TBT: Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi_0124_ubtThis Thursday, Valley is throwing it back to the Japanese Tamagotchi handheld virtual pet we all knew and loved.

The name Tamagotchi combines the English words “egg” (tamago) and “watch” (uotchi) in Japanese. Millions of Tamagotchis have been sold since its launch in 1996. The maker Bandai has created over 44 versions, several of which were only released in Japan. Each colorful toy is shaped like an egg—it’s so small it can fit in the palm of your hand. There is a square screen in the middle with three round buttons underneath that control everything.

Why we loved them:

Basically, if you owned a Tamagotchi, you were considered a pet owner. You were there from when your pet was just a small egg waiting to hatch all the way through its adult life. Those were exciting times to watch it grow. You fed it and played with it to make sure it was always happy and never felt lonely. As a child, this was a pretty big responsibility. You never wanted to see your small Tamagotchi pet become an angel, which meant you had to start over with a brand new egg.

Why we miss them:

Before smartphones and apps, Tamagotchis were one of the most convenient games to play. You could easily fit one in your pocket and take it with you everywhere. Playing with your pet didn’t actually take a lot of brain power, so it was something quick and easy to play on the bus ride home from school. Plus, it was always fun to check out your friends’ Tamagotchis to compare how much better yours was.

What to do if you can’t get enough of them:

If you’re feeling nostalgic for Tamagotchis and you need a fix, three different apps for iPhone and Android were created last year. They are called Tamagotchi L.I.F.E., Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. Angel and Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. Tap and Hatch. And if you’re really missing them, there was a film released in 2007 called Tamagotchi: The Movie and another one released in 2008 called Tamagotchi: Happiest Story in the Universe!. That’s right, you can watch your little 2D pet come to life on the big screen.

Photo credit: wikimedia 

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