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Tamagotchi returns: '90s toy becomes Android app

Tamagotchi -- coming soon to an Android near you. The beloved virtual pet of the '90s is coming back as an app. 

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This photo shows the app mode screenshot of mobile app “Tamagotchi L.i.f.e.” by developer/publisher Bandai America Inc./Sync Beatz Entertainment.

Bandai America Inc./Sync Beatz Entertainment/AP

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Tamagotchi is re-hatching as an app.

Bandai Co. and Sync Beatz Entertainment are hoping to revive the electronic pet craze of the 1990s with a new mobile app launching Thursday for Android devices. The app duplicates the egg-shaped plastic toy that became a must-own sensation like Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo and Furby after it was first released in 1996 in Japan.

Sync Beatz, which has licensed Tamagotchi from Bandai, is calling the app "Tamagotchi L.i.f.e." — with "L.i.f.e" standing for "love is fun everywhere." Much like the original doodad, the app tasks users with taking care of a virtual pet by pressing buttons that simulate feeding, disciplining and playing with the critter on screen. If a Tamagotchi is neglected, it dies.

"The idea was to base the gameplay on the original Tamagotchi that everyone knows and loves," said Shin Ueno, chief marketing officer at Sync Beatz. "As we move along, every two months, we'll refresh the app, and it will evolve."

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