Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tamagotchi Resources and Online Shops

When playing with virtual pets, it's really nice having places to look for information or knowing the best places to buy them.

Resources

 TamaTalk
 TamaTalk is a pretty great little Tamagotchi forum. It has sections for help with various Tamagotchi and other virtual-pet related problems, group hatchings, growth charts, and more. It also has smaller sections for other types of virtual pets, too. It's one of the more active Tamagotchi forums that I've found.

Tama-Zone
Another Tamagotchi-based forum, this one isn't quite as active as TamaTalk. It does, however, contain many unique growth charts, some made specifically for the site that can't be found anywhere else. It's very helpful in that respect.

Tamagotchi Wikia
With lots of information and pictures about the majority of Tamagotchi releases, this is a very helpful site. It's user edited, so you may want to cross-check information you find here, depending on what you want to use it for.

Mystic Fortress
This site has lots of information on vintage Tamagotchi releases, tons of logs and pictures, and even has information on other physical virtual pets such as Aibo and Furbies. It doesn't actually seem to have been updated in a while, but what's there is pretty helpful.

Tamenagerie
Provides basic information and instructions for the majority of Vintage and Connection/Plus era Tamagotchis and many other types of virtual pets, lots of pictures, and a few more in-depth guides.


Places to Buy

Japan You Want
This is a great place for buying Tamagotchis and Tamagotchi products. It's an off-shoot of their Japan You Want eBay page. I've always had great experiences here; they send orders out quickly and sometimes even include little extras with orders, like stickers. They only make you pay a single shipping fee, even if you buy several items at once; I've never paid more than $10 for shipping.

eBay
Another great place for finding Tamagotchis, though the quality of the product and timeliness of the order are going to depend a lot on just who you choose to order from.

Amazon
My third choice for buying Tamagotchis, not as much variety as the other stores, and what's here ois generally more expensive than the others as well.

EnTama

This one right here is a pretty fun version, probably one of my favorites I've played with so far.

The EnTama, or Chou Jinsei Enjoi Tamagotchi Plus, was released in Japan in 2005. It came out before the UraTama, and could be considered a more complex version of the English Tamagotchi Connection V4.

Like the UraTama, it has two babies for each regular family group, a boy and a girl, and a single gender neutral baby for the secret family groups.

*~*~*~*

Your Tamagotchi builds up GUTS Points as it plays games and attends school lessons. The first game increases the first GUTS Points level, and so on.

The first game is a card-matching game. You highlight one of four cards using the left button, and select it using the middle button. Select two cards this way, and see if they match.

The second game is a catching game. You move along two rows with the left or middle buttons to catch the falling clothes while avoiding the poop.

In the last game, you use a hammer to knock down blocks from a block tower to rescue a baby Tamagotchi who's stuck at the top. The hammer moves up and down along the tower. Wait until it's lined up with the arrow next to the blocks to hit it. 

*~*~*~*

Your Tamagotchi will be visited by a preschool teacher as a child, and by a school teacher as a teen and adult before they get a job.

When they are visited by the preschool teacher, she will attempt to help them sing a little song. They can succeed or fail, but you don't really have any input in this. When they are visited by the school teacher, the teacher will hide a GUTS Point symbol in one of three boxes. Choose the box you think it's hidden in, and if you get it right, that Point level will increase.

The GUTS Points affect what jobs your character can choose between when it graduates from school. It doesn't really matter so much since it doesn't have a mini-game to play for it like with the V4, but more points might result in higher-paying jobs. You receive a paycheck in the mail every day.

Another way that the EnTama differs from the V4 is that you don't choose when to visit the school and the shop, the teachers and shopkeeper come to you at certain times of the day, so you have to be on the lookout for them until y
ou memorize the times they come by. 

The GUTS Points levels also affect what character your Tamagotchi will grow into. Two teen characters, even if they are the same type of Tamagotchi from the same family group, will still grow into different adults if their highest GUTS Point categories are different.

*~*~*~*

The sound on this one is really nice. It's a bit lower-pitched than the UraTama. The buttons feel really nice to press, too. Firm, with just the right amount of give. Very responsive. 

I feel like the games are a little harder than on the UraTama, and it feels a little harder to build up points for your pet.

Like the UraTama, it's a little longer-lived compared to some other Plus or Connection versions. This gives you the time you need to build up the GUTS Points needed to get your Tamagotchi a good job.

The EnTama's a lot of fun to play with, probably one of my favorite of the Connection/Plus era Tamagotchis I've played with. The characters are cute, and the games are a lot of fun. If you want to get a Japanese Tamagotchi from the Plus/Connection era, it's one I'd really suggest trying out.

Further Reading:
EnTama- Kuchi Family
EnTama- Mame Family
EnTama- Meme Family
EnTama- Oldies, Special, and Hatena Family

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Genjintch Tamagotchi

The Ginjintch is a Tamagotchi that was released in 1997 to commemorate the release of the movie 'Peking Man.' All the characters featured are caveman/evolution themed in some way.

It's pretty needy as far as Tamagotchis go. I'd put it in second place behind the Mori no in that category, behind the Umi no. Luckily it doesn't get attacked by predators like the Umi no, but it's still not one you want to leave on its own. It just loses hungry and happiness hearts too quickly for that.

Beyond that, it's also rather long-lived and takes a while for it to change between stages.

Its beep is kind of loud; I found it waking me up any time that I'd forgotten to turn the sound off overnight. It also has an odd 'double beep' for everything; it's a little hard to describe, actually. It's kind of musical, though, and the game music has a really nice beat to it.

  *~*~*~*

The game is the same as the one in the Mothra Tamagotchi and the Mori no, you just have to guess which of four holes the item is in, bones in this case. It could just be me, but I think the game feels a little harder than in those other versions.

It only had one shell color, brown with bones on the outside and red trim around the screen. It's cute, but it says 'dog' to me more than it does 'caveman.'

The typical discipline meter has been replaced with an evolution meter that helps effect what your pet will change into. When you see the Genjintch making pottery, you have to use the praise icon, which replaces the discipline icon, in order to raise this meter.

There are several characters available, based on things like monkeys, cave-people, aliens, and even a mammoth. I've read the Ginjintch can potentially revert to previous stages if neglected too much, but I haven't seen this happen myself.

Rather than ending with a death screen, the good ending has your Genjintch taking off in a rocket.

The Genjintch is an interesting Tamagotchi. The characters are long-lived and needy, so it may not be one you want to get unless you have a lot of time to spend with it. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror

The Kirby games hold a special place for me, and none more so that Kirby and the Amazing Mirror.


The story begins with Kirby being attacked by a dark, shadowy Meta Knight who then flies off in the direction of the mirror world above Kirby's home in Dreamland. The slice from the sword doesn't seem to hurt Kirby, though, but splits him into four differently colored Kirbies. Unfazed, they call in a Warp Star and set off in pursuit.

*~*~*~*

Once you've selected which of three files you want to play on, you're taken to the main menu, where you have access to the start game option, the sub-games menu, the collection menu, and the erase a file option.

The sub-games menu contains three small sub-games you can play either against the AI or with others over a link cable


The collection menu holds all of the important items you collect over your adventure such as Heart Containers, the music player and music scores, spray-paints for changing the color of the Kirby you're playing as, and maps.


*~*~*~*

Starting the game on a new file finishes up the story from earlier: the Kirbies reach the mirror world and continue to pursue Dark Meta Knight, who runs away again. He reaches the mirror hub where he encounters the true Meta Knight, and the two begin to fight. Meta Knight is knocked into the large mirror in the center of the hub and falls inside.

Dark Meta Knight slices the mirror into eight pieces and scatters them across the world. He then runs and disappears into another nearby mirror, closely followed by a shadowy Kirby. This is where the game really starts.

*~*~*~*

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror plays a bit differently than other Kirby games. Rather than just traveling from the start of the level to the end with a little bit of exploration, this game takes a more Metroidvania-type approach.

Each separate area has a series of sub-areas within them accessed through the mirrors found within them. Some lead deeper into the same area, some lead to bosses or a little mini-game that leads you back to the mirror hub, and some lead to other areas altogether.


Exploration is required to find everything and reach 100% completion. Items are hidden in chest throughout the world, with smaller chests holding items like music scores and spray-paint, and bigger ones containing more important items like maps.

Certain abilities are often needed to access certain areas. The Rock and Hammer abilities can pound pegs into the ground, and Burning's flame tackle can break through metal blocks.

Some blocks can only be moved through Kirby's inhaling abilities, but some are to big to move all on your own. That's where an important new feature of this game comes into play.

*~*~*~*

If you reach some obstacle you just can't get past on your own or need help with a particularly tough enemy, you can call in the other Kirbies for help with a quick press of the 'R' button. You can only do this a few times without collecting batteries to recharge your phone. The number of times left is represented by the three bars beside the phone in the upper-left corner, with three bars left meaning you can call for help three more times. Pressing and holding the 'L' button returns you to the mirror world hub.

After the other Kirbies come in, for a very short time you can move close to them and cause the Kirbies to kiss, which makes helpful items like 1-ups and health-restoring items appear. Moving close to the others and getting them to kiss shortly after collecting these or other helpful items will share their effects with everyone kissed.

The other Kirbies act on their own once summoned, but will loosely follow you around, attack boss enemies, and help you with obstacles. It's entirely possible to 100% the game on your own, but the AI isn't the greatest. If you have the original game and a link cable I'd suggest playing with others over relying on the AI for help.

*~*~*~*

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is a very fun game. It was my very first Kirby game, and I think I'll always have a soft spot for it. I love exploring the different environments without having to return to an over-world to select different levels. It makes it feel more like its own little world to me.

If you haven't played it before, it's one I'd highly suggest trying out. If you don't have access to an original copy, it can also be purchased on the WiiU's virtual console. The way you progress differs from other Kirby games, but that doesn't take away from the sense of fun or exploration and remains one of my favorite Kirby games to this day.


Thoughts on the Tamagotchi P2

This Tamagotchi is pretty cute. It doesn't contain a massive amount of characters, but I'm fond of the ones it does contain- particularly Mimitchi, who looks like a long-eared rabbit.

I wish it contained Kutchipatchi, since he's my absolute favorite Tamagotchi character, but he was found in the P1 version instead.

It's a little slow-moving, and I think that's compounded by the icons being in a different order than in future releases. The status icon being all the way on the bottom row is what bothers me about this the most. It's so hard to get to when all I want to do is check how hungry and happy my little pet is.

It's a bit bare-bones compared to future releases, but it's fun to play when I'm looking for an older version that isn't too loud or demanding.

Further reading:
 P2 Growth Chart
Tamagotchi P2 

Future Tamagotchi Coverage Line-Up

My future plans for Tamagotchi coverage, in no particular order. It really just depends on when I have the time to play each one.

I don't like talking about them unless I've had experience with them. If it's been a while since I've played with a particular version, I like being able to play with them again as a refresher before writing.

English

Connection
  • Mini✓
  • V1✓
  • V2✓
  • V3✓
  • V4✓
  • V4.5✓
  • V5✓
  • V5.5
  • V6


Modern
  • Friends
  • Dream Town

*~*~*~*


Japanese

Vintage
  •  P1✓
  • Genjintch✓
  • Angelgotchi✓
  • Osutchi and Mesutchi✓
  • TamaOtch✓
  • Devilgotchi✓


Plus
  • Akai✓
  • Chibi✓
  • Entama✓
  • Keitai 
  • Plus
  • Uratama✓


Modern
  • P's
  • M!x: Anniversary Edition

Monday, February 20, 2017

Angelgotchi Log

This is a log I started up at the same time I started up the most recent time I powered up my Angelgotchi. It's a little log of my day-to-day experiences with it, seeing what it does and what characters it grows into. I plan on updating it each day I play with my angel. 

 Day 1

I started up my Angelgotchi today at about 9:22 p.m.

I turned it on, set the time, and in just a few minutes had turned into the baby Obaketchi. I really have to say, the Angelgotchi characters are so cute.

I don't think he seemed as needy as most baby Tamagotchis, a welcome relief after playing with the Umi no and the Genjintch.

He needed food and the game played with him a few times, but not too much. Two bats tried to come up and steal his candy hearts, but I quickly put a stop to that.

He took a quick nap, but was soon up and ready to play again.

At around 10:30 p.m., he changed into Maruten and fell asleep right afterwards. He uses a little cloud for a bed, how cute!

I didn't get to play with him for long since I started him so late, but we're sure to spend a lot more time together over the next week.


Day 2

Maruten woke up at 8:00 today; I wasn't up until a little later, so he was a little hungry and unhappy when I got to him. I fed him and played the game with him, and filled his Angel Meter points to this stage's current max of 50. I'm hoping for a Chestnut Angel.

He did a good deed at some point, but I missed it because I was eating lunch at the time.

*~*~*~*

He ended up doing several more good deeds throughout the day, but I ended up missing all of them due to being in class. I feel kinda bad, but I guess this will let me see if good care and Tenshi Power or the Good Deeds Meter play a bigger part into whether or not he becomes a healthy character.

*~*~*~*

I played with little Maruten a few times and fed him some candy to keep up his Tenshi Power, but it wasn't long before he fell asleep. I was hoping he'd call for me some so I'd have the chance to praise him before he woke up tomorrow.


 Day 3

 Little Maruten grew into Kodoten upon waking up. So it seems like the actual care given and the Tenshi points are more important than the Good Deeds Meter, at least when it comes to its growth into the teen stage.

He's quite cute, looks a lot the same as Maruten, a chubby little blob with a wings and halo, but now he has tiny arms and legs.

I'll keep him out during my morning class to see if he calls for praise.

*~*~*~*

He didn't call at all during my class, probably because I was watching for it. But he did call sometime during the ten minute it took me to walk from my first class back to my dorm room. Of course, the only time he's been in my pocket all day would be the first time he does it all day.

*~*~*~*

He hasn't called for me any more today. He's been more quiet than Maruten was. He mostly just floats back and forth a lot, but he's so adorable as he does it. I haven't yet caught him taking any walks yet, though I've read they do it more frequently as they grow older.

I fed him up, raised his TP, and played with him to max out his happiness.

I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.


Day 4
 
 I woke up at about 10:00 to find Kodoten had evolved into Kuriten, the Chestnut Angel! He's so cute, with more separation between his body and head, and a cute little swirly-looking hair.

I also finally caught him doing a good deed. The screen was all sparkly and cute, and I was able to praise him in time.

*~*~*~*

He hasn't needed much attention today, I've only had to feed him and play with him a few times. His TP now maxes out at 70, so it takes a while for that to fall to lower levels, as well.

I'm hoping if I continue to take good care of him, he'll turn into the secret Twin Angel character before he returns to the Angel Capital. I'm not really sure how long it'll take for that to happen, though. The angel grows to a new for almost every day, but I don't quite know how it works for the secret characters.

I'll just keep trying to take good care of him and hope for the best.

Day 5
 
I've been busy with school work recently, so I haven't had the time to update this log as much as I would've liked. Sorry about that.
 
Today passed pretty quietly, Kuriten didn't need too much care. He's started beeping when he does good deeds, so I'm actually able to catch him now.
 
He's started doing more of them as an adult than he did as a teen and child, too.
 
Not much longer before I learn if he'll turn into a secret character or not.
 
Day 6
 
Kuriten quietly changed into Futagotenshi this morning, the Twin Angels. They're so cute floating around the screen together, and when the get happy, they look like the Smiling Angel secret character from the English Tamagotchi Angel.
 
It looks like their growth is over until they returns to the Tamagotchi Angel Capital, so I'll be ending this particular log until that point. Now it's just a goal of taking care of them the best I can so they stay with me as long as possible.

UraTama

Ura Jinsei Enjoi Tamagotchi Plus, or the UraTama as it is more commonly known, was released in Japan in 2006 and could be seen as a sequel to the previously released EnTama. The UraTama is comparable to the English Tamagotchi Connection V4.5.

One of the first things you probably notice upon turning it on is that the pixels are a nice, light blue color. Very relaxing, although a bit harder to see sometimes than the regular black ones. Not so much that it makes a huge difference, though.

Added to the status screen is a menu for your Tamagotchi's GUTS Points, which affect which character it will grow into. These points can be earned in a variety of ways.

*~*~*~*

The first way to earn GUTS Points is by playing one of the three games with it, the first game raising the first type of point and so on.

The first is a whack-a-mole type game, you use the left and right buttons to move your fan and the middle button to hit the things that pop out of the boxes. The goal is to hit the springy jack-in-the-boxes that pop up, but not the poop. Hitting that will end the game early.

In the second game, you choose which of three panels you think a jewel is hidden behind. If you guess correctly, you move onto the next round. If you guess incorrectly, it ends the game.

The last game is a brick-breaking game. There's a power meter at the bottom that fills up, you have to try and stop it using the middle button when it's as high as you can get it. The power requirement to break the bricks gets higher with each level.

The next way to get these points is though different teachers that come to your Tama starting at the child growth-stage. The one it has as a child helps it sing a little song. The one it goes to as a teen actually has you playing a little game where you choose between one of three panels. One has a GUTS points symbol under it, and if you choose the right one, your Tamagotchi gets to keep the points.
*~*~*~*

There are separate babies for each GUTS Points family. Each family has a certain set of Tamagotchis it can grow into, and which it grows into are decided by these points.

In the V4.5, you would choose when your Tamagotchi went to school and when you went to the shop. In the UraTama, however, you don't have as much control. The teachers and a shopkeeper come to you at certain times throughout the day, so you have to be on the lookout for that. The shopkeeper only sells one item at a time.

The UraTama's growth times are a little longer as well, since you have to spend so much time building up points so that it can get a good career. It reminds me a little of the long-lived vintage models rather than those of the Tamagotchi Connection and Plus era.

The V4.5 had you playing a mini-game at the job, but the UraTama doesn't include that.

One feature that wasn't carried over to the V4.5, however, was cooking. Sometimes, the shopkeeper will sell ingredients for cooking your own food. If they have the same GUTS symbol, they can be combined together, and you may end up with a new food item. Since you can't really control what the shopkeeper decides to sell at that time, it can take a while to build up enough ingredients to try cooking with.
*~*~*~*

I really like the blue pixels. They can be a little hard to see sometimes, but I like how it tries to mimic the blue 'glow' of the UraTama characters.

The sound seems a little more high-pitched than the EnTama and the English versions, but not enough to be irritating. Almost makes it a little musical.

I know some people weren't fond of the antennas Bandai used for the EnTama/UraTama and V4/V4.5, but I really liked them; I found them adorable.

The UraTama seems to be more common than the V4.5 at the moment, so if you have any interest in playing with one from this line, I'd suggest the UraTama. The differently-colored pixels and the cooking are features you don't get to see in many other Tamagotchi versions.

It's one I'd suggest getting if you have the chance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Donkey Kong Country 2 Advance

I've always enjoyed platforming games, even if I'm not particularly good at them most of the time. It gets to the point that Mario games sometimes become too intense. It doesn't stop me from trying though, especially if the game has music and atmosphere that can keep me entertained and engaged no matter how many times I might die.

This is the case with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and especially so for its remake on the Game Boy Advance.


Released in 2004, this remake stayed faithful to the original while also adding in some new content of its own.

After pressing through the Start Screen, you're presented with a menu where you can select what mode you want to play in: the main game, Diddy's Dash, or a bonus games menu.


Diddy's Dash lets you speed-run the non-boss levels of areas you've unlocked while playing through the main game. The goal here is just to get the fastest times you possibly can. It's a nice change of pace if you don't feel like thoroughly exploring a level and just want to run through as fast as possible.

The bonus games menu lets you quickly access mini games that are also found in the main game. There are three games here: Expresso Racing, Funky's Flights, and Bag a Bug.

Expresso Racing allows you to race Expresso Ostrich against other ostriches. You increase his various racing abilities by collecting a new item that's been scattered throughout the game's levels: golden feathers. Once you've found them, you bring them to Cranky's Hut, where the it can be found while playing the main game.

Funky's Flights has you attempting to complete various activities while flying in Funky's Gyrocopter. This could include trying to deliver supplies, rescuing other Kongs, rebuilding statues, or trying to make it to the end point without losing all of your health.

The game in the first area has to be completed before you can use Funky's services to visit previously completed areas. However, after this, his Gyrocopter can be used for free at any point by accessing the start menu while in the overworld.

Bag a Bug has you running around a little circular map while being chased by Klubba. As you run, little bugs and power-ups will appear around the map. Your goal is to collect as many as you can while not being hit by Klubba. There are safe areas you can duck into that he can't reach, but you won't collect as many bugs if you spend a lot of time in here. Playing this can get you rewards like coins, bananas, or lives.


The main game is where you'll spend most of your time. While it's very similar to that of the original, a few things have been added in that give it an even longer life.

It starts out with a little cut-scene, showing Donkey Kong getting kidnapped and Dixie and Diddy deciding to go rescue him. From there you move onto the new island, Crocodile Isle.

One of my favorite aspects of this game is the atmosphere. A lot of the enemies return from the original game, but are now pirate themed. King K. Rool is now Kaptain K. Rool, the Neckies wear little bandanas, a lot of the other Kremlings have gained peglegs or pirate hats.

The first area of the game takes place entirely on a giant ship. It might sound repetitive, but it's handled well. You get to explore all parts of the ship, from the deck and rigging, to the flooded interior and crow's nest. Despite all sharing the same central theme, all of the levels feel very different from one another.

Many other areas, each with entirely unique concepts and themes, are also explored during the course of the game. A partially-sunken pirate ship, an active volcano, a swamp, an old rickety carnival, a haunted forest, a tower, an airship, and a final, hidden jungle world can all be found here.


The music, while clearly scaled down from the original, good. All of the original tracks can be found here and are still recognizable, an pleasant to listen to. Each song helps to set the mood for the particular level it appears in. There's even a cheat that can be used on the main menu for a sound-test mode you can use to listen to all of your favorite in-game songs.

The graphics are a little squished and blurry compared to the original, but it's not bad to look at, especially considering how much content in contains. You can see little ambient effects that help to build the world, like light streaming through the forest canopy, or little mice and rats running around on ship decks. I actually enjoy it quite a bit.

The game-play is very much the same as the original, with the exception of the previously-mentioned bonus games. In addition to the original Kremkoins from beating Blast Barrel mini-games found scattered throughout the levels and the DK Coins hidden in out of the way areas, two new items were added: golden feathers and photographs. The golden feathers for Cranky's Expresso Racing can be found hidden around levels, much like the DK coins. The photographs gathered for Wrinkly's scrapbook, however, are gathered in several different ways.

The book contains pictures of enemies, animal buddies, and the different Kongs you meet across your adventure. There are many different pages to fill. Some photos are being guarded by enemies you have to defeat in order to collect them. Others are given to you when you complete certain tasks, like from completing all of the Expresso Racing courses. It's fun being able to look at see more detailed artwork of the friends and enemies you meet on your adventure across the island.


Some levels do get a little hard at times, but it's still a very good experience. I don't mind even if I die over and over again because the mechanics, sound, and graphics are just so good. It typically feels like my fault if I end up dying, not the game's, and I keep practicing and playing until I'm able to overcome whatever obstacle I've come up against.

Donkey Kong Country 2 Advance is a fun, immersive game that manages to retain the charm and fun of the original while adding in its own unique content. Whatever your skill level, and whether or not you've played the original game, I'd highly suggest giving a try.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mothra no Tamagotchi

The Mothra no Tamagotchi was released in 1997 in celebration of the release of the movie, Rebirth of Mothra II. What makes this Tamagotchi unique is that rather than raising traditional-looking Tamagotchi characters, you raise characters that are based on characters from the Godzilla and Mothra movies.

Just before the egg hatches, Mothra's fairy twins come and sing to the egg to help it hatch. They also show up to sing to it to help it feel better when it gets sick.


It very much resembles previous releases. The one change I can really think of is to the weight meter, which is now in tons.

When Mothra needs discipline, you'll hear it beep and see it trying to tear down a tower. How you discipline a giant, multi-ton insect-goddess is beyond me, but it helps raise its justice meter. This has an effect on what character it will grow into. A higher justice meter level and better care will result in characters like Mothra or Fairy Mothra, while a lower justice meter and worse care will get you characters like Battra.

Multiple Mothra characters are available, and Godzilla and the Fairy Twins even shows up as secret characters.

After the teen stage, Mothra enters a cocoon, much like the Mori no Tamagotchi, but without the need to adjust the temperature. It's a lot like the Mori no, since both of them feature a cocoon stage and many insect-based characters. It moves faster than the Mori no, though, with no delay after hitting the buttons, and seems to change more quickly.


The game is a lot like the Mori no's as well. You have to guess which of four holes your Mothra is hiding in by scrolling through them with the left button and selecting with the middle button. You have to get at least three out of five guesses right to win, but getting all five guesses right raises its happiness by two hearts and lowers its weight by two tons. Very convenient!

The Mothra no Tamagotchi is good if you're looking for a faster-moving version of the Mori no, or are a fan of Godzilla and Mothra movies. It's easy enough to take care of, but not so easy it becomes boring. It has a fun, fast game, and a good sound, not too loud and not too soft.

It's a good Tamagotchi if you're looking for something with middle-of-the-road difficulty, harder than the Mori no, but not as hard as the Umi no

Further Reading:
Mothra no Tamagotchi Character Chart

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mori no Tamagotchi

The Mori no Tamagotchi was released in 1998. An English version referred to as the Tamagotchi Garden was in the works, but was never released.

The Mori no is a nice change in pace from higher-maintenance pets like the Umi no. Even in its newly-hatched state, it's not very needy.

After setting the time, you're given a choice of two eggs, a spotted one and a white one.



The white egg functions like a normal Tamagotchi, with its growth based on the way you raise it. The spotted egg only grows into a single adult character. The goal with this one is to raise it to be as large as possible, with a new length meter being added to the status screen.

The slight button delay from the P1 and P2 can be found in this version as well, but it doesn't bother me as much in this version.

The Hungry and Happy hearts have been replaced with leaves, a nice attention to detail.

The food menu differs a little in this version from other vintage Tamagotchis. After it grows into the child-stage or higher, you gain the ability to feed it different types of food which change throughout the day. Different foods will have different effects on its happiness, weight, and overall growth. It's actually good to raise your character's weight as much as possible, as it can help result in better characters.

The teen-stage has been replaced by a cocoon-stage, which the Tamagotchi will stay in for 24 hours. During this time, checking the status screen allows you to adjust the temperature- keeping it mostly cold will result in different characters than if it is kept mostly hot and humid. Don't let it stay in extreme temperatures for too long though, or it may result in an early death.

This Tamagotchi has an 'overhead' view of your little creature, showing it flying around between two trees during the day, and staying still when its asleep. If you leave your pet alone for a few seconds, it will flip over to this screen automatically, and there's no way to prevent this. Scrolling through the menu will bring up a full view of your pet again.

The game is pretty fun, you're given four different cups and you have to guess which cup a leaf is hidden under. There are only four rounds, and you only have to guess right twice to win.

The Mori no contains the same predator features as the Umi no. Sometimes it'll be a frog, and other times it'll be a foot coming down trying to crush your little bug. Like with the Umi no, you have to press the left button and tap on the side of the toy to scare it away.

If you fail to save it in time, you'll see your pet wrapped up in bandages and leaning on a cane. Cute, but also very sad. Heal it with the medicine icon.

This Tamagotchi is very relaxing. It's easy to care for, and sort of reminds me of collecting and playing with bugs when I was young. It's easy to care for even when you don't have a lot of time on your hands, and is one I think I can see myself using for a long time.

Further Reading:
Thoughts on the Mori no Tamagotchi
Mori no Tamagotchi Growth Chart

Thoughts on the Mori no Tamagotchi

This Tamagotchi is pretty easy to take care of, even if you don't have a lot of time.

The characters are very cute, all being based on little bugs. Having two eggs to choose between and helping the second to grow as big as possible rather than taking the more traditional Tamagotchi growth route is a pretty interesting concept.

The cocoon stage and having the temperature you keep it at affecting the character you get was fun to play around with.

I liked having different choices of foods to feed it, and having to try and fatten it up instead of trying to keep its weight low to get better characters was a nice change of pace.

These changes kind of helped to make it easier, but... while I wouldn't exactly call it 'boring' in comparison to other vintage models, it's definitely not as exciting. It doesn't change between stages very quickly, and the screensaver- while cute- means the animations you see are also more limited.

You don't need to discipline this version, and it only rarely gets attacked during the day.

For my bug-related Tamagotchi needs, I'll more likely end up running my Mothra no Tamagotchi. It's a version I'm glad to have in my collection, and one I'll run when I don't have a whole lot of time on my hands, but probably not a whole lot outside of that.

Further Reading:
Mori no Tamagotchi Growth Chart
Mori no Tamagotchi Overview

Thoughts on the Umi no Tamagotchi

The Umi no Tamagotchi is one of the hardest I've ever played with. It was a lot of fun, fast moving, and grew relatively quickly compared with other vintage models. However, in return for that, it was also one of the most demanding I've ever played with.

If you're someone like me who prefers to hatch in the mornings so they'll change before you have to go to class or work and not pause your Tamagotchis since it then throws off that growth, you're not going to be sleeping late or taking any naps. You probably won't be leaving this little guy alone much at all.

It loses happiness and grows hungry very quickly compared to previous versions. Once it finally hits the teen stage, it grows a little less needy, but you'll still probably find yourself needing to feed and play with it every 20 minutes or so. And if you're unlucky enough to find an octopus during your game, that can easily turn into a long cycle of game-playing to raise its happiness.

You'll find yourself having to constantly monitoring for Polar Bear attacks, since even one attack can seriously injure or even kill your little pet.

I was lucky enough to get one of the best-care characters on my first try. He's a little frog-Tamagotchi, the same kind that you can see on the Mori no Tamagotchi sometimes. I feel a little bad about that, but I think his cuteness helps make up for it.

I didn't have him as an adult for long before I had to remove the batteries. It was simply too demanding for my current schedule, at least while trying to also run multiple other Tamagotchis at the same time. I think it would have been more manageable had I only been running him at the time.

Despite how hard it was, it remains one of the most fun vintage Tamagotchis I've played with. It has really cute characters that move around the screen more uniquely than other ones, floating up and down or even swimming off-screen, and I love the little bubble effects added to help make it seem more watery.

Ultimately, it's one I'd love to run some more and experiment with, but not until I have the free time to do so.

Further reading:
Umi no Tamagotchi Overview
Umi no Tamagotchi Growth Chart

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak



Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak is one of my favorite video games. I've replayed it more times than I can remember, and still have my original copy

The game was originally released in the US on the Gameboy Advance in 2002. It was a sequel to the Gameboy Color's Hamtaro: Ham-Ham's Unite!

In the game, you are traveling around the land, trying to protect and restore the love of all hamsters.

*~*~*

After naming your characters, their default names being Hamtaro and Bijou, you are shown a dream in which Hamtaro sees a hamster in a devil costume breaking up several hamsters before charging at Hamtaro himself.

Hamtaro wakes up in a bed at the top of the Clubhouse, and heads downstairs. However, he ends up slipping on the completed Ham-Chat dictionary from the previous game, and soaking it with a misplaced bucket of water. Most of the Ham-Chats were lost, meaning you have to relearn them as well as newly added ones.

From here, Boss teaches you some basic Ham-Chats you use to interact with other hamsters and the environment before sending you off to the first area, Sunny Peak, to find Bijou.

It's here that after meeting up with Bijou and reuniting your first couple that you meet the game's primary antagonist, Spat, who plans to destroy the love of all hamsters. He is the rival of the angel-hamster, Harmony, who you meet back at the Clubhouse later.

From here, you continue to travel, meeting more hamsters, saving more relationships, and learning more Ham-Chats.

You use the Ham-Chats you learn to interact with other characters and items, which can then be used to explore even further and meet even more hamsters.

There are a lot of different areas to explore, including the Clubhouse, a mountain peak and the surrounding base, a beach and island, a haunted house complete with ghosts, a theme park, a jungle, and a castle tower.

There's a lot you can do in the game, from finishing the main plot, to collecting all the Ham-Chats and completing the dictionary, to playing mini-games and exploring the world. 

*~*~*

If you want to take a break from the main plot, there are plenty of little things you can do on the side as well.

One area they expanded on from the previous title is the dress up game. In each area, there's a shop
where you can buy clothing and accessories you can use to dress up Hamtaro and Bijou. There are different sets you can collect, like an astronaut set and a Santa Claus and reindeer set for example. Once you collect all the items in a set, when you go to dress up and take pictures, you can select a special background based on said set.

Another thing you can do is collect rocks for polishing. Scattered around the world, you can find rocks that you can pick up and save for later. You can hold up to fifty rocks at a time. In one area, you meet a pair of hamsters who teach you the Rub-Rub Ham-Chat for polishing these rocks. After this, the Rub-Rub Room will open up at the Clubhouse, and you can use it anytime.

Inside the rocks, you can find sunflower seeds, acorns, gems, fossils, and human-made artifacts like beads. Sometimes the rocks will just disappear. Each area also contains a hidden cave that has a special, large rock. Each of these larger rocks contain a special gem unique to the area that can only be found once. Different normal gems can be found in different areas, too, so you have to collect rocks from all over if you want to find them all.

After completing the main plot, you can take these gems and other items and use them at a special room that opens up in the Clubhouse. You can pay the hamsters inside to have them convert the gems to accessories, which can also be used in dressing up.

Various mini-games can be found throughout the world, many of which are found in Funland. There's a matching game, a game where you try to catch colored paper that falls from the ceiling, and a game like a mix of bowling and bingo where you attempt to pop numbered balloons by rolling a ball into them.

Funland also has a roller coaster, teacups, and Ferris wheel you can ride, as well as a little Ham Rangers 'show' you can watch once gathering all the missing members of the group.

Another little extra you can work on is gathering all the songs in the game. There are ten songs to collect, and once you have them, you can set Ham-Chats to them to make your own dance.

*~*~*
One thing I like about it is that you aren't just trying to restore the love of couples. You do end up saving a lot of them, but there are others that you help, too. The bond between two brothers, a mother and son, bitter rivals, best friends... You help save a lot of relationships, and it makes the world feel more dynamic and special. You get to meet a lot of characters, both ones that appeared in the anime and ones unique to the game.

I didn't have any real problems with the game. It's got cute, bright graphics and nice sound. It's fun going through and trying to finish everything in the game, and I've replayed it enough times to have pretty much everything memorized. It's relaxing to just go through it at your own pace, trying to save all the hamsters. It's a fun game that can easily be replayed over and over again, and that I find fun no matter how many times I go through it.

Tamagotchi Tamatown Tama-Go

The Tamatown Tama-Go was the first 'modern era' Tamagotchi released in English, and acts as a successor to the Connection Era of Tamagotchis. It was released in America and Europe in 2010.

The body of the toy is big, but surprisingly light. It feels good to hold and fits well in the hand. The buttons are a hard plastic as opposed to those from the Connections, and feel nice to press.

The Tama-Go come with a faceplate that protects the screen and hold on a decorative, interchangeable screen border. The borders are made out of thin paper, so if you get the dimensions, it's easy to design your own for further customization.

The sound on the Tama-Go is really grating. It may be from using the same type of technology that the smaller ones use for sound, but still having to go through the much bigger body. Whatever the reason, I soon found myself turning it off.
*~*~*

This was the first English Tamagotchi release to feature a gray-scale screen. This allows for a much greater amount of detail than the connections were able to offer. The Tamagotchi has a cute room background that can be changed at the built-in shop.

If left alone for a little while, the background fades out and just leaves the character on screen, much like the older models. This leaves a lot of empty space on the Tama-Go's bigger screen, though, and looks a bit odd.

There are two built-in games, Shoot the Bugs! and Long Jumper.

Shoot the Bugs! remind me a little of the Fireman job from the Tamagotchi V4. Your character rides up and down along the left side of the screen while bugs crawl in from the right. You use the middle button to shoot the bugs as they move towards you. It can be a little hard because your timing has to be pretty exact.

In Long Jumper, your Tamagotchi runs along blocks on the bottom of the screen, and gaps in the blocks will eventually start appearing. You have to use the left button to make a short jump, the middle button to make a slightly longer jump, and the right button for the longest jump. You have to choose the correct length of jump in order to make it over the entire hole and not accidentally jump into one that's farther along.

There's also a park that your pet can visit. Sometimes when it goes, there will be other Tamagotchis there that will play with. Other times there won't be anyone else there, which will make your pet sad.

The Tama-Go can connect to other Tama-Gos, the V5 and V6 Tamagotchis via their infrared ports. They can play games together, and even mate once they become adults.

*~*~*

The shop for house remodeling and a food shop are the only shops pre-built into the toy. The rest are accessed through the use of Gotchi figures.

Part of the appeal of the Tama-Go is the collection aspect. The upper back part of the unit can be slid off and replaced with a Gotchi figure. The ones that come included with the toy are lite figures, only featuring a single game.

The other figures that are bought separately each containing two games and a shop, either one that sells items for your pet to play with or wear or one that sells food.

The unit keeps track of the number of figures you've connected with. When you connect the figure to the main toy, it displays a brief welcome message on the screen. The first time you connect the figure, it also adds it to your total number of connected figures, which you can also see under the status screen.

The last option on the top menu bar allows you to access the figure you currently have connected. From here, you can access its games, shop, and the items you've bought from it. Since items weren't pre-built into the toy, this is the only way to access them.

One nice feature they added in was toilet training for your Tamagotchi. Catching it and using the toilet icon before it makes a mess on the floor helps to raise its training bar, along with the normal discipline and praise method. If you raise it high enough, it'll eventually be able to use the toilet by itself. I'd really like to see this feature return in a future release.

Bandai also included the pause feature with this release. Like with the Connections, the unit can be paused by pressing the left and middle buttons together. Your pet won't age or need any care until it's unpaused, so it's easy to just play with it when you have the time. 

*~*~*

It's pretty hardy as far as Tamagotchis go, which is good since it's so big. It's not the kind of toy you can discreetly slide out of your pocket to play with, especially if you plan on bringing Gotchi figures with you, too.

 Despite some of the difficulty in carrying it around created by the size, the Tama-Go is a fun virtual pet. A lot of features and games are unlocked through collecting the Gotchi figures, but they're relatively inexpensive online, so it's not hard to collect a lot of them. I plan on continuing to collect and play for a long time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Video Games and Art

Art has always played a big role in my life.

Art-related games like Art Academy or Pixel Maker, or those for making animations like Flipnote or Inchworm Animation are some of my particular favorites- as evidenced by my 3DS's time-log.

I also enjoy drawing with other materials, especially colored pencils. Prismacolor is my favorite brand to work with.

Fan-art is a way for me to combine my loves, hopefully offer a new take or different perspective on things shown before, and share my work with others.
Admittedly, the majority of my work is Pokémon-based, but it's what I enjoy doing the most. There are so many different Pokémon designs currently out, it provides a lot of material to work with.

Chicken-Man and the Masters of the Barnyard
Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons are another source of inspiration for me, usually when a new game is coming out and the fan-communities I'm a part of are speculating on what new characters or features are going to be present.

It can be fun to incorporate are into games like Animal Crossing or its Happy Home Designer spinoff where you have the opportunity to design clothing and houses for the characters that appear in-game.

Beyond pure enjoyment, art is also a way for me to relieve stress. It makes me happy to see projects through to completion, especially when they turn out well. I like drawing for other people, and being able to make them happy through my work.
Video game characters enjoy drawing, too!

I don't always work on big projects, either; just doodling little things can be a lot of fun, too. I once drew all of the Generation 1 Pokémon from memory; that turned out about as well as you can probably imagine, but my friends and I still look back on that from time to time and laugh about it.



Basing my art on the video games I play adds another level of depth to the enjoyment I get from both of those activities. I hope for both of them to be things that I can continue to enjoy for a long time.




Monday, February 6, 2017

Umi no Tamagotchi


The Umi no Tamagotchi- or Tamagotchi Ocean as it was called in the US- was released in 1998. An water-themed Tamagotchi, it could be seen as a counterpart to the forest-themed Mori no Tamagotchi.

This Tamagotchi has all of the same features as the original P1 and P2 Tamagotchi release, but also introduced a few new ones that make it one of the harder ones to raise.

The first new aspect you have to watch for is the water quality. This can be seen under a newly-added screen under the status menu, represented by four skulls. White-colored skulls mean that the water is clean, but black-colored skulls mean that the water is dirty and needs to be cleaned.

You clean the water by using the toilet icon, the same one used for cleaning up you Tamagotchi's messes. The button needs to be pressed once for each dirty skull.

The next newly introduced feature is predator attacks. The Umi no will sometimes take naps throughout the day, and there is a chance that it could be attacked by a polar bear during this time. In order to scare it off, press the left-button to bring up the discipline icon, then tap on the edges of the device to wake your pet up and scare the bear away. This predator feature can also be found in the Mori no Tamagotchi.

The light will also turn on and off at certain times, regardless of whether or not your Tamagotchi is asleep. From 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., the screen will go black and you will have to turn on the pet's light if it is not yet asleep. The lights remain on when not within in this set of hours. This was done to mimic the sunrise and sunset of the Tamagotchi Planet.

The Umi no's game is a lot like the one from the P1 Tamagotchi, but treasure-chest-themed. Use the left and middle buttons to select the chest you think the treasure is in. Like in the P1, choose correctly at least three out of five times to win.

There's one major way this game differs from the P1's, though. Sometimes when selecting a chest, an octopus will pop out and squirt ink at the screen, lowering the water quality and fully lowering the pet's happiness-level.

***

This Tamagotchi is one of the harder ones to care for. As a baby, it loses a hungry and happy heart every one or two minutes. Luckily, feeding it meals and snacks doesn't have an effect on its weight on this stage.

Even once it's grown up a little more, it still loses hungry and happiness more quickly than in previous versions. Because of this and predator attacks, it isn't really a Tamagotchi that you can leave alone for work or class and expect it to be okay.

The endings of the Japanese and US versions differ in that the Japanese version shows the normal death scene at a grave, while the US version shows the Tamagotchi returning to the Tamagotchi Planet in a submarine, implying that it is now an adult and able to take care of itself.

Due to its neediness, the Umi no can be hard to raise into adulthood. It might not be a good pet for you if you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to taking care of it. Despite this, it's still a lot of fun, and a Tamagotchi I would highly suggest obtaining if you have the chance.

 ***

Pros:
  • A more pleasant, musical beep than the P1 and P2
  • Cute, fish-themed characters and icons
  • A fun, fast game
  • Faster moving, no delay in movement like previous versions
Cons:
  • Needy, won't live if left alone for long
  • Game has a chance of lowering happiness and water quality
  •  Predator attacks can easily kill the pet if missed

Thoughts on the Umi no Tamagotchi
Umi no Tamagotchi Growth Chart

Tamagotchi P2

The Tamagotchi was a small, key-chain-sized virtual pet first released in 1996, with the P2 being the second wave of the original Tamagotchi released in the United States.

The P2 Tamagotchi contained the same basic features as the original wave- the P1- but contained different characters and a different game.

Both have features that would be carried over to future Tamagotchi products:
  • A screen for feeding it meals and snacks
  • A light on/off function for when your pet falls asleep at night
  • A game for raising happiness and lowering weight
  • An icon to give it medicine if it gets sick
  • A button to clean the screen when it makes a mess
  •  A screen for checking the current character's weight, age, hunger, and happiness
  • And an icon when it calls for unneeded attention

I was lucky enough to find my P2 in a second-hand shop, still in relatively good condition- albeit missing its stripes and the 'Tamagotchi' label on top.

Playing around with it for a while, raising it to the end of its life-cycle a few different times.

I found it to be a relatively quiet, low maintenance virtual pet. It wasn't hard to keep it alive despite having a busy college-schedule. I found I was able to care for it between classes without any trouble and sleep in on my less busy days and weekends and still have it be fine afterwards.

This Tamagotchi features many cute, classic characters; some that would go on to be featured in future versions of the virtual pet, and some that would only be featured here. Many of them are very cute, as well.

It only contains one game, a high-low game played with the first two buttons. If you think the number being displayed is higher than the next number your Tamagotchi will choose, press the left button. If you think it is lower, press the button in the middle. Guess right on at least three of the five rounds to win. Exit out by pressing the right button.

Despite its age, this is still a fun virtual pet. It doesn't have as many features as the later incarnations, but that is one of the toy's unique points. It doesn't take a lot of work to keep it happy and healthy, making it one of the better vintage Tamagotchis to play with if you don't have a lot of free time.

Pros:
  • A nice beep volume, not too quiet and not too loud
  • A fun and easy high-low game
  • Many classic characters, some only featured here
  • Basic and not very high-maintenance
  • Sound on/off function

Cons:
  • A little delay in hitting the buttons and it reacting
  • Not as much space for the characters to move around as in later versions
  • No true pause function, you have to 'pause' by sticking it in the time-set screen 
Further Reading:
P2 Character Profiles
Thoughts on the Tamagotchi P2
Tamagotchi P2 Growth Chart

Pokémon Sun and Moon



Pokémon has been a big part of my life for a long time. I started off playing Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow Versions before I could even read.

Recently, though, I had kinda felt like the series was falling into a rut. I mean, sure, I played X and Y, Alpha and Omega, but I just didn't find myself replaying them over and over like I continued to do with previous iterations of the Pokémon games.

That's when Pokémon Sun and Moon came out. I can't say for sure what changed, if it was something with the games or something in me, but I found myself having a lot more fun with my copy of Pokémon Moon than I'd had with this series in a long time.

I found myself legitimately enjoying the designs of the new Pokémon introduced, much more widely so than in any of the previous three generations. After the designs of the starters were finally revealed, it took me until the games' release for me to finally decide on Popplio. Pikipek quickly became one of my favorite early-game birds, and Cosmog is now one of my all-time favorite Pokémon.

The Poké Ride was one of my favorite features ever introduced. After clearing certain parts of the game, you are given access to new Pokémon you can call with a Ride Pager, which- in turn- gives you access to new areas. For example, the first Pokémon you are able to call is Tauros, who is faster than your running speed and is able to smash boulders that are in your way.

The best part of the Poké Rides is that they take the place of HMs. Surf, Fly, Strength, and Rock Smash- these previously difficult-to-forget moves have been 'downgraded' to TM status, and can now be just as easily replaced as any other move. One particular Pokémon even takes the place of the Item-Finder. The Pokémon you have access to can be set to the control pad for quick use, like registering items in previous 3DS Pokémon games.

Some people seemed to take issue with the amount of exposition in the game. I can see where they're coming from, especially in comparison with the earlier games; when characters start talking in Sun and Moon, it can sometimes take a while for them to get to the point. I didn't find it all that irritating, though. In fact, I actually found myself caring about the characters more than I had since Black and White Versions.

I also found it a nice touch that Team Skull wasn't the Big Bad of the game. Barring one member in-particular, all they were really trying to do was be petty criminals and- for the most part- failing. They actually reminded me of Team Rocket from the anime. They try so hard, but can't move forward with their plans for being thwarted by a ten-year-old. Kind of sad, really.

One of my favorite parts of the game comes at the end of the main story. Unlike in previous versions, the Pokémon League in the Alola Region has just newly been established, and has no true Champion yet. When you win your way through the League and win the final battle, you become the new League Champion.

 Rather than giving up your position after the credits roll, however, you will still hold the title. After battling your way through the Elite Four again, you'll find yourself defending your title against a single trainer from a pool of people who can challenge you for your position.

One of the few critiques I have of the game comes from the post-game. The Battle-Tree, which takes the place of the Battle Tower and Battle Frontier from previous games, can be overly difficult. After many, many battles here, it thoroughly feels as if the game is tailoring your opponents' teams specifically to make it difficult for your Pokémon team. Without competitive-level stats, move and item-sets, it can be hard to win here.

Another problem I had came from the Island Challenges. Barring the Ghost-Type Challenge, I didn't think any of them felt particularly unique or interesting. They weren't hard, most of them feeling like they were there to eat up time more than anything. I never really found myself getting excited for the Challenges themselves, but more about what new Poké Rides I would unlock, and what new areas and available Pokémon they would open up for me in the process.

Sun and Moon are some of the most fun Pokémon games I have played in a long time. I enjoy the refreshing direction the series seems to be taking, and look forward to what it has to offer in the future.