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Keeping Tamagotchi alive


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When Tamagotchi—which turned 25 this November—first launched in the U.S., Wired dismissed the toy, claiming it “borrowed all the gimmickry of 1970s' Pet Rock kitsch and gave it a digital facelift.” Yet within a year of its release, the toy became a billion-dollar global sensation.

At the peak of the Tamagotchi craze, stores sold out in hours and scammers preyed on shoppers’ desperation, charging marked-up prices for coupons that could never be redeemed.

Today, many of the ‘90s kids who were once scolded for surreptitiously tending their Tamagotchi during class are rediscovering their nostalgia for the toy’s unique gameplay and endlessly collectible variations.

To date, Japanese toy company Bandai has released more than 60 additional Tamagotchi toys, games and apps, including collaborations with franchises such as Pac-Man, Pokémon and Godzilla.


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