I thought I should expand my horizons a bit with a toy from the 90’s called a Tamagotchi, which was first sold by Bandai in Japan in 1996. It’s essentially a handheld digital pet that’s quite possibly more needy than a real one. When you turn it on for the first time an egg appears and once hatched you need to provide your little friend with everything it needs to survive while tracking the various meters from hunger to happiness. Your pet may require discipline or it might poop all over the screen (a situation which requires immediate attention or your pet will get sick).
I made this doodlewash for Philippe as I didn’t have one of these, and they sound harder to care for than Phineas, but he had two of them when he was younger. His were orange and white and not actually hot pink, but I wanted to try the new Sennelier color he bought me for Christmas called Opera Rose. I like it because you can get such a cool range from subtler pink flesh tones to the crazy pink plastic toy color shown here, enhanced with just a bit of purple in the shadows.
My first experience with a virtual pet was in the mid 80’s when I moved from a Commodore 64 computer to a fancy new Commodore 128. For those unfamiliar, this little beauty had a whopping 128 kb of RAM… yes, you read that correctly. Ridiculous to think about today when smartphones usually have at least 1 million kb of RAM, but the Commodore 128 was super cool back then.
What I loved about this computer was that I could design little characters and make them move around by programming them in BASIC. Yeah, I was a super big geek then and now, but once I discovered I could do this, I immediately attempted to create a virtual pet for myself. I made a little character that looked like a raccoon and designed a three story digital dollhouse for him to live in. Although I had no idea how to code anything resembling artificial intelligence, I realized that randomizing his movements created a sense of surprise at least.
Once completed, you could sit back and enjoy watching the little raccoon do everything including running up to the attic to practice his push ups, sitting on top of the refrigerator for no good reason whatsoever, or even using the toilet. I guess you could say my virtual pet was well before it’s time as the Tamagotchi pets apparently didn’t possess the ability to use a toilet properly.
That said, watching the raccoon do random crap got old after a few minutes, so in this case, Tamagotchi pets were far superior. Unfortunately, my little raccoon friend only worked on that computer so when I and got my first real PC next, he was left behind. Sort of like Puff the Magic Dragon, if instead of a land called Honali he instead, lived inside an old floppy disk that once belonged to a eager young nerd.