If you grew up in the nineties, like I did, you might remember the whole “virtual pet” fad that swept the nation, sparked by the “Tamagotchi”, a Japanese brand of virtual pet that was arguably the best and likely the most popular of them all. Everyone wanted one. I got a red and black one for Christmas back in the fifth grade and got it taken away by my teachers a couple times when I forgot to silence it and it beeped at me in the middle of class. Then, one fateful day, it beeped at me in art class and my Art teacher, a guy named Mr. Peterson who was like 6’5″, had a beard like Santa Claus and a handshake that could crush bones, demanded I hand it over. I never saw it again.
But by that time, I’d had my fill of the virtual pet thing and decided to let it go rather than replacing my bygone Tamagotchi.
But when I saw that an app called Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. (an acronym for Love Is Fun Everywhere) was released on the Google Play store, I couldn’t help but be overcome with nostalgia. I thought back to the day I got my Tamagotchi and how much I enjoyed playing with the little bouncing thing existing in its own egg shaped world. Seeing as the app was free with ad support and (thankfully) non-compulsory microtransactions, I couldn’t help but download it, if only for the nostalgia trip.
So, read on for my impressions of the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app from Namco-Bandai.
An egg has appeared on my screen. It’s shaking. It’s gonna hatch!
Five Minutes Later…
The adorable bastard has hatched. He’s a little ball of cute with two eyes and a mouth, bouncing around the screen, always staring at me as he does it. He’s hungry and bored. Better feed him. I dropped a series of meals into his virtual cage and he scarfed them down. Time to play a game. I have no idea what’s going on. What am I supposed to be doing? Time to check the manual. Oh, I’m supposed to guess which way he’s going to turn? Well that’s a dumb game. But whatever, I’ll play it until he’s happy.
And he pooped.
Lovely. Cue the tidal wave to wash it away.
Still bouncing around, still staring at me, still pooping at regular intervals.
Oh joy! He grew! He’s now a slightly bigger ball of cute that bounces around and stares at me. I discovered, in the “app mode” that there’s a slightly more straightforward game of rock, paper, scissors to play with your Tamagotchi to keep him happy. I guess that makes sense. Lose at least three times out of five tries and your Tamagotchi’s happiness improves. Good stuff.
He’s evolved again! Now he has more defined features, like lips and…that’s it. Still, he’s growing and that’s good. I’m keeping him happy and healthy.
Still eating, playing, bouncing about and pooping. Nothing significant to report in that regard.
He grew again! Now he has even more defined features and even grew a pair of legs!
And he’s sick again. Nothing a couple of inoculations can’t fix.
I went out to get a haircut around noon and left my Nexus 7…sorry, my Tamagotchi at home. But I fed and played with the little bastard when I woke up – I even cleaned up his steaming poop seconds after he did it – so he should’ve been fine. I got home around 1:30, went upstairs and sat down in front of my computer. Oh, I thought, I should check on my Tamagotchi.
Oops, he got sick and died and left a big, steaming pile of poo on the floor.
Really? You couldn’t survive long enough for me to inoculate you (again!!!)? You’ve gone whole nights next to poo and didn’t get sick and you die now?! Great.
So ends the life of my Tamagotchi, 6 years young. And, really, my experience with the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. (I hate typing that name) app has died with it. The app itself is actually quite good and worth the download purely for the nostalgia alone (if you grew up in the nineties) but I’ve grown out of that. I don’t have the time to care for a digital pet, I did back in fifth grade, but not now.
Well, that, and I don’t carry my Nexus 7 everywhere. If this were on my iPhone, perhaps I could’ve responded in time to save it before it croaked and I think a phone is a better platform for this kind of thing anyway. A tablet isn’t pocket-friendly so many people aren’t going to be carrying them everywhere, whereas phones are practically inseparable from their owners.
So, yeah, I like this app. It’s free, works well and a heck of a nostalgia trip for folks who grew up when the Tamagotchi craze was in full swing. The appeal of taking care of a virtual pet, waiting on it hand and foot and making sure it’s happy and healthy may seem non-existent but millions of people play The Sims on a regular basis (myself included) so what do I know about what’s fun? So, check it out if you’re intrigued. Hopefully your Tamagotchi will last longer than mine did.