Claudia Peschiutta (CBJ, L.P., Gale Group)
NeoPets.com, a free Web site that allows users to adopt and care for up to four "virtual pets."They live in Neopia, a fictional world filled with games, contests and other activities. There are more than 40 species to choose from and pet owners can customise the look and personality of their creatures. ...NeoPets gets its revenues through the use of "immersive advertising," a practice that promotes an advertiser's product by embedding the brand into the site's content.
"A tamagotchi is a 'cyber creature who has traveled millions of miles from its home planet to learn what life is like on earth' (Bandai 1996). These creatures were found by a professor and his assistant, Mikachu. The two built these creatures 'little egg-shaped protection cases so they could survive on earth' (www.mimitchi.com). If these lovely virtual creatures receive 'proper care and feeding', they will grow into 'different shapes and personalities' and may live on earth for as long as 31 years (www.mimitchi.com). (One earth day is equal to about one year for tamagotchi.) However, as soon as one 'wakes up' his or her tamagotchi 'from its million light-year sleep by removing the insulating sheet', constant attention has to be given to the tamagotchi (Bandai 1996). It does not matter if one is attending a meeting or if one is cooking, a tamagotchi will still beep at its owner for attention. And if it is ignored when it is in need, the tamagotchi will 'grow into an unattractive alien' and eventually 'return to its home planet', which is millions of miles away. But by pressing the reset switch on the back of the case, the leveling of timeline occurs - another tamagotchi wakes up from its million light-year sleep."
[Tamagotchi's were first released in Japan on November 23, 1996.]