Retromania shows no signs of relenting any time soon. Last month we wrote about the success that gaming companies have enjoyed by marketing their classic games to a nostalgic audience. The latest Nineties craze to spring back to life is the digital pet toy, Tamagotchi.
Tamagotchi Friends has already launched in Europe and will hit stores in the United States later in the year. While the original Tamagotchi gave kids a taste of responsibility by letting them take care of a virtual pet, this new incarnation makes you accountable for the nurturing and growth of an e-person, from infancy through to adulthood. Mashable’s Samantha Murphy Kelly described the experience as like having an incredibly needy best friend.
The toy also acts as an introduction to e-commerce for youngsters. As a Tamagotchi spokesperson explains: “The main focus is taking care of and nurturing your friend, but you can also play games that earn you money so you can go virtual shopping.” The device is equipped with a sensor; by bumping two Tamagotchi Friends together, users can send messages and virtual gifts to each other.
The Tamagotchi renaissance also includes character toys, clothes and accessories, and last but not least, a new app for Android and iOS. Like Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy before it, Tamagotchi Life Angel recreates the original handheld Angelgotchi game on your smartphone screen and promises to fulfil your craving for warm, brightly coloured retro feels. The nostalgic appeal of the Tamagotchi Angel is tempered, however, by the inclusion of brand new music in the app, including “Any Weather”, a collaboration between rock legends Joan Jett and Dave Grohl.
“We are so delighted to bring back in app form one of the most Tamagotchi series, the Tamagotchi Angel, to capture the imagination of young fans across America, just as the original did back in 1997,” states Naomi Tobita, the Chief Tamagotchi Officer at Bandai (what a job title!). Tobita cites the apps, licensed apparel and new toy lines as “the latest examples of the rapid growth of the Tamagotchi brand.”