Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tamagotchis are coming back, so you can slowly kill a digital pet all over again

Photo: Charla Jones/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo: Charla Jones/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Tamagotchis were the toy that epitomized American culture in the ‘90s: A then-bright and shiny bauble whose constant need for attention would soon become wearying, leaving us all to ignore its basic needs, blithely unconcerned that we would soon watch it die a slow death.

Perhaps sensing that we would all prefer to escape the actual experience of watching this happen on a national scale, and instead return to the comforting glow of a digital metaphor for the American dream, the
Los Angeles Times reports the company behind Tamagotchis will be reintroducing the pixelated pets to the American marketplace. Bandai America Inc. will be returning the toy to stores to coincide with the gizmo’s 20th anniversary, meaning that consumers will be able to again purchase the little trinkets starting November 5, though pre-orders are available now.

For those who are under the age of 25 and have no idea what the fuck a Tamagotchi is, some background: It’s essentially a digital pet, a small circular hunk of plastic on a keychain with a tiny screen on which you witness a small colorless blob come to life. From the moment you turn it on, it requires near-constant attention, demanding to be fed, nurtured, and cleaned up after approximately every 15 minutes or so. Without your constant manual updates, it would get sick and die. So, basically a smartphone.


Bandai America Inc. is so certain that America has been hungering for the chance to once again shell out $14.99 for a pocket-sized analogy to our national approach to climate change, it didn’t even do any market research before re-releasing the toy. “Nostalgia works in the toy industry,” the piece quotes one analyst as saying, pointing to the recent successes of Nintendo’s miniature original consoles and Barbie’s relaunch as examples. And the new Tamagotchi will also be 20 percent smaller, demonstrating the company’s commitment to its product as an ideal metaphor for the American way of life, as we dutifully shell out the same amount of money we paid 20 years ago for less than what we originally got in return. Hakuna Matamagotchi.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

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