For months last year, during the pain and the angst of the pandemic, I was obsessed with my Tamagotchi. I figured out how to keep my virtual pet alive for a while, play little minigames with the cute character, and watch it grow.
I eventually gave up, but the pandemic isn’t over. And so I’m interested in the latest hybrid game-toy beast to come from Bandai America: the Tamagotchi Pix. It’s just another toy, but it’s also another interesting lesson in miniaturization of technology.
This device has a built-in camera, so you can take pictures with your virtual pet and interact with your character in a new way. The core appeal of Tamagotchi devices is that you can nurture and care for your little character. I think those are good things to foster. I’m not surprised that Bandai Namco has sold more than 82 million units over the past 25 years. It’s the simplest of games, embedded in a little egg, and it’s one of those things that could bring you a little joy in lockdown (or any other time). Watching this simple game in its toy container progress is like watching Moore’s Law move forward, bringing more electronic sophistication a little step at a time.
“We are focusing on our core fan bases and reaching out to other fan bases where we think there’s a lot of interconnectivity of people wanting to play with their favorite characters in a new way in the world of Tama,” said Tara Badie, Bandai America senior director of brand strategy, in an interview with me.
With this version, you can now cook for your Tamagotchi character, have food delivered, explore the world to meet Tamagotchi friends, and add pictures of the adventures with a built-in social feed.
And you still have to clean up after them when they poop.
“This is the first time we’re really like breaking that plane. And we’re bringing in the characters and people into the same world now,” Badie said.
You can’t send those photos around, so they really serve as something for you to remember while you’re playing.
“We like to keep things inside the device,” Badie said.
How you raise your Tamagotchi character will affect gameplay in a new way with new personal rooms and gameplay that dictate your Tamagotchi character’s future profession when they go back to Tamagotchi Planet. You can customize furniture and buy different accessories.
The device is old-fashioned in that it has three touch buttons that you press. No internet connection is required to connect with your virtual pet. There are more than 100 Tamagotchi friends to meet. You can play minigames inside the little world and earn Gotchi points that keep your character happy.
I always enjoyed running around outside with my little one. You can take your character to the park and play with other friends. The animations are so primitive in a graphical sense, but they’re heartwarming. Now you can snap photos of them in the environments.
And you can connect with a friend using a Tama Code to play together or exchange gifts. Starting in August, you will be to go online and complete missions to download new items and gifts. Tamagotchi made a comeback a couple of years ago when the company re-introduced the original version`.
It comes in six languages and cost $60. It’s targeted at those 6-to-12 years old, or retro-focused people like me and my kid. Roughly 30% of sales are to kids, and that means a lot of adults are buying it too, probably for themselves.
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