Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tamagotchi: Not just for murdering anymore

I had intended to review Vinland Saga today, and Fallout 3 later in the week, but I've encountered some difficulties in my plans. In one case, I found Vinland Saga to be so fantastic that adequately reviewing it could take days. In the other, more frustrating case, I am more or less unable to review Fallout 3 because I'm at my parents' house, where 'my' computer is a pile of parts cobbled together and running Windows 98. Of course, my brother has it installed on his machine, but has more or less set up camp on top of it. So, for lack of anything else to do, I will blog about my Tamagotchi, and virtual pets in general.

When virtual pets were just coming into vogue in the mid 1990s, there emerged two different camps of pets and users: Pets you nurture selflessly out of love, and pets you train to fight. The best known pets were/are Tamagotchi and Digimon, respectively. I personally preferred Digimon, because I felt that you actually received something resembling a payoff for all your hard work.As far as I knew from experience, the greatest payoff you got from a Tamagotchi was its eventual death. You got some measure of pride from keeping it alive for a long time, but the novelty disappeared quickly. Many people I knew started holding competitions to see how quickly they could kill them at various stages of life. Even more people killed the little bastards out of spite for ruining another night of sleep.

Well, twelve years after I killed my last Tama, I've acquired another. I asked for it for Christmas, after my mother hounded me for weeks to know exactly what I wanted. The true answer was 'nothing', which she would not accept. I selected the Tamagotchi for three reasons: price, desperation, and morbid curiosity. Would I be able to love the Tamagotchi now that I had matured into a less bloodthirsty person?

Well, yes and no. Tamagotchi are now much more manageable and entertaining than I remember them being, but this is due more in part to upgrades to the toy itself than to my personal growth. For instance, one can now connect to other pets and exchange items or become friends, or use special codes to go online for further entertainment.

So, my personal experience with my newest Tamagotchi. After several failed attempts to name it and set the time, I finally wound up with a little dude named Chiko. I had thought it was female, which almost excuses the name. Chiko, if you're in cyberspace reading this: I'm sorry.

After a few days, I've managed to raise Chiko up to teenager status, and I guess he's a peacock or something now. I'm trying to raise him up to be something less lame, but I don't foresee that happening. Still, the little bugger is actually fun to play with this time around. Judicious use of the pause feature can save you several hours of sleep, and prevent ejections from algebra class if you're actually young enough to conceivably have a Tamagotchi.

You can even earn money to buy your little friend toys and food. That adds some level of reward to actually spending time on the little bastard. The only problem is that, usually, you have to play the mini games in order to make any money. This would be fine if the games took a little less time to play, or were slightly more intuitive. Even with the official instructions splayed out before me, I have trouble discerning exactly what the fuck I'm supposed to do in more than half of the games. Either I'm thick, or the buttons are less responsive than I'd thought.

I have so far felt no urge to murder Chiko, and I'm looking forward to keeping him alive for as long as possible. Chiko updates may become regular features on the blog.


Anonymous said...

You know what really sucks about subscribing to these things using a system like LJ's?

I start replying to posts from way the hell back and don't notice until after the deed is done. ):

Anyway, Tamagotchi? Looking forward to it, I suppose.

Blast Bigfist said...

Reply to anything you like!