Nostalgic Fans Recall When Taking Care of a Tamagotchi Wasn't So Easy

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The creature-raising Tamagotchi keychain game was originally released by Bandai in 1996 and kept many owners awake in attempts to keep their beloved digital pets from dying, either from starvation or poor living conditions. Tamagotchis couldn't be toilet trained and owners risked the little monster becoming increasingly filthy. The toys were popular with school children, so much so that they were banned from school grounds. Kids would return home only to find that, once again, their Tamagotchi was dead from lack of care.

Arguably, this added a sense of realism to the game. Most living creatures do need quite a bit of attention of care, of course. Despite this, English releases of the games have altered the death sequences in the past. The Japanese edition of the Tamagotchi iD device in 2009 marked the partial removal of death all together. After the creature's "teen" stage, it will no longer die but will instead run away.

Taking care of the pet got even easier with the Tamagotchi 4U's release in 2014. The device added a "babysitter" function that would automatically take of the monster's needs, so users no longer had to ask an actual human to watch over their pet while they were at school.

The device has continued to evolve for the next generation but players who remember the original remain critical of the decreased difficulty of raising a virtual pet. The conversation sparked after the Tamagotchi 4U+ model was recently featured on the morning television program Sukkiri!!.

"So now Tamagotchi don't die, huh?...This one guy passed his university exam and entrusted his Tamagotchi to me, who had to do prep school, because it would die... thanks."

Brain scientist Ken Mogi: "Tamagotchi has a setting so it won't die now... there's a story written about the "thorns" developer Akihiro Yokoi [the creator of Tamagotchi] included in the old Tamagatchi models that have the "die" setting."

Mogi elaborates in the blog post from 2007. According to Yokoi, part of his method in creating a hit is incorporating hidden "thorns." For Tamagotchi, one of those "thorns" was the lack of a pause button in the original.

The latest version, Tamagotchi m!x, is slated for release on July 16 and marks the game's 20th anniversary. It will introduce training, marriage, and lineage functions so players can build Tamagotchi families that will carry genetic similarities from their parents.

The game franchise remains popular worldwide despite its changes over the years. Bandai has sold over 81 million units since its launch. Nostalgic celebrities remembered their virtual pets at this year's Met Gala. Singer Katy Perry and actor Orlando Bloom both wore Tamagotchi to represent the event's theme "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology."

[Via Nao Niimi at Kai-You (Link 2), Hachima Kikō]

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