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Bleep-Bleep! Tamagotchi makes nostalgic return

Ever queued up in the cold to buy the latest Apple product? Braved sub-zero temperatures for a new pre-Xmas games console? 17 years ago there was another craze that was causing people to go cock-a-hoop at technology and the little devil known as the Tamagotchi is soon to be causing retail mayhem across Europe once again.

Bandai, the toymaker that first brought us the small device 17 years ago, is relaunching the toy under the Tamagotchi Friends brand that will be marketed across various different platforms with a number of diverse products.

"Part fashion, part friendship, part community and all fun, the new Tamagotchi Friends combines the nurturing features and simple play pattern of the beloved handheld virtual pet, with exciting new entertainment that we believe will really resonate with Tamagotchi fans," said Georgia Manolas-Lopez, director of Girls Marketing, Bandai America Incorporated.

Tamagotchi Friends Digital Friends differ from the original incarnations and have “fashionable trend-inspired designs on the outside” as well as a range of new characters and different experiences that can be enjoyed by users. Bandai has taken advantage of new technology in its latest devices that allow Tamagotchi Friends’ to interact with each other using the BUMP feature.

"And now, with the new BUMP feature, similar to what's found in today’s smartphones, these lovable, whimsical friends can connect with each other for massively increased levels of interaction," Manolas-Lopez added.

The company introduced the new concept through a series of webisodes that coincided with the Tamagotchi’s 17th birthday on 23 November and these will continue through the remainder of this year and 2014.

European retailers will begin stocking the range of Tamagotchi Friends Digital Friends and other toys in late December 2013 with the US market getting its fill of Digital Friends action in Fall 2014.