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16 things you might not know about the Tamagotchi

Bandai is relaunching these virtual pets


The Japanese company Bandai plans to relaunch the Tamagotchi as a new multiplatform brand. These virtual pets will be present not only in the classic toy, but also in electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, in addition to licensed products and animated content. In fact, the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app was already launched in the U.S. and Canada, targeting users of the original game, which currently are mostly women between 18 and 29.

The new brand, Tamagotchi Friends , will offer a new generation of children an updated version of the original toy, allowing different pets to communicate and play with each other. The toy will be launched in December this year in Europe, as well as the first licensed products. Also, the first webisodes featuring these characters are already online.

Here are some curious facts about these toys:

1. This virtual pet was created in 1996 and was just a small oval device with a black and white screen, as well as three buttons to scroll through the menu.

2. The design of the new Tamagotchi has been updated, but is basically the same.

3. Its name is a combination of the Japanese words tamago (egg) and tomodachi (friend).

4. Its worldwide success started in 1999, when the toy arrived to the United States, in spite that it was not allowed to be exported.

5. 79 million Tamagotchi have been sold in these 17 years. Over 20 million in Japan.

6. Some explain that its rapid success was boosted by the fact that many Japanese families could not afford to have pets due to limitations in space and time.

7. And there was some controversy because it was said that children paid less attention in class and did not develop real emotional bonds with both pets and their friends.

8. And that was before smartphones and tablets.

9. There have been 46 different versions, including the ones marketed between 2004 and 2011 under the name of Tamagotchi Connection, which already allowed different devices to connect with each other.

10. Pets could die from not receiving proper care, but also because of old age. In the Japanese version, the screen showed a ghost and a tombstone when the pet died, but the British version preferred to show an angel or even a UFO, explaining that the poor thing had just returned to his planet (yes, they are aliens).

11. No, if a Tamagotchi dies you do not have to buy another one.

12. Users ended up really loving these virtual pets. In fact there are online cemeteries and some have even hold actual funerals for them.

13. The Tamagotchi were also present on Nintendo consoles including Gameboy, Wii and Nintendo DS, plus a Windows game and the aforementioned app for Android and Apple.

14. Tamagotchi: The Movie premiered in 2007 (in Japan in theaters, but in most Western countries directly on DVD).

15. Of course, there are many different Tamagotchi. The new version has 24 characters, all of them included in a “ relationship map": they are family, friends, roommates, colleagues, old acquaintances or even rivals.

16. And they also work: they are designers, musicians, robots, actors, beauticians, pet stylists, television professionals, and circus stars.

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