In 1997 I saw a Tamagotchi from Bandai for the first time. It was early September and I was 7 years of age. I remember my parents being glued to the television, watching coverage of Princess Diana’s death for that entire day. I was too young to understand much of what was going on, as I really didn't know anything about death or dying. Times were simpler at that age. Later that evening, we all attended my cousin Maria’s 9th birthday celebration. We all gathered at my aunts home, about a half hour out of the city. I don’t remember much of the evening until it came time for my cousin to start opening her gifts. When she opened one gift in particular is when a seed was planted -- A very wonderful seed, that would soon become a hobby and a huge part of my life.
She opened a tiny little box, about the size of what a set of earrings would come in, and she began to squeal “Tamagotchi! Tamagotchi! Tamagotchi!!!” and jumped up and down around the room. I had no idea what the excitement was about, and I looked up and my Mom and said “What is a Tamagotchi?”. She responded “I’m not quite sure, but I say you will want one of your own once you take a look at it”. All of my other family members were crowded around her at this point, prying for a look at the little egg. I can remember my uncle pressing some buttons before she could play with it, and looking back now, I realize he was setting the time for the egg to hatch. Everyone was extremely excited over this little toy, and being 7 years old I was very intrigued. I was a 7 year old boy, but a very quiet 7 year old boy, so I stayed away from the crowd until they grew tired of watching Maria playing with the little egg. When things calmed down about an hour later, I went and sat with her and peered down at the little screen. I distinctly remember seeing Tonmarutchi floating around on the screen and I commented “Look at the little bump on his head!!!!! Did he hurt himself?”. I thought he was just the cutest thing I had ever seen.
I had no idea how a Tamagotchi worked, or what you were even supposed to do with it. Maria passed me the little yellow egg, which was clad with black tiger stripes and buttons and a heavy keychain. I pressed the middle button, only to be brought to a clock screen. She tried showing me the various little functions, but there was so much activity going on around me that I couldn’t take any of it in. I handed it back to her and went to find my Mom and Dad.
I went and sat with my Dad and told him that I had never seen a Tamagotchi before. He told me I would be seeing a lot more of them very soon. He was a high school teacher, and he said that all the kids were carrying them around with them. He said that I should have one, and that him and Mom were going to bring me out to Canadian Tire (the department store across the street from us at the time) the following day and get one.
I didn’t think much of it for the rest of the evening. I had my first week of school coming up. I was nervous. I had to repeat grade 1 for a second time because I had missed a lot of time the previous school year due to illness and anxiety. It was a difficult enough time for any child, but my generalized anxiety made things that much worse.
The following day I spent the day playing with the kids across the street from us. When I went over to their house, all the kids were sitting in the TV room playing with little toys with key chains. I ran down the stairs and yelled “Tamagotchi’s!!!!! When did you get these??”. They didn’t know what I was talking about, as the toys they were playing with were Nano Puppies and Nano Babies. The two boys had the puppy and the girls had the Nano Baby. I kept referring to the toys as Tamagotchi’s, since that is what Maria had been given the night before for her birthday. I watched everyone as they pressed the buttons on their little pets. I tried to take in as much as I could and learn the various functions of the toys. As the day went on, I began to forget about Tamagotchi and my mind was focused on the Nano Puppy. It was so cute! And I really wanted to get one. :-)
After school the next day, my Mom brought me up to Canadian Tire and we got a clear white Nano Puppy. The neighbourhood kids came with us, and we looked at all the different colors of the Nanos. Canadian Tire hadn't any Tamagotchi, though, funnily enough - There were only Nanos. When we got back to the house, we started up my little Puppy and played outside for the rest of the afternoon.
About a month and a half later, we had another family gathering. My cousin had lost her tiger stripped Tamagotchi, but found him again. We sat together and swaped virtual pets. I found the Nano Puppy a lot easier to play with at that point in time since there was an extra button, unlike Tamagotchi which only had three buttons. But no less, I was intrigued with the Tamagotchi because it just seemed so much more complex, and the characters were so cute. I took note of the fact that the character on the Tamagotchi's screen was different than the evening of September 1, which I found really interesting.
Another week or so passed, and then there were Tamagotchi showing up at school. They were everywhere! I can distinctly remember a boy named Scott, who sat right next to me in my grade 1 class, who had a green and yellow P1. I took note of the fact that the character on the screen was almost perfectly round, without a bump on his head. Scott let me play with his green Tam during recess and lunch hour. One day we got caught passing the Tama back and forth at our table during a lesson, and the teacher told us to put it away or she would have to take it to her desk. :-P I was completely obsessed at this point.
Walking through the hallways and the playground I noticed all the different colors of Tamagotchi. There were yellow Tams, Pink Tams, Purple Tams, and even transparent Tams that you could see the insides of. Some had little beaded chains and other had heavy keychains. I had never seen anything so fun and captivating in my entire 7 years, and my Nano Puppy was slowly becoming rather boring. Nothing new ever happened with my little puppy, and all throughout the school, I heard talk of a "secret character" on the Tamgotchi, which everyone was trying to get on their Tams.
It was the very end of November, and I was a boy on a mission. I needed to find out everything I knew about Tamagotchi. I finally convinced my parents to bring me to Toys R Us. But they said it would be the weekend before we could go since they had work, and I had homework to do in the evenings after school. Little did I know, I would come across a HUGE bin of Tamagotchi's at Costco that night while my parents went food shopping.
It was a Thursday night. I was hyper enough being that the next day was Friday and the weekend was approaching. There were Christmas trees and decorations all over Costco, and all kinds of bins filled with toys and action figures. It was one particular bin of toys that sent me into a frenzy that I will never forget - The Tamagotchi bin. I recall the palstic bin of Tamas being taller than me, which wasn't hard considering I was 7 and very small for my age. I did everything but dive into the bin itself, grabbing the boxes of Tamas by the arm fulls, prying to get a look at all the different colours. There were mainly P1 Tamagotchi in this bin, but I was in such a frantic state of bliss that I can't even recall certain colours. I distinctly remember seeing the purple/pink P1 in many of the boxes I grabbed, as well as green/yellow and yellow/orange ones. If I could have taken them all home with me at that very moment, I would have. But then it was time to go to the food section.
That weekend, the Christmas buzz was everywhere. And Tamagotchi commercials were popping up left, right and center. I remember watching cartoons when the commercial for the P1/P2 Tamagotchi came on during a break. I did everything but dive into the television screen! The commercial was only about 30 seconds long, but I took in every one of those seconds. The Tamagotchi was described by a little gold fish, who was being neglected by its owner, because she was too engrosed in her Tamagotchi bliss. I must have watched the commercial about ten times that day, it was everywhere. It was even being talked about on the radio while we drove around in the car. I knew one thing for sure -- I was getting that white and green Tamagotchi that was pictured in the commercial. I had to have it!! But my parents said I had to wait another three weeks for Christmas to come, and that "Santa" was going to bring it for me!
It seemed like the longest three weeks ever, but Christmas finally came. I don't think I slept at all on Christmas Eve, knowing that the next morning I would have myself a Tamagotchi - The toy of 1997, and the most wanted possesion on every kids Christmas list, as well as some very cool adults might I add. :)
When Christmas morning finally came, I was beside myself. I felt like I was going to faint. I was FINALLY going to have my very own Tamagotchi. I had been so worried for the past month that I wasn't going to get the Same Tama that the girl had in the commercial - the white/green one with red buttons and writing. But looking back, I know my parents probably went to every toy store in town to ensure that they got the right Tama. It was the first present I opened that Christmas morning, and it was probably one of the most wonderful Christmas mornings ever. :) I ripped off the wrapping paper, and there in a brand new box was my white and green P2 Tamagotchi!
I tore open the cardboard packaging and was in awe over how shiny and new the Tama looked. I didn't know there were little tabs stuck in the Tamas that you had to pull before you could hatch it, so I pulled the tab out and squealed with joy when it made the long beeeeeep. I had several more presents to open, but I wasn't opening a thing until I had that Tama hatched. It was 6:00 in the morning so that is what we set the time as.
Once my little egg hatched, after what felt like the longest five minutes ever, I was in love. I had played with my cousins Tamagotchi before, but this one was mine, so the experience was a completely different one. I didn't have to give back this Tama to anyone, because it was all mine. :) I curled up next to the Christmas tree and tended to my little Shirobabitchi's every need. He was so cute, and I don't think he had the chance to empty more than one heart at a time because I was attentive to his every need.
I remember every detail of that hour where he was a baby. I clutched onto him as if he were a living being. My parents actually had to open the rest of my presents for me because I was so enamoured with my little Tam. I had stacks of presents with my name on them, but all that mattered was my Tamagotchi, who I believe I named Spike. :-P (I have never been one to name my Tamas in later years since I prefer to use the character names).
I got a telescope as one of my gifts that morning as well, and I remember my Mom trying to get me to look into it when I heard a loud shimmering sound coming from my Tama! I grabbed onto him tight and then Tonmarutchi appeared on the screen. He floated around for a moment, and then since it was only 7:30 in the morning, he went to sleep! I waited patiently until 9:00 for him to wake back up. And that gave me some time to get ready for the days festivities with the family.
We went to my grandparents house for lunch later in the day, and all my cousins had gotten a Tamagotchi, or a Nano or GigaPet. We were all running through the place with our little ones and comparing them. I got up on the coffee table and proudly announced that I was the only one there with a Christmas colored Tamagotchi, and everyone laughed at me. :-) It was a wonderful day, and one I will never forget.
On December 27th we all (aunts, uncles, cousins) went bowling. While I was gathering my things and getting ready to go, my Tam shimmered....! I clutched onto him in wait while the screen faded a second time, and I was amazed to see that my little blob had grown legs!!!! I was so excited!!!! My cousins were all jealous because their Tams had all changed into the character that looked like a duck. I had memorized the growth chart, and I knew I had gotten the healthier character. This experience just kept getting better.
Looking back on all this, it really was the best Christmas I ever had. I was with my family the entire time, my cousins from away were there for everything, and the best part was that I was able to share it with my little Tama - He was with me for everything, and for any Tamagotchi lover, that is really the best part of raising Tamas, to have them with you and let them take part in all the little things that you do.
The next couple of days went by fast, and I had sort of forgotten that my Tama was still going to change again - he was still only a teenager. I had not paused my little character at all, so his age was completely accurate. It was the evening of December 31st, New Years Eve, and we were all at my grandparents house playing board games and eating snacks that entire afternoon. Around 5:00 we all had to get ready because we were going for dinner at East Side Marios. My aunt was putting my boots and coat on for me (I was one of the younger kids of the group so I got pampered a lot) and that familiar shimmery sound started to play on my Tama....... I grabbed onto him, hoping that I was going to get the duck character..... But to my dismay, he became an alien looking character, with what looked like a black mask over his face. I was absolutely HORRIFIED! I was 7 years old, and a bit of a drama queen, and I squealed out "What have I done to Spike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". My aunt tried to calm me down, but I was beside myself. I had remembered reading on the Tamagotchi packaging that if you didn't treat your Tama properly that it would grow up to be mean and ugly..... So I thought I had done something wrong. I considered this character to be mean and ugly, and I could hardly even look at him. I was a little frightened to be honest. I felt like I had failed my cute little blob with legs... :( My aunt cheered me up by telling me that my Tama had just dressed up in a costume and that he was still the same cute little guy that I had hatched on Christmas Day.
I was very quiet during dinner at East Side Marios. I gave Spike to my Mom and she put him in her purse. I was very disappointed in myself because I truly felt that I had failed him. But looking back, that really was not the case at all. I had actually gotten the average caretakers pet, and for a 7 year old, that was pretty good. :) I came around to him after a little while, but I still didn't think he was anywhere as cute as Tonmarutchi and Tongaritchi had been. In later years, during my teens and twenties, I actually grew very fond of Zukutchi. I think he is very cute in his own way. :) And he can change into the much sought after secret character.
With time, I raised more characters on my little white and green Tama. I went back to school after Christmas, and a ban had been put on all virtual pets, so I wasn't able to raise my Tama the way I wanted to. The life of my Tama would be artificial from now on - pausing all day while I was in school, and then only getting a few hours of play time in the evenings after I was finished my homework. Tamagotchi soon faded out, and by the end of the 90s, they had pretty much been forgotten. But I never forgot about them.... I soon realized that there was a generation 1 of the Tamagotchi, or P1 as I later found out years later. I didn't know the terms for the different versions back in that day, I didn't even know the characters names! All I knew was that there was an older version of the Tamagotchi that was the same, but it had different characters and game. I wanted one oh so badly in 1998 after I found out about this, but we were unable to find one anywhere in stores.... I nearly had my poor parents driven nuts and I would say "I need to get that Tamagotchi!! The one that has no name written on the top of the shell!! And the one that eats a mint candy instead of cake!! That is the one I need!". My parents tried so hard to find one for me, but the craze ended faster than it started.... I never gave up on my dream to get the "Tamagotchi with no name". ;)
In early 1999 I was 8 years old and in the second grade. Tamagotchi Fever had long died out by this time, but not for me... I didn't have access to the internet or anything like that in these days so all I had was my imagination and the thought that one day I might have a P1 Tam. One day my best friend Patrick arrived at a birthday party with a yellow and orange P1 Tamagotchi. Well I about fell through the floor right then and there. Patrick let me play with that Tam for pretty much the whole birthday party which took place in the kids section of a restaurant. I was basically in heaven at this point. The fact that I was able to hold and play with the older version Tamagotchi was a dream come true. I still had my P2 White/Green/Red Tam, but for some reason I just loved the P1 more. I can still remember playing the game with Marutchi over and over again that day... :)
In late 2004, after Tamagotchi Connection was released in the US and Canada, I bought myself a P1 Tamagotchi off Ebay, and well.... The rest is kind of history. I am only sorry that I waited until now to to make a webpage about my Tamagotchi's and a blog of experiences, which I hope to start in the next couple of weeks. Tamagotchi has been a huge part of my pastime, and since getting back into them in August of this year, I have been a lot less anxious. They have been by my side all throughout the workday, and I bring them everywhere with me. They are my little clan of critters, since I run five at a time - sometimes less, sometimes more. :)
I shall soon write out all of my day-to-day experiences with my little ones - a blog of events in myself and my Tamas life. :) Tamagotchi's may come and go in my life, and the "Tamagotchi Fever" my die down again for me, but I want my future experiences to be written down somewhere special and never forgotten.
For more stories about my Tamagotchi - Go to my Tamagotchi Blogs page, where I keep a history of all my characters and a dated list of blogs of myself and my Tamas lives. :)
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Dennis Ryan 2015
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