One of the hottest toys from the ‘90s has finally grown up. The launch of the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. (“Love is fun everywhere”) app is a revival from the electronic pet craze once found attached to hundreds of students’ backpacks. Bandai America Inc. and Sync Beatz Entertainment are hoping to revive the electronic pet craze with this app, which originally hatched 16 years ago.
Tamagotchi was named by melding the Japanese word for egg, “tamago,” with the English word “watch” to become a phenomenon that sold more than 78 million units.
The free app, available on Android devices today, allows users to take care of a virtual pet by pressing buttons that simulate feeding, disciplining and playing with the critter on screen and features un-lockable characters, backgrounds and shells. It features original characters, twice the resolution, a digital Tamagotchi collection, signature wallpapers and share features for social media.
"The idea was to base the gameplay on the original Tamagotchi that everyone knows and loves," said Shin Ueno, chief marketing officer at Sync Beatz, in a statement. "As we move along, every two months, we'll refresh the app, and it will evolve."
Image via Tamagotchi
The app offers players three distinctive Tamagotchi experiences to enjoy. Toy mode replicates the 16-bit black and white character pixels and all the familiar behavior and parenting tools of the original Tamagotchi. The app mode presents an updated version with the look, spirit and playability of the classic Tamagotchi game but adds color, higher resolution and allows fans to collect the growing virtual pets with the help of an illustrated guide that’s included. The more Tamagotchis a player collects, the more of the many different Tamagotchi “shells” – the egg-shaped design which houses the virtual pets – and specially designed wallpaper s/he will receive. It also features a “Rock, Paper, Scissors” mini-game.
"It's like comfort food," said Barry Stagg, chief communications officer at Sync Beatz. "I think Tamagotchi brings back good memories. When we were at the Licensing Expo last year, the first thing that people who came up to us and saw what we were doing tended to do was smile. I think there's an openness to build on Tamagotchi's brand equity."
Also to come with the launch of the app is a Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. product line, which will feature clothing, furnishing and accessories. Not only do smartphones allow us to keep up with latest innovations in technology and apps, it also gives us an opportunity to relive a little bit of our past. Happy gaming!
Edited by Brooke Neuman