Tamagotchi ‘Virtual Pets’ Are Officially Back!

There were few things in the 1990s that stole my childhood attention quite like the Tamagotchi. I had real pets, but there was just something special about that tiny virtual animal I could carry with me everywhere I went.

True story: I distinctly recall refusing to go into a store and instead making my parents stay with me in the car (sorry, mom and dad!) because my Tamagotchi was on the verge of virtual death if I didn’t feed it RIGHT NOW. Serious stuff!

They were arguably one of the biggest toy fads of the late ’90s and early 2000s, and now you (or your kids, I guess) can again experience the joy of these tiny pets nearly 20 years after they were first released. That’s right—the original Tamagotchi is back!

These re-released virtual pets will be available in all six of their original colors, but while our iPhones are getting bigger, our Tamagotchis are apparently getting smaller. The new Tamagotchis are half the size of the originals.

For those of you who are still confused (tama-what?), a Tamagotchi is an egg-shaped “pocket pet,” if you will, on a keychain. The original story behind the virtual pets was that a small alien species left an egg on Earth to see what life was like. It was then up to Tamagotchi’s owner to raise the egg to become an adult. The better care you give your pet, the smarter and happier it will become. Of course, you had to take care of it or it would “die.” It was a hard lesson in responsibility (and terrifying, I must say, for a young child), but much safer than putting real animal in the care of a kid.

Since its release in 1996 (1997 in the U.S. and Europe), the Tamagotchi never really went anywhere—it’s been a fashion accessory and you can even get one on your Apple watch. But these “new” models are, in fact, re-releases of the originals. If you’re longing for true nostalgia, though, you can find some original models from the 1990s on Amazon, But be prepared to pay—some are selling for as much as $130.

For now, the new Tamagotchis are available in stores in Japan (for about $17, which is roughly the same as the original 1990s price). They’re also for sale on Amazon Japan, so you can get your hands on one here in the U.S.

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