One of the hottest toys in the last few years is one that people in their 20s and 30s might remember from their own childhood. The Tamagotchi isn’t something we ever thought we would see come back, but it is a fun toy that lots of kids enjoy. It isn’t that surprising to see it take off with a new generation that loves technology and has grown up thinking about virtual pets and similar items. The new updates to the shape and the software make them a bit more fun as well.
Tamagotchi is a very simple concept, a small little egg or “Tamago,” which is the Japanese word for egg, that contains a virtual pet. The small item is clipped to your belt loop, keys, or anywhere else, allowing you to take it along with you. You start out “hatching” your pet, taking it from childhood into adulthood and meeting all of the possible needs of a baby creature. The various different buttons each have a different action attached to them, making it easy to care for them quickly and without navigating a large number of menus.
Emoticons on the screen tell you when your baby needs something, when it wants to play, and even if you have messed up and managed to let the baby die. Players need to check the screen at least every 12 hours and need to be aware of the needs of their pet. Chirping sounds can generally be heard if you haven’t turned off the sound when there is something that needs tending to. Optional actions such as playing with the pet increase the happiness of the creature and can make it grow up faster.
It is possible to turn off the game, allowing you to go longer between playing, but some models have this as a re-set option, meaning you will get a new pet that will have to hatch and grow each time you do this. When turned off the pet doesn’t change status, but you generally will need to play with it to increase happiness after you turn it back on. Some models don’t have an off button but will only stop working when you take out the replaceable batteries.
The toy is available in a large variety of colours and pet types, but the original and most popular is a small chick who hatches out of the egg. Older versions from both the original companies and others included dinosaurs, mermaids, and even aliens for a fun variety of different pets to raise. Cases include see through 90’s style plastic, metallic options, and even branded Tamago cases.
Overall the Tamagotchi is a fun little virtual pet that kills a little bit of time but isn’t going to take over your life. Kids enjoy having something to look forward to when they come home and adults enjoy playing with them out of nostalgia. The compact size makes them a great stocking stuffer and makes them easy to take with you for on the go play.