Tamagotchi Turns 25: New “Smart” Incarnation of Iconic Digital Pet Toy Hits Stores

Society

Toymaker Bandai celebrated the twenty-fifth birthday of the Tamagotchi with the launch of the first in the series with a touchscreen and microphone.

It is 25 years since Japanese toymaker Bandai launched the Tamagotchi on November 23, 1996. The handheld digital pets caused a sensation, attracting long lines outside Japanese toy stores and inspiring nurturing instincts in owners across the world, who became immersed in the raising of their electronic charges. A second boom in sales came in 2004, and more than 85 million units have been sold globally to date.

On November 23, 2021, the Tamagotchi Smart hit Japanese stores to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the iconic toy. One eager prospective customer standing in line in Harajuku, Tokyo, commented, “I’ve loved them since I was small, and I have loads at home along with heaps of Tamagotchi paraphernalia.”

The Tamagotchi Smart is the first in the series to feature an LCD touchscreen and a microphone. Users can wear the toys as a watch, and talk to their digital pets as they go. Maker Bandai says that the pets will speak more as they grow, and remember their owners’ preferences.

Yasuda Erika of Bandai comments, “Feeding the pets meals and snacks is something that’s carried over from before, but with this new Tamagotchi, you can order delivery food, and there’s a kind of online shopping menu, which we hope customers will enjoy.” Bandai envisions the new Tamagotchi as not only for the stay-home period during the pandemic, but also for when people are out and about more after it is over.

(Originally published in Japanese on FNN’s Prime Online on November 24, 2021. Translated and edited by Nippon.com.)

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