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    Tamagotchi Has Returned, Is Somehow Now a Pastel, Girls-Only Bummer

    The Tamagotchi craze hit my elementary school right around the time of the yo-yo craze, and possibly because she was trying to find any way for me to make friends, my mom bought me both. The yo-yo thing didn't really last long (I got tired of seeing my fingertips turn blue) but damn, that Tamagotchi was the shit. The most brilliant aspect of the whole thing, aside from how stressful the need to feed and clean up after my digital pet was, was the box the gadget came in. It showed every top-level Tamagotchi your pet could evolve into, so you had to grow them all.

    I remember there was one I really wanted (remember, we're talking about 64-pixel black and white creatures here) that probably had a mohawk or something, but no matter how many Tamagotchi I grew to adulthood while carrying that gadget clipped to my Lee Pipes BMX jeans–and then subsequently killed off because screw taking care of digital pets that don't fit my specific standards–I never got that single Tamagotchi. I don't even remember what it looked like, but I still think about what could have been to this day.

    So imagine my surprise when I found out that Bandai has brought Tamagotchi back from the binary grave, and rather than putting them in a little clear-plastic gadget jail, the Tamagotchi (is that plural?) have been reborn as an app–Android-only for now.. And guess what: Bandai actually made the smart move and basically made it exactly the same as the original, only in a fancier interface (and apparently higher res or something, but I don't know how that's possible when you're working with 8 bits or less). Plus it's free! Rad, right?

    But what the fuck is this commercial? The Tamagotchi that I thought was the SHIT as the kid is now apparently only allowed to be played with by extras from a mid-2000s straight-to-VHS Hannah Montana ripoff? If Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. really is about love being fun everywhere, why can only fashion executives (as envisioned by four year old girls) and people who wear pastel shutter shades and lace Kangol hats apply? I mean, more offensive than the gender wall Bandai is throwing up is how it's portraying women who plays games. The company is clearly targeting adults and trading on nostalgia–it loudly announces Tamagotchi's "sweet 16," as in you're only playing this thing if you played it nearly two decades ago–yet portrays them as dinguses that only shop at Spencer's and Claire's and smell like some weird cotton candy perfume.

    To be clear, I'm not hating on the actual models in the commercial, as they're just doing their thing. But holy shit, this just took my childhood dreams of having some cool digital pet, threw it in a hot-pink EZ-Bake oven filled the rotten bile spewed by the "toys should be gender-specific" people, with wrapped it in glitter stickers that say "SUCK IT DEREK, GIRLS ONLY," and then force fed it to Jigglypuff to float over and shit on my head. And to top it all off, the app is free only because it's tied in to a Tamagotchi store, because it couldn't be a Girl Toy ® without shopping. This is horseshit. I hope all your Tamagotchi die in a digital tire fire.

    @derektmead

    Topics: gaming

    Written by

    Derek Mead

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