The Tamagotchi Smart means you can take your virtual pet with you everywhere.

It’s hard for a child of the nineties like me to hear that Tamagotchis, the must-have playground toy back in the day, turned a quarter of a century last year. After all, in my mind the year 2000 happened just ten years ago, and anyone who says any different is messing with me. Right? Right??

Luckily for everyone, the makers of Tamagotchis have a better grasp on the passing of time than I do, and in celebration of its 25th anniversary, Bandai released a special watch version called Tamagotchi Smart, so you can tend to your virtual pets needs as you check the time.

Our Japanese reporter Udonko, a fellow child of the nineties, also grew up in a time when Tamagotchis were insanely popular, and upon hearing of the new smartwatch decided to revisit her youth and ordered one online. But while she was excited to meet her new virtual pet, Udonko’s strongest memory of Tamagotchis was how tough they were to keep alive. They were always crying out for something, and nineties kids know only too well the heartbreak of coming back from school to a dead Tamagotchi, usually surrounded by a pile of virtual poop.

But if your Tamagotchi was somewhere much closer — like on your wrist — then surely it would be much easier to keep it alive. So, Udonko decided to set herself a challenge — wear the Tamagotchi Smart for a full 24 hours, whilst keeping her new virtual pet as happy (and alive) as possible.

When the Tamagotchi Smart arrived, Udonko couldn’t help but feel surprised. Tamagotchis of yesterday, while very advanced at the time, seemed like ancient relics compared to the Tamagotchi Smart.

Just from the packaging alone, Udonko could already feel how much more advanced the world of Tamagotchis had become. Even though it was a children’s toy, it felt more stylish and chic than the ones she had played with back in the day, and this was before she’d even opened the box!

The inside didn’t disappoint, either. Included in the package were just three things: the Tamagotchi Smart, an instruction manual and… a charging cable?!

Could it be…? Finally, the days of desperately searching every nook and cranny for a spare watch battery (because seriously, who just keeps spare watch batteries lying around?!) are over; the Tamagotchi Smart is USB chargeable.

It was at this moment that it hit Udonko just how much time had passed since she was a child, and she nervously began checking for grey hairs. But now was not the time to lament the loss of her youth; it was time to start her 24 hours as a new virtual pet owner.

She turned on the Tamagotchi Smart using the middle button, which, coincidentally, was the only button on the watch that actually had a function. 

While the original Tamagotchi’s iconic layout had three working buttons, the only button with any working purpose on the Tamagotchi Smart is the middle one; with the watch’s touch screen doing most of the heavy lifting, the outer ‘buttons’ are just for show. Udonko decided to check around her eyes for wrinkles as she felt the passage of time ravaging away at her soul.

▼ Most of the Tamagotchi Smart’s functions can be accessed via the touch screen. Buttons are so early 2000s, am I right?

After setting up the watch, Udonko was met with the sight of an egg on her screen, with a bed and a Teru Teru Bozu in the room too.

After a short while, the egg hatched and Udonko finally got to meet her new pet!

It was a little different to the pets she’d raised in old-fashioned Tamagotchis, but it was really cute. “Nice to meet you,” Udonko murmured as she touched the screen, but this peaceful bond between owner and pet wasn’t to last for long, as…

▼ Her pet was already calling out for something!

What’s wrong?! Udonko immediately checked the status screen and…

▼ Her pet was hungry, as seen by the lack of rice balls!

Udonko gave her pet some milk and let out a sigh of relief. It looked like this Tamagotchi was going all out from the very start; this was going to be a rough 24 hours.

Things had not gotten off to a great start, so Udonko decided to make things better by feeding her pet a delicious meal which, because it’s 2022, arrived via delivery.

▼ By this point, her Tamagotchi had evolved into an even cuter looking pet.

▼ She also gave her pet some toys to play with.

As she scrolled through the menus, Udonko was surprised to see you can even stroke your pet, and talk to it! And the more she did, the more attached Udonko found herself becoming to her new best friend. There was no way she was going to let her Tamagotchi die. No. Way.

She began her regular daily routine with her Tamagotchi at her side. She worked on scripts…

…and even went for a walk outside with her Tamagotchi (and her actual pet dog, whom Udonko was also taking care of).

All the while, the Tamagotchi didn’t call out once, and didn’t seem to want or need anything. Basking in the glow of being an excellent virtual pet owner, Udonko went about her day in peace, feeding her pet and playing with it occasionally.

The Tamagotchi was silent until around 7:30 at night, when it beeped once more. In a panic, Udonko checked her watch to find…

▼ “I can’t sleep… can you stroke my head?”

What an adorable request! Udonko willingly obliged, and with that her Tamagotchi drifted off to sleep. Once the Tamagotchi Smart goes to sleep, it won’t wake up until the next morning, so all of Udonko’s caretaking duties were done for the day.

And that’s when Udonko realised that her Tamagotchi had only called out for help twice the whole day.

When she first decided to take on the 24 Hour Tamagotchi Challenge, Udonko thought back to her childhood days of Tamagotchi rearing, where beeps for attention were constant and virtual death was almost certain. Keeping a Tamagotchi alive in today’s society, when you’re an adult with a job and a busy life, was sure to be impossible. She had been expecting a tough 24 hours ahead.

But this Tamagotchi had only beeped twice; was looking after a Tamagotchi always this easy? Were her childhood memories wrong? Were her friends’ constant complains of “it won’t stop beeping!!” just part of her imagination?

Or was Udonko just excellent at looking after Tamagotchis?

As she looked at the status screen, both the affection meter and the hunger meter were at maximum levels. Her careful nurturing and care paid off, and her Tamagotchi was happy and full.

The 24 Hour Tamagotchi Challenge was officially over, but Udonko wasn’t ready to finish playing with her pet just yet. The next day would look very similar, as Udonko lovingly cared for her virtual companion and watched it evolve once more into an even cuter version of itself.

She bought her pet decorations for its room, and played mini games with it. Before she knew it, another 24 hours had passed without any Tamagotchi drama.

Udonko got ready to settle in to a peaceful life with her new virtual pet, especially now it had evolved to yet another stage and was cuter than ever.

But her dreams were quickly brought to an end when her beloved pet that she had spent the past couple of days lovingly raising…

…got married!

▼ We’re not sure what kind of pet Udonko’s son-in-law is, but we wish the happy couple all the best.

With the wedding ceremony finished, Udonko’s virtual pet bade its owner farewell and moved on to a new life with its partner. Even though they had spent just three days together, Udonko felt a remarkable sense of loss. She still found herself subconsciously looking at her watch to check on her pet, only to remember it had gone. This… this was horrible!

But the circle of Tamagotchi life is as constant as it is unforgiving, and waiting for Udonko was a new egg, ready to start the journey once more.

The Tamagotchi Smart costs 6,380 yen (US$46.86) and comes in a variety of colours. If you want to recapture your youth or are playing with a Tamagotchi for the first time, Udonko suggests you give the Tamagotchi Smart a try. Just try not to get too attached to your virtual pets, lest you be in for a world of heartbreak!

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[ Read in Japanese ]