Callum BoothManaging Editor
Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.
The Tamagotchi is the ultimate ’90s toy and, at the time, it felt revolutionary. Here was a pocket-sized gadget that contained an entire life form. And, you know what? It’s back.
As about twenty years have passed between now and then, it seemed wrong to do a normal review. In that time I’ve grown, so I wanted to do something deeper, something more important. What could keeping a virtual creature alive teach me about existence?
To find out, we made a video about it. But what if you don’t want to watch moving pictures? Don’t worry, dear reader – there’s an article below too.
Nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
I used to think the Tamagotchi was the height of technology. It seemed hard to believe a pet could exists in tiny machine. But now? It just kinda seems a bit… shitty.
This led me to reconsider what other childhood memories were, in reality, actually awful. Was football in the park a desolate affair? Were all those old video games I loved secretly appalling? How much of TV I thought was seminal is a dumpster fire?
The Tamagotchi has opened this door and it won’t close again.
Being able to reset your life would suck
At some point we’ve all thought about how cool it’d be to restart our lives. You could correct all those painful mistakes, make positive long-term decisions, and come out the other side a modern day Jesus.
Well, the Tamagotchi kinda offers you that choice. At any moment you desire, you can reset the device and start the creature’s life again. Unfortunately, this isn’t very much fun. More often than not you repeat the same mistakes again and again and again – kinda like ‘Groundhog Day,’ but without any imagination.
Basically, I’m certain that if we were given the option to repeat our lives, most of us would fuck up in the same ways (again), and end up right where we are now. At least, that’s what happened with the Tamagotchi. (Spoiler: it died a lot.)
Cleaning up poop is never glamorous
You know what? Dealing with another creature’s defecation feels pretty degrading. To all the dog owners and parents out there, I now truly understand your plight.
The human condition requires conflict
It’s the difficult things in life that have the most value. It’s fighting for something that makes it worthwhile. Unfortunately though, this is not how the Tamagotchi functions.
You can’t fight with it, you can’t punish it properly, and the only available game mode is a weird guessing contest. It’s so underwhelming that it forced me into the aforementioned realization that the best things in life require work. Happiness is a constant battle.
Thanks for teaching me how to sound like Joe Rogan, Tamagotchi.
Cake is the path to happiness
Need to cheer your Tamagotchi up? You give that sucker some cake. It’s an elegant concept.
This got me thinking, is there anyone who doesn’t actually like cake? Yeah, some people might pretend they don’t, but they do, really, don’t they? I mean, it’s delicious. It’s like when people lie to themselves and say they prefer Diet Coke over regular Coke even though it’s clear to everyone that they’re in deep denial.
In other words, if you ever get pulled over the police doing 90 in a school zone with a dead body in the trunk, make sure you have a nice chocolate gateau ready, yeah?
People are suckers
Look, the Tamagotchi isn’t very good. Yeah, it’s a fun bit of nostalgia, but it really doesn’t live up to my memories.
But you know what? I’ve spent goddamn hours and hours on that little device, and have had a strangely good time while doing so. Plus, loads of people commented on it, which made me feel like the belle of the ball. This taught me probably the most important lesson of all: people are absolute suckers.
Consider my experience – I don’t really like the Tamagotchi, but I still wasted large chunks of my life using it. Worst of all? I liked it.
Ugh, I’m the worst.
If you’d like to have your own Tamagotchi, you can find one here for the low, low price of $18.50. And if you don’t? Well, at least you’ve gained from what it taught me. Probably.
This post includes affiliate links to products that you can buy online. If you purchase them through our links, we get a small cut of the revenue.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.