1997 was a pretty good year. It was the year I met (and was soon engaged to) the girl who would eventually become my wife, and it was also a big year for toys. I was actually working for Walmart at the time, and I remember the original Tamagotchi craze like it was yesterday. It came in an era when Tickle Me Elmo and Pokemon were also possible subjects to the infamous “Do you have _____?” that retail workers were getting slammed with on a daily basis. Now, in an era where toys like Hatchimals encourage kids to nurture electronic pets, the return of 1997’s digital pet looms, with the 20th Anniversary Edition of the original Tamagotchi set for release on November 5, 2017 in limited quantities via Bandai America. But, like other recent retro comebacks (NES Classic and such), this Tamagotchi is a miniature version of the original device.
From the Official Announcement: Awakening and evoking nostalgic feelings from the mid-to-late ’90s, this smaller Tamagotchi device features the familiar egg shape, pixelated LCD charm, and, of course, the recurrent need for tender-loving-care that endeared fans in 1997 when it was first released! Like the original Tamagotchi device, the mini Tamagotchi includes six different shell designs from the initial Japanese launch and each one includes six characters. To pay homage to fans, the mini Tamagotchi will also feature the iconic packaging design of the original Tamagotchi device. Now, both original fans and new fans can obsess over caring for their Tamagotchi character, and as they do the character will uniquely grow and develop.
“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.”
Bandai America created a wave of excitement and huge demand for Tamagotchi when the device was introduced 20 years ago. Since its initial debut, the company has sold more than 82 million units worldwide.
In celebration of its upcoming launch, all generations that want the chance to feed, play and clean up after their virtual pets can pre-order their Tamagotchi device starting today at various North American retailers. The mini Tamagotchi devices are sold individually with a suggested retail price of $14.99.
I’ll admit that I bought one of these back in the day. I killed it repeatedly, and have no desire to own one again. Still, the 90s retro wave is completely official. Hasbro brought Tickle Me Elmo back for 2017, Pokemon is going strong, and even the Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy have new toys on shelves. Stay tuned for more!