Tamagotchis are coming back from the 90s to dominate our lives at more than double the original price.
A Tamagotchi, if you weren’t alive in the late 90s, is a digital pet you keep in your pocket that was released by Bandai in Japan in 1996 and the following year in North America. Like a meatspace pet, owners have to feed, water, and discipline their Tamagotchi to keep it alive and acting right. It was a game that led to a lot of tears and an obsession researchers dubbed “the Tamagotchi Effect.” Now, Bandai is bringing Tamagotchi back, with a bunch of new features and a hefty price tag.
The new Tamagotchi On will hit US retailers including Urban Outfitters this summer, according to Bandai’s site, and comes in four pastel colors. It will cost $60 USD, according to Target’s pre-order page. The original Tamagotchi cost a paltry $17.99 USD in 1997, which amounts to just over $28 in 2019 dollars.
That’s a steep price jump, but the new digital pet does a lot more than its predecessor. The original digital pet wandered around the grayscale LCD screen, ate, and pooped. It was the digital equivalent of a hamster but without the fuzz. The Tamagotchi On’s screen is in color and the cute little monsters can now shop, play games, travel to different towns, raise their own pets, and even get married and spawn new Tamagotchis.
Tamagotchi’s popularity reached a fever pitch in the late 1990s before fading. Pokémon debuted around the same time with two Game Boy RPGs to play at your leisure, and a collectible card game. But Tamagotchi never really went away, and if you want the classic 90s experience, you can (basically) have it without shelling out $60.
Right now, you can buy a brand new original-style Tamagotchi for around $20 USD from Target and Wal-Mart. For 99 cents, you can get an official port of the original Tamagotchi on your smartphone. There’s even an official free-to-play smartphone game called My Tamagotchi Forever with modern graphics that’s a lot like Tamagotchi On, but in your phone, and with microtransactions.
Bandai’s website has a countdown that says the Tamogotchi comes out in 67 days, and the toy will be available from retailers including Target, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, and more.
Listen to CYBER , Motherboard’s new weekly podcast about hacking and cybersecurity.