Here we are at part 2 of this joyous exposé of my favourite video-board-game game, Tamagotchi World on Nintendo 64. In this part, I’ll explain the mechanics of the game, the choices and interactions available to players, as well as what happens in the mini-games. If you’ve missed what I’m passing off as a review or explanation as to why I enjoy this game, it’s over at part 1, and I recommend you read that first.
(Note: Please excuse if I don’t use terminology which is quite in line with the Tamagotchi canon or what shows on-screen. I can only just scrape by in katakana and am not familiar with the intricacies of the language. I will try to explain what goes on as best I can from the point of view of a non-Japanese player. Icons and screens here were largely taken from a scan of the game’s manual or from pointing a camera at the TV, so may not be perfect quality.)
Aim of the game: The point of all this is to gain power points to fill your Tamagotchi’s power meter four times and nurture it through four stages of evolution. Once someone’s filled up the final power meter and everyone’s taken their turn, the game ends and the winner is declared.
Setting up: A game of Tamagotchi World always involves four players. If you’re lacking the requisite amount of humans and have failed to construct yourself a sentient automaton to stand in, the N64 will take control of any remainder. The human players are allowed to choose which Tamagotchis the CPU players will use, from a selection of those which have previously been discovered. Your own choice of egg design is very important. Winning a game rewards you with an egg which can be saved to the cartridge or a controller pak for later use. These non-standard designs contain different variations of Tamagotchis to evolve and collect to fill up the log book hidden away in the options screen. Once you’ve chosen your favourite colour from the five available (white, blue, yellow, red or green) and entered player names, the N64 will randomise the order of play and we’re ready to begin!
Taking a turn: At the start of a turn, the player is able to select from four commands:
Dice (サイコロ) – Roll the die or dice. On a normal turn, this is a single six-sided die. This can vary depending on whether you’ve used a modifying card (extra dice) or your Tamagotchi is sick (a blue die featuring only values 1, 2 or 3).
Card (カード) – Check which cards you’ve picked up on your journey around the board (see below). You can hold a maximum of three and collecting any extra means immediately choosing one to throw away. Playing a card forfeits your die roll but is often worthwhile.
Map (マップ) – Allows you to look around the map and plan your next move. Don’t concern yourself too much with this, as you get to have a good look when deciding your direction at junctions and being teleported to a choice of spaces anyway.
Status (ステータス) – Shows all players’ power and energy points. Want to check who’s in the lead or running out of energy points so you can victimise them the next chance you get? This is the place for you.
The board: There are a few junction points around the board that automatically direct players down certain routes. Landing exactly on junctions with arrows switches the direction of player movement. Other junctions have no arrows attached and it’s up to the player to choose which way to go here. There are four courses to take, each with their own mix of good and bad spaces, allowing players to choose the route which suits their style of play. The friendlier routes take longer to get back around to the Go space to replenish energy points and it’s even possible to miss it if you’re unlucky with how the junctions have changed. So, apart from the funky characters hanging around in the background, what delights is it possible to encounter on the board itself?
|Go - The place where everything begins. Landing on or passing through here replenishes a number of energy points (I'm not actually sure how it's calculated! I've seen anywhere from 30 to 65). You won't achieve much without energy points, so you'd better plan to make your way here before you run out as it can be hell limping around the board without any, especially if your Tamagotchi gets sick.|
|Plus - Awards 2 power points. If either of your food or play meters are full, you'll get 4 power points. If both meters are full, you'll be given 6. It's essential to successfully feed and play with your Tamagotchi to ensure quick growth.|
|Minus - Removes 2 power points. Also has an increased effect when your food and play meters are empty, mirroring those of the Plus space.|
|Card - Awards a random card from the selection below. Most of them have a good use so you're better off using them when you can instead of accumulating too many and throwing them away.|
|Mystery - Shuffles through every space on the board. Press A to stop shuffling and take the appropriate action.|
|Accident - A pan, girder or other similarly heavy object will fall from the sky. If it lands on your Tamagotchi by chance, it'll lose 5 power points. If it misses, 5 free power points are yours.|
|4-player mini-game - The main meat of player interaction on the board. A roulette will start and you can try to stop it on one of your favourites to give you an advantage. What happens in these mini-games is detailed further down the page.|
|Beauty salon - A free visit to the salon. Mikachu will give your Tamagotchi a free facial treatment and fill your play meter.|
|Silver/Gold rice - Feeding your Tamagotchi its favourite food on one of these spaces will award 4 or 6 power points respectively.|
|Silver/Gold play - As with the silver and gold rice spaces, extra power points can be gained by successfully playing with your Tamagotchi when landing on this space.|
|Refrigerator - A friendly refrigerator appears and presents your Tamagotchi with a giant rice bowl, instantly filling your food meter.|
|Taking a nap - Yep, it's that most unwelcome of board game features, the miss-a-turn space! Your Tamagotchi will settle down for a quiet nap while you can only look on helplessly as everyone else picks up power points. However, you will still be included in any 4-player mini-games that occur during this turn.|
|Casino - Play the three-reel slot machine. Bet up to three of your energy points to win a multiple depending on what you spin. Match three poos and you'll win double the number of energy points you gambled. Spin three 7s and you'll multiply your bet seven times.|
|PHS - This delightfully old-fashioned looking object (very modern in 1997 I'll have you know, I had one, so stop sniggering at the back) provides the opportunity to call one of your besties. You can summon any other player to this space, particularly useful for pulling someone onto a more difficult route or, better still, moving someone with low energy points away from the Go square. It also fills your happiness bar.|
|Fitness - Plays the 'Fitness GO! GO!' mini-game (detailed below) in single-player mode for the chance to gain energy points. Failing on levels 1 or 2 dumps you into the pool below with no reward, reaching level 3 replenishes 5 energy points, level 4 wins 7 points, level 5 gives out 10 points and completing level 5 gets you 15 points.|
|Horror - Take your pick from one of three mysterious doors in a scary ghost house. Four possible outcomes can occur here. The bad room upsets your Tamagotchi (with no visible effect, you just won't win anything), your Tamagotchi will be washed and get rid of any poos it's been dragging around, it can lose its sickness in the medical room, or win a giant rice bowl to fill its food bar.|
|Lottery - The lottery machine spins until the player stops it with the A button. Whichever number ball comes out will teleport your Tamagotchi to one of the following spaces, with the player choosing exactly which: 1) Go, 2) 4-player mini-game, 3) Casino, 4) Beauty salon, 5) Time for a nap. You'll also play out the action of the space moved to as if you'd landed on it by die roll.|
|Dr. Banzo's shop - Buy a good mood item to increase the mood of your Tamagotchi. These vary in price and presumably the more money spent, the longer the effect lasts. The mood enhancement doesn't seem to affect the play meter instantly. Perhaps it manifests itself in a way I haven't discovered yet. These items also seem to protect your Tamagotchi from the bad room you can enter on the Horror space, so perhaps this is their main purpose. And at least you get to watch your Tamagotchi play in its own miniature car, on a swing, on a skateboard, that sort of thing.|
|Mikachu's shop - Choose a delicious (and huge!) food item to satisfy the stomach of your Tamagotchi (As with the good mood items, they don't seem to fill up the hunger bar instantly, and have varying prices so are likely to last a varying number of turns).|
Cards: Those collectable cards in full. Using one of these instead of rolling the die has the following effects:
|Go - Fairly obvious, this one. Move straight to the Go square. Useful if you're stranded with low energy points.|
|Buttobashi - (Does anyone know what this means in English?) With this card, you can send any player, including yourself, to any space on the board.|
|Take a nap - Send any other player's Tamagotchi to sleep. They'll miss their next turn.|
|Diarrhoea - (Literally written on the card as 'poo fatigue'!) You can't use this one by choice. It can activate at any time, making you miss a turn and run around the board on your current route, picking up a poo every time you pass another player.|
|Steal P - Steal 5 hard-earned power points from any other player. If you're lucky enough to get the variant of this card that has two hands on it, you can steal a huge 10 power points. Be prepared for retaliation from the unlucky donor.|
|Casino - Play the casino slot machine game to try and win more energy points.|
|Sickness - Use this to inflict sickness and lots of poos on any player. They'll have to spend two turns washing and healing their Tamagotchi to properly continue.|
|123456 - Allows you to choose the number of spaces to move on that turn so you can guarantee landing in a particular place. Make sure to check the map first as you don't get the option to look around when using the card.|
|Steal E - Steal 10 energy points from any player. Great for victimising others and saving yourself.|
|Full food meter - Pretty straightforward, this. Fills up your food meter instantly.|
|Full play meter - As above, another obvious one. Fills up your play meter instantly.|
|Reverse - Switches the direction of movement of all players. Particularly good if an opponent's nearing the Go space or at the end of the longest route and running out of energy points.|
Mini-games: Best with multiple controllers, don’t worry if you only have one as a small selection of mini-games are still available to play. Winning any of these games will net you 5 power points. You can practice any of these mini-games from a screen in the options menu, but there’s no CPU AI for that, so you’ll either need multiple players or to try them out on your own without any competition. Should any player have the good fortune to land on any of the mini-game spaces, here’s what’ll happen:
|パネルでＢＡＮＧ！(Paneru de BANG! - BANG the Panel!) - Each player starts in their own corner of a grid of 16 panels, all featuring a Tamagotchi related item. These are hidden and randomised. A separate panel at the top reveals one of the items and players race to move to the square with the matching one and press A first. The first player to make three correct matches wins.|
|あっちココっちたまタッチ！(Acchi kokocchi Tama tacchi! - That-way-this-way Tama touch!) - A giant Nintendo 64 controller is displayed on the screen. Players' Tamagotchis jump about randomly all over it for a brief time then stop. Pressing the correct button on your controller that your Tamagotchi has landed on gets you points depending on how quick you were. The player with most points after 10 rounds wins.|
|勝負! ふうせん居合い割り！(Shoubu! Fuusen iai wari! - Match! Balloon slash!) - This is a fastest reaction game. Each Tamagotchi appears with a balloon above their head. After a 'ready' cue and a tense wait, the signal is given to press A and pop the balloon. Don't be too hasty as jumping the gun disqualifies the player from that round. The first to pop three balloons wins. This game is available in the single controller mode with each player pressing their own assigned button.|
|ビリビリいやっちビリもイヤ！(Biribiri iyacchi biri mo iya! - Electric shocks are unpleasant, ugh!) - Anyone familiar with the game of Irritating Stick (PlayStation, N64, NeoGeo) or its game show inspiration 'Ucchan Nanchan no Honou no Challenger', will know what this one's about, as if the graphics weren't enough of a clue. Each player starts at their own corner of an electrified maze. Your task is to get to the middle without touching any walls or the moving obstacles. Whoever gets to the middle the most times in 30 seconds wins. This only gives enough time for around 3 successful attempts, so a full minute would probably have made the game more competitive. This is also available in single controller mode, which I think is slightly better. Each player takes a turn to get to the middle and it's against the clock, with the quickest time winning.|
|UFO キャッち！(UFO catch!) - We go back up into space for this game. Each player takes control of a disembodied hand and the job is to catch the UFOs tumbling past Earth by moving over them and pressing A. The quicker ones offer more points, with blue being worth 1, pink and orange 2, and white 3. Whoever has the most points after 30 seconds wins.|
|ねらってぽん！(Nerrate pon! - Aim... pop!) - This is another game that lasts a mere 30 seconds. All players can freely run around at the bottom of the screen and the aim is to shoot clouds (worth 1 point) and seemingly rocket-powered birds (worth 3 points) out of the sky. Beware of shooting bombs, which docks a point from your total. In this game, you can use A and B to jump and fire, with jumping gaining you a shot timing advantage, so make good use of it. Whoever has the most points when the timer runs out wins.|
|落ちもんゲットだぜ！(Achimon getto daze! - Get the falling things!) - Probably the most chaotic of all the mini-games. Various Tamagotchi-related items tumble across the screen from both sides, each worth 1 point when collected. However, you need to avoid the rice bowls as they delay your greedy little Tamagotchi while it eats, and the poos which subtract a point from your total and elicit a quite terrifying screech from your Tamagotchi. When the 30 second timer runs out, that's your lot, most points wins.|
|ドリルでGO！(Doriru de GO! - GO by drill!) - Throwing skill out of the window, this one's a pure test of speed and palm strength, employing that infamous Mario Party mini-game technique of rotating the analog stick as fast as you can. The idea is to drill down to the water/oil at the bottom of the screen as quickly as possible. First to successfully drill three times wins. In single controller mode, each player gets their own go against the clock, with the fastest time winning.|
|ポイポイうんちくん！(Poipoi unchi-kun! - Throw, throw, little poo!) - Each Tamagotchi is based in their own corner and has 30 seconds to fling as many poos at your opponents as possible. This is a game of fast thinking tactics as you can either go hell-for-leather randomly firing in all directions or use your own poos to block others that are flying towards you. Each successfully landed poo makes a squelchy "frrp" fart sound, which is nice, and whoever takes the least hits wins.|
|ひっぱればあっぱれ！(Hippare ba appare! - Pull... well done!) - Off to the beach we go, and this one's a race to pull in a strange object from the ocean. It could be a duck on a raft, a Tamagotchi in a toilet, or you could even be pulling in a giant watermelon. A power meter quickly fills and pressing A, or your assigned button in single controller mode, when it's furthest along will pull the raft in more effectively than hammering the button. You've got 30 seconds to do it, but no points are awarded if everyone fails to get to the winning line.|
|フィットネスGO！GO！(Fitness GO! GO!) - This is one for any aspiring Takahashi Meijins in the audience. Hammer the A button as quickly as you can to run on the increasingly speedy conveyor belt, with the last player to fall in the pool winning. This game won't come up if you're playing on your own against three CPU opponents or in multi-player mode with more than one controller. In single controller mode with more than one human player, you're all assigned a button and go for a run at the same time, with hilarious controller squabbling consequences.|
Actions: Finally, to end the turn, there’s a chance to use your energy points to give your Tamagotchi some overdue care and attention by way of one of the following:
|Meal - (Cost: 3 energy points) Feed your Tamagotchi a rice ball, meat, a carrot, a sweet or some cake (actually a chocolate doughnut). One of these foods will be its favourite and reward 2 power points. It's up to you to find out which, by trial and error. Feeding your Tamagotchi will increase its food meter by 1 heart out of 4. Even if you have a full food meter, don't be afraid to keep feeding your Tamagotchi its favourite food, as you can still gain power points.|
|Game - (Cost: 2 energy points) Play a quick, randomly chosen, game with your Tamagotchi for a chance to win 2 power points. Echoing the original key-chain devices, these are largely games of 50/50 chance.
Opposite way - The Tamagotchi looks left and right. Guess which way it'll face when you press A. This may look like a test of your timing but isn't.
Pick a number - The only one of these games which isn't based entirely on luck. A number from 1 to 9 is shown. You need to choose whether the next one will be higher or lower.
Egg bash - The Tamagotchi pokes its head up from behind a barrier. Try not to smack its head in with the conveniently provided mallet.
Which cup? - The Tamagotchi hides under one of two cups which swap places repeatedly. Choose the one it's under.
Open! Banner drop - Choose which of two party balls to stand under. You might get a happy banner and some glitter fall out or a girder on the head.
|Treatment - (Cost: 2 or 8 energy points) Your Tamagotchi can become ill, either randomly or through an opponent's use of the sickness card. If this happens, it won't want to eat or play and will start losing power points every turn, so your highest priority is to make it better. A choice between a pill (2 energy points) or an injection (8 energy points) is offered. Pills have a chance of failing, meaning your Tamagotchi could still be sick next turn. It's worth spending the extra points and getting an injection so that you can make progress in your next turn.|
|Toilet - (Cost: 3 energy points) Time for a wash! Is your Tamagotchi trailing poos around behind it? You'll want to give it a good clean, then. They could be flushed away, or Mikachu or Dr. Banzo will rush in and either capture the poo on a pointy stick or vacuum it up. I don't want to consider the horror that must be the inside of their vacuum cleaner.|
|Discipline - (Cost: 3 energy points) Is your Tamagotchi refusing to eat or play? It needs a good telling off. Select this to dish out some rough justice in the form of a flying boxing glove. Using this fills up one space on the discipline meter but I don't know what effect it has when it's full. It's unlikely but, does anyone reading this know?|
|Cancel - (Cost: entirely free) For that slightly embarrassing time when you've failed to plan ahead well enough, or have had your energy points stolen, and don't have enough to take appropriate action.|
And that’s pretty much it. Keep repeating the above until someone’s won. Then you’re treated to a cute ending sequence, a special postcard unique to each full evolution, and a new type of egg to try and grow next time you play the game.
Gigantic ‘thank you’s to the following two wonderful ladies for their eternal patience and help in translating some Japanese text for this article. @_kimimi (visit her site full of niche and obscure games at Shinju Forest) and @lucyamorris (you can see the game writing, development and 2D art she’s up to here).