There is one word that will send any respectable 90s child into staggering fits of nostalgia. You may have already figured it out upon inspection of the rather jocular model above. No? For those not in the know, the magic term is tamagotchi.
For any noobs in this circuit, this egg shaped ball of fun is a minuscule hand held virtual pet. That is to say, a pixellated creature that needs YOUR HELP to function and to maybe become an adult. (Release that internal sigh. They always grew too fast.) I remember these little beeping entities that were often shoved away inside desks and pockets along with half eaten sandwiches. At one stage, they were even banned from my primary school as the little buggers were just so darn popular and far more fascinating and demanding than our teachers. However, you may remember that I was very uncool.
I only owned a tamagotchi perhaps after everyone else in my age level had abandoned them for MSN. One day, it was simply added to the Kmart shopping trolley. The afternoon still is a milestone in my memory. My mother had finally bought me a tamagotchi! I felt fucking excellent! Within ten minutes the thing was unravelled from its packaging and the minute screen displayed a hatching egg. I was like a proud parent and as far as I was concerned this newborn was all mine. It was an uplifting feeling. Nothing could touch me and maybe I thought, this is the special connection that other kids share with their real pets. Except my tamagotchi was exceedingly cooler, because after all, it never actually did deliver any unwanted turds (which was the main point that persuaded Mum to purchase it).
After frantically pressing each of the three buttons and calling to newly named Santa (it was Christmas and I thought I was hilarious), my Mum who is a highly irritable driver proclaimed that I put the thing away until we reached home. I sullenly retracted it until I was able to race to my room and press away at it. There was an eerie beeping when I pulled the tamagotchi from my pocket; there I stood, suddenly befuddled. My Santa was dead. In a very short period of time, I had become susceptible to two contrasting states of mind. From birth to death, joy to melancholiness. I could grieve and I did, I swear. For the two seconds before I reset it and retrieved a new virtual pet.
Perhaps the tamagotchi is an symbol of why I should never own an animal. I don't know. What I am aware of is that it gave me an excuse to feel needed by at least by one creature. And for a sad little girl, that may have been just enough.