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Re-creation of Tamagotchi screenThe Tamagotchi (????? Tamagotchi) is a handheld virtual pet created by Aki Maita and sold by Bandai. The name combines the Japanese word for egg ("tamago") and the syllable "chi" which denotes affection, and is also a pun on the borrowed English "wotchi", meaning "watch", as in the time piece.

In Japanese and most other languages it is pronounced with a short "o" sound — ta-ma-go-chee — however in the United States it is typically pronounced "ta-ma-GAH-chee".

The Pet

Tamagotchi are small, plastic eggs containing a tiny computer with a simple black and white LCD screen. Below the screen are three buttons. The egg is attached to a keychain, to encourage owners to always keep their Tamagotchi close by. The eggs have different colors and designs on them, making them a collectors' item.

Caring for the Tamagotchi is fairly simple. A tiny egg appears on the screen after the unit was turned on. After setting the time and waiting for exactly five(or one, depending on what version you have) minutes, the creature hatches. Pressing the three buttons, the owner can feed the Tamagotchi, turn the "light" in the unit on or off (Tamagotchi had an hour when they would wake up and an hour when they would go to bed, necessitating such a function), play a game with it, give medicine to it when sick, clean its living quarters, check its status (age, weight, discipline, hunger, and happiness), and discipline the Tamagotchi. An eighth function could be used by the Tamagotchi to call on its owner. Each one of the functions had an influence on how well you were taking care of the Tamagotchi and determined what kind of creature it would be in its teenager and adult years.

Tamagotchi evolved. They hatched as a "baby," grew into a "child," evolved once again into a "teenager," and one last time into an "adult." Traditionally, there have been two different kinds of teenagers, one associated with good care, the other associated with poor care, and six adults, three for each teenager form. There have also been many secret characters with special prerequisites to get them.

After a few weeks of the Tamagotchi being an adult, it will eventually die. In the United States, the story is that the Tamagotchi goes back to its home, "Tamagotchi Planet" instead of dying.

There were many Tamagotchi spin offs released, including Tiger Electronics' GigaPets. Bandai themselves released several different variations on Tamagotchi, listed below. Although most Tamagotchis have the same basic concepts (happiness and hunger meters, discipline, etc.), each different kind of Tamagotchi had their own unique game, food, and sometimes had varying icons on-screen.

Cultural Impact

Tamagotchi were introduced in 1996 and were a huge fad for a short time, with sales amounting to 40 million units. Due to inventory problems after the boom, it is said to have resulted in a 6 billion yen loss.

The name has become synonymous with "virtual pet" in many places and has helped further peoples interest in them. This has come at a price, according to some, as many schools around the world banned them due to the distractions they caused.

Tamagotchi generations

The following generations of official Bandai Tamagotchi have existed:

Shinshu de Hakken!! Tamagotchi (Generation Two, or P2)

  • Released in February of 1997 in Japan with four different designs. In May of the same year, four new different designs were released. This was also released in America, although it was named Tamagotchi as the American P1 units were. The only way to distinguish the two versions without opening the unit was by observing the box and its pictures or the background in the LCD screen.


  • Digimon had five different generations, each one with different evolutions but with the same functions.
  • This Tamagotchi premiered the feature of interconnecting Tamagotchi which could communicate data to each other.
  • In this case, the connecting was called "Dock 'n Rock" and was used for Digimon to fight each other.
  • Digimon is not capable of pause.

Tenshitchi no Tamagotch (Angelgotch)

  • Released in August 1997 with three different colors. This was later released in America as "Tamagotchi Angel."
  • Premieres the feature of a touch-register LCD screen, used to scare away bats that tried to steal your Angelgotch's snack and call it back when it went on a walk. It was also sensitive to your voice for the same purposes. Discipline replaced by "praise" for this pet only.

Mesutchi and Osutchi

  • Released in December of 1997 in Japan only.
  • Featured interlocking mating using the same concept that Digimon premiered to have Tamagotchis give birth. Five different generations of Tamagotchi were available, but only one had a growth chart that was affected by caretaking skills. The other four were linear, and if one was to trip up on his or her care, the Tamagotchi would become an unmateable creature. Something interesting about this Tamagotchi is that if you feed it too much and it gets to be 99 pounds, it turns into a "Debutchi" which takes up the whole screen. You have to get its weight down with games before you can do anything else.

Mori de Hakken!! Tamagotchi (Mori No Tamagotch)

  • Released in February 1998 with four different colors. It was scheduled for release in America as "Tamagotchi Garden" but it was canceled.
  • This Tamagotchi premiered the "predator" function also used in Umi No Tamagotch. Occasionally, a predator (one is a foot) would attack, and you have to use the voice and touch-sensitive functions by shouting and tapping at the screen to scare away the predator. If its attack succeeded, the Tamagotchi could be made sick or even killed.
  • Another notable function of the Mori No Tamagotch is its teenager phase: It is replaced by a cocoon, which stays for 24 hours, during which time you had to control a temperature dial. If the environment was mostly hot, the Mori No would change into the "warmer" creature for that quality of care, and vice versa for cold.

Umi de Hakken!! Tamagotchi (Umi No Tamagotch)

  • Released in March of 1998 with four different colors.
  • This is known as one of the hardest Tamagotchi to raise, needing near-constant attention. It included a "water quality" meter in the status screen. Flushing the screen could make the screen cleaner, but if all four skulls on the meter were filled, the water would become black and it had to be flushed to see the Tamagotchi again. This was a secondary use for the cleaning function which is not used in any other Tamagotchi.
  • This Tamagotchi was unique also in that it lost happiness and hunger hearts as it slept.


  • Named after Japanese actress Tamao Nakamura and released in April of 1998.

Deviltchi no Tamagotchi

  • Released in September of 1998 in four colors.

Yasashii Tamagotchi

  • Released in October of 1998 in four colors.
  • "Easy Tamagotchi," has slightly different evolutions than Generation One. Also features a larger case.


  • Santa Claus and Christmas-themed Tamagotchi.


  • Caveman Tamagotchi

Mothra Tamagotch

  • Winged beast Mothra Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi Plus

  • The newest version, released in Japan on March 20, 2004 and in the U.S. on August 15, 2004 as Tamagotchi Connection.
  • Includes new characters and some older ones, as well as some new features, including IR capability for Tamagotchi interaction which has been used in Japanese McDonalds to show the Tamagotchi eating a hamburger.
  • There are 3 main tamagotchi (new ones). These are Tamagotchi Plus, Tamagotchi ConnECTion and Tamagotchi ConneXions. These all have small differences.
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