Tamagotchi – Ready for the Future

August 10, 2012

Tamagotchi

Several years ago, when Tamagotchi became popular, I thought it was a good way to teach a kid how to take care of a pet without an actual risk of hurting or killing one. Back at that time I had no idea that the meaning of this toy was much deeper…

Today our coffee maker in the office asked for decalcification. My colleague mentioned: “It’s almost like Tamagotchi.” That was a bolt from the blue!

I wouldn’t probably even notice this comment if I wasn’t just in the middle of the Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. But Steve’s angle of view of this world made me think of my colleague’s comment differently.

When Tamagotchi was quickly attacking toy shops around the world, some people saw it as a bad thing, some saw it, like me, as an educative toy teaching children how to take care of pets.

Do you see the analogy in how people look at the rise of mobile devices like iPad or iPhone, or tablets and smart phones in general?

But the true sense of Tamagotchi, no matter if intentional or incidental, was in preparing children for the future.

The future which, in the late ninetees, was maybe foreseen by the brightest talents like Steve Jobs, but not many more yet.

The future which now is becoming apparent and cannot be ignored any more.

The future where every single electronic device behaves like the Tamagotchi.

The future where killing your Tamagotchi may be as serious as killing your pet, or even friend…

We cannot avoid this future. We can only be better or worse prepared for it.

Are you already making your solutions and apps behave like Tamagotchi?

Or not yet?

Tamagotchi: “I’m hungry! Feed me with some data…”

;-)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Darren Burgess August 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

HOnza, interesting comments. It reminds of my 12 year old son, who spent the last 6 months working on jail breaking and modifying his ipod touch, only to then return it to its normal state. He finally got it that these devices are designed to “just work” and that it is far more advantageous to use them as designed. Gives me the impression that kids growing up in this stage of computing evolution already have a vastly different expectation of electronics than I did 30 years ago (doing basic programming on a TRS-80).

Anyway, my son is regularly coming up with ideas about how electronics and computers can and should be integrated into everything.

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HOnza August 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for your comment, Darren! I know exactly what you mean. I started doing BASIC programming on a paper… ;-)
I am so happy we live at this exciting time when technology evolution is happening in front of our eyes so fast. I have just seen in TV news a functional speaker printed on a piece of paper at extremely low cost. Wondering what an iPad will look like in 10 years from now…

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Lyndsay Howarth September 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

HOnza,

I am rather disappointed at how slowly this is all happening.

At college (’79?) I saw a video proposing a possible future of maths-ed. The child sat at the screen and was asked to share the 9 bees equally between 3 beakers. The child touched each bee then the beaker until the last bee where he touched the bee & paused. The feedback said “you still have a bee on your finger”. I know electronic whiteboards have come a long way but these kinds of things are still not as prolific as I thought.

Around v7 of the Mac OS Apple released a video which showed a man coming back to his home office and the computer embedded in his desk delivered his voice mail and meeting schedule verbally then he gave instructions to send documents out etc… Hello!!!! I am still waiting!!!!!

Yes my printer tells me it is out of ink or paper… but my fridge still doesn’t keep track of what’s in it or tell me to throw out those 3-day old left overs. At a practical day-to-day level nothing much has changed in 30 years…. apart from how we entertain ourselves and the mobility of our computing.

Tamagotchi heralded something special that really never eventuated. Perhaps Darren your son will change all that… mine (now 23) makes music so he has missed the boat.

- Lyndsay

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Stephen September 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

But, Lindsay, MUSIC is Perfect Data!
It can’t be right or wrong, it just creates an experience, and, of course, influences us.

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