I owned at least 5 Tamagotchi pets when I was younger. While I don't own Tamagotchis anymore, I still virtual pet simulations.
What Is a Tamagotchi Pet?
A Tamagotchi pet is a keychain-sized virtual pet simulation created in Japan. They were first sold by Bandai in 1996; as of 2010, more than 76 million Tamagotchi pets have been sold worldwide.
The name “Tamagotchi” is said to be a combination of the Japanese word for “egg” and the English word “watch”. Tamagotchi handheld pets are contained in egg-shaped computers small enough to dangle from a keychain and require constant care, making the source of the name fitting.
How to Play Tamagotchi
A Tamagotchi pet is simple in design and can be based on animals, people, or other objects. The creatures are said to be of an alien species that left eggs on Earth for humans to raise. Tamagotchi pets start out as an egg; after a few minutes of wiggling back and forth (during which time the player is required to set the time of day on their device), the egg hatches, leaving a baby creature. Tamagotchi pets grow in the following life stages:
- Egg: This stage only lasts a few minutes until the Tamagotchi pet hatches into a baby alien. No care is required during this stage.
- Baby: This stage lasts around an hour. The baby sprite is small and requires the most amount of care. Baby Tamagotchi cannot die.
- Child: This stage lasts from one to three days depending on the Tamagotchi version. The sprite form is usually simple and round.
- Teen: This stage lasts two to three days on average. The sprite grows and obtains appendages. Previous care can affect the appearance in this stage.
- Adult: This is the final stage for most Tamagotchi pets. After a few days as adults, the Tamagotchi can marry and make more Tamagotchi eggs, repeating the cycle.
- Senior: This stage only happens in recent Tamagotchi models. These sprites look older and may have canes. They remain seniors until they pass away.
Tamagotchi pets that receive more care during the baby and child stages will require less attention as adults. All baby Tamagotchis require almost constant care to survive and live comfortably.
Not caring properly for your pet at a young age can affect how it develops into the teenage stage. Once the baby stage of a Tamagotchi pet’s growth is passed, it is possible for the virtual pet to die from lack of care.
How to Care for a Tamagotchi Pet
The classic Tamagotchi interface consists of three buttons, with later versions including larger screens, sound sensors, and touch screen capabilities. These resources help the player navigate the menu and care for their Tamagotchi virtual pet. On most Tamagotchi models, the player has the following care options:
- food: feed a meal or a snack
- light: turn light on or off
- play: play minigame with pet
- medicine: cure a sick pet
- toilet: clean up after the pet
- health: shows a health meter
- discipline: scold bad behavior
- attention: lights up when needs care
Health and Attention Icons
Whenever your Tamagotchi pet needs attention, the attention icon will light up, along with some music or sound effects. As long as this icon is lit, your pet needs to be taken care of!
If you are unsure about what your pet needs, you can find out by looking at the health meter. The health meter shows a player how hungry the Tamagotchi pet is, as well as how happy it is. A well-fed and happy pet will have the health bars all full. Other versions of Tamagotchi virtual pets may have different requirements and more health meters.
If your Tamagotchi’s hunger meter is low, you need to feed it some food! Depending on how hungry it is, it may need multiple meals to fill up its hunger bar.
While meals fill up your Tamagotchi’s hunger bar, snacks fill up its happiness bar. Be careful, though—the more a Tamagotchi pet eats, the more weight it gains. Feeding your pet too many snacks can make it overweight.
How to Increase Happiness
To get your Tamagotchi pet happy, it is best to play games with it! The types of mini-game available vary with the version of the Tamagotchi virtual pet.
In the original Tamagotchi, players could only play a game of rock, paper, scissors with their Tamagotchi. Playing with your pet naturally fills up its happiness bar, especially if it is the one winning the games. Playing with your Tamagotchi can also help it lose weight!
What to Do If Your Tamagotchi is Sick
If you don’t take proper care of your Tamagotchi, it can become sick. While this can happen at random, there are other causes of illness, such as overfeeding or failing to clean up after your pet.
If sickness is left unchecked, your Tamagotchi pet can die. To cure your pet’s illness, simply give it medicine via the medicine icon on your device.
Like any actual pet, your Tamagotchi will leave droppings on the screen from time to time. If you don’t clean up after your pet, it can become ill and unhappy.
All Tamagotchis have the toilet icon to clean up after pet messes. If the player catches the Tamagotchi pet in the action of using the bathroom—it makes an odd face and stink lines appear on the screen - they can activate the toilet icon and the pet will use the toilet. This can lead to toilet training for the Tamagotchi pet.
How to Discipline It
Sometimes, your Tamagotchi will ask for attention when it doesn’t need any; its hunger and happiness bars might be full, and no messes to clean up. In this case, you can discipline your virtual pet.
Later versions feature different types of discipline, such as scolding or praising your pet; the original Tamagotchi simply allows the player to scold their pet for bad behavior.
Get It Ready for Bed
In later versions of the Tamagotchi, some pets will automatically turn off the light when they go to bed. In earlier versions, however, they simply fall asleep and it is up to the player to do this for them. Usually, this provokes an alert for attention so that the player knows that their virtual pet is sleeping.
Turning off the light can help them sleep better and keep them in better health. While it isn’t required, it is highly encouraged. Why not, when it means keeping your Tamagotchi pet healthy and happy?
Where to Get a Tamagotchi Pet
Are you interested in getting your own Tamagotchi virtual pet? Try looking online! WhileTamagotchi pets can’t be found in stores, you are sure to find them on the internet. Be aware, the newer versions of this virtual pet game can be expensive, even as high as $59.99!
Questions & Answers
Question: Do I have to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of my Tamagotchi?
Answer: No - they all go to sleep at a set hour in the evening, and wake up in the morning. It depends on what type you have, but you won't ever have to wake up in the middle of the night just to take care of it.
Question: What do you do when a tamagotchi dies?
Answer: I just got one of the anniversary "mini" tamagotchis, and it's already died once! There is a reset button embedded into the case that you can push with a pen, paper clip or something else of that size. It restarts the game for you!
Question: What about the more modern, smaller Tamagotchi devices and how they work?
Answer: The overall concept is the same - they still need to be fed, played with, and taken care of. However, the new devices can interact with each other by "bumping" one another, sending gifts and texts, and going on dates. There are also more characters and games to choose from.
Question: What do I do if the medicine icon does not appear on my Tamagotchi?
Answer: It may depend on the model, but the medicine icon should always be available, along with the other icons.
Question: Do you have to turn off the Tamagotchi when you go to sleep?
Answer: Nope! The Tamagotchi goes to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning.
Question: What is your favorite Tamagotchi character?
Answer: When I was a kid, I had a dragon Tamagotchi that was my absolute favorite. I also had a dog one that I loved - I remember being able to feed it, walk it, and train it.
Ruby on August 27, 2019:
Haha! Me and my brothers collected these! We still do! My brother has like 20! He just got me the newest version for my birthday! We just saw him off to collage! I think of him every time I play on my tamagotchi! :,(
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on May 08, 2018:
You can always start over if your tamagotchi dies, so don't worry! The name brand tamagotchi pets I've seen lately have been the default chibi, but there are some off-brand options online that show various pets, including cats. I'd do some research and see if you can find one you like!
doggo on April 29, 2018:
I'm looking forward to getting a tamagotchi with my money :)! This will be very useful and pretty much my crutch when i start playing! But question: what are they based off and do they vary in creatures/ can you get a cat?If your tamagotchi dies can you reset it and try again?? I NEED TO KNOWWWWWWW
Sara Zivkovic on April 06, 2018:
Thank you for posting this. It is very helpful. I only have one question. My virtual pet is only eating and sleeping. What’s wrong with it?
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on October 01, 2013:
I've heard it varies with whatever tamagotchi game version you have. There seems to be a rough estimate that babies should weigh 1-10, children 10-20, teens 20-30 and adults 30-35.
Janey on September 30, 2013:
how much is a tama supposed to weigh at what age? I don't seem to have anything but still born or sids with mine- if it's 4 years old and weighs 20?
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on September 04, 2013:
I had one I always took to elementary school. It lived for so long. They don't appeal to me much nowadays.
Joseph Renne from Milton on September 04, 2013:
I use to have one, Remember taking it to school, I believe I was in second grade. Long time ago.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on June 03, 2013:
I had a Tamagotchi that I could never get to live, so it might not have been you! It was supposed to be a chicken, but keeping the chick alive after it hatched was impossible. Thanks for reading!
amandajoyshapiro on June 03, 2013:
Tamagatchis were a huge trend while a young teenager. They cost like $20 when they first came out and then quickly went down to $10. I tried playing one for a summer but then gave up. Maybe if I followed these rules, it would've been more fun, or they would've lived longer.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on April 30, 2013:
Thanks for reading! I used to feed my dragon tamogatchi at the same time during break in elementary school everyday. One day I didn't and it died. Poor little thing.
Jenna Estefan from Seattle, WA on April 30, 2013:
Oh gosh, this reminds me of smuggling a giga pet into class in fifth grade and playing it under the desk. If you neglected to take care of for too long it would die. Lol, good memories! Voted up.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on April 11, 2013:
@Michael: They were pretty fun, and sometimes just as demanding as a real animal might be. And why not, when you could have a dragon as a pet? Thanks for reading!
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on April 11, 2013:
@Alison: I used to have bunch of them, though I remember them having to be fed and whatnot religiously to be happy and survive. I think my dog Tamagotchi was the most demanding - like a real dog, I had to feed it, walk it, praise it when it went to the bathroom outside, etc. Thanks for reading!
Michael Tully on April 11, 2013:
This was very informative, Jessica. Such a deal! To have a pet with nothing but virtual feed bills, virtual messes to clean up, and virtual problems of every other sort. If I had known about the Tamagotchi a few years ago I'd have never bothered with having a dog or cat ;-)
Thanks for a fun and interesting read. Voted up+.
Alison Graham from UK on April 11, 2013:
Fascinating! I did not know about these little pets, though I confess that I did play Farmville for a while on FB, looking after a farm, I have never owned or known anyone who has owned a Tamagotchi pet. However, my Grandson is coming tomorrow, so I will be telling him about the download link you provide - sounds like fun! Voted up and shared.