The internet loves the ’90s more than Space Jam loved glaring plot holes, and nothing is more ’90s than the Tamagotchi. In the era before cell phones and Wi-Fi, getting to carry around and tend to an egg-shaped virtual pet in your pocket or clipped to your belt loop was all that and a bag of chips. And since society has already dusted off such pop culture fossils as Full House and Archie, it’s unsurprising that Bandai, the company responsible for the digital pets, has decided to unearth and rerelease the first-edition Tamagotchi. They’re being sold at select retail stores in Japan and Amazon Japan for less than $20.
Will parents with memories of joyfully raising their Tamagotchi from egg-to-adult now try to force these memories on to their own kids? Almost certainly. But will kids care? They’re familiar with Club Penguin, Minecraft, and swiping the screen of smartphones. These things certainly diminish the thrill of feeding a barely recognizable pet by pushing tiny buttons. And the reality is that most nostalgia-fueled adults are going to be disappointed when they realize how mediocre a Tamagotchi is compared to the tiny computer they’ve carried around in their pocket for almost a decade. Like the Oregon Trail and Batman’s rubber nipples, the Tamagotchi is better off staying in the past. Besides, scores of the digital pets died from neglect back then. Why make it happen again?