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Tamagotchi time – 1990s

Everything from the ’90s is in style again – velvet T-shirts, dark lipstick, sports branded attire. As someone who grew up during that time, I always thought of the fashion as pretty basic and bland. But I was also a small girl who wore Disney sweats and Please Mum corduroys. I was more interested in movies, my teal Game Boy colour and the piece de resistance: my sparkling silver Tamagotchi. I was living in a small town at the age of nine. There wasn’t much to do aside from the swing set and riding my bike around a 10-block radius. The Tamagotchi was small, addictive and came on a key-chain ring. I could hook it on my jeans and go anywhere.

It was the simple game of an alien egg that winds up in your care. It hatches into a small creature and you feed it. It will grow and change according to how often you give it food and take care of it. But like any pet it will die if you forget to feed it. It gave you a sense of achievement because it would track the days it stayed alive. The highest I ever got was 22 days. I went through so many watch batteries, which were not cheap. My mom was not happy about that. But I loved my little egg shaped toy and I didn’t want it to turn into an ugly creep thing, because it was always my fault.

At recess, I would gather with whoever else on the playground had their Tamagotchi. We’d compare high scores and share tips and tricks. The most satisfying part was to get your little guy (girl) to full growth and it would hop into a spaceship and leave for its home planet. Your little foster creature leaves the nest, the game restarts – as it does whatever the outcome – rebooting back to an egg, ready to hatch.

I’m happy that Tamagotchi has made its way back into pop culture. Games and toys like that haven’t really gone out of style. Apps like Pokémon Go, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird and Candy Crush; simple games that don’t take a lot of effort or brain power, but give a
small sense of achievement and instant gratification. Even a few years after the Tamagotchi, my little brother had a similar device. A Digimon Digi-vice but you fought with your little 16-bit Digimon rather than taking care of it. It was also larger than most kids’ hands. More impressive than the two-inch key-chain Tamagotchi.

I still have mine tucked away in my bag of gaming stuff. Which is probably why I haven’t bought one of the newer, more colourful models. It probably still works. I would definitely have to replace the two watch batteries it needs. Maybe it’s one of those things I tend to do when I finish something; I leave it alone. I got my little dude to 22 days and it built itself a flying saucer and left me behind. So it seems fitting that I leave it behind as well.

– Kennedy Lane
Picture from Pocket-lint

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