Tamagotchi is small, but it has a great influence

But importantly, Tamagotchi was also one of the first video games sold mainly for girls. According to Crowley, when game consoles like Nintendo were first released, they were specifically placed on the shelves of the boy part of the toy “R Us”. With Tamagotchi, the situation is just the opposite. He said it challenged the super-masculinity associated with video games at the time.

“Tamagotchi provides opportunities for people who have been neglected in the video game industry over the past decade,” Crowley said.

Ironically, it did this by exploiting the dominant gender stereotypes at the time, and it still does to some extent. This is a toy that attracts girls through feminine characteristics that are regarded as stereotypes-such as the mother’s instinct or the concept of nurturing. For girls to be allowed to play video games, they must play the role of caregivers.

“Tamagotchi largely reflects the social conditions when it appeared,” Crowley said. “So on the one hand, we finally offered it to the girl, and on the other hand, it said,’This is what the girl does, and this is appropriate.'”

The past and future of virtual reality

If not the first, Tamagotchi is an early example of a video game, which blurs the line between the digital world and the real world or virtual reality.

In 1997, Finnish addiction expert and sociologist Teuvo Peltoniemi A pessimistic warning about Tamagoki was issued South China Morning Post: “Virtual reality is a new drug, and Tamagotchis is the first wave. It’s not just that some fashions will disappear. [Tamagotchis] It is an ideal example of the possible threat that the virtual world may become a real dependency problem that needs to be treated in the future. “

As an addiction expert, Peltoniemi became more and more worried when he saw children sticking to their Tamagotchis at school and at the dining table. In his work, he uses Tamagotchi to show how children and adults have excessive emotional reactions to virtual characters.

“I think Tamagotchi is the first gadget that ordinary consumers can use. You can find virtual reality in it. Its most important feature is that it attracts people’s feelings and sentimentality through care,” Peltoniemi told WIRED.

“People have a very strong emotional attachment to their Tamagotchis because they are related to digital pets in a way that people feel that they have enough human characteristics to hold a funeral after their death,” he continued​​ road.

For some people, the jade chicken retains its appeal even after it reaches adulthood. The 32-year-old Golden Matthews from Australia is one of them. As a child, her “tama” was one of her favorite toys. In adulthood, it is still—although it is now more for nostalgic purposes. She got her first Tamagotchi on her eighth birthday and fell in love immediately-compete with her friends to see who can keep their friends alive the longest.

“Sadly, one day my first Tamagotchi unknowingly went to the pool with me to swim,” Matthews said. “I was destroyed.”

Matthews collected 71 Tamagoki in her lifetime, and even after 25 years, she still couldn’t explain what made her care about them so much.

“I just think they are neat,” she joked, referring to Maggie Simpson Meme“Maybe this is the children’s business in the 90s.”

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