I had a great deal of questions that I needed answered before I made the decision to purchase a Tamagotchi. Through patience, web pages and a Tamagotchi usenet group, I basically got all my major questions answered. I don't want to be shallow, but money was a major issue. This is NOT a Tamagotchi FAQ, these were my "FAQ" questions, more or less. This document will evolve to include other valid questions people may ask of me, or that I see on alt.toys.virtual-pets.
- Since the goal is to keep it alive, what happens when it dies?
This was a major question for me. At first I was thinking these pets were very cheaply made and would disable themselves when your pet ceased to exist. I was also thinking that out of greed and to create the shortage, the pets would live a few days, croak, and then you'd have to go out and buy a new one. Not the case at all. While cheap is not the right word, inexpensive is. The case is durable, although prone to scratches. But I digress. Basically, as long as you own the Tamagotchi and have working batteries in it, you can have as many pets as you want. When a Tamagotchi dies, you can "hatch" a new one. Or, if you want, reset and hatch a new one. The only restrictions to how many "plays" you get depend on battery life and availability of batteries.
- OK, so where do I get batteries?
- Radio Shack carries them. Ask if you need assistance. If you don't have a local Radio Shack, check electronic shops, hobby shops and specialty houses. Photography supply stores might also be a good place to look as they seem to carry all sorts of odd batteries. Perhaps even a local drug store might carry them. Do not be afraid to ask for help. The worst case scenario is to take your Tamagotchi with you and let someone at the store open it up for you to examine and match the batteries. This is especially true if you do not have a small phillips head screw driver.
- How long to batteries last?
- Well, Peeve lasted 20 days before he died, so I would safely say, "new batteries should last at least 20 days". Of course, you do have to take into consideration the time they sat in the unit, time stored before being placed in the unit, how long the Tamagotchi has been waiting in a store to be sold, temperature, actual usage and other variables I don't even feel like thinking about. I wouldn't be surprised if they lasted two months since the power draw has to be pretty low.
- How much do one of these things cost?
- Well, I paid $25, including shipping. That's high. I've seen them range from $9.99 to $17.99 in print ads. Not to lure business away from Bandai, but other virtual pets also tend to retail within this area.
- What is it? A toy? A game? A pet?
- That's a trick question. The correct answer is: GREEN. Just kidding. Really, that is a matter of opinion. Tamagotchi has appealled to people ranging from kindergarten to ages 45 and over. I view it as all three. See, because of the price, it's relatively easy to replace, at least from a cost standing, so I consider it a toy. Since the Tamagotchi is not really alive, it is a game, with the goal being to keep it alive for as long as possible, and a secondary goal of trying to get to the hidden character. I consider it a pet only from the stand point of like a real pet, you can't just switch it off, you have to take care of it.
- What? This doesn't have an on/off switch?
- Yeah, that's right, it doesn't. You have a problem with that? Sure, it comes to you turned off. Yank the little tab out and an electrical contact is made, and the device turns on. You'll notice two screws on the back holding a plastic cover in place. You can remove the batteries if you want. I strongly suggest removing the batteries if you plan on storing your Tamagotchi. Otherwise, if you're done playing and want a break, slowly slide that tab back into the slot on the site. After a few seconds, the screen should fade to blank.
- How big is a Tamagotchi?
- The best way to compare it in real terms is to compare it with something almost everyone can identify with. It is roughly the size of a car alarm remote, although it tends to be larger. Of course, this varies depending on brand of car alarm installed. The Tamagotchi is also going to be thicker than the remote as well. The Tamagotchi was intended to be attached to your key ring, which should give you some additional insight into how big this thing is.
Because of the small size, Bandai recommends this device for people 8 years of age and older. I personally don't see this happening, but there must be a chance that this could be swallowed. Please keep that in mind if buying this for a very young child. Bandai must have done some research into this, so let's just follow their suggestion. Of course, individuals vary, so please make an informed decision.
- What about choice?
- What do you mean?
- Tamagotchis come in a variety of colors. Your choice will be limited to what is available at the store you visit.
- As far as what will your Tamagotchi grow into, that is almost entirely up to you. Your Tamagotchi will grow into one of the creatures on the included growth chart baesd on how well or poorly you care for it. While you may want the top one, if you neglect your Tamagotchi, it will not grow into that one.
- What about sound?
- Yes, it makes sounds. Beeping. Nothing exciting, but enough to get your attention. However, the sounds can be turned off. Check your Tamagotchi more often with the sound turned off.
- What if I have to go somewhere for the day and won't have time to care for my virtual pet?
- As I understand it, there is a pause function, although this is NOT an advertised trait. Yes, you can pause. GO view the clock,then hit A and C together. Just don't set the clock now, and it will stay at that time until you reset the clock. This may lead to problems down the line. Another method is to just take your chances. Still, others hire "Tamagotchi sitters" to care for them while they are away. Some parents care for their kids' Tamagotchis while they are away at shool, for example. In Generation 2 Tamagotchi, the manual actually documents the pause function.
- My kid has a Tamagotchi and school has started. What should I do?
- Send your kid to school, you moron! Isn't it a law or something?
- I know what you are really asking: Should I let my child take his Tamagotchi to school? My response as a single male with no children: No, do not let your kid take his Tamagotchi to school. There are plenty of other distractions at school, such as the teacher talking, picking his nose, watching bugs, spraying graffiti, inciting riots, vandalism, using drugs and carving his name in desks with that buck-knife you gave to your child on their birthday. On a more serious note, I think the teacher would appreciate it if the Tamagotchis stayed at home. I agree. This still doesn't answer the question. Now that we've established that the Tamagotchi should stay at home, we have to figure out what to do with it. You can try and care for it yourself, which when it finally dies, the child will blame you for it. You can PAUSE it, and let the child care for it when they get home after homework is done. Since the Tamagotchi typically with wake up AFTER the child leaves for school and falls asleep AFTER a typical bed time, maybe they shouldn't even be playing with these during school nights. For example, mine would wake up at 9AM and fall asleep at 10PM. I did set my clock 10 minutes fast so I could work it into my normal schedule better.
- Pause might be the best option, although it will artificially prolong the Tamagotchi's life, but could lead to problems down the line.