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In The Name of Nostalgia

In The Name of Nostalgia

Image Source The Verge

If you were a child of the 90’s, you inevitably at one point owned a Tamagotchi (or Gigapet, or another imposter version of the popular digital pet). At age eight, the Tamagotchi was my first real gadget. It came before I spent hours a day on my family’s Compaq desktop computer, holding up the phone line and frustrating my parents to no end; before my blue GameBoy and the days where I hunted Pokemon for endless fun; before I got my hands on my first cell phone: a small camera-less Nokia flip phone that required mastery of T9; and before I got my first iPod, freshman year of high school.

I can’t recall much about my Tamagotchi. I can’t even recall what I named it (probably McKenzie; growing up, I always loved the name and recall it being the moniker of several of my dolls). I do, however, remember feeling like a certified BA whenever I had that thing around. It was like the next step up from caring for a doll; the feeling that you had some sort of responsibility in the world. A creature was counting on you. (I yearn for the days when my greatest obligation was keeping alive a fake virtual pet in a small plastic egg.)

When I first heard that the maker of the Tamagotchi, Bandai, was bringing it back for its 20th anniversary (in a mini version), I felt a bit giddy with nostalgia. Upon thinking about it more, though, I think about how ridiculous I might look with a little plastic toy in the shape of an egg buzzing on my desk, asking for food. I concluded that the poor thing would definitely die of neglect in a day or two.

Upon reading several accounts of millennials who tried out the gadget again in the name of journalism, (like this, this, and this), I tend to agree with Megan Farokhmanesh of The Verge: “Nostalgia isn’t enough to make the toy competitive in the modern era.” Kids at the age I was when the Tamagotchi was first released will in no way be impressed or entertained by it – not when they have newer iPhones than their parents that provide every ounce of entertainment they would ever need. They would probably laugh at the 8-bit graphics (“THIS is what you played with back in the day?!”).

There is no denying that the reprise of the Tamagotchi is for us millennials that miss the simple pleasures of our childhoods. It is the same reason Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition and everyone went crazy for it. No one is impressed by the graphics: they love it because it reminds them of the times they would sit on the floor in their jammies on a Saturday morning, eyes glued to the TV, determined to conquer the next level of Super Mario Bros.

Maybe $14.99 is a small price to pay for a few moments of sweet, sweet nostalgia…

(The new Tamagotchi will be available at certain stores and online for a limited time beginning November 5).

Posted by Erin D.