People are going to get angry when I tell them that your life is void. You mean nothing. You are merely something to sell. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know... "I'm not for sale". Well, your personality isn't... but what your personality REPRESENTS is. Also on sale? Your life.
Little less than a year ago, you might have read a tiny paragraph (and an equally small picture) of Japan's Tamagotchi, the "virtual pet" that gives you the chance to feed and care for it. It sold millions in Japan and plans had been made to bring them to the US. Well, they came... and they sold craploads here. And like America is so wont to do, a bunch of people starting ripping them off.
Sure, in Japan, pirates simply took the chips, packaged 'em in cheaper plastic and sold them for less (or more). But here, we had to do one better. We had to go and reinvent the damn things. The first instance that I remember was walking through a local Bradlee's (looking to see if they had the KISS action figures, heh) and seeing a display of Tiger Toys "GigaPets". I kinda laughed, but I grimaced when I saw the "GigaPetsAlien" (which looked like a damn schwa) along with a dinosaur and something else. What the hell?
The first thing that immediately came to mind was the fact that GigaPets were a cheap imitation of Tamagotchi's. Tamagotchi's, in turn, were a cheap imitation of life.
Which gets back to the original point of this article... have our lives been degraded into a single computer chip with three paths: eat, love, and change diaper? To me, that is astonishing. Hey kids, don't buy a dog or cat or that cute ferret in the window. Simply pay $9.99 and you can have this plastic thing that fits in your pocket (with optional keychain attachment) and beeps at you every once in a while.
Psst.... if you're good enough, you might even be able to find some of the hacks...
Hacks? If you've been keeping up on this whole craze, you might have noticed some websites proclaiming to have found hacks for the "tamas”. Apparently, if you press certain buttons when you "reset" your pet (kinda like flushing a fish down a toilet and buying a new one, only easier), you might have a chance of getting three, four, or even five tamas to play and live with instead of just one. On the other hand, press a combination when your tama is being born and you'll be able to tell what sex it is (now THAT’S a novel idea).
If only life had a couple of neat little hacks or "resets", I dare to say that the world might be a better place. Well, probably not.
And it gets worse. Now there are computer virtual pets roaming the shareware collections... which seems repetitive. Isn't the computer already a "digital pet"? We take care of it (optimizing hard drives, organizing folders), watch it grow (upgrade software, and hardware) and see it die (throw the mouse against the wall in frustration because of'404 Not Found'). It gains a unique personality (because of icons, backgrounds, screensavers), becomes lazy or useful (depending on your choice of software), and can be as fat and bloated or thin and lanky as you want. Why do we need a stupid cat named Boots running around our desktop and interrupting our work (and eating our memory)?
Have we gotten so bored with our own lives that we mimic it for amusement purposes?