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Plugged In

Virtual pet sensation Tamagotchi making app comeback

Plugged In

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Old-school Tamagotchi (Credit: Getty Images)

First G.I. Joe. Then the Furby. Then the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Retro toys are big business, and another childhood favorite -- one you probably thought had curled up and died -- is about to make a comeback.

If you were a child (or a parent) in the 90s, you’ll remember the Tamagotchi: little electronic toys that live in your pocket, a virtual pet to feed, nurture, and train as it grows from a baby to an adult.

That was the idea, anyway. What usually happened was that the little pest sat around moping, inexplicably refusing to eat for days. Ah, the sadness. Ah, the tears. Ah, the blank and bewildered looks from adults who couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

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Tamagotchi Life (Credit: Bandai)

Tamagotchi are coming back, but in a decidedly more 21st century format. The most 21st century of all formats, you might say. No longer will Tamagotchi live in a dedicated, keychain-sized device. They’ll be doing whatever it is they do on your cell phone instead.

The app -- named Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. (which stands for "Love is fun everywhere") -- will be the first new release in the Tamagotchi range since 2009, and will launch soon on Android with an iOS version to follow. It’ll include minigames you can play with your Tamagotchi, wallpapers and other goodies to unlock, and a retro mode that’ll let you experience the original Tamagotchi’s monochrome graphics in all their dubious glory.

And the app is just the start of the tale. Tamagotchi is being relaunched as a “lifestyle brand,” which means we can apparently expect to see a range of Tamagotchi-emblazoned clothing, accessories, and more hitting stores later this year.

It's unlikely Tamagotchi kingpin Bandai will replicate their immense toy success, however. First launched by in 1996, the egg-shaped computers were an instant hit. Over 78 million have been sold worldwide.

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