I was 10 or 11 years old when the Japanese toy company Ban Dai released the very first Tamagotchi, a keychain-sized virtual pet that you can carry with you wherever you go. For a while, my status as “nerdiest girl in class” was lifted because an uncle from the US got me a Tamagotchi before it even reached Philippine stores. The success of the Tamagotchi was short-lived as more interactive gadgets penetrated the market, but the little virtual toys have been making a comeback. Apparently, Tamagotchis today have new features like infrared so your Tamagotchi and your friend’s Tamagotchi can exchange gifts and even breed!
I don’t know if toy stores still carry the old-school Tamagotchis but the latest Tamagotchi, the Celebrity Familitchi, is available in the Philippiness for P999.75. Apparently, this version lets you control an entire Tama-family of brothers, sisters, a mom and dad! It has an entire Tamagotchi town where you can buy food and special items, travel to foreign destinations, play mini-games, meet over 60 characters, even a chance to meet the Tamagotchi King. In the celebrity version, however, you also get to raise Tama pets that have more expensive tastes and hobbies. You can also interact with the Tamagotchi virtual world with your PC or Mac.
Between the old-school Tamagotchi and the newer ones, I’d rather have my Tamagotchi without infrared. If you see them anywhere, let me know! I think I’ll get one for myself.