Trivia

Hard

Tamagotchis, The Fad “Pocket Pet” Toy That Swept The Late 1990s, Was Created By What Company?

Tiger Electronics
Wham-O
Hasbro
Bandai
Photo of a light blue Tamagotchi.
j bizzie/Wikimedia

Answer: Bandai

There’s a good chance that if you’ve purchased any popular toys over the last 30 years in the United States, be it for yourself or a lucky kid on your shopping list, that you purchased a Bandai toy without even realizing it. Bandai, the world’s third largest producer of toys in 2008 after Mattel and Hasbro, is behind the supply of Power Rangers, Gundam, Dragon Ball, Digimon, and numerous other toys including the hottest digital toy of the late 1990s, the Tamagotchi.

If by some chance you totally missed the craze, allow us to fill you in. Introduced in Japan in 1996 (and internationally in 1997), Tamagotchis—a portmanteau of the Japanese word “tamago” (meaning “egg”) with the English word “watch”—were small egg-shaped toys that you could attach to your key chain or simply keep in your pocket. The basic premise of the device was that, via small buttons on the egg and a simple LCD display, Tamagotchi owners could interact with a little pocket pet (the toy lore was that the Tamagotchis were eggs deposited on Earth by cute aliens to explore Earth and interact with humans). Interactions would help the creature grow and neglecting the creature would make it sad and stunt its growth.

While most people associate the craze with the peak of the fad in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the brand has maintained enduring popularity around the world with several generations of pocket hardware releases, adaptations of the “game” to mobile platforms like the Game Boy and Nintendo DS as well as Android and iOS, and even film and anime series adaptations.

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