When the Tamagotchi was released by Bandai in 1996, the company probably didn’t think it would be the hit it became. I certainly was surprised when I learned that as of 2010, more than 76 million Tamagotchis had been sold all over the world!
The egg-shaped toy brought a new face to gaming, tapping into the human proclivity of loving and caring for pets. The device was simple and affordable, and the game play was also very basic yet engaging. The idea was to have a virtual pet living in the device. Your pet could take on different characteristics and could be based on animals, objects, and even people. Just like real pets, a Tamagotchi has a life cycle, starting from an egg and ending in senior stages. One had to take care of the pet by feeding it. Additional interactions such as cleaning up (toilet) and taking care of the pet if it got sick were available.
The “new” Tamagotchi
If you thought that the Tamagotchi concept is outdated, you’ll have to think again. The Tamagotchi has expanded to home gaming systems including Nintendo DS, and we’re on the brink of having a Tamagotchi of sorts available on our phones! Call it the Tamagotchi for the new millenium, if you wish.
A new app called Photogotchi is soon to be released for the iPhone and Windows Phone. Obviously, the concept is closely tied to the Tamagotchi, with a few adjustments in the concept.
Photogotchis – the new virtual pets – are supposed to be cousins of the Tamagotchis. As their name implies, however, their diet is rather restricted. They survive wholly on pixels – pixels that can be obtained from taking real life photos.
See where this is going?
Instead of having to buy an egg-shaped gadget, you only need your smartphone to download the app. Once you have the app, you can create your Photogotchi and feed it as much as you want with photos, which first have to be pixelized before your pet can digest it. I can already see the Photogotchis of shutterbugs reaching immense proportions (and beauty) thanks to photos of their breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and everything in between!
Originally, news was that Photogotchi would be available in the first few days of October, but the official web site says “Coming Soon”, so I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer.