Friday, March 13, 2009
How they learned to text= TAMAGOTCHI
Do you remember Tamagotchis? These egg shaped mini computers were a huge hit with elementary school kids around 1997. They were made by the Japanese company Bandai and released in the US I think when the Japanese got sick of them or all their little eggs died. Dinah was the right age, and got hooked, possibly because her mother (ahem) was already a Tamagotchi fiend, struggling to obtain a wondrous computer egg. Their packaging was desirable too, if you like that sort of thing.
These keychain conquered eggs came in various colors. This gold egg was already a commemorative edition when it was released, but there was a time when I craved it. You set them on life's trail by hatching the digital egg on the screen, then had to keep on feeding them and cleaning up after them by pressing those tiny buttons at the bottom of the screen. You had to press those little buttons very often. Their state of happiness registered. The characters changed into different growth forms if you did it right, but if you forgot them, they, uh, died... OH NO!
I really think these eggs trained a generation for text messaging as they had to hold the egg in their hands in the requisite state of constant partial attention and keep feeding or cleaning up the poop.
At a certain point children weren't allowed to take them to school because they were looking down at their little eggs just as if they were, uh, texting in the future. So I became a Tamagotchi guardian. I was feeding many little eggs. I was the Nadya whats her name of the Tamagotchi world.
And we found an off brand with a penguin that I think was named Dinky. Dinky the Penguin was so cute. Far cuter than any of the Tamagotchi brand characters. I remember being especially devoted to Dinky. One day, while Dinah was taking a riding lesson, Dinky died. On MY WATCH! I was devastated. I pressed the food button madly, but Dinky flew off into the sky.