Do you remember Tamagotchis? Who doesn’t, right? Back in the ’90s these bad boys were at the top of everyone’s Christmas lists. Originating in Japan, these virtual pets soon spread like wildfire through playgrounds. And all everyone seemed to care about was keeping their little pets ‘fed’ and ‘alive’. Apart from me. I couldn’t work out what all the buttons did, so quickly got bored. (Remind me never to have actual children. Especially ones with buttons.)
Just recently my manager got back from a two-week jaunt around Asia. (Let’s not dwell on that bit; I’m still jealous.) But when he told me that Tamagotchis are still alive and kicking in a big way over in Japan, I had to get our investigative cap out.
Tamagotchis have changed so much
To be honest, I had absolutely no idea that Tamagotchis were still a thing. In fact, Wikipedia tells that, as of 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis have been sold world-wide. That’s almost the same as the number of Xbox 360s that have been sold! What the hell! Also, another terrifying fact: Tamagotchis have been around since 1996…which makes them older than celebs including Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Thorne and Silentó.
But it seems that since the ’90s the tamagotchis have been given something of a facelift. In Japan, the latest line of Tamagotchis was released just a few months ago in July 2015. And they look like this:
Yeah, it’s fair to say these Tamagotchi 4U+ have evolved quite a bit. Well, the familiar egg shape is there. And so are my arch enemies, the three buttons (FFS). But look, the screens are all in colour! The core premise is still the same: keep your pet alive. But now users have a heap of new features to get to grips with. For starters, kids (big and small) can connect Tamagotchis together and swap food. Players can give their Tamagotchis to a virtual ‘babysitter’ to help keep them alive. Tamagotchis can be trained to perform certain actions for themselves, like go to the toilet. And, if that wasn’t enough, the Tamagotchis even have a stage where characters develop their own personalities.
In addition to this, Tamagotchis can be positioned against ‘touch spots’ to acquire special downloadable items, like room designs and characters. The real bad new is that these touch spots are only available in Japan. Ah. We knew it sounded way too good to be true. See you in Tokyo?
Enjoyed reminiscing about tamagotchis? Why not have a read of some of our other nostalgic articles, including This Is How Six of Our Favourite Kids TV Shows Ended and Childhood Sweets That You’ve Totally Forgotten