|None||Tamagotchi (1996 Pet)||Tamagotchi Mothra →|
|This article is about a Japanese Tamagotchi release.|
|None||Tamagotchi (1996 Pet)||Tamagotchi Angel →|
|This article is about an English Tamagotchi release.|
|Shells (1996-1998) / Shells (2017-2018)|
The Original Tamagotchi (たまごっち), also known as P1 or P2 depending on the version, was the first Tamagotchi toy produced. It was developed and shipped in fall of 1996, produced only in small numbers, as Bandai had not anticipated much. However, the toy become a sensation overnight, launching a franchise that continues to this day. A second generation edition, also known as the Shinshu Hakken!! Tamagotchi/New Species Discovered!! Tamagotchi (新種発見!!たまごっち) in Japan, was produced not long after featuring new characters and a new minigame.
The toy's concept was developed by Aki Maita of Bandai. She came up with the idea after seeing a commercial about a boy bringing his pet turtle to school. Akihiro Yokoi assisted with the concept, and in October 1996, 200 prototype units were given out to high school girls in Tokyo's Shibuya district for a consumer test. The girls were surveyed about the toy over several weeks, and the final toy was launched on November 23, 1996. The toys came to the United States a year later, with packaging and artwork designed by Bob Nenninger.
In November of 2017, Bandai Japan announced that they would be re-releasing exact replicas of both the original P1 and P2 Tamagotchis on November 23 2017 as a final send off to the franchise's 20th year alongside the 20th Anniversary Tamagotchi Mini.
While the new Mini was released internationally about half a year after its Japanese release, GameStop's inventory announced in early summer 2018 that the originals would be released in the US in August 2018, but later pages on their website instead stated an October 2018 release. In early July 2018, Bandai announced that exclusive metallic P1s and P2s would be available in limited amounts from their booth at that year's San Diego Comic-Con. Eventually, the rereleases were made available to the public on September 30 of that year.
The Original Tamagotchi contains most of the features that are still used in modern-day Tamagotchi toys and games. One major difference is the lifespan of a Tamagotchi, a function present in most vintage releases but few modern ones.
A Tamagotchi will eventually die of old age, and the maximum lifespan varies from character to character. As a Tamagotchi grows older, they will begin to lose hearts faster and faster - on the original releases they will be as needy as a baby shortly before dying of natural causes and lose a heart every 3-5 minutes, but on the 2017 rereleases the heart loss rate caps at about 16 minutes.
The user must set the time before the Tamagotchi can hatch. Pressing the B button when no icon is highlighted will bring up the clock screen and holding A and C will allow them to adjust the time - doing the latter is not necessary from a fresh start. A adds hours, B adds minutes and C confirmed the new time, and pressing B again will return to the normal screen. The Tamagotchi will not age, lose hearts, poop etc. as long as the clock is in adjustment mode.
The user uses this icon to feed their Tamagotchi either a meal or snack. Meals fill the Hungry hearts, and each meal adds 1 oz. to the Tamagotchi's weight. Snacks raise one Happy heart and add 2 oz. to the Tamagotchi's weight. Feeding a Tamagotchi too many snacks within a short period of time will make it sick, and continuously doing so will kill it - on the 20th anniversary rereleases, even spacing out a significant number of snacks across its life will likely cause a Tamagotchi to die prematurely. Overfeeding a Tamagotchi snacks is the only way it can die during the baby stage - this is not possible on the rereleases.
The meal is a bowl of rice on the Japanese edition, and a slice of bread on the International editions. The snack in all regions is a piece of candy in a wrapper.
For the second generation, the meal is an onigiri in Japan, and a hamburger for English editions. The snack on all versions is a slice of cake. On the English release, the food options are shown as pictures rather than words.
When the Tamagotchi goes to sleep, the user selects this icon to turn the lights on or off. Not turning the lights off before the Attention icon vanishes will result in a care mistake. A Tamagotchi will only grow and age while it is awake, and a year will be added to its age on the check meter every time it wakes up.
This icon allows the user to play a game with their Tamagotchi to raise its happiness and lower its weight. Playing a complete game will always reduce the Tamagotchi's weight by 1. Each game lasts five rounds, and if the user wins a minimum of three rounds, the game is won and the Tamagotchi fills one Happy heart - on the originals winning all five rounds will increase two hearts. If the Tamagotchi poops or the clock hits bedtime during a game, the game will end before the fifth round is completed.
Left or Right
The game featured on the original Tamagotchi is "Left or Right". The user must guess whether their Tamagotchi turns left or right. The A button chooses left, while the B button chooses right. C button returns to the main screen. When playing with certain adults, there may be a several second delay between the press of the button and the Tamagotchi turning.
Higher or Lower
The game featured on the second generation Tamagotchi is "Higher or Lower". The Tamagotchi presents a number, and the player must guess whether the next number it thinks of will be higher (B button) or lower (A button) than the displayed number. It cannot pick a number higher than 9, or lower than 1. On the original release, the first number the Tamagotchi begins the game with is always 5, and the second number it chooses will be the initial number of the next round. On the 20th anniversary rerelease, the Tamagotchi may start every round with a new number rather than the second one it thought of from the previous round.
When the Tamagotchi becomes ill, a skull will appear beside their head, and they will refuse to eat or play. Using the Medicine icon will heal them. The Tamagotchi will get ill prior to evolution, before death, with old age, if poop has been left on the screen for too long, or if fed too many snacks. Every time the Tamagotchi gets sick from old age, its stats will begin to decrease at a faster pace.
On all Japanese editions and the first generation in the US, the icon is a syringe. For the generation 2 in the US, it is a bottle of medicine with a spoon. On the 2017 rereleases, the icon is a syringe on all versions.
Occasionally (usually about every three hours), the Tamagotchi will leave poop on the screen. The user must select this icon to clear it away. Leaving more than one poop on the screen for too long may result in illness.
The Tamagotchi features a menu screen that shows the Tamagotchi's overall stats. The first screen displays age (one year being the equivalent of one day) and weight (measured in grams on the Japanese versions and pounds internationally), the second displays Discipline, the third shows Hungry, and the fourth shows Happy. There are a total of four hearts each for hunger and happiness, with white hearts representing an empty stat. The rate at which hearts decrease depends on the kind of Tamagotchi, and also how old they are in regards to adults.
The Discipline icon is used to scold the Tamagotchi for misbehavior. Occasionally, the Tamagotchi will call for attention when it's still in perfectly good health, or if they still have plenty of hearts in their Hungry/Happy meters. Additionally, when the attention icon is still lit for this reason the Tamagotchi will refuse to eat or play games even if their meters are partially empty. When this occurs, the user must use the Discipline icon. Using the icon when the Tamagotchi is not misbehaving will cause it to lose a happiness heart.
The amount of discipline the Tamagotchi receives directly affects what they grow up into - each successful punishment adds 25% to the discipline meter, but the discipline level may be reduced by evolution. On the 2017 rereleases, a Tamagotchi may make more than four discipline calls during a single growth stage, giving the user the opportunity to discipline them even when their discipline meter is full or the chance to fill it completely if they previously missed a call. This is similar to what may occur on the Mesutchi and Osutchi.
If the Tamagotchi evolves within fifteen minutes of a discipline call, the user will still have a chance to discipline them until the attention icon turns off as usual.
This icon cannot normally be selected and lights up on its own when the Tamagotchi needs something - hunger or happiness being completely empty, falling asleep and requiring the lights to be turned off, or making a false call and requiring discipline. If the user does not tend to their needs within 15 minutes, the icon will turn off and a care mistake will occur (unless the Tamagotchi was making a discipline call). If a Tamagotchi dies from neglect while the attention icon is on, it will remain lit on the death screen until a new egg is summoned. The Tamagotchi will not call for attention when it poops, nor if it gets ill.
A Tamagotchi will eventually die due to either neglect or old age, leaving a screen showing an Obaketchi floating around a gravestone. On the English releases, the screens are altered to show the Tamagotchi traveling through space back to its home planet - having transformed into a winged angelic form on the P1 or inside a UFO on the P2. A Tamagotchi may lay an egg prior to dying depending on its breed and why it died, but this appears just to be for aesthetic value.
Pressing the C button will scroll the screen to the right to show the Tamagotchi's final age, and pushing it again will go back to the normal death screen. The B button cannot be pushed to view the clock, and pressing the A and C buttons simultaneously will bring up a new egg to hatch rather than turning the sound on or off.
Sound and Battery
Pressing the A and C buttons simultaneously will disable or enable the sound, indicated by a unique beep. This can only be done on the main screen, and won't work if the Tamagotchi is in the middle of a specific animation, such as pooping or dying.
Five seconds after the last sound effect is played, the Tamagotchi will enter a power-saving mode, indicated by the screen dimming slightly. It will come out of this mode the next time a sound is played, whether on its own volition or through the user pressing a button. The Tamagotchi can be kept in this mode perpetually by turning the sound off.
The original Tamagotchi had no low battery indicator, and the Tamagotchi would continue to run, even if the batteries went critically low. All Tamagotchi releases afterward, starting from the Tamagotchi Angel, would feature a low battery screen. The 20th Anniversary re-release features a low battery screen, indicated by a sprite of a battery with a large X over it.