If you thought Tamagotchis were a late ’90s fad that faded from most people’s memory, you’d be wrong: the franchise is still alive and well today, with new designs coming out regularly. But even the original 1996 model, known as the Tamagotchi P1, is kept alive by a small group of enthusiasts. When ROM dumps of the original hardware started circulating the internet a few years ago, even those who didn’t have the real thing could run these virtual pets in an emulator.
But the whole idea of the Tamagotchi hardware was that it was portable enough to take anywhere. If you’re one of those who missed this part of the Tamagotchi experience, you’ll be pleased to hear that [JC] designed OpenTama: a portable hardware platform that runs an emulated version of the original Tamagotchi P1 software. It’s about as close to those first-generation virtual pets as it gets, but with several additions that make your life easier.
The software platform is [JC]’s TamaLib that we introduced last year; in fact, it’s an open-source emulator that allows the Tamagotchi ROM to run on a variety of modern hardware platforms. It also contains several additional options like the ability to save and restore your progress or select custom ROMs. The OpenTama hardware, on the other hand, is a true 21st century reimplementation of the original: a small, egg-sized circuit board with an STM32 microcontroller driving an LCD or OLED display, powered by a 100 mAh that can be recharged via a USB-C port. Port.
OpenTama is not limited to TamaLib software either: as a versatile open source platform, it can also be used as a learning tool for embedded programming, so if you’ve ever wanted to program your own virtual pet, or are just looking to build a fancy hourglass, The OpenTama GitHub Page is the way to go. We’ve seen quite a few neat Tamagotchi-like projects lately: this 3D-printed one comes with a lovely retro LCD screen, while its giant size ensures you don’t forget to feed it.