The popular Japanese game Tamagotchi, without a doubt, was every 1990s kid favorite toy. Here MusicSnake Magazine put together fifteen surprising facts you probably didn’t know about the pocket gadget.
Real Tamagotchi Burials Were Performed
1998 was a hard time for kids who, sooner or later, had to say goodbye to their virtual pets. A pet cemetery in Cornish, England, used to perform burial ceremonies for expired Tamagotchis. Every detail was handled: the devices were placed inside individual coffins and topped with sand and flowers.
It Was Conceived by a Woman. Maita Aki, a young Japanese woman who worked for Bandai at the time, came up with the idea; she envisioned a little pet you could carry with you everywhere that left no mess at home. And that’s how Tamagotchis were born. Aki always lived in the shadow of the toy company that popularized the product and got virtually no recognition for her creation.
Tamagochi Was Banned in Schools
Many schools in Japan, the Philippines, the U.S., Spain and other countries decided to ban Tamagotchis in schools because the toys kept beeping and it distracted the students. The game suffered from a drastic drop in sales in the early 2000s for this specific reason.
There’s Also an Online Tamagotchi Memorial. There’s a virtual alternative for those who aren’t willing to travel all the way to England to bury their cyberpet: an online memorial place. On the open forum thread, Tamagotchi owners can leave farewell messages and condolences for the deceased creatures.
You Can Turn your Phone Into a Tamagotchi
App developers would never pass a chance to profit on millennial nostalgia, and they finally graced us all in 2013 with a mobile app that turns your phone into the original tamagotchi game. For a little under $5 you can install Tamagotchi Classic on your iPhone or Android and relive your childhood.
Some of Them Never Died. The original Tamagotchi could pass away for several reasons: starvation, thirst, illness, or simply of old age. Whenever the little pet died, a tombstone and ghost appeared on the screen. However, some countries decided to show something more uplifting instead. U.K. versions, for instance, presented an angel ascending to heaven, or simply a flying saucer taking the alien creature back to its home planet.
There Are Tamagotchi Versions for Several Video Game Platforms
Although most of them were never released outside Japan, there are Tamagotchi games for consoles including Nintendo DS, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS, Game Boy and Wii. Computer versions were also released for Windows 94.
Tamagotchis Can Have Jobs. The newest versions of the toy don’t stick to eating and sleeping. Once they reach adulthood, Tamagotchis are supposed to work, just like everybody else. You can come across teachers, musicians, actors, stylists and TV hosts among the many professions present in the game.
Tamagotchis Could Have Babies. In the latest editions of the popular device, released in the late 2000s, Tamagotchis could get married and even perpetuate the species. Those models, called “Tamagotchi Connection”, used infra-red technology that allowed nearby users to connect their gadgets so their pets could interact with one another.
Santa Claus Tamagotchi
“Santaclautch” was released in 1998 in Japan only as a unique Christmas-themed version of the toy. With an outer wintery design: red, green and white. The goal of the game was to get Santa ready for Christmas. Although Santa feeds himself, the player was in charge of providing him with different items to successfully deliver all the presents in time.
A Combination of Words. The name “Tamagotchi” comes from Japanese “tamago”, meaning “egg”, and “tomodachi”, meaning “friendly”. “Egg-friend” or “Friendly egg” would be the closest translations.
It Has Its Own TV Show. Tamagotchi was brought back in 2009 as an anime. The show was called Tamagotchi! It follows the storyline of a previous movie “Tamagotchi: Happiest Story in the Universe” made about the Japanese phenomenon. The series ran for three years and it gained several sequels and manga adaptations.
Perhaps a reflection of Japanese society, tamagotchis were highly encouraged (even expected) to get married and have kids. If they didn’t do that by the time they were around 10, a couple arranger would pop up on screen and try to find you a Tamagotchi companion. No matter how many times you rejected her suggestions, she would always keep trying.
It Worried Psychologists. When the toy was first introduced into the United States in the late 1990s, psychologists nationwide claimed to be concerned for the children’s wellbeing after taking care of their cyberpets. A psychologist at the Dalton School told the New York Times that “the toy creates a real sense of loss and a mourning process”. However, they concluded that it could be a beneficial learning experience for teenagers.
Over 76 Million Tamagotchis Have Been Sold
That was the estimated number of Tamagotchis sold worldwide, as of 2010. Over 44 different versions have been released, most of which were only launched in Japan. At its peak, around 15 units were sold in North America every second.