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December 08, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 8, 1997
Virtual pests: Tamagotchis take America

By Michael Galloway
For the Daily
In Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong,
original Tamagotchis are being
sold for around $700, and
many adults, teens and
children of both sexes
are obsessed with.
them. Although some
5 million have been
sold here, their
effect isn't quite as
pervasive. In fact,
American kids are {
the only ones who
are primarily inter-;
ested - most people '
don't even know what
they are. Still, quite a few
people have bought and
bought into these egg-shaped,
beeping keychains, so here's the scoop.
The Tamagotchi begins as an egg that
hatches into a little, jiggling blob. The
Tama (as many have nicknamed it)
needs to be fed, given vitamins and
played with. Like a living creature, it
gets sick, sleeps, and goes to the bath-

room, and by selecting the appropriate
icon off of the small LCM screen, one
can give it medicine, turn off the light or
scoop up its poop.
What the Tama actually
becomes depends on how
its owner takes care of it.
There are several dif-
ferent creatures that it
can turn into and
# many try to have
their Tamas grow
* into specific ani-
{ ° mats.
Eventually, the
Tama will return to its
;:home planet in cyber-
space. Then one starts
the whole process over
again, with an egg showing
on the screen once more.
There are many imitation Tamas, but an
actual related product is the DigiMon, or
the Digital Monster. The English version
of these will be released in January,
though some may leak out at Christmas
time.
Like the Tama, the DigiMon starts out

as an egg, and it needs to be fed, given
vitamins, cleaned up after and given
attention. The DigiMon isn't a pet, how-
ever, because it can be trained to fight
other DigiMons once it is more than two
years old (two days, in real time).
How well your DigiMon does in bat-
tle depends on how well you've raised it.
The DigiMon can be injured in bat-
tIe, and then needs the littlef
band-aid icon to treat it.
The more battles your
DigiMon wins, the'
stronger it gets. Thea
converse is also true
-the more it loses, >
the weaker it gets. .. z
These virtual ;
pets are meant to >
target boys, who are
somewhat less inter-
ested in Tamas than - (
girls are, and to tap into
the child's urge to compete.
Both the Tama and the DigiMon
encourage a bit of scientific experimen-
tation. Over the Internet, people discuss
how to have their Tama become a specif-

ic creature, and many have reset their
Tamas again and again to try and get
what creature they want.
Rumors abound about codes that one
can enter into the Tama to create twins or
check the Tama's gender. Some people
crack open their Tamas and stick a pic-
ture behind the LCM screen to change
the background. There are even
Internet discussions about
Tamas becoming addictive
. and taking too much
. '.time out of people's
;; lives.
These virtual
reality pets are
Sexactlywhat they
> look like -baubles
or trinkets. For kids,
they're fine. They
can be paused and the
sound can be turned off,
but I would hope teen-
agers and adults would require
slightly more sophisticated applica-
tions for their time and money. Still, one
person's trash is another person's
Tamagotchi, I mean, treasure.

, aa-" n e M
= Q ..
1
~i
Phlsh, seen here bouncirT 'round the backsea#, funked up the Palace on Sa#urday.

H ISH
Continued from Page 5A
loose with a fiery lead, his flying fin-
gers eventually finding their way to
the riff from Jimi Hendrix's
"Isabella." The rest of the band soon
followed, and Anastasio proved him-
self to be a master of the big-rock solo
and a worthy successor to the
Hendrix's throne.
The cover then melted away as the
band returned to the land of funk, puls-
ing with the deep groove of the
moment. This jam represented the new
improvisational direction of Phish,
with each of the four members playing
an equal part in the overall sound.
Eventually, the beat became so funky
that the band members themselves
could not resist dancing, with
Anastasio shimmying back and forth
on the stage.
Out of this jam came two brand-
new songs, "Twist Around" and.
"Piper." The former-reflected Phish's
new ability to combine pop sensibility

with intricate playing, while the latte
was simplicity itself, a slow buildup
of a single-chord progression. As the
song reached a frantic, yet breathtak-
ingly beautiful pitch, the entire crowd
was enraptured as if a powerful beani
of energy had been formed between
the 17,000-person audience and the
four members on stage. It was an
incredible moment, the kind of experi-
ence that only a few artists car"
achieve
As the show closed with a lightning-
fast run-through of the bluegrass clas-
sic "Rocky Top" and the lights went
up, there were smiles all around. In my
moment of doubt, I had received a
reminder of why I devote so much
time to the worship of Phish. Even the
guys behind me seemed to enjoy it,
despite the fact that not one of the
songs played in the second set was
well-known. Phish had defied tha
odds, proving that an artist didn't need
to play by the rules of corporate music
to send the entire crowd home with
smiles on their faces.

i r1 . f _

i

Attention
newswriting
students:

Put your talent to the
real-world test
in a 1-year, well-paid
internship with
North America's
leading manufacturer
of coated
textbook paper.
f''aI fl flk7R.A nl v r7fl

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