prevailing sense of anxiety and ambiguity clouds my thinking when I think of the reality of virtual pets. What I feel towards them has been instrumental in the writing of this article, it has been a sticking point that has forced me to confront whether or not they really matter, and whether I care. Virtual pets are things I would rather did not enter my world, and yet they are here and have affected me and many others.3 This one small toy has opened up a space for a whole new generation of toys that are so called 'responsive' entertainment. The launch of the virtual pet Tamagotchi was phenomenally successful, seemingly striking a combination of elements which sparked a feeling of its novelty. This novelty operated beyond the usual trajectory of wonder at the close proximity of its simulation of real life. Given that this toy (in its material manifestation) is relatively simple and seemingly benign, the key to interest in Tamagotchi resides elsewhere.
Recommended CitationO'Rourke, Anne, Caring about virtual perts: an ethical interpretation of Tamagotchi, Animal Issues, 2(1), 1998.