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Tamagotchi celebrates its 17th birthday with new, more social virtual pets

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Here's a thought to make you feel old today: if the first batch of Tamagotchis were human, they'd be almost through with high school. In fact, the egg-shaped virtual pet has just turned 17 (17!), and to celebrate, Bandai is revamping the brand (again) and launching a new line called Tamagotchi Friends. While you still need to feed your virtual pet and pick up its digital poop, this modern-day remake comes with new characters to raise. Also, when two owners bump their Tamagotchi Friends against each other, their pets can go on play dates, and they can interact in-game.

We wish Bandai added other modern features, like a full-color screen, but at least American aficionados can get units with a color background starting fall 2014. Those in Europe will have to make do with the black-and-white version upon launch in December 2013. For now, you can see more info and watch animated shorts on the official Tamagotchi Friends website, or practice your pet-rearing skills on Android.

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