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Gotcha Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi Connection
Bandai
GameCore is CBSNews.com's gaming column written by William Vitka and Chad Chamberlain. This column was written by Nintendo correspondent Lyndsey Hahn.

In 1996, Bandai Corporation spurred a pop culture phenomenon with what they called a "cyber creature that has traveled millions of miles from its home planet to learn what life is like on earth".

Since then, Bandi has sold over 40 million Tamagotchi units worldwide. As their caretaker, you watched as the egg hatched on the key chain's screen. Your objective was to make sure they grew into a healthy adult Tamagotchi.

In January 2006, Bandai will bring those cyber creatures to Nintendo DS in Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop. It isn't what you would expect. You don't have to worry about feeding your pet, flushing your Tamagotchi screen, giving them a "time out" when they misbehave, or medicate them when they are ill.

This time around you are an entrepreneur with your cyber friend at your side. With the help of Nana-OnSha, the studio created by PaRappa The Rapper's Masaya Matsura, Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop is highly addictive, containing 11 easy-to-learn mini-games.

In the build we played, you begin game play by choosing what your name will be — four characters that invariably end with "tchi" — and then decide on your companion Tamagotchi. The options abound: You may start with Kuchipatchi in a takoyaki shop and a spa, with Mametchi at a dentist and a dry cleaner, or with Memetchi at a bakery and a flower shop.

You begin with a tiny Petchi shop until a character who "looks familiar" to your companion shows up and decides to give you 5,000 Gs (Gotchi points) to upgrade your business to a Metchi shop. He reappears to give you another 5,000 Gs to turn your business into a large Gotchi shop. Finally, after serving enough customers, you receive the ultimate royal flag from Princess Tamako.

After filling client requests in each mini-game, you will eventually unlock all items — from pizza and ho ho's to furniture and wallpaper — for your Tamagotchi. Business upgrades will also begin to unlock and allow the remaining nine shops to be played. You earn money from each client, allowing you to buy the unlocked items for your companion, so try to be quick with those customers. You can give presents to friends via Nintendo DS's Wi-Fi or earn 1 G just by sending your friend a demo.

Among the mini-games, you may visit the live music shop where you and your cyber friend perform a very amusing concert PaRappa-style to a Tamagotchi theme. Or check out the accessory shop to fill a jewelry request for a customer. Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop relies solely on the use of your DS's stylus and your ability to fill the request so that you can earn those Gotchi points.

This colorful game features many cute Tamagotchi characters, user-friendly help menus, and will keep you busy for hours.

Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop's rating is pending but an "E" for everyone is expected and will soon be available for your Nintendo DS.
By Lyndsey Hahn