Every craze or fad usually has a clearly defined beginning, and electronic pets are no exception. The kids in 1996 were amazed, enthralled and bemused by the introduction of Tamagotchi, the world’s first virtual electronic pet. Shaped like a flattened egg, the electronic pet on the tiny screen had to be born, then fed, watered and cared for just like its real counterpart. By pressing a combination of buttons, all these functions could be mastered by the tech savvy kids.
There was plenty of criticism of course, as the kids were taking their electronic pets to school to care for them in case they cried during the day! Many versions later, Tamagotchi has spawned a massive industry of copies and even more advanced types of electronic pets.
Most people also know about Furby, the small 3D impish character who takes electronic pet care to another level. By touching strategically place sensors on his body, he can be made to make sounds and even incorporate realistic mouth movements. There’s a distinct crossover of products, as some of the really sophisticated types of electronic pets with touch sensors are commonly referred to as animatronic toys.
Apart from all the screen based variations, other toys can also be included in the broad category of electronic pets. There’s basic soft fur covered animals that bark, meow or roar, move their heads and tails, and sometimes walk along the floor. Along with their mobile phones, millions of children worldwide still play with their virtual electronic pets every day.
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