Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

But more importantly, Tamagotchi was one of the first video games primarily marketed to girls. When consoles like the Nintendo were first released, according to Crowley, they were exclusively placed in the toy “R” category. With Tamagochi, the opposite happened. It challenged the hyper-masculinity associated with video games at the time, he says.

“Tamagochi has provided access to neglected people in the video game industry over the past decade,” Crowley said.

Ironically, it did so by playing among the dominant gender stereotypes at the time and still has some. It was a toy that was seen by girls as a stereotypical feminine trait, such as maternal instinct or parenting. To allow girls to play video games, they have to take on the role of a caretaker.

“Tamagochi reflects the social conditions of the moment of his rise,” Crowley said. “So on the one hand, we’re finally offering it to the girls, on the other hand, it’s saying ‘girls do it, that’s right.’

The past and future of virtual reality

If not the first, Tamagotchi was an early example of a video game that blurred the lines between the digital world and the real world or virtual reality.

In 1997, Finnish addiction specialist and sociologist Teuvo Peltoniemi Issued a depressing warning about Tamagotchi South China Morning Post: “Virtual Reality is a new drug, and Tamagotchis is the first wave ৷ it just doesn’t have to go some fad. [Tamagotchis] An ideal example of a potential threat in a virtual world is, in the future, a real dependency problem that needs treatment. “

As an addiction specialist, Peltoniumi becomes increasingly concerned when he sees kids sticking to their tamagochis at school and on the dinner table. In her work, she uses Tamagochi to show how children and adults can develop super-top emotional responses to virtual characters.

“Tamagochi, I think, was the first small tool that was accessible to the average consumer where you could find virtual reality, and the most important feature was that it appealed to people’s feelings and emotions through care,” Pelatonimi tells Wired.

“People developed a really strong emotional attachment to their Tamagotchis because they, in a way, had a relationship with digital pets, to the extent that people felt they had enough human qualities to bury when they died,” he continued.

For some, Tamagochi has kept his appeal even as an adult. Kim Mathews, a 32-year-old Australian, was one of them. As a child, her “Tama” was one of her favorite toys. In youth, it still exists — though more so for nostalgic purposes. She was given her first Tamagochi for her eighth birthday and immediately fell in love – competing with her friends to see who could save them the most.

“Sadly, my first Tamagochi unknowingly went swimming with me one day,” Matthews said. “I was devastated.”

Collecting 71 Tamagotchis in his lifetime, Mathews is still struggling to explain why he cares so much for them even after 25 years.

“I just think they’re neat,” he joked, a reference A Merge Simpson meme. “Maybe it’s a 90’s kid thing.”

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