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Nineties Kids Rejoice, Tamagotchis Are Back And They've Upped The Ante

Tamagotchis, the original cyberpet that was all the rage in 1997, are getting a remake with 2019 technology.

The egg-shaped electronic toy is being re-released as the Tamagotchi On, a full-colour version with a larger screen that interacts with other tamagotchi devices.

The original black-and-white tamagotchi was introduced in 1996 and quickly swept schools and boardrooms, selling one toy every 15 minutes at the peak of its popularity. More than 82 million tamagotchis have been sold in the toy's lifetime.

The virtual critters mimicked eating, pooping, playing and dying, but they became notorious mostly for dying -- when they weren't hogging their owners' time and infuriating teachers.

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The fad led some schools to ban them outright. One American company in 1998 started a tamagotchi "day care" service to mind cyberpets of its employees' kids.

The Tamagotchi On lets users "breed" two characters to create an offspring with unique traits, said Bandai, the manufacturer. It can also connect to other tamagotchi devices via Bluetooth, allowing characters to travel, play or even marry each other and create new characters.

The tamagotchi, a virtual pet that first became popular in the late 1990s, is getting re-released with a full-color screen. Image: Bandai

It also includes has a virtual "day care" feature that lets owners pause play without risking sudden death.

The classic tamagotchi never went away -- it remains popular in Japan and had a 20th-anniversary relaunch two years ago. Many major retailers in Australia are often out of stock, with product usually only regularly available at smaller, independent stores.

In anticipation of the Tamagotchi On release, JB Hi-Fi recently advertised a new batch of original Tamagotchis made last year, which they will sell for $34.

In Australia, the Tamagotchi On will retail for around $85. While it will hits stores including Target, Amazon, GameStop and Urban Outfitters in America next month, there is no official release date for Australia yet.

MyToyStore.Com.Au also told 10 daily there is "no official release date yet."