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7 pet fads through the decades

Oct. 3, 2013, 1:54 p.m.
Tamagotchi

Photo: Bee/Flickr

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Tamagotchi, 1990s

The bane of teachers and school administrators when they started to make a serious impact stateside, Tamagotchi revolutionized the virtual pet industry and made it socially acceptable for children and grown adults alike to coddle an egg-shaped keychain.

Introduced by Japanese company Bandai in 1996, the original Tamagotchis were an alien species that began life as an attention-starved egg — anyone out there still haunted by the incessant, shrill chirping of a hungry Tamagotchi? — and with proper care, evolved into a cuter and less demanding adult. Like in the real world, willful neglect could result in Tamagotchi death, which could have been part of the reasoning behind a wave of virtual pet bans instituted by schools in the late 1990s and beyond.