Toymaker Bandai is celebrating their 20th year in the U.S. toy market. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Bandai America has decided to release a new smaller version of the popular virtual pet toy of the 1990s, Tamagotchi on October 11.
What is Tamagotchi?
For those unaware, Tamagotchi is an egg-shaped keychain device featuring an LCD image of an animal-like ‘pet’, which was originally unveiled in November 1996 in Japan and in May 1997 in the rest of the world to challenge users to look after a digital pet without killing it. The name ‘Tamagotchi’ is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for egg and the English word watch.
Tamagotchi had a total of 11 characters, which included one baby character, one toddler character, two teen characters, and seven adult characters. One of the adult characters was a “secret” character, which could eventually appear from one of the other adult characters if given a certain level of attention (such as feeding, cleaning, and of course, loving). Since the toy’s initial release in the U.S., the company has sold more than 82 million units worldwide.
“For many Generation X kids, the Tamagotchi device can be considered America’s first and favorite digital pet,” says Tara Badie, marketing director for Bandai America. “The enduring power of Tamagotchi is its clear expression that nurturing and love never goes out of style. It’s such an honor to bring back one of the most beloved toys in a way that captures the magic and joy of a generation while embracing the sensibilities of new generations.”
“It got such a tremendous worldwide response from fans that were knocking down our door to bring it back to the US, so we brought it back,” Liz Grampp, Vice President of Brand Management at Bandai America, told Dailymail.com.
The new version of Tamagotchi are about 60% the size of the originals but look pretty much the same as they did in the 1990s. Tamagotchis will have 16×16 pixel screens and three buttons underneath. It will be available in six different shell designs from pale orange and see-through blue to boldly contrasting two-tone schemes straight out of the 90s. Each Tamagotchi will include six virtual pets. After hatching a digital creature, users must take care of it as it moves through the different stages of life. The new Tamagotchi line will be available in the same replicated packaging design of the originals.
The limited-edition of the miniature toy will be available from November 5 in the U.S. through common stores, including Walmart, Target, Toys R Us for $14.99 each. However, the new Tamagotchi line is currently available for pre-order. The company says that it will also be rolling out the new version across October in European markets.