in its newly-released retro design. And this time, try to do a better job at looking after it than you did before; let’s see if it actually makes it to adulthood…your virtual pet’s not holding its breath though…
Feeling nostalgic? Get your very own Tamagotchi here!
YouTube credit: Bandai Releases New Version of Original Tamagotchi by United News International