Distinction between "fakes" and "generics"

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Joc

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In the past I've gotten confused because I didn't understand the distinction between "fakes" and "generics" that people make here. I think I understand it now: if a console's packaging explicitly claims to be Tamagotchi, it is a "fake", if it does not, it is a "generic virtual pet".

This is naive and out of touch with reality.

The companies and governments responsible for distributing fake Tamagotchi consoles successfully propagandised that "Tamagotchi" isn't a name, but a generic term. Today still, most people are surprised if they discover (or even refuse to believe) that Tamagotchi is an actual franchise made by Bandai Namco, and not a generic term for crappy LCD toys that beep and depict gravestones.

If you ask for Tamagotchi in a store, large chance they'll hand you a fake ("generic") console, assuring you that it's what you're looking for despite it not saying "Tamagotchi" on the packaging (this happened to me as a kid, thank goodness I discovered the real thing later). Proving that a physical store does it would have required going undercover, but online stores have to do it in the open. Example from the largest Dutch retailer:

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Is this a "non-deceptive generic virtual pet" just because of the packaging? (Also, these things often have copies of Tamagotchi characters in them alongside all the generic animals. That alone makes them clearly qualify as fakes, even if these characters are not shown in advertising. Who even wrote these ROM's that you see reused all over the place?)

This is what killed the Tamagotchi franchise in the west (granted, Bandai Namco not handling the situation as incompetently as possible would have likely averted it). Governments have a hand in this; distributing fake Gucci bags will get you fines and jail time, while no-one ever got arrested for distributing fake Tamagotchi consoles. They likely saw them as a threat to the school system, and basically made them exempt from intellectual property law.

The term "generic virtual pet" should be reserved for products like VTech's KidiPet and Tiger Electronics' GigaPet.

 

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In the past I've gotten confused because I didn't understand the distinction between "fakes" and "generics" that people make here. I think I understand it now: if a console's packaging explicitly claims to be Tamagotchi, it is a "fake", if it does not, it is a "generic virtual pet".

This is naive and out of touch with reality.

The companies and governments responsible for distributing fake Tamagotchi consoles successfully propagandised that "Tamagotchi" isn't a name, but a generic term.
It really is as simple as what has been said in past topics: If a virtual pet is attempting to deceive you into believing that it is a Tamagotchi, then it is a counterfeit, and if it is not, then it is generic. Other brands, like Giga Pets, are simply competing brands, not generic items.

It seems unusual to call basic facts and common-sense "naive and out of touch with reality", only to then immediately claim that there are governments who have distributed fake goods and created propaganda to convince people that Tamagotchi is not a brand-name, and exempted the Tamagotchi brand from intellectual-property law because they saw the genuine items as a threat to the educational system.

 
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Joc

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Other brands, like Giga Pets, are simply competing brands, not generic items.
Oh, "generic" just refers to being brandless. I get it now. I thought it referred to generic animals.

It seems unusual to call basic facts and common-sense "naive and out of touch with reality", only to then immediately claim that there are governments who have distributed fake goods and created propaganda to convince people that Tamagotchi is not a brand-name,
Sorry, I tried wording that better but fumbled. I was referring to the cooperation between these companies and these governments. You can't transport obviously infringing fakes like this over the border without cooperation from customs.

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I didn't mean to say that there's a Department of Bootleggery.

and exempted the Tamagotchi brand from intellectual-property law because they saw the genuine items as a threat to the educational system.
That was my guess as to why customs always allow it; they can't sympathize with Tamagotchi consoles, unlike with, say, handbags. I won't blame you for considering that out of touch with reality on my part. If you have a better idea how we got into this situation, I'd like to hear.

 
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Penguin-keeper

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Oh, "generic" just refers to being brandless. I get it now. I thought it referred to generic animals.
Yep, it's a lack of branding in this case, and very often (though not always) a lack of being able to determine the original manufacturer due to a lack of markings or declarations of such.

Sometimes you'll also see factories using the term "OEM" ("Original Equipment Manufacturer") to refer to this, as well, but my understanding is that that's really more meant for computer/car parts, and it tends to be used oddly when referring to completed consumer items that it would be more accurate to call generic.

Is this a "non-deceptive generic virtual pet" just because of the packaging? (Also, these things often have copies of Tamagotchi characters in them alongside all the generic animals. That alone makes them clearly qualify as fakes, even if these characters are not shown in advertising. Who even wrote these ROM's that you see reused all over the place?)
I forgot this part before, but that aspect of these pets is a tricky one. Almost everything on them is original, content-wise (and the games are actually quite good, amazingly enough :lol: ), but several of the sprites are stolen. So they sort of walk this odd line where they're mostly generic but also have some infringing sprites.

I'd love to know who wrote the infamous "Bunny ROM", honestly. I did pick up one of the penguin-shaped ones because I wanted something weird (you don't get too much weirder than a creature being born from a violent explosion, complete with a surprisingly meaty explosion noise) and I wanted to see what it was like on its own merits, and what I found was that even though they work badly as virtual pets, a chunk of what's in there had some genuine effort put into it. It reminded me of how some programmers of bootleg Famicom games used to basically use that stuff to gain experience and add to their CV, and that's a pretty interesting topic, by and large.

Sorry, I tried wording that better but fumbled. I was referring to the cooperation between these companies and these governments. You can't transport obviously infringing fakes like this over the border without cooperation from customs.
Ohh! I see what you're getting at, now. :D Yeah, some countries are definitely (being charitable) very lax on this, and compounding this is the fact that sometimes it's due to them having (again, being charitable) very unusual takes on laws that other countries handle completely differently.

They certainly shouldn't be doing it, but there unfortunately gets to be a point where things like this are so entrenched in some countries that they become too big for anyone to feasibly stop - and that's where it gets to be a problem for the inevitably undermanned customs authorities that goods get imported into. (I make note of their undermanned nature because it's why not even all imports for personal use will be examined and have fees applied in all cases, let alone crates upon crates of goods that are being commercially imported en-masse.)

Oh my goodness, that is bad. :( I assume that whichever chain is offering these is actually well-established and really ought to know better?

The price (I'm assuming that it's in Euros?) also appears to be severely jacked-up for something that's usually only sold for a few US Dollars at the most. Ick.

I didn't mean to say that there's a Department of Bootleggery.
I just have to say thankyou for this one - it's absolutely made my day by giving me a great laugh. :lol: I love the idea that, somewhere out there, lurking in the shadows, there's a Department of Bootleggery just waiting to ruin corporate's day, waste a bunch of everyday people's money, and irritate some legal teams. :D

From now on, the Department of Bootleggery is the designated official point of origin for all of this stuff. :p

That was my guess as to why customs always allow it; they can't sympathize with Tamagotchi consoles, unlike with, say, handbags. I won't blame you for considering that out of touch with reality on my part.
Eh, no worries - these things happen! I get what you mean now. :)

As for the handbags issue, gigantic luxury brands like Gucci put a lot into dealing with trademark-infringement (meaning that they may be able to provide intelligence to customs authorities), whereas other companies in other fields may not always be inclined to do the same, especially with how unbelievably common it is for consumer/pop-culture items to be faked.

If you have a better idea how we got into this situation, I'd like to hear.
The sad reality is, it's just a bunch of unfortunate circumstances that have clashed - counterfeiting from China and thereabouts is currently too big for anyone to address (unfortunately, everything popular has this problem, not just the Tamagotchi line), customs authorities all over the world are understaffed (as mentioned above), and there's also the common human tendency to genericise brand-names (i.e., searching the internet is "Googling", all vacuum-cleaners are "a hoover", all flaked corn breakfast cereals are "corn flakes", all hook-and-loop tape is "velcro"*). 😕

*This is also why some companies append additional terms to their brand-names. Sony does this with their games-consoles, for example - the official way of writing them nowadays is always "PlayStation [Number Here] computer entertainment system", and this is because a lot of people genericise their brand-name as "playstation"/"playstations" or "play station"/"play stations", or corrupt it into "gamestations"/"game stations", as a synonym for a games-console.

 
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Joc

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I'd love to know who wrote the infamous "Bunny ROM", honestly. I did pick up one of the penguin-shaped ones because I wanted something weird (you don't get too much weirder than a creature being born from a violent explosion, complete with a surprisingly meaty explosion noise) and I wanted to see what it was like on its own merits, and what I found was that even though they work badly as virtual pets, a chunk of what's in there had some genuine effort put into it. It reminded me of how some programmers of bootleg Famicom games used to basically use that stuff to gain experience and add to their CV, and that's a pretty interesting topic, by and large.
I'm aware that that topic spans more bootlegs than just the Tamagotchi ones; the "9999-in-1 Brick Game" ROM is very old and even more infamous. How old is the "Bunny" ROM, anyway? It's completely different from the (also endlessly reused) ROM my fake/generic had.

Ohh! I see what you're getting at, now. :D Yeah, some countries are definitely (being charitable) very lax on this, and compounding this is the fact that sometimes it's due to them having (again, being charitable) very unusual takes on laws that other countries handle completely differently.

They certainly shouldn't be doing it, but there unfortunately gets to be a point where things like this are so entrenched in some countries that they become too big for anyone to feasibly stop - and that's where it gets to be a problem for the inevitably undermanned customs authorities that goods get imported into. (I make note of their undermanned nature because it's why not even all imports for personal use will be examined and have fees applied in all cases, let alone crates upon crates of goods that are being commercially imported en-masse.)
It's not "some" countries though. As far as I'm aware, these fakes are basically everywhere except maybe Japan, and that's probably more to avoid incurring Bandai Namco's wrath than the Japanese government's.

Oh my goodness, that is bad. :( I assume that whichever chain is offering these is actually well-established and really ought to know better?

The price (I'm assuming that it's in Euros?) also appears to be severely jacked-up for something that's usually only sold for a few US Dollars at the most. Ick.
Same retailer as the other screenshot. It's Bol.com, the largest online store in the Netherlands. The company behind it owns the largest supermarket chain too. You don't get to be any more established than that. To be fair, both of these are from third-party sellers. But I placed a warning review for the top "Tamagotchi" search result and it just vanished into the moderation queue... (Though I did see a negative review for one of the fakes, so maybe it's just because I didn't buy it)

And yes, that is 20 euro's. Same price I paid for my legitimate Tamagotchi Friends.

*This is also why some companies append additional terms to their brand-names. Sony does this with their games-consoles, for example - the official way of writing them nowadays is always "PlayStation [Number Here] computer entertainment system", and this is because a lot of people genericise their brand-name as "playstation"/"playstations" or "play station"/"play stations", or corrupt it into "gamestations"/"game stations", as a synonym for a games-console.
That's probably why for a while Bandai Namco referred to every Tamagotchi product as Tamagotchi Connection despite having little to do with the Connection series, such as "Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop". Didn't stop the fakes from calling themselves Tamagotchi Connection too, which is probably why they renamed the Tamagotchi Connection v7 to the rather questionable name "TamaTown Tama-Go" in the last minute before release.

i.e., searching the internet is "Googling"
Getting off-topic, but (aside from the time Microsoft paid two TV shows to make a character say they "binged" something) people refer to Bing as Google mostly because they didn't consciously chose to use Bing; it's hard to find anyone who uses Bing for any reason other than it being the default in Microsoft Edge. I don't think you'll hear a Yandex or DuckDuckGo user say "googling".

 
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I'm aware that that topic spans more bootlegs than just the Tamagotchi ones;
Oh, I know. I was just remarking that I personally find the history of Famicom bootlegs and pirate-originals to be interesting. I love learning about what some of those folks went on to work on.

the "9999-in-1 Brick Game" ROM is very old and even more infamous.
"Tetris. Honest.". :lol:

How old is the "Bunny" ROM, anyway? It's completely different from the (also endlessly reused) ROM my fake/generic had.
I honestly have no idea. I was away from the hobby for many years, and it was already very well-entrenched by the time that I picked it up again.

I wonder if @OneSummerDream, who's one of our bootleg experts, might know? :)

It's not "some" countries though. As far as I'm aware, these fakes are basically everywhere except maybe Japan, and that's probably more to avoid incurring Bandai Namco's wrath than the Japanese government's.
Bah, I'm really sorry, I should've used clearer wording here - when I said "some countries" were lax on this stuff, I was referring to the exporting countries. The ones where it gets into en-masse are just suffering from having undermanned customs authorities, really.

I can say from another field that I collect in, which sometimes involves using Yahoo! Auctions Japan, that Japan's no more exempt from fake goods than elsewhere, unfortunately - it's just that their online communities can sometimes be more reserved or insular than those of other countries, so information on certain topics tends to be scarce. They've probably seen tons of these things too, but we just don't tend to hear about it.

Same retailer as the other screenshot. It's Bol.com, the largest online store in the Netherlands. The company behind it owns the largest supermarket chain too. You don't get to be any more established than that. To be fair, both of these are from third-party sellers. But I placed a warning review for the top "Tamagotchi" search result and it just vanished into the moderation queue... (Though I did see a negative review for one of the fakes, so maybe it's just because I didn't buy it)

And yes, that is 20 euro's. Same price I paid for my legitimate Tamagotchi Friends.
Yikes! Hopefully the negative review that did get through will save at least a few people some of their hard-earned money.

That's probably why for a while Bandai Namco referred to every Tamagotchi product as Tamagotchi Connection despite having little to do with the Connection series, such as "Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop". Didn't stop the fakes from calling themselves Tamagotchi Connection too, which is probably why they renamed the Tamagotchi Connection v7 to the rather questionable name "TamaTown Tama-Go" in the last minute before release.
Whoah, I hadn't even thought about that before... I always thought that it was solely due to reviving the brand with a "modernised" product, but the additional factor of having extra distinctions to combat those who genericise brand-names actually makes a lot of sense, too.

Getting off-topic, but (aside from the time Microsoft paid two TV shows to make a character say they "binged" something) people refer to Bing as Google mostly because they didn't consciously chose to use Bing; it's hard to find anyone who uses Bing for any reason other than it being the default in Microsoft Edge.
Heheheh, I'd forgotten that they did this. :lol: Man, that was stupid - especially since "Binged" ends up looking like the word "binged" (as in, consumed in excess) when it's written down.

I don't think you'll hear a Yandex or DuckDuckGo user say "googling".
True, a user that knows about these things isn't going to do it, but it is something that the masses tend towards, much like claiming that all animated movies are by Disney, and things like that. :p

 
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