Hi, I'm

Jonathan Pike 👋

I'm a software developer in St. Albert, Alberta.

Tamagotchi, 20 years apart

June 14, 2021 # permalink

Tamagotchis Side By Side

When I was 9 or 10, the toy ever kid needed to have (and the toy every kid was talking about if they didn’t have it) was a Tamagotchi. For the unaware, this toy was a virtual pet from another planet that you could take care of and play with. And maybe, if you did a good enough job, you’d get rewarded when the creature decided to go back to its home planet.

When the fad was on its way out and Wal-Mart had too much stock and was selling them at a deep discount, I got one. I played with it for a while and enjoyed it, even though I never got the reward for taking great care of it. Then, I put it away, its batteries died, and it sat in a bin until this past weekend.

While visiting the toy store with my kids, surprise of all surprises, I saw that they had new Tamagotchis for sale. My son had seen my lifeless Tamagotchi before and was intrigued by what this toy could do, and I couldn’t help but buy it for him. And what do you know – it used the “Gen 2” software, just like mine, 20 odd years later. Check out the date on the back of each device:

Old Tamagotchi, 1997 New Tamagotchi, 2017

After seeing the new one, I had to see if mine still worked. Some new batteries, a new screw (from an eyeglasses repair kit), and some Isopropyl Alcohol later, I had an egg bobbing up and down on my screen, just waiting to hatch. After going through all of the features, they were almost identical. The one change I could discern was in the icon for the “medicine” feature, which you use when the Tamagotchi feels sick.

In my old version, it’s a bottle and spoon:

Old Tamagotchi Medicine, a bottle and spoon

In the new version, it’s a syringe:

Old Tamagotchi Medicine, a syringe

I’m not sure why they would change this icon. Perhaps it’s indicative of what people in 2017 (and beyond) consider good medicine – vaccines are at the top of most of our minds nowadays. Whatever the reason, the Tamagotchi is still quite a fun little toy. I’ll probably enjoy playing with it for a few weeks, then stick it back in its box, waiting for when I’m ready for my next trip down memory lane.