The 90s Toys & Games


Tamagotchi is a line of electronic toys made by Bandai. It originated in Japan, where it was created by designers from Bandai and WiZ, and was first sold there in 1996. The name “tamagotchi” is a combination of the Japanese words for “egg” and “watch,” reflecting both the toy’s design and certain key aspects of its gameplay. It has spawned numerous video games, a movie, and multiple TV series.

The first Tamagotchi toys were hard plastic egg-shaped electronics with an attached keychain and three buttons on the bottom. When turned on, the user would set a clock and then be given an egg. Within a few minutes, the egg would hatch, and a virtual pet would be born. It then became the user’s responsibility to feed, play with, and train the pet by keeping its Happy, Hungry, and Discipline meters at acceptable levels. Should the user neglect their Tamagotchi, the pet could die within half a day. This led to widespread controversy, as the toys were seen as a distraction, and many schools banned Tamagotchis outright. Despite (or because of) this, Tamagotchis became a nationwide fad in America upon their release in 1997, and led other companies to develop their own version of the Tamagotchi. Chief among these was Tiger’s Giga Pet line, which soon rivaled the Tamagotchi in popularity.

Bandai soon released new generations of Tamagotchi that featured new types of pets and new features, though some were available only in Japan. For example, the Mesutchi and Osutchi models were made unique by their interlocking tops, which allowed different pets to breed (similar to Bandai’s boy-oriented Digimon line of virtual pets). Bandai also released a Mothra Tamagotchi to coincide with the Rebirth of Mothra movies and a Christmas-themed edition called a Santaclautchi.

Since its inception, there have been over 40 different models of Tamagotchi worldwide. From 1997-1998, an animated TV series called Anime TV de Hakken!! Tamagotchi¬†aired in Japan, telling episodic stories about the various Tamagotchi pets. During this time, a short movie called “Now Museum, Now You Don’t” was produced featuring the characters, who were said to be creatures from space. 2007 saw the release of¬†Tamagotchi: The Movie in Japan, which was released on DVD around the world in the next two years. Bandai has also released a Tamagotchi app for iOS and Android devices.




Featured image via ForeignGeek

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