Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tamagotchi keychain

It is 1997. Bandai, a Japanese company previously known for Power Rangers, releases a toy with a completely insane premise: You must take care of it, giving it near-constant attention, or it dies. They call it a "virtual pet," but really it is the dark shadow of pet ownership: You must feed it and care for it, but it won't cuddle with you or fetch a stick. Who would want to be involved in such a one-sided relationship? You carry this little egg around, tending it when it cries, and all you get in return is a crude little LCD animation of some sort of alien. Surely this is nothing a rational person would want. It is, of course, tremendously popular. Some time later, McDonald's catches the fad with tamagotchi-themed Happy Meal toys. Curiously, though, while they look like actual tamagotchi, the familiar egg-shaped case is simply a container for a variety of strange little figurines like this one. Somehow, I found this particular figurine enormously appealing, and put it on my keychain. However, somewhere in my memories there is a discontinuity during which it disappeared. I don't remember losing or discarding it; at one time it was on my keychain, and when I next thought about it, it was gone, with no memory of it in between. Luckily, when I got wistful for it some years later, like the boy in the commercial with the lost toy boat, I was able to pick one up on eBay for just a few dollars. I still can't explain why I find this odd little creature so wonderful, but it is certainly good to have him back.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh I know the appeal; sometimes the strangest things just strike you as unique and cool and you want them around. I had one of those, only it was a kind of light yellowish orange. I lost it but I do want it back.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous said...

I agree with you both - these creatures do have a strange appeal. I didn't even know about the promotion back in 98' and accidentally got the red/black figure in a Happy Meal and I was hooked! I also have the yellow figure keychain, also equally appealing! And I thought I was the only one who loved these guys!

12:23 PM  

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