Nostalgia

When Did Tamagotchi Come Out? In The U.S., 25 Years Ago

Digital pets taught a whole generation the meaning of responsibility.

A girl playing with an original tamagotchi in the '90s. The toys came out in the u.s. in May 1997.
Yves Forestier/Sygma/Getty Images

Yves Forestier/Sygma/Getty Images

In May 1997, wee Millennials briefly gave up on owning a dog when Tamagotchi, the U.S.’s first digital pet, came on the market, six months after it debuted in Japan. For as little as $15, ‘90s kids became pet parents.

Mathieu Polak/Sygma/Getty Images
On Tamagotchis, tween animal lovers could nurture a growing pet by feeding, playing with, and cleaning up after it — even its digital poop was cute! But if you ignored its beeps for attention, it died. (Smithsonian says the average lifespan was 12 days.)