I remember the days of Tamagotchi (and the far less cool NanoPet) and how our teachers always struggled to keep us from feeding or picking up after our little digital creatures during class. The Japanese gadget was a hit with us 90s kids and will forever be one of the coolest toys of our childhood. And now, Bandai is back with a new version of Tamagotchi. But this new installment of the portable digital pet, called Tamagotchi Friends, has a new social media twist.

The name “Tamagotchi” comes from a combination of tamago, the Japanese word for “egg” and uocchi, or “watch.” The familiar egg shape still remains in the newest Tamagotchi, but with a few design changes.

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Characters are no longer amorphous blogs and have taken on specific features and personalities:

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The toy has also gone social, allowing users to “bump” with their friends to send characters on play dates and even send text messages or virtual gifts. Tamagotchi Friends also comes with five games, giving children (or nostalgic adults) the ability to do more than bathe and feed their pet.

Release dates vary by country, with the UK getting their updated Tamagotchi on December 26, 2013 for £24.99 (US$40.87). The US will have to wait to buy theirs until Fall 2014 for a cheaper price of $19.99. The 17-year-old toy was a huge hit in the 1990s, but it’s unclear how well the smartphone toting kids of the 21st century will take to the classic toy.

Source: Wired Japan
Images: Tamagotchi Friends