Feature Photo Attribution: Luna’s tamagotchi (Joi Ito) (CC BY 2.0)

Numerous forms of entertainment came into our lives with the development of technology; virtual pet games, which millions of children enjoy today, being one of them.Having a virtual pet game became popular during the 90’s, as it provided a certain degree of entertainment for children. Throughout the years, technology has greatly evolved and so has the world of Tamagotchi, the first virtual pet out there. Let’s take a look at how Tamagotchi changed over the two decades of its existence.

The History of the Tamagotchi

The first virtual pet was created in 1996 by Akihiro Yokoi and Aki Maita. The pets were simulated on small, handheld devices. The gameplay was fairly simple: first, an egg appears on the screen and the little alien pet is born. It is from that moment that you are responsible for all its needs. You are responsible for feeding the pet, cleaning the pet and taking care of its health.

During the gameplay, the pet develops through different stages. The changes put pets in several different states; baby, child, teen and adult. Later on, the senior model was also introduced. These little gadgets were extremely popular in the West and in the far East, which is confirmed by data that shows that over 70 million virtual pet devices were sold by 2010.

During the two decades, numerous different versions of Tamagotchi have come to life. The first one was extremely popular and so was the 2004 version, which allowed connectivity between devices.

Decline in popularity and the evolution of technology

Tamagotchi devices on display

However, the popularity of the Tamagotchi virtual pet game has been greatly affected by the introduction of smartphones. The whole concept of having a virtual pet has significantly changed ever since Android and iOS devices have expanded to all four corners of the world. The Tamagotchi concept has completely evolved. Even though the company had released Tamagotchi for the Android and iOS platform, it was too late, as newly developed virtual pet games were far more engaging and entertaining.

The nature of smartphone devices is what greatly improved virtual pet games. There are numerous ways in which technology has affected the evolution of this game genre.

  • The graphics interface which Android and iOS devices offer is much more advanced and appealing to the eye.
  • There are many more activities that can be done with pets nowadays.
  • Virtual pet games are more engaging as you move your finger across the touchscreen to clean, feed and play with your pet.
  • The characters in these games are capable of reproducing whatever is being said, which is an awesome feature that gave birth to My Talking Pet games.
  • Once you have finished taking care of your pet, the game developers ensured that you can have more fun by playing a variety of other mini games.
  • There is more variety when it comes to types of pets you want to take care of. There are various talking pets nowadays; dogs, cats, elephants, pandas, alien pets and many other.

All these features are something which completely changed the way people take care of their virtual pets.

It is interesting to see how, throughout the years, the Tamagotchi concept has evolved and what it is today. It sounds like a funny innovation, however, talking virtual pets are one of the most popular genres on both the iOS app store and the Android app store. One thing is certain; the main reason why virtual pet games were developed has never changed: to help your children establish a sense of responsibility.