Remember “digital pets?”
Odds are either you owned one or had a kid that owned one in the 90’s. These things were everywhere. They later branched out into cartoons, video games, and stuff but today I want to just talk about the egg shaped toy that beeped all the time.
The Tamagotchi was a handheld digital pet, created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai. the name is a portmanteau combining the Japanese word (tamago), which means “egg”, and the English word “watch.”
Tamagotchi were originally designed for teenage girls, to give them an idea of what it would be like to take care of children. I suppose sort of a digital version of giving a kid an egg to see how long they can take care of it.
It may have started as a girl’s toy but I can guarantee you that many boys owned these things as well.
I remember some folks had a Giga Pet instead of the Tamagotchi.
The main controversy over digital pets involved children taking them to school because the first two Tamagotchi releases (Generation 1 and Generation 2) could die in less than half a day from lack of care. Worry over potential ownership disputes, class disruptions and general distraction from schoolwork has led many schools to ban the product, which led to the virtual pet’s decline in popularity.
Later versions have included a pause mode, or “travel show” in the case of Familitchi, which allows children to leave the product at home when they go to school without it passing away.
Tamagotchi pets are still out there today mainly aimed at girls once again. It has also evolved with technology. They are now on watches, phones, and pads.
However, I still get a sense of nostalgia when I think back to the little egg shaped toy on my key ring that was surprisingly fun.
Did you have a Tamagotchi or Giga Pet?