Tamagotchi returns: Electronic pet reborn as app

Feb 14, 2013 by Derrik J. Lang
Tamagotchi returns: Electronic pet reborn as app
This publicity photo released by Sync Beatz Entertainment shows the app mode screenshot of mobile app "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." by developer/publisher Bandai America Inc./Sync Beatz Entertainment. The app duplicates the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toy that became a must-own sensation after it was first released in 1996 in Japan. (AP Photo/Bandai America Inc./Sync Beatz Entertainment)

(AP)—Tamagotchi is re-hatching as an app.

Bandai Co. and Sync Beatz Entertainment are hoping to revive the electronic pet craze of the 1990s with a new mobile app launching Thursday for Android devices. The app duplicates the egg-shaped plastic toy that became a must-own sensation like Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo and Furby after it was first released in 1996 in Japan.

Sync Beatz, which has licensed Tamagotchi from Bandai, is calling the app "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e."—with "L.i.f.e" standing for "love is fun everywhere." Much like the original doodad, the app tasks users with taking care of a virtual pet by pressing buttons that simulate feeding, disciplining and playing with the critter on screen. If a Tamagotchi is neglected, it dies.

"The idea was to base the gameplay on the original Tamagotchi that everyone knows and loves," said Shin Ueno, chief marketing officer at Sync Beatz. "As we move along, every two months, we'll refresh the app, and it will evolve."

The colorful app, which Ueno said will later be available for Apple devices, features unlockable characters, backgrounds and shells. It's split between two modes: an old-school one that works like the original—right down to three buttons on the shell—and an app mode that utilizes the touchscreen and allows users to play rock, paper, scissors with their pets.

The "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." app is free, and a version without ads costs 99 cents. While there have been a few Tamagotchi clones available for mobile devices, this marks the first official Tamagotchi app to come from Bandai, which has released updated versions of the toy since the first Tamagotchi hatched 16 years ago.

Sales of the toy have cracked the 78 million mark, and Tamagotchi paved the way for such virtual obsessions as "The Sims," ''FarmVille" and "Skylanders." The executives at Sync Beatz think Tamagotchi's "sweet 16" is the prime time to relaunch Tamagotchi for nostalgic 20- and 30-somethings, as well as a new generation.

"It's like comfort food," said Barry Stagg, chief communications officer at Sync Beatz. "I think Tamagotchi brings back good memories. When we were at the Licensing Expo last year, the first thing that people who came up to us and saw what we were doing tended to do was smile. I think there's an openness to build on Tamagotchi's brand equity."

That means Sync Beatz plans to leverage "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." as more than simply a sentimental app. The company plans to launch a "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." product line later this year with clothing, furnishings and accessories slathered with Tamagotchi imagery.

Explore further: Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

2.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New mobile app, ShoeBox, helps scan old photos

Nov 02, 2011

(AP) -- A new smartphone app will help you transition your old paper photos into the digital age. Called ShoeBox, the free app lets you use your iPhone's camera as a photo scanner.

New NASA App 2.0 Released For iPhone, iPod Touch

May 22, 2012

NASA released Monday an updated version of the free NASA App for iPhone and iPod touch. The NASA App 2.0 includes several new features and a completely redesigned user interface that improves the way people can explore and ...

Recommended for you

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

6 hours ago

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...