First Look: Tamagotchi on Game Boy

Bandai's Tamagotchi comes to the US for a Game Boy release.

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Just when you thought the Tamagotchi craze couldn't go any further - Bandai puts its multimillion selling virtual pet game on a Nintendo Game Boy.

It turns out the game isn't that different from the Japanese release that came out at the end of last month. Luckily, I got my hands on a copy (though its retail release isn't scheduled until October) and haven't stopped playing.

Even though it's only been a few hours since I began playing the Tamagotchi Game Boy title, I've been mesmerized by its faithfulness to the original LCD game. All the features are there, expanded to include more options than one could think of.

Tama is not just concerned with feeding, playing, and discipline. Now, you must concern yourself with Tamagotchi learning, becoming smart, and getting stronger.

You can play three different kinds of games with your Tama - including the all-important "Which way am I looking?" game. There's more.

There are five different kinds of food to feed your virtual pet, each one filling him or making him happier. The game doesn't rely on the clock for its interface though. Rather, it is based on a faster-than-real-time schedule that ticks by as you leave the game on. You save your Tama by sending him (temporarily) back to his home planet for a while.

Also, instead of simply disciplining your Tama, you can also praise him when he does something you like. Usually he just wanders around the little virtual playpen that you've built for him. One of the cool features about the Game Boy version is that you can name your Tamagotchi, and the name appears at the top of the screen.

For those of you that have been carrying around five Tamas at once, caring for and feeding each one - face it, if you have been doing this you're some kind of maniac - the Game Boy version lets you hatch up to three of your own all in one game. You can switch from one to another during play. Trust me, it gets hectic at times.

More to come as the days progress with my Game Boy Tamagotchi. Plus, word from Japan is that a PlayStation version of the game is also in the works for a 1998 release.

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