Eve. That was the name of my Tamagotchi. I remember when I was six or seven years old holding my small, egg-shaped device as if it were my own pet.
Tamagotchi, for those who do not know, is a simple game (like an old version of the
Game Boy) with three buttons, which allow you to feed your Tamagotchi, play with him and clean it up. Your goal is to make it happy.
If, for a couple of hours, you would rather do something else than take care of it, it will die. You might, in that case, feel a little bit guilty about its death, but you will have another chance to raise another Tamagotchi, hopefully better this time.
Tamagotchi was launched by Bandai America in 1997 and more than 40 million have been sold in the world so far, according to the Tamagotchi Web site.
Junior Alyssa Ogletree remembers playing with her “cow” Tamagotchi when she was in elementary school.
“It was like having a pet, which I didn’t have at the time and I wanted,” she said. “There was always something I could do with it or for it.”
It was a new concept at that time and kids enjoyed it.
“It was kind of high tech for the time and so I thought I knew something that other people didn’t,” Ogletree said.
Ogletree and her friends used to get in a circle and talk about what their Tamagotchis were doing. They said things like “mine just pooped” or “I just fed mine.”
In fact, it was such a huge thing at the time that Ogletree’s day care and elementary school banned them.
“We were not allowed to use them when we were there because we wouldn’t pay attention,” she said.
If a Tamagotchi was left alone, it would starve and die in a few hours from lack of care, Ogletree said.
“It was like death for a Tamagotchi,” she said.
So what ever happened to the egg-shaped Tamagotchi?
In January 2008 a new version was made available in stores – the Tamagotchi V5, with a new look (there is a house-shape on the left). In this version, one can actually raise a whole family of Tamagotchis. So now, instead of having one “virtual pet,” you have a whole bunch of them. Exciting, isn’t it?
The new and improved toy also includes 50 new characters and 144 collectible souvenirs that you can store inside the Tamagotchi.
Another feature we didn’t have back in the day is the infrared, which allows players to connect which each other.
Ogletree fondly remembers her Tamagotchi.
“It was really simple, but it was entertaining.”
Gerstenhaber is a freshman print journalism major and guest columnist for The Spectator.