If you were a ’90s kid, there’s a fair chance you had a Game Boy or a PlayStation growing up. If you weren’t into video games, however, you might have been the proud owner of a Tamagotchi instead. The concept is simple: you turn on the little egg-shaped electronic device, and on the tiny screen is a little 8-bit character.
From there, you play fun games with your new friend, feed it, check out its happiness levels, as well as clean up its pixelated poop. It’s a great pet simulator, and if you’re anything like me, it’s also a handy way to introduce a child to the concept of death. Eventually, you will forget it, and it will perish due to starvation.
The first Tamagotchi game was released outside of Japan in 1997, but as time went on, interest in the egg-shaped computer game dwindled, and the latest version, Tamagotchi Friends, can now only be found online. For the younger generations, there was a significant chance that they would never experience the unbridled joy of owning a Tamagotchi, not to mention the unforgettable trauma of accidentally killing it.
Not to worry, though. The 20th anniversary of Tamagotchi’s worldwide release is coming up next month, and to celebrate, Bandai, the manufacturers of Tamagotchi, are re-releasing the original Tamagotchi. Hooray!
So far, 2017 has been a good year for reprising pop culture from two decades ago, as many companies have decided to mine ’90s nostalgia and provide a modern adaptation. In the theatres, Power Rangers and Beauty and the Beast have both been subject to 21st century upgrades, the flagship indestructible Nokia 3310 phone is now widely available for purchase, and now you can own a Tamagotchi too!
Of course, Tamagotchi eventually broke free of its egg-shaped constraints, and can also be played on video game consoles and mobiles. However, the 20th anniversary edition of Tamagotchi will be a three-button, egg-shaped computer, just like manufacturers Bandai intended.
For those of you who were worried that Tamagotchi would attempt to adapt the gameplay to suit a modern audience, fear not: this version of Tamagotchi is nearly identical in both graphics and features to the original you knew and loved. The only difference is cosmetic. This version is slightly smaller than the one that first came out in 1997, and the screen will be square rather than rectangular.
At the moment, the toy is only available in Japan. It has a market price of 1, 920 Yen, which equates to around $17 (not including shipping, of course). With the toy’s runaway success in its first release, however, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before these upgraded Tamagotchi make their way to stores all around the world.
In its heyday, the Tamagotchi was one of the hottest toys around. Between 1996 and 2010, around 76 million Tamagotchi units have been sold all over the world. We may have moved on to other technological crazes, but Tamagotchi has never really gone away, and I’m sure that the 20th anniversary edition of the legendary toy will be extremely well-received.