Hold onto your slap bracelets, '90s babies, your nostalgia is about to peak. This summer, Bandai America is releasing a new Tamagotchi. Yes, you read that correctly. In this, the year 2020, we are being graced with a brand new Tamagotchi. If only your middle school self could see you now, on day who-knows-what of self-quarantine, drooling over news about a new digital pet.
Dubbed Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden, this new virtual pet is equal parts familiar and fresh. Like its Tamagotchi predecessors, you’ll care for your virtual pet by feeding it, playing with it, pressing buttons until it stops beeping and booping. This new version also boasts new features like a library where you can keep track of books you’ve borrowed and a dressmaker where you can, as the name suggests, push a button to create a new dress. Lest you think the name “Wonder Garden” a misnomer, this new Tamagotchi comes with a new land to explore also called Wonder Garden where you can get new accessories, items, and snacks for your virtual pet.
Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden also comes in two new colors: lavender and turquoise. It’s an “Animal Crossing”-esque reboot of the Tamagotchi you know and love, letting you enjoy the garden landscape and partake in simple chores like apple picking. It’s springtime wonder meets pixelated nostalgia. It’s a brand new Tamagotchi that you can buy with your adult dollars.
“We’re excited to see that [Tamagotchi] has been able to come back,” Tara Badie, Bandai's marketing director, tells Bustle. In November 2018, Bandai brought back its original Tamagotchi to major retailers like Target. Though you may have stopped playing with them, Tamagotchis never went away entirely. You could always find a few lingering at a steep up-charge on eBay. However, the 2018 edition harkened back to the classic Tamagotchi with its black and white pixelated screen and styles in translucent blue, purple and pink, mermaid, and green glitter. In May 2019, Bandai launched yet another new version of the virtual pet: Tamagotchi On.
If you’re wondering how the new Tamagotchi On compares to the original, you'll see some of your favorite old features, as well as some new additions. The first thing you’ll notice is the colored-digital screens. No more gray-scale pixels for your virtual pet. You also have more say in what your character does giving you options from eating at a restaurant to traveling in different “Lands” to — I kid you not — getting married. (Tamagotchi weddings are the future.) Then, your married Tamagotchi can have a Tamagotchi offspring that has a combination of features from each parent. This is one of the most excited new features, Badie notes — having Tamagotchi babies that “take genes on,” inheriting the eyes of one parent and the body type of the other. There’s even daycare drop-off letting you leave your Tamagotchi in someone else’s care for a bit. Tamagotchi that abides by my schedule? Is it a blessing or blasphemy?
There also the Tamagotchi app where you can play more games, meet more characters, and earn ‘Gotchi’ points that allow you to bring special gifts back to your Tamagotchi. Badie mentions that some people use the app for “Tama-watching,” simply observing other users in the virtual space. In order to keep it kid-friendly and accessible, you can’t chat with other users on the app but you can “like” another Tamagotchi.
The love for Tamagotchi has stayed strong since the '90s. To date, Tamagotchi has sold over 82 million units across the world, according to an emailed press release. In fact, 40% of Tamagotchi consumers are adults, Badie says, adding that they're excited to introduce in a new generation to Tamagotchi and bring a bit of nostalgia to older fans.
Pre-sales are now available online through Target, Amazon, Walmart, GameStop, and Entertainment Earth. The new Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden will be available through specialty retailers nationwide starting July 26.