Monday, 8 August 2016

Game Time: 1997, Tamagotchi

In the News

It’s 1997. Rapper Notorious B.I.G is gunned down in a revenge killing for his alleged participation in the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur. Princess Diana, her bit on the side Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul were killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris. Great Britain handed over its rule of Hong Kong. Mother Teresa, the nun who tended the poor and sick of Calcutta for 40 years, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died on September 5. In the UK, Tony Blair is elected Prime Minister after 18 years of Tory rule. It was time, Tony Blair said, for ‘Rule Britannia’ to give way to ‘Cool Britannia’. The birth of Dolly the sheep leads to President Clinton banning all federally funded research into human cloning. A scene from the Pok√©mon anime show (based upon the highly successful games) causes 685 Japanese children to have seizures. WWF’s PPV “Bad Blood” showcases the first ever Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. 

The Game Times

The seminal releases are: Fallout on PC; Final Fantasy VII and Grand Theft Auto on PS1; Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Goldeneye 007 on the newly released Nintendo 64; and a handheld digital pet called the Tamagotchi.

The Tamagotchi is a ray of light in a dark year wherein the death of the Notorious B.I.G left a 12 year old Owen – still vulnerable from Tupac’s death the year before - in the slough of despond. Another mentor gone. My hanky-turned-bandana wilted. My “THUG LIFE” torso pen tattoo rubbed off.

But then my hot Croatian girlfriend, Richella, told me to go to Argos and buy a Tamagotchi. I had the required £12 saved from taking loose change out of coat pockets in the church lost property. Tamagotchis are a small alien species that deposited an egg on Earth to see what life was like, and it is up to the player to raise the egg into an adult creature. The creature goes through several stages of growth, and will develop differently depending on the care the player provides, with better care resulting in an adult creature that is smarter, happier, and requires less attention. For me it was an instant hit because the creature was black and reminded me of the Notorious B.I.G. I loved it dearly, often setting my alarm in the night to keep up regular feeds.

Why I Stopped Playing

By early 1998 a monstrous trend had gained popularity wherein lowlifes were pressing the “reset” button on unsuspecting Tamagotchis. I made extensive efforts to bolster the defence of mine by asking the builders next door to dab a bit of cement into the reset hole to make pencil penetration almost impossible. However, this one time in church, Owen Davies asked to look at my character because it was 14 days old and had grown into the smart looking one, not the ugly one with blubber lips. What I didn’t know was that he had brought a compass with him with the intent of scooping out the cement. I’ll never forget how the preacher’s last sermon point on forgiveness was lost on me the moment I heard the reset “beep”. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t fight anyone over it, I’d lose- too skinny, weak thighs. I just settled in my chair, fell back into pitiless indifference towards everything and everyone, including the effort of rearing another character, and embraced another year of shadows and night.

Three Questions for the Comments Below

What were you doing in 1997? What were you playing in 1997? Why did you stop?

- Owen J. Batstone.

If you are Owen's mother and want to see all your precious offspring's work in one, easily accessible place, please click here.


  1. I was playing Tamagotchi.

  2. I went to University at Cardiff, purchased my first Playstation and played Tomb Raider. My girlfriend left me. I stopped playing Tomb Raider because I finished it and Tomb Raider 2 came out.

  3. At the point when a diversion contains hard-coded rationale or amusement runs, or utilizes uncommon case code to render particular sorts of diversion objects, it winds up noticeably troublesome or difficult to reuse that product to make an alternate diversion.