Virtual Pet Game

by Bandai of Japan

1997 Hong Kong

Tamagotchi is BACK !! Bandai continues to release new versions of Tamagotchi Connection following the very successful U.S. launch of Version 1 on August 15, 2004. Follow all the news surrounding Tamagotchi Connection on our Tamagotchi Connection Information Center Page.

Read on below for coverage the Original Tamagotchi back in 1997.

Tamagotchi - This egg shaped loveable electronic bird creature that resembles a chicken virtual pet built by a Japanese toymaker, Bandai Company, took Japan by storm in late 1996. It was originally called Tamagocchi (Japanese word for loveable egg) in Japan, Bandai labeled it Tamagotchi in its early U.S. press releases.

If you came into our website from one of the search engines to this page, be sure to back up and read the vast information about the virtual pet industry available from our Vitual Pet Home Page.

Several Tamagotchi news reports are reproduced below.

AP-Dow Jones News Service
19 June 1997

7th Level/Bandai CD ROM-2: Features Expanded Animation

DALLAS -- 7th Level Inc. and Bandai Co.'s Bandai Digital Entertainment unit will create a CD-ROM for the hand-held Tamagotchi toy.

In a press release Wednesday, 7th Level said the CD-ROM will feature animation, story line and game options expanded from the Tamagotchi toy, in which a player raises a pet animal.

7th Level creates interactive multimedia products.

Bandai Digital Entertainment produces interactive entertainment and educational multimedia products.

7th Level Inc. (SEVL) said the CD-ROM of the Tamagotchi virtual pet toy, which it is developing with Bandai Co.'s Bandai Digital Entertainment unit, will be on store shelves in the U.S. no later than mid-November.

A company spokeswoman said the product will sell for $24.95.

A CD-ROM version of the toy is now available in Japan but the spokeswoman said Bandai believes it is 'not a good quality product and wants a more advanced, high quality computer game for the U.S. market.'

DALLAS (AP-Dow Jones)--7th Level Inc. and Bandai Co.'s Bandai Digital Entertainment unit will create a CD-ROM for the hand-held Tamagotchi toy in the U.S.

In a press release Wednesday, 7th Level said the CD-ROM will feature animation, story line and game options expanded from the Tamagotchi toy, in which a player raises a pet animal.

As reported Monday, Bandai is selling a Tamagotchi CD-ROM in Japan. A 7th Level spokesman said Bandai believes it is 'not a good, quality product and wants a more advanced, high-quality computer game for the U.S. market.'

7th Level said the virtual pet toy will be on store shelves in the U.S. no later than mid-November.

The 7th Level spokeswoman said the product will sell for $24.95.

Copyright © 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wall Street Journal
3 June 1997
by Wayne Arnold

Tamagotchis Take Up Residence
In New Bandai Mobile Phones

SORRY GODZILLA, a new monster has hung its shingle in Japan -- a seemingly helpless but certainly sinister critter called Tamagotchi. Tamagotchi, readers may already be aware, is an egg-shaped, hand-held electronic game named for the creature that hatches on its tiny screen, then peeps for the digital food, affection and play that it needs to grow and thrive. Neglect a Tamagotchi and it will wither and die, though this apparently isn't the object of the game.

Bandai, the company that sells Tamagotchi, has spawned about seven million of these hectoring toys since last November, and some have even shown up elsewhere around Asia. It's still not enough. Shortages have driven the price of a Tamagotchi in Tokyo to as high as 15,000 yen ($129). Now, the Tamagotchis are launching an aerial assault. Sometime this month, Bandai will begin selling mobile phones that have a Tamagotchi inside -- the Tamapichi.

The phones will operate on Japan's personal handyphone system, the low-priced wireless service that has become the rage among the country's teenage girls. Users no longer will have to watch their Tamagotchi die, they'll be able to blast their tiny beast to another Tamapichi owner's phone, where the ailing creature can frolic with its own kind, feed and regain its pluck. The phones will sell for 45,000 yen. Will these monsters stop at nothing?

Copyright © 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Newsbytes News Network 

Japan - Police Detain 4 Over Tamagocchi Electronic Pet Theft

TOKYO, JAPAN, 1997 MAR 3 (NB) -- By Martyn Williams. The craze over Bandai's Tamagocchi electronic pet has elevated the game into the same category as Nike "AirMax" sports shoes among Japanese youth. Police reported the detaining, on Friday, of four high school boys for the theft of a Tamagocchi from a fellow student.

The incident occurred in Yokohama, south west of Tokyo, and involved the bullying of one student and theft of his Tamagocchi. The game, a small key-chain type, involves the raising of an electronic chicken from chick to old age. The chick reaches old age if given a good life and fed regularly. Owners must also play with and clean up after the chick if they want to prevent it dying.

Impossible to buy in shops, street prices of Tamagocchi have rocketed to 20 or 30 times the retail price of just under 2,000 yen ($16.60). The toy's makers, Bandai, promise new stocks in Japan in April. This shortage, and their now high price, have made them a very desirable status symbol among Japanese youth and, apparently, have led some to theft.

This type of incident has been seen before in Japan. Nike AirMax shoes are incredibly popular and several incidents of shoes being taken off owners have been reported in the past.

Bandai announced plans recently to launch Tamagocchi in the United States in the summer and onto CD-ROM and Nintendo Game-Boy versions in Japan in the spring.

According to reports, police used several patrol cars and a helicopter in their pursuit of the four. All, including the victim, were 14 years old.

Exchange rate: $1 = 120.50 yen
Copyright © 1997 Newsbytes News Network.

GEO (Gaming Enthusiast) News Article
25 February 1997

Tamagocchi to the States with Nintendo

Whether you have been reading about the latest game craze Tamagocchi or not, Nintendo Gameboy owners will have a surprise coming their way soon from both Bandai and Nintendo.

Bandai, capitalizing on the continued success of it's Tamagocchi "pet" game in Japan, has announced 2 games already in the works for the Nintendo Gameboy. One game will supposedly be titled "Virtual Pet" when it hits the states expectedly in June. Whether or not Virtual Pet fever will sweep the states is currently a mystery, however, if the reaction is even close to Japan's frenzy, retailers should be in for a nice surprise. The actual decision to bring the game to the gameboy is in itself surprising considering the merger recently between Bandai and Sega. We'll have to keep our eyes pealed for Virtual Pet this summer at an expect $35.00 retail price when it lands stateside.

--Dennis Day

Hyper@ctive 2.0 News

Tamagocchi For Gameboy

Still storming its way across the Japanese toy market is Bandai's immensely popular "tamagocchi," the line of virtual pet products. Though still not introduced in the US (yet), the tamagocchi has appeared in two incarnations as a key chain LCD-based game. Today, Bandai announced that it was developing the game for Nintendo's systems.

The Game Boy will be the first Nintendo system to receive a tamagocchi game, and will include both versions of the key chain game, as well as giving players the chance to raise three of the virtual birdies at once. Bandai expects the Game Boy version to be released as early as this summer, with a retail price of 4,286 yen ($US35), and it will be sold only in Japan.

For those wondering what the tamagocchi is, it's a key chain shaped like an egg with an LCD screen set in the middle. The pet lives on the screen, and it must be fed and taken care of just like a normal pet. If neglected, the bird will eventually die. The game runs on the notion that humans have a motherly instinct, and if a real pet cannot be obtained, then a virtual pet is the next best thing. The name is a play on the Japanese word for 'egg', as the key chains are egg-shaped. In Japan, they are in such demand that they are known to sell for up to three times the retail price, which is normally 1,980 yen ($US16).

Bandai's Tamagocchi Game Heading Worldwide Bandai's Tamagocchi Game Heading Worldwide 02/03/97
TOKYO, JAPAN, 1997 FEB 3 (NB) -- By Martyn Williams.
Tamagocchi, the smash hit electronic pet game of Bandai Corp. will soon be available outside of Japan, according to the Saturday edition of the Mainichi Shimbun. The newspaper said that Bandai, which recently announced it will merge with Sega Enterprises, will sell the game in Asia, the United States, and Europe.

Bandai has sold more than a half million of the games, priced at 1,980 yen ($16.30), and they are so popular that the games cannot be found in any stores. Before Tamagocchi goes on sale overseas, the game will be changed to feature English language onscreen messages.

Owners of Tamagocchi must feed, pet, and clean up after a small chick to enable it to grow contentedly. Demand, especially among high-school girls, is estimated at over six million and Bandai is now getting more than a million hits per week on its Internet home page, said the newspaper.

Exchange rate: $1 = 121.45 yen

1 February 1997

Virtual pet-raising games

Virtual pet-raising games become new rage in toy market. Games that let users raise a digital pet on-screen are seeing soaring sales in the toy market which was, until recently, dominated by video games. Toy makers are now vying to develop new varieties of such games, following the lead of Bandai Co., whose Tamagocchi game has become a smash hit with teenage girls.

Tamagocchi, priced at 1,980 yen, is an egg-shaped device with a small screen and a few buttons. A user can raise a chicken on the screen by pressing the buttons to give it virtual nourishment.

Bandai will market a new version of the game in early February. The looks and character of the chicken change depending on the way the user raises it.

Casio Computer Co. and other firms, meanwhile, are selling digital pet-raising software that run on personal digital assistants and game machines.

"We have bought large volumes of such games but are already out of stock," said a spokesperson for Kiddyland, a major Tokyo toy retailer.

Copyright 1997 Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc., all rights reserved.

Saturn World News

Bandai Plays Chicken

Tamagocchi prepares to migrate to Western shores

Say "Tamagocchi!"

Bandai, building nest eggs for October's upcoming merger with Sega, is bringing the Tamagocchi, or "virtual pet," to the United States this spring.

If you've never seen one, the Tamagocchi is a little green egg with a tiny LCD screen on it. Inside the screen, a virtual chicken hatches and grows. Virtual pet owners need to feed it, scoop its poop, give it medicine when it's sick, or it will die, leaving owners feeling pretty guilty.

It's a hit craze in Japan like the Tickle Me Elmo toy in the States, getting scalped to desperate buyers for $300 or more. With the American International Toy Fair starting Monday, this is prime opportunity for Bandai to catch in on the next fad wave.

Washington Post
Jan. 27, 1997
by Kevin Sullivan
Virtual pet-raising games

Cheep thrills: Virtual chickens need care and attention,
or they'll croak

TOKYO - By dawn Friday, a line of almost 2,000 people stretched a quarter of a mile through the Ginza shopping district. Hundreds of them had spent the night camped out on the sidewalk in the numbing midwinter cold.

When you want a toy chicken badly enough, you will endure anything.

"It is my responsibility to nurture it and help it grow; if I do not, its face will turn vicious and it will become a gangster chicken, then it will die," homemaker Kwon Myong Mi, 33, said earnestly, explaining why she waited hours in line to pay $18 for a Tamagocchi, Japan's hottest new fad.

The Tamagocchi, which translates as "cute little egg," is a key-chain computer game about the size and shape of an egg. The game starts when an egg on the display screen hatches and a chicken is born. The owner then uses three tiny buttons to feed, play with, clean up after and discipline it. Unlike most video games that are over in a few minutes, this one can go on for days.

With proper care, the chicken grows. If the owner forgets to feed it, it sounds a loud "peep peep peep" of complaint. If the chicken makes a mess and the owner doesn't clean it up, the pet peeps even louder. The owner can tickle it with the press of a button, or take its temperature and give it injections of "medicine" if it seems ill.

Ignore the chicken, drop it on the subway, forget it at home or neglect to tickle it often enough, and it will grow sickly and mean-looking. Eventually it will die. Game over. The implication: You loser. You can't even keep a fake chicken alive.

More than 500,000 Tamagocchis have been sold since they were introduced two months ago by Bandai, the huge Japanese toymaker famous for its Power Rangers. Tamagocchis have sold for upward of $500 for those lucky enough to find one.

It would be easy to dismiss the Tamagocchi as a peculiar Japanese quirk. But American entrepreneurs and toy companies are watching closely. Remember: Other fads that started in Japan include the transistor radio, Power Rangers, Nintendo and the Sony Walkman. A Bandai spokesman Friday said the company was starting to look at "international markets" - spell that U-S-A.

The Tamagocchi buzz is so fierce these days that when word leaked out Thursday that the Hakuhinkan Toy Park had received a shipment of 1,700 and was going to sell them Friday, there was pandemonium.

"If one person has it, everyone has to have it. That's the way it is in Japan," said Nami Tanaka, 22, a dental nurse who traveled 90 minutes from her home, then camped out on the sidewalk from 10 p.m. Thursday until she finally got her little blue-and-pink Tamagocchi at 9:30 Friday morning.

Tanaka's friend, Ayami Kanayama, 21, a college student, said she'd called every toy store in Tokyo for more than a week, waiting for word on Tamagocchis. When Hakuhinkan finally said it would have some this morning, she and Tanaka spent the night on the sidewalk. Several hundred people who didn't come early enough were turned away without a Tamagocchi.

In this metropolitan area of 30 million, there is barely enough room for the humans, let alone animals. Many people rent pets as weekend companions; others buy a dog or cat but leave it at the pet shop, stopping by now and then to take it for a walk. So computerized pets have been around for a while - "virtual" dogs or cats that are fed and cared for with the click of a computer mouse.

"Many in the younger generation want to have nice soft pets, but they don't want to clean up after them and do the other hard parts," said Rieko Zanma, an essayist who writes about modern Japanese society. "The Tamagocchi is not a living creature, so it gives them satisfaction on a very `virtual' level, which has been instilled in young people today."

"It's fun, it's interesting and it's simple; depending on how I nurture it, it will grow up to be a nice chicken or a bad chicken," said Nobuyuki Tanabe, 16, a high-school student who skipped school to wait in line for one.

The Tamagocchi is so new that no one seems to know how long any single chicken will live. Kwon, the homemaker, said she had a friend who raised one for many days. "That was a good chicken," she said.

Kwon said she planned to do her best to raise an honorable chicken, too. But she knows there are no guarantees in life, real or electronic: "Some chickens are born to be good," she said. "And some are born to be bad."

'Virtual Pet' Craze Sweeps Japan

22 January 1997

TOKYO (Reuter) - Japan, a land famed for sudden fads, has a new craze -- ``The Virtual Pet.''

The new object of consumer desire is the latest in high-tech ``cuteness'' -- an electronic bird creature the size of an egg that has sold out everywhere and is now only available on the street at more than 20 times its retail price of 1,980 yen($16).

You can feed it, stroke it, carry it in your pocket and even take it to the bathroom -- all with the push of a button.

But watch out, if you don't care for your ``tamagocchi'' -- the Japanese word for ``loveable egg'' -- your pet will die before your eyes and before its time.

``We've sold 350,000, far beyond expectations because our target range for customers wasn't wide enough,'' said Tomio Motofu, spokeswoman for Japanese toymaker Bandai Co Ltd.

``It's not just high-school girls who are buying them, but primary school kids, office secretaries and middle-aged men,'' she said.

The tamagocchi starts life as an endearing, bird-like image on the screen of an egg-shaped keyring device. It changes from a chick to a fully grown adult in around 10 days.

However, the owner must feed, groom and soothe the digital creature or else see it waste away and die from neglect.

The owner may choose to feed the creature digital sweets or food and enjoy its sounds of delight, or ``play'' with it by pressing buttons in response to the creature's movements.

``In the beginning, I thought it would be just a bother to look after it but it eats food and sweets and you can play with it,'' a middle-aged woman said.

``And when you clean up its droppings, it jumps up and down and looks really happy. So you stop thinking of it as just a picture,'' she added.

Psychologist Takahashi Tomita believes the action of caring for one's own loveable, pocket-sized pet responds to a deep, instinctive need not satisfied in modern Japan's urban society.

``Everyone has what is called an 'emotional demand', that is the instinct to pour our emotion into someone or to smother something with our affection,'' Tomita said.

``This instinctual desire is not being satisfied nowadays as most people living in the city can't have pets,'' Tomita said.

A high school girl told a television interviewer she feels the toy is teaching her traits useful for later life.

`It's great because it teaches me to be a parent,'' she said.

``I paid 50,000 yen ($420) for mine. It's supposed to sell for 1,980 ($16), but the shops are all sold out,'' said a middle-aged office worker.

Bandai's Motofu said the firm sold the 350,000 tamagocchis in just 38 days since the Nov. 23 launch and expects to sell several million by March.

``We are increasing production,'' she said. ``We can't keep up with demand.''

Motofu's advice to virtual pet owners was to suspend reality and think of their pets as real creatures.

``It's not a game. You're looking after a space creature whose lifespan depends on how you care for it,'' she said.

Reut16:43 01-22-97

(22 Jan 1997 16:40 EST)

Copyright 1996 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

CNNfn 22 January 1997

One adult and one egg for "The Birdcage" please...

First, there were those high school students that had to carry around an uncooked egg to learn the trials of parenting. Then, software companies introduced virtual pet programs that sent dogs and cats romping across computer desktops.

But imagine, if you will, what would result if someone mixed the two concepts.

Well, Japanese toymaker Bandai Co. has created the tamagocchi, or "loveable egg" -- an electronic bird creature about the size of an egg that you can feed, stroke, carry in your pocket and even take to the bathroom.

Actually, you don't have a choice. If you own one of these bird-things and don't care for it, it will waste away and, uh, croak. Right before your eyes. With a defeated peep.

People are saying, however, that lavishing attention on their bogus birds is worth it.

"When you clean up its droppings, it jumps up and down and looks really happy," one woman told Reuters. "So you stop thinking of it as just a picture."

But a picture is basically what it is -- a digital image on an egg-sized key chain. It starts out as a chick and grows up in 10 days, and you interact with it by pushing a bunch of buttons. When it gets happy, it coos.

The virtual pet is so popular in Japan that it's available on the black market for 10 times its retail price of 1,980 yen ($16).

Bandai spokeswoman Tomio Motofu told Reuters that the company is increasing production to try keep up with surging demand. The firm has sold 350,000 tamagocchis since the Nov. 23 launch and expects to sell several million by March.

In the meantime, Motofu is advising the proud owners the virtual pet to suspend reality and think of them as real creatures.

"It's not a game," she told Reuters. "You're looking after a space creature whose lifespan depends on how you care for it."

Wonder what would happen if you accidentally locked your keys, and hence the bird, in the car?

You might end up with hard-boiled hatchling.

--Leena Ajinkya
Copyright © 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.

K-B Toys Web Site Announcement of U.S. Sales

25 April 1997

Starting May 1st, TAMAGOTCHI will land in areas around New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Hawaii and are expected to invade a city near you throughout the month of May!

These lovable, pocket-size virtual-pets from the depths of Cyberspace need a real home and your special love and care to survive and grow. Feed them, play with them, care for them, just like an ordinary pet.

Available in six fun colors. Collect them all. Batteries included.

Available May 1, 1997 at selected K-B Toys locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Hawaii and Washington State. Also available at selected K-B Toy Works locations in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Please visit us again to discover when Tamagotchi will invade a city near you!

Tamagotchi is a registered trademark of Bandai America, Inc. © 1997 Bandai America, Inc.

All RightsReserved.

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