Interactive “pet” toys remain a fascinating and best-selling concept even to this day if the anticipation for the next generation of last year’s surprise favorite “Hatchimals” is any indication. As the year 2017 comes to an end, it is interesting to note that on the coming November will be the 20Th Anniversary of one of the most popular toys ever that involved caring for a pet – a virtual one, that is. Way back in 1996, Bandai released the Tamagotchi virtual pet and created a phenomenon. This year, the company is celebrating by releasing a 20th-anniversary edition, first in Japan, but now also stateside.

A report by CNN confirms this news.

Return of a classic

In the vein of Nintendo with its Classic Mini editions of its old consoles the NES and SNES, Bandai is taking its own turn at appealing to gaming nostalgia with the release of the Tamagotchi 20th Anniversary edition. At first, the new virtual pets were marketed locally in Japan, but his Tuesday Bandai America announced that the toys, even further miniaturized from its original compact form, will soon also become available in the US. The current 20th-anniversary edition Tamagotchi will be priced at $14.99 apiece and will come in six egg-casing designs each with a different creature design.

What is starkly definitive of Bandai’s Tamagotchi product line is the fact that over several evolutionary versions, the toy’s control scheme remains the same.

Using only three buttons to navigate a basic menu of options, players are tasked with raising a virtual pet from an egg, depicted on the small LED screen. Rudimentary parenting skills are tested as the Tamagotchi critter audibly beeps on the device to tell its owner when it needs attention. Care involves feeding it to satisfy hunger, playing games to keep it happy, and scolding when it fails to follow instructions to instill discipline.

Enduring toy line

Bandai unleashed a storm when it released the original Tamagotchi virtual pets two decades ago (1996 in Japan, 1997 worldwide). While the toys somehow became popular, their incessant audio alerts whenever the pet wants something immediately made it the preferred target in schools, of confiscation or outright banning.

The toy line eventually faded from the limelight but retained some presence in toy stores thanks to its 44 different versions. All told, Bandai claims to have sold 82 million of their virtual pets throughout the world.

The Tamagotchi brand has evolved with the times, introducing infrared interactivity, computer connection and even launching as a mobile app (for the Apple Watch in 2015.) The 20th-anniversary version, however, is a retro throwback, featuring virtual pet care and nothing more, which is also rather nostalgic. Bandai will release these Tamagotchi in the US on November 5.