←Part 2: In the Beginning | Part 3: Playing Tamagotchi for Game Boy for the First Time in About 20 Years | Part 4: My Second Attempt: The 32-Year Life, and Eventual Murder, of Henrytchi→


Part 3: Playing Tamagotchi for Game Boy for the First Time in About 20 Years

First, I beat Final Fantasy Adventure. Then Akalabeth: World of Doom, an old RPG from 1979. Then Hot Dog Stand, a game we used to play on the Macs at White Oaks at recess. Finally, I worked my way through some of my backlog and got to Tamagotchi.

Allow me to explain how I played this game: I didn't actually ever play it off the cartridge. In fact, I don't even know if the cartridge works or not. I just let it sit in front of me so I can admire the cool label design.

I just bought the cartridge so I could play this game legally, because here in Japan, if you pirate something, you can get fined ¥2,000,000 and spend a year in prison, and in my case, as a foreigner, get deported. Not worth it for a game that is easily bought at nearly any thrift shop, such as HardOff or Nandemo Kaimasu. So I bought the game so I'd have the legal right to own the ROM and emulate it.

I couldn't find a good Game Boy emulator for Linux, so I used NO$GMB (an old DOS-based Game Boy emulator that I trust, having played through Super Mario Land on it). I installed NO$GMB onto DOSBox 0.74. It worked very well. I couldn't find a single glitch with NO$GMB's support of this game, and NO$GMB even allows the game to be played in limited color, with Super Game Boy backgrounds! Even better than on a handheld Game Boy in 1997/1998!

Soon, my first Tamagotchi had hatched from its egg. I named him "Chartchi," after myself (Charles). He grew from a Babytchi into a Marutchi (literally "Round-tchi"):

Tamagotchi 1
I trained him every morning to be the best. Here, he is competing in the ball drop game, in which he has to intercept baseballs before they hit the ground. The player can basically control him, but sometimes he has a mind of his own.

Let me explain the screenshot above. See the kanji "松?" That's pronounced "shō" and it means "pine tree." Why is it present in the screenshot above? Well, the reason is that in Japanese, there is this thing called "松竹梅," or "shō-chiku-bai." "Shō" (松) means "pine tree." "Chiku" (竹) means "bamboo." Finally, "bai" (梅) means "Japanese sour plum" ("ume"). Basically, it's a system of ranking things. The best things are pine trees, the second-best things are bamboo, and the worst things are Japanese sour plums. This goes for sushi, for example; sushi referred to as "pine tree" is considered the best. It isn't that it actually contains any pine products, it's just that it's the best quality. Anyhow, the "松" in the above screenshot means that Chartchi is playing the ball drop game at the highest difficulty level, in which he has to get 9/10 of the balls. This is necessary to max out his physical fitness.

I didn't know quite what I was doing the first time around, so Chartchi grew into a Kusatchi ("Grass-tchi," basically), which basically looks like a flower in a flower pot. He likes heavy metal music.

Tamagotchi 2
Kusatchi

Unfortunately, because, as I just mentioned, I didn't have much experience playing this game, Chartchi died at the age of 9. Then he proceeded to haunt his own grave.

Tamagotchi 3
Dead Kusatchi


←Part 2: In the Beginning | Part 3: Playing Tamagotchi for Game Boy for the First Time in About 20 Years | Part 4: My Second Attempt: The 32-Year Life, and Eventual Murder, of Henrytchi→