(Pocket-lint) - Ah, the 90s.
It's the decade of chokers, Game Boy, beepers, and Tamagotchi. Sure, we forgot to feed them occasionally, but there was no digital pet better than these, which were first released by Bandai in Japan in 1996. Within six months, they became one of the biggest toy fads in history, and now, thanks to our fondness for nostalgia, these small egg-shaped computers are back for the modern era.
Here's everything you need to know about the new Tamagotchi.
- Tamagotchi toys to return as Tamagotchi Friends
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What is Tamagotchi?
- Handheld egg-shaped keychain toy
- Made by Bandai
- First released in 1996 in Japan
Tamagotchi is a virtual pet game in the form of a handheld egg-shaped keychain toy that has three buttons (A, B, and C), which you tap to select and perform activities such as feeding your Tamagotchi, playing games, cleaning up after the Tamagotchi (which includes picking up Hershey's Kiss-like poops), discipling, and checking your pet's age, weight, happiness, hunger, and other stats.
According to Bandai, Tamagotchi translates to "small egg," and over the past 20 years, it has been released and re-released in many different versions and colours. You can see a few of the more popular models above. However, the egg-shaped design of the actual device hardly changed over the years, nor did the gameplay, allowing anyone to easily recognise it, pick it up, and start playing.
Keep in mind Tamagotchi is different from Giga Pet, which is just a competitor knockoff. Also, this isn't the first time Tamagotchi has resurfaced throughout the years. We've seen it pop us as a fashion accessory and even an app, and you could also connect with other Tamagotchi users or the computer, but all these different iterations never really took off like the original did two decades ago.
How is the new Tamagotchi different?
- It is called Mini Tamagotchi
- 60-per cent smaller
- Same egg-shaped design with tiny LCD screen
New Tamagotichi units are now in production to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. They are being released in North America. A UK release has yet to be officially confirmed by Bandai. They have the same egg-shaped design as well as a tiny LCD screen with no backlighting. The main difference between the original model and this one is that the new one is 60-per cent smaller.
That means the screen is roughly half the size of the original. Because of this, the new Tamagotchi is technically called "Mini Tamagotchi".
How does the new Tamagotchi work?
- It has three buttons (A, B, C)
- Push the buttons to care for and clean up after pet
- Don't ignore your pet or it will die
The new Tamagotchi is once again a tiny keychain egg with three buttons, which you press to care for and clean up after your virtual pet that you can name. There is no Android or iPhone app or digital connectivity involved in the gameplay. It really is like the original version, so it feels like Bandai is really playing up the nostalgia here. And, like before, your Tamagotchi will eat, sleep, poop, and grow.
Your main goal is to keep your pet alive. There is no main menu to control the sound or other settings, but you can turn the gadget on or off. You'll have to tap around a bit to remember how to play and find buried options, or you can read the included instructions for more details on how Tamagotchi works. You'll hear lots of bleeps and bloops as it begs for attention. It'll poop, want to be fed, and whatnot.
Just remember to check on it every now and then - like the original, it's easy to forget and go for hours without thinking about it at all. If you do ignore it completely, it will eventually die. So, from what we can tell, the gameplay hasn't changed much, and to be honest, if we think about it, a Tamagotchi is a lot like a push notification: You'll be alerted with loud beeping sounds when it needs something.
Why is it coming back?
- Bandai wants to recapture the success it once had
- It's playing up the nostalgia for 90s kids
- Because everyone wants to be a kid again
Nostalgia, duh! Since its initial debut, Bandai said it has sold more than 82 million units worldwide. And the people who played with Tamagotchi back in the 90s are all now in their 30s and 40s, so Bandai is hoping they'll shell out a few bucks in order to feel like a kid again.
How much is the new Tamagotchi?
- Will cost $14.99 in the US
- Converts to about £11
- But it might cost £9.99 if it comes to UK
The new Tamagotchi will cost $14.99. Although not yet confirmed by Bandai, NME claimed the new Tamagotchi will be released in limited quantities from 11 October in the UK for £9.99 a pop. We've contacted Bandai for more information and will update when we know more.
When can you buy the new Tamagotchi?
- It had a limited release in Japan in April
- North American consumers can get it this autumn
- Launching in US from 5 November
A version of the new Tamagotchi was released in Japan in April 2017 as a limited run, and now, it's headed to North America on 5 November.
Can you get it in different colours?
- Six different shell designs
- Colours include blue, white, orange, and more patterns
- Each one includes six characters
Yes, like the original Tamagotchi device, the new Tamagotchi includes six different shell designs from the initial Japanese launch and each one includes six characters. Check out Bandai's blog post for more details.