The Tamagotchi – cripes! In the mid-to-late 1990s there was this craze involving these little computer things which had ultra cute, tiny digital pets trapped inside them. They went by the name of the Tamagotchi (duh!) and, by heck, did they kick up a consumerist storm!
Hailing from the distant land of Nippon (Japan, to Westerners) the device from Bandai allowed the device owner to look after a virtual pet. The “creature” was “essentially” a “blob” like thing which you had to feed, entertain, and “muck out” (digital poo would clog the screen otherwise).
The wee beast would live for around a month, although its lifespan seemed to be entirely arbitrary regardless of how much affection and care you hurled at the non-existent little git. For the time this was quite startlingly innovative stuff, though, and it was somewhat emotional times when the thing snuffed it one.
These days you can’t move for virtual pets. Anyone who owns one of those goddamn smartphone things is goddamn plagued by the goddamn things. Even the likes of Sony and Nintendo are at it with their handheld consoles, with the duo offering a take on a virtual pet dog. Elsewhere, on the iPhone, you can download the app Survive! Mola Mola! where you look after a fish which is incessantly prone to getting itself killed. It’s been a smash hit in Nippon, so it’s made its flippy where to the likes of Manchester, Scunthorpe, and Bognor Regis.
You can have a look at web pages surrounding these virtual pets. Visiting one of the sites (such as THIS JAPANESE ‘UN) is like taking some psychedelic trip into La La Land: bright colours abound, mayhem seems to be but a step away, and unrestrained joyous joy is always on the verge of a psychotic episode. It’s more than can be confabulated by mere humans.
The Professional Moron staff got addicted to the Tamagotchi circa 1998, but they got banned from our esteemed editor Mr. Wapojif’s High School. He can remember the moment, clear as day, as our Freddie Mercury lookalike teacher informed the school something along the lines of:
“We’re delighted to see your caring side, but they are interfering with your studying. Therefore, they are banned outright.”
At this stage a full scale riot erupted and the school was petrol bombed into oblivion. Manchester is a rough place, but the Tamagotchi will always live on (until it inevitably dies).