I suppose we can all remember when we first saw them: with things turning out the way they did. Whether they came free with breakfast cereal (in the second phase they had their own breakfast cereal) or taped in a bag to the cover of a magazine (in the second phase, they had their own magazine, and tie-in TV show) they just oozed cuteness.
They were itzy bitzy blobs of huggable colour that sparkled and glinted and rolled along as if they were alive. They could be pulled like taffy, and spring-back, you could press them to windows and they’d stick there, making a sound like cats or wind-chimes. Some would repeat a brief phrase: these were highly prized because naturally they could be made to be amusingly rude at the expense of teachers, and parents.
They were tradeable like stamps, - there was a catalogue showing all the basic forms and rareties (in the second phase of course nothing stayed really rare) -and needed care like tamegotchi, the regular infusion of Leng-juice(tm) and petting.
After a while some child-genius figured out a way to get them to fight like Pokemon -although even their fighting was so clumsy and cute that it was voted adorable by all the news-feeds. They even had an exotic foreign name - not in Japanese, but in the native tongue of the newest Indochina ‘high-pressure’ rising-economy: Tcho-tcho.
They were the top children’s Christmas best seller two years running. By the third year all sorts of cunning viral marketing techniques were being used to push them. Rumours ran wild through the schools that if you put your Shoggoth Funstuff(tm) in the fridge for a week, some of the rareties would ‘give birth’ to young. Parents smiled at this conceit naturally, even though some - I know I was - were concerned that their child (daughter in my case) might be disappointed when after the seventh day, all that was to show for the scam was a frozen blob and the intense need to pester-power the cost of another one out of my wallet.
Well, I guess, we aren’t smiling now, not now the third phase is upon us.
Simon BJ [21st May 2009 post, catching up albeit with old material]