I have a new party trick and it’s made me the most popular girl on the block. All I have to do is whip out my Tamagotchi and BAM! Everyone’s jealous and I’m instantly cool. Everyone wants to know where I got this magical piece of ‘90s nostalgia, and I get to break the news to them: Tamagotchis are BACK.
Shout out to Bandai, who were clearly in tune with what’s necessary when it brought back the original Tamagotchi, exactly as you remember it from 1997, same programming and all. It is available in eight of the original colors (I was always a translucent blue kind of girl), plus eight brand new styles.
If you need a refresher, Tamagotchis are alien creatures that traveled millions of miles from their home planet inside their little Tamagotchi eggs. When you open one, it will hatch out of the egg to become your virtual pet. It’s your job to care for it by feeding it, playing games, cleaning up its poop, and keeping it healthy and happy. Your Tamagotchi will beep at you whenever it needs something and there are meters you can check to monitor its happiness, hungriness, and discipline levels. There are also little symbols that will appear on the screen, like zzzs (turn the light off, its sleeping!), a doody ball (press the rubber duck to wash it away), and a skull that looks like the Dark Mark from Harry Potter (that means its sick! Give it medicine, quickly!).
The Tamagotchi character will change its appearance several times before it reaches its adult form. The shape, personality, and life span of each Tamagotchi is based on how well you take care of it. So don’t screw it up. There are so many different growth charts your Tamagotchi can follow — some of them look like alligators, while others look like ducks but there are so many different styles, including hidden characters. As they grow older, their personalities shine through and they can do more things, like shake their booty or twirl across the screen while they’re waiting for you to play with them.
Sadly, like any beloved family pet, Tamagotchis will always die in the end. Sure, the instruction booklet calls it “returning to its home planet,” but let’s be real, your Tamagotchi will die. This is extremely traumatizing. When it happens, the Tamagotchi will start beeping repeatedly and you’ll run over to see what it needs but there’s nothing you can do. It will beep and beep, over and over, and you’ll stand there helplessly until it grows angel wings and shows the age of death on the screen. RIP. My heart is broken. But you can always hatch another egg and start over again.
I’ll be honest; being a Tamagotchi parent is hard work. This is one needy little egg, especially when it’s younger, which can be stressful. But hey, welcome to parenthood. There is only one game you can play with it, in which you have to guess which way the Tamagotchi is going to look: right or left. But my Tamagotchi has become my pride and joy. I take it with me everywhere I go — it takes the train with me to work, it comes with me to the gym, and it even keeps me company in the bathroom.
I’ve had three Tamagotchis in the past few months. The first two died within days (I really don’t know why because I took such good care of them), and my current one is thriving, living its best life at 8 years old (which translates to 8 days in Muggle time). The second day I had my current Tamagotchi, I accidentally left it at home and it had to fend for itself for a good 10 hours while I was at work. I almost called my landlord to check on it for me, but I waited it out. I thought it would be a goner by the time I got home, and indeed, it was on death’s doorstep with three doody balls and two sick skulls. But life’s tough; get a helmet. I nursed it back to health and it’s still going strong a week later, shaking its booty across my screen as I write this like the strong and independent Tamagotchi that I raised it to be.
If you didn’t have one in the ’90s, this comeback may go over your head, but the nostalgia factor alone makes me love it even more now than my 9-year-old, pigtail-wearing self. All I need now are some butterfly clips and a tattoo choker.