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Noxumbra

Digital Pets and Death

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I've always loved digital pet games/websites, and like to see how different games implement their care-taking mechanics. One thing that I've noticed is that many games either don't involve death or substitute death with something else (e.g. Tamagotchis returning to their home planet). Many websites I've played on replace death with "retirement," where after your pet hits a certain age, it gets sent to a gallery where you can view their stats and makes it so you can't interact with them anymore. Many games also make it so that player negligence doesn't have many drawbacks besides having your pets' happiness/hunger meters empty.

In my opinion, I prefer when digipets involve some form of consequence for neglecting to care for your pets as I feel like it's more immersive that way and makes it easier to bond with your pet. On the other hand, this could cause players to feel like they're forced to interact with their pets, which could lead to them feeling burned out and ultimately abandoning their pets due to the responsibility of continual gameplay. Pause features could fix both issues, as you can take breaks or play with your pet as you like, but most games don't have this option.

I'd like to hear what opinions some other people have on this topic, since I know that many people who raise/take care of digipets often form an attachment to their digital buddies. :)

Also, my apologies if I placed this topic in the wrong forum. I'm new here, lol.

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Funnily enough, this is one of my long-running gripes with a number of virtual pets, including the Tamagotchi line. :P

I was in my early teens when the Tamagotchi first came to the West in 1997, and I was always big on following the import-scene for games and toys, so I saw the earliest days of Tamagotchi information on the internet, and witnessed the earliest comparisons between the Japanese versions and the Western ones.

Personally, I liked how the localised Gen 1 devices replaced the grave scene from the Japanese release with an angel instead, thus keeping the idea and tone but changing the specific imagery to fit with the target audience and cultures (folks outside of Japan seem to view the grave scene as being "scary", so clearly the change was appropriate), but I was never a fan of how the localised Gen 2 replaced this with a UFO and said "Oh no, it's ok! They're really just going back to their home-planet!", and this was the narrative from then on out (I guess that this didn't wash with a lot of people, because they still released the Tamagotchi Angel outside of Japan in spite of this sanitisation). I also don't like how it ultimately influenced the direction of what were originally marketed as virtual pet aliens into nigh-invincible virtual friends.

As for as consequences go, I like how the older devices would give you "ugly" or "strange" outcomes for neglect or for fulfilling certain obscure requirements - in fact, these are some of my favourite character-designs, especially as far as the original 1990s devices go. But, again, as time went on, we saw less virtual consequences for poor virtual care of these virtual creatures, and over time things have mostly settled on characters that are a lot closer to miniature humans, with far fewer "ugly" and "weird" characters appearing.

At the end of the day, these are virtual creations and the target audience is usually kids, but then again, that was the case right at the beginning, too, and I never really understood these changes when I was still a part of the main target audience myself. Perhaps people have gotten more sensitive about this being depicted in the realm of virtual pets over time?

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I also REALLY don't like that they changed the 'grave scene' to a 'UFO going back to it's home planet' in the old versions. This makes it seem ok to neglect it, like the consequence is too little, as opposed to the death scene. I remember being a 9 year old kid and I had the 1st Gen 1 as a Japan import, and I cried so much when it died!!! (thankfully I discovered recently that the old Tamas had a lifespan of around 20 days or so, so it wasn't due to any neglect from my side!! :D Wish I knew that as a kid, cause I felt really bad and still remember that feeling till today!)

It's a pet, and like a real pet, with constant neglect, it will get sick or die. Pets are a responsibility and a commitment, be it real or virtual.

On 7/7/2020 at 5:07 AM, Noxumbra said:

In my opinion, I prefer when digipets involve some form of consequence for neglecting to care for your pets as I feel like it's more immersive that way and makes it easier to bond with your pet

I completely agree with this. It totally multiples the immersion in my opinion.

 

On 7/7/2020 at 5:07 AM, Noxumbra said:

Pause features could fix both issues, as you can take breaks or play with your pet as you like, but most games don't have this option.

There are lots of Tamas which have a Pause feature in a way or another. Last Tama I had before my ON was the Friends, and that could be easily paused. The ON also has the Hotel or the Parents' House where you could put them for most of the day if you're really busy :) (although I've never used these myself).

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On 7/7/2020 at 2:43 AM, Penguin-keeper said:

As for as consequences go, I like how the older devices would give you "ugly" or "strange" outcomes for neglect or for fulfilling certain obscure requirements - in fact, these are some of my favourite character-designs, especially as far as the original 1990s devices go. But, again, as time went on, we saw less virtual consequences for poor virtual care of these virtual creatures, and over time things have mostly settled on characters that are a lot closer to miniature humans, with far fewer "ugly" and "weird" characters appearing.

I was actually thinking about this when I first got the Tamagotchi On, thinking that it would be nice to have consequences for poor virtual care/neglect/etc of the tamagotchis (second generation and on).

Maybe like certain genetic features such as specific eyes/head/etc that only can come about when your tamagotchi receives poor care. 

Edited by Berks
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On 7/7/2020 at 5:07 AM, Noxumbra said:

In my opinion, I prefer when digipets involve some form of consequence for neglecting to care for your pets as I feel like it's more immersive that way and makes it easier to bond with your pet. OAlso, my apologies if I placed this topic in the wrong forum. I'm new here, lol.

I agree! Especially since many parents give their kids tamagotchis as a test before allowing them to have a "real" pet. When there are actual, emotional consequences involved I think it makes a bigger impression. I remember when my first tamagotchi went back to its home planet, I was confused more than anything and assumed it was part of the gameplay rather than a consequence of neglect. 

I definitely prefer the vintage Japanese versions because of this. I feel like the charm of the Angelgotchi rests on the concept of Tamagotchis actually having a lifespan and basic needs, rather than just ditching you for their home planet 😂

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Well, when i began to play with the on, on the post wedding family picture, you can see the parents of your wife/husband (if you marry a tama of the device, not to app) and these parents have more human proportions, wich confuse me. Because it give sense to the ufo scene of the first generation. As soon as they can, maybe as teenagers, they leave. But that means that your tama can marry without beeing an adult? The good point with the ufo scene is that it show you succeed to raise them well enough to go back home, and they could keep the grave as a punishment for bad cares.

This beeing said, if you have a dog, and he die, your child will be sad. It's part of life. Death is the only thing that will happen to all of us (🎉 🤡) so why shoud we act like it doesnt exist?

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12 hours ago, Berks said:

I was actually thinking about this when I first got the Tamagotchi On, thinking that it would be nice to have consequences for poor virtual care/neglect/etc of the tamagotchis (second generation and on).

Maybe like certain genetic features such as specific eyes/head/etc that only can come about when your tamagotchi receives poor care. 

I recall hearing a theory that there may be a chance that the level of care in the Meets/On can influence what gets inherited, but I don't know how well-tested it is.

Myself, I make it my goal to go for "weird" outcomes whenever I can - it's the closest that I can get to the "ugly" bad-care designs, nowadays. :lol:

 

3 hours ago, Naze77 said:

This beeing said, if you have a dog, and he die, your child will be sad. It's part of life. Death is the only thing that will happen to all of us (🎉 🤡) so why shoud we act like it doesnt exist?

Hear hear! I feel that this is exactly part of the appeal of the older devices not sugar-coating this. It imparts a valuable life-lesson, which, back in the day, was absolutely unique to these types of toys. It's a good lesson to learn.

Edited by Penguin-keeper
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3 hours ago, Naze77 said:

This beeing said, if you have a dog, and he die, your child will be sad. It's part of life. Death is the only thing that will happen to all of us (🎉 🤡) so why shoud we act like it doesnt exist?

2 minutes ago, Penguin-keeper said:

Hear hear! I feel that this is exactly part of the appeal of the older devices not sugar-coating this. It imparts a valuable life-lesson, which, back in the day, was absolutely unique to these types of toys. It's a good lesson to learn.

Exactly! I feel like pretending that death isn't real almost makes actual death appear more scary, when it's just a natural thing that happens.

As silly as it sounds, reading Warrior Cats (a series that involves a lot of death) helped me understand and cope with the death of my pet as a child. I imagine I would've been more traumatized had it not been for those books, lol. 

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Hi all! It's been awhile since I posted on these boards. Last year I got the re-release of the V1 and V2 Tamagotchis and also got the re-release of the Digimon virtual pets. All are worth buying and playing with. The death scenes of both Tamagotchi is the same as the originals a UFO and an Angel. The Digimon devices all show a cross shaped gravestone when my Digimon die for both Digimon that are on the device. It might be because the Digimon are aimed at older children and boys though. I am so glad to be back!

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4 hours ago, Leahapold said:

I am so glad to be back!

Yeah, you should enjoy it here, it's a wonderful community! ^_^ 

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10 hours ago, Leahapold said:

 I am so glad to be back!

welcome back :)

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