TechStuff Classic: TechStuff Cleans Up After Digital Pets


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Oh so listen for the greatest on iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. Welcome to textile production of iheartradio's radio's how stuff works there and welcome to text up. I'm your host Jonathan Strickland. I'm an executive producer looser with iheartradio and above all things tack and it is time for a classic episode of Tech Stuff. That means it's Friday happy Friday. Everybody the episode. We're about to listen to originally published on March eleventh two thousand thirteen and it's titled Tech Stuff Cleans Up after digital pets pets so let's sit back and listen to this classic episode. Today we wanted to talk about vigil pets. That's actually comes to who US courtesy of a listener suggestion And digital pats virtual pets. This is an idea that that really kinda got. Its its heyday in the ninety s especially in the United States But we want to talk a little bit about the rise of digital pets and then the fall of digital pets and and sort of some other surrounding rounding topics that tie into all of this digital pet malarkey means yeah exactly and two before. We get into specifics. Talk a little bit about some general features that you would expect in a virtual pet now first of all it's virtual it's not an actual living thing all right right sometimes called digital path that's rather than virtual pets because you know they don't necessarily have to be. I mean there are web applications that wear digital pets live but some of them are physical. Three dimensional objects yup. So we kind of we've been very loose with our definition in the sense that we we feel. There are some toys and products out there. They have influenced the process of virtual pets and the evolution of virtual pets. So some of the stuff. We're GONNA talk about today. They aren't really a virtual pet in the strictest definition but it's important as far as the development goes in general of virtual pet tends to have certain features that Ah that lent. It seem kind of similar to an actual real life pet for instance. It usually will respond to you calling for it There's some sort of command that you use to call it whether it's vocal or it's a button you press on a on a game controller on the little physical device that brings it to you. uh-huh you have to care for it. You have to feed it and clean up after it. If it falls sick you have to. You have to take care of it. Usually you can train it to various things. It may be to perform a trick or it might be to eviscerate someone else's virtual pet in the case of certain games that will cover also. There's usually some form of way to reward the pet either with treats or toys sometimes The element meant that allows you to give treats toys is an extra element within the whole virtual pet where you pay real money to get access to virtual. We'll treat right right lots of these. Virtual pets are a one time. Purchase kind of thing you either by the hardware or you pay for a subscription for life subscription and and you get that thing for a you know as long as you care to play with it and others are more a monthly subscription or you have to continue buying into various various little accessories and other products in order to continue. Yeah Yeah you're you're really building the the the pet's life very similar to the way a lot of games Are Running now where you have an in game purchase to to give your character either a different look or sometimes an actual advantage and Gameplay Many of those ideas is really got their start in the virtual world. Also they usually have Some sort of a feature that allows you to have your pet meet meet other pets right. Yeah yeah that's a relatively. I guess relatively recent as of two thousand and five but yeah but right the earliest development wasn't exactly the earliest ones didn't necessarily have that that feature in them. You couldn't get a some pets to meet other pets until we started to build in that that that capability either in the hardware or the software but usually meant that you can have your pet make friends with another person's virtual pet sometimes you could have your virtual wall pets breed and then you would get little tiny versions of your virtual pet that would have features of both the Mommy and the daddy virtual bad John's tickling explaining how the birds and the bees virtual birds virtual B.'s work look when a a virtual dog and another virtual dog virtually love one another very special they trade some code and then you get a virtual puppy. Yeah Anyway these are all basic basic features that you would find in virtual pets. So that's sort of the overall kind of definition but to really understand the development. We have to go back back. AWAYS and Lauren. You you have an interesting place you wanted to start. Yeah I WANNA talk about a pet rocks. I think that that would be very early. I mean clearly analogue. The digital version of virtual pet those debuted in one thousand nine hundred seventy five at three ninety five a pop which is approximately sixteen dollars in the current economy which is actually what say for example Tamagotchi cost so. I thought that was pretty interesting. So essentially sixteen dollars in our current currency to Orrock Tobia Rock and this was created by Gary Doll who was a California at executive And brilliant one sold more than five million million of these critters in less than six months. It's like a rock with googly eyes. So so Lauren. Nineteen seventy five. You remember those days right. Oh yeah that was seven years before I was born. Okay so I was around. Nineteen seventy five was also the year a little movie called jaws came out a fantastic documentary. it's also when certain tech stuff podcast or arrived on the scene. That would be me not not not me so I don't really remember. Nineteen seventy five. I just know I was there anyway. Yeah pet rocks so so there we go. There's there's a a non living pet and it was mostly a gag a gift kind of thing share share it lays the groundwork for this idea of a pet. That's not really alive. I also wanted to point out. Actually that in one thousand nine hundred seventy seven that it was when a canine debuted. Doctor who looked I think is also probably an important reference in the entire. I mean especially. If you've seen an Igbo I think that they're pretty but obviously inspired by canine bucket of bolts. So yeah so so the idea about this kind. Of course science fiction stuff like this has been talked about out for you know since the days of as moths robot series the body electric stuff like that. Yeah and do androids dream of electric sheep. Yeah the these are a again. The building blocks that will lead to virtual pets in one thousand nine hundred five save a company called worlds of wonder introduced a toy that was Depending upon how you played with it very entertaining in order terrifying That would be Teddy Ruckman. I firmly found them. Terrifying is a child sexually. Teddy Terex was an interesting idea. It was a a toy that would read quote unquote read stories to children The stories would be on a cassette tape. Some of you may wanNA cassette tape is as I remember them but cassette tape all right so it's it's magnetic tape and usually like on a regular audio cassette tape you have two tracks on either side of this this tape and it's usually used for Stereo one tracks with the left speaker for the right now with Tell your expert instead. One track was audio and the other track was a series of directions for the The animatronic teddy bear. Well it's really just the mouth okay. The limbs didn't really move okay But the mouth would move in time with whatever was playing so that way it would follow the directions and seemingly talk to you and readout. The story This meant that if you wanted to do something a little wacky like I don't know put your black sabbath cassette taping Teddy Ruxton suddenly start rocking out because the mouth there were no directions for the mouth to follow. Okay so the mouth would move he would still play. Oh no you play tape play black Sabbath through Teddy Ruxton. There's nothing stopping you essentially Teddy ruxton shaped boombox but But it wouldn't like start screaming out okay. Well that's I guess that's I mean I'm you know knows I tried But yeah yeah that was again Teddy Ruckman not a virtual pet necessarily not in the same sense that we're talking about but again lays the groundwork this idea of a synthetic creature providing some form of companionship union ship and it appears to be autonomous right right and again very loose allusion in this case you you pick up pretty quickly that it's following a very specific a a script which was based on whatever was on that cassette Worlds of wonder by the way ended up going bankrupt. I think in one thousand nine hundred ninety the The ownership ownership of Teddy Ruxton has passed through several hands including Hasbro so it was one of those toys that kept on going even after the company that launched. It went away now the next year in one thousand nine hundred eighty six we get our first actual virtual pet and this was for a computer. Platform called the Macintosh Macintosh so yeah. Two years after the Macintosh launches remember. They had that amazing one thousand nine hundred eighty four commercial that super bowl that really amazing. He's one of the best commercials ever made in my opinion I never owned a Macintosh but I loved the commercial anyway. The the Macintosh program puppy love debuts abuse in one thousand nine hundred eighty. Six is a Tom. Snyder productions release and puppy love was essentially a little a little Animated Puppy dog that you could play with on your Macintosh very limited Features on that but it again was one of the first examples of a virtual pet. Now we go ahead had a year two thousand nine hundred eighty seven and the Nintendo entertainment system gets a release of a Japanese role playing game. And I'm going to butcher the pronunciation. I I apologize to Lauren. Who actually knows how to pronounce Japanese words but Megani ten say was the RPG and it included a gameplay element where you could capture demons and then you could train those demons to fight for you So that you could use the ones that you've you've captured to help protect you in other battles. This is a gameplay element that we would end up being used in other types of virtual pets in the future and not the other games since is while I wouldn't necessarily count something like pokemon is a virtual pet application but but it definitely has that Gig. I include pokemon mostly because again it it. It has some elements of a virtual pet Although if you're mostly looking to try and maximize your Your Your Group of Pok Mon on so that you can have the best chance of winning any particular battle. That's not a great message for a person who wants to own a real pet. Yeah Yeah Yeah. That's a message. That's no that's not that is not what the ASPCA would want to right but then again virtual pets. Let us do these sort of things. I mean these are all cartoony. Poking Monitor these cartoony creatures. That don't necessarily have a a counterpart in real life. Sure some of them are obviously modeled after real animals but others if it's modeled after a real animal. I have not seen it. Yeah I don't think I want to see some of the real animals with those. Those things are modelled on right well Then in one thousand nine hundred ninety two we had the game dragon quest five hand of the heavenly bride and that also allowed players to capture monsters. Use them to fight in their battles so again that same sort of gameplay element It was starting to become pretty popular. It was an interesting idea But it's still not really virtual pet in the sense that we think of where it's just really the the whole purpose is to take care of an artificial creature but in nineteen ninety five a company called. PF magic it's the scene and releases a program called dogs sir. That's D. O. G. Z.. They would a year later. Released cats Cat Z.. And eventually release pets. Pet's Z. and And this was really where the virtual pet idea started to blossom where we started to see some of those elements. We talked about the topic at the show. The things that really make a virtual pet what it is what kind of platform and windows originally originally a windows based thing so if you for those of you who remember windows back in ninety five There there were people who have like this little dog would wander onto your screen and start to play with your cursor cursor and things like that it was very cute and But this was an actual full program where you would be able to adopt a puppy or later on a kitten and after a few days of real time so you know you check on your little puppy or kitten each day after a few days maybe three or four days the the puppy or kitten would grow into a fully formed adult version of whatever animal it was and you would continue taking care of it so you would play with it. You could train it and you could even breed your animal with other animals. Starting with I think it was pets three because you know. They released updates as they as they built out the game locally on your own computerized him this or was this over email email could email a copy of your pet to someone else and you would still keep yours. This is like you suddenly clone your pet but you could email a copy of your pets someone else and then they can say oh this doug he's very cute feces GonNa love him and see fi fi and the other dog. You know have a little puppy love going on and then you end up with a litter of virtual puppies okay. Yeah like that's like like it happens Yeah so originally. These were all designed on hand-drawn kind of designs like left the line drawing style So they weren't photo realistic nick or anything like that but the cartoony cartoony but admitted that if you wanted to you could actually really tweak the the the look of your pet because it wasn't outside the realm of Most people's abilities to go and draw in a new shape for their pets body or a different coloration. But eventually actually as the as time went on. And we'll get back into the timeline in a minute but by two thousand six They the company had abandoned the line nine drying approach and went for more quote unquote realistic. Look where you could end up changing textures. But you couldn't remodel your pat. Ah going to always be the same basic shape right but you could tweak it a little bit just not as much as you could in earlier versions of the program. Yeah but this is where we see the idea of the virtual pet really take off and it ended up being fairly popular few million copies sold so not not like a crazy success but it shows that there was a market there that people were interested in getting a virtual companion kind of a weird idea. At the time. Some would say a weird idea today that it's not necessarily something that has has gained widespread acceptance. I don't I don't know if there's yeah. There's there's as we will talk about later. There are certainly enough different models of this kind of thing out there. There's you know an and they've done medical research about stuff you know. People who are are perhaps lonely and don't have access to as much human interaction as as they need their lots of robots meant for keeping people companion union. In fact we'll talk a little bit about the my have some information about one of those robots but We'll we'll save that for toward the end of the discussion because that really it ends up building. Hang on a lot of these concepts. We're talking about early on and we're about to tackle the biggest name. I think as far as virtual pets go. It's the name I always think of whenever I think of virtual or digital pets but before we get into that. Let's take a quick moment to thank our sponsor office. This depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size office depot has a wide range of services. They can provide twenty four seven tech support. 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They also have exactly the supplies. Your office needs from ink and paper to cleaning and break room supplies. I can't tell you how frequently I have. John did across the street to our office depot nearby in order to pick up some things that we just didn't have in the office that I desperately needed at the time particularly for videos and podcasts and the Nice thing is I can always find what I'm looking for and get a great price for it office. Office depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates and over thirteen hundred stores or online at Office Depot Dot Com. Okay now Lauren when I say digital pet is there a particular brand name that leaps keeps the mind Tamagotchi. There you go tom ago. launched by band I in Nineteen ninety-six Nineteen ninety-six in Japan. That is correct and and from from what I understand. Tamagotchi is the correct spelling. I always heard it a town Gotschi when I was a kid. But I think that's probably just because we had no idea what we were talking about the Americanized pronunciation shares. Sure sure the word does come from from a much mccalla Portmanteau. Oh okay of the words Tomago which means Eg and Japanese the English. We're familiar with it from Sushi Sushi. Yes well in Sushi. It's usually meant to I. Meant is a shortened form of Tomago Yucky which is that sweet egg Omelette but look at the brain on Lauren. Wow she did not know. It was going to say Sushi there all right okay so Tomago. What's the other one and the English word? Watch which when you translate into the Japanese Foreign Loan Word Alphabet Khanna. Sounds a lot more like watching not all right so it's egg watch. Yes which I would immediately assume it'd be an egg timer not a digital pet not at all but it is a digital pet but they we're egg-shaped and the origin of these little creatures would be would look like a little egg right now. So so you would go out. And you had by this essentially a keychain chain that had an egg shaped plastic case there with a little screen on it and that would allow you to hatch approach your virtual digital pet. So you have a little egg on their that. You would have to you press the button which essentially started the timer that would let the The top Gottschee no. Hey there's a player. It's time to start creating a pet for this person to interact interact with and then you would end up using. I think it was like three buttons little three Putin interaction. So you would use three buttons to do various commands depending upon what what your pet needed and whether or not you're a good person because everything's feed your pet or clean up after your pet 'cause they would leave little digital Poos uh-huh if you if you didn't say hypothetically because I never actually owned when did you ever actually. I did not own. I didn't own one. Did you mistreat someone else's. I'm taking the fifth mostly because I can't remember I. I'm not the kind of guy who would ever I. I can't I can't miss treat creatures in a video game right like if there's video site tangential I apologize for the tangent. But this is an example of how I think The Game Red Dead Redemption. Listen you're you're playing a cowboy. In the waning era of the cowboy era and as the train is taking over the cars or starting into happen so the the day of the cowboy is at an end There's an achievement. You could get for killing all the buffalo in the game. There was a certain number of Buffalo. After you kill a certain number. You would get this achievement. That was the last achievement. I got could not bring myself bad for the floor. The buffalo sweet. We'll get into the discussion about about actually developing an emotional attachment to a digital creation creation. which is kind of crazy when you think about it like just from like crazy from the sense of? That's so like I would never have imagined it until it happened. Sure I don't know I mean me. No as a kid I mean I had Idaho stable full of my little ponies. Okay I was. I was that guy when I was like six and and they all had very individual personalities and I was extraordinarily attached to these toys. So you know I mean I mean just building on that if if if and those things those things didn't move except my imagination's sure or I can see how something that does move to a certain extent. Does I mean that that being said fable. I'm the guy who kicks all the chickens. So they're annoying kicked chicken entertain also. It's very possible. Lauren that some of our listeners out there could be brownies and maybe they also have their own collections. That could rival your own childhood. How one they probably could By the way I'm not speaking to anyone who likes my little pony that was created the the latest version. Milo pony friendship is magic was is created the same people who created power puff girls which I love which is awesome so no judgment here. Yeah getting back to. Yeah so you could. You could feed them you clean up after the movie. Didn't in clean up after them. They could actually get sick. And then you'd have to really take care of them and also Tamagotchi. Unlike a lot of other other digital pets. The digital little pet TAMAGOTCHI could die. Didn't take care of them. Or I think in the American version it was they sort of turned into little digital angels and kind of flew back to their home planet alien or a little digital UFO and flew away. But the point was a if you didn't take care of them they leave and and in fact that became because it took you had to take care of him about twice a day Sharon in the early stages way more often than that about once every six hours or so I think. Oh Yeah you've got this thing and it can make noise. It would beep at you when you. It's really not doing so well or not happy. Happy being a weird term because we're talking about following a certain protocol which meant the kids would have to whip these things out and take care of them throughout the day in which became a problem in and the United States certainly in the US you had stories of schools that would ban these things outright and say. Don't bring them to school because they are a distraction. When you're not learning you are instead paying attention to a little digital pet? And you need to have your attention directed toward your schoolwork. And and in fact a lot. What of sources that? I've read have essentially credited the fact that the United States school systems often outright banned these things at for the downfall downfall of the virtual pet industry in the US that virtual pets digital pets didn't really become as big a deal as they could have because the school systems ban them. So there you go. I Tom I gotcha. What not only was the the genesis of the digital pet craze but in the United States at least was was also the death of it but moving on their arm other wants to talk about besides Tamagotchi also in two thousand and five? They updated the line because it pretty much gone forgotten. But there were a lot of people had staubach fondness for the trauma. Gotcha line he never really went away actually been It's several generation updates here and there I mean they they were still pretty big in Japan from what I understand But yeah they. They came back with with an infrared. Connector port yeah the Tamagotchi connection this. This is what allowed the time of Gottschee version to have interactions with other people's time. Gosh because before it was pretty much just you know your your pet was confined to it down to its own egg. That was the extent of its universe but then with the infrared Feature it would allow your pet to visit other pets and it could get out of the egg once in a while and eventually around two thousand eleven. Two Thousand Twelve Tom Ago ooh which introduce these little separate figures that you can plug into your Tamagotchi Those those were introduced also Tomah town which was a website thing which as of February sixth twenty thirteen has. Shut down So so again. The struggle for the digital pet continues I just WANNA add mention some of the characters that you could have in Tomah gottschee keeping mind your your digital would go through certain stages in his life. So so there'd be a young sage teen stage than an adult stage so these kind of applied to different stages but You can have moderate which was a spoiled Brat who would like to roll around a lot. there was a commodity which like to jump around a lot and the picture I saw it had a giant. A bump on its head with a little bruise marks. So apparently that's not very safe. Winning jumps around there was itchy. GAUCI was dancing maniac Kenichi which was apparently the most popular of all the time ago cheese Supposedly had a genius. IQ Of two hundred. I loved math and writing There was Taller Kaci. Who was Nadi? Impatient and Chatty and goes out Ritchie. Who wants to be a Ninja? I like Japanese Pronunciation Council. Touch my mustache but yeah so you know. As as the height of their popularity they are supposed to have sold one per second in Japan and Breezy over seventy eight million sold as twenty thirteen so so certainly also a recent news for for not not as Valentine's Day this year two thousand thirteen to celebrate sixteen years of business. The company announced a free android APP called Tom. Goatee life. Which stands for love is fun everywhere? Of course it's an acronym vetoing Haji life. No no that would be ridiculous. Don't be silly so yes yeah so so so Tamagotchi lives on. Wow all right well moving onto some of the other virtual pets Because because around the same time you know everyone was. This was such a craze that everyone everyone had to jump on. Yeah there were. Some people who criticize bond is saying that the Tamagotchi really catered more to a female audience. Right and boy did on digital monsters released by Bandai did you. Mon- similar life cycle to Tamagotchi. They were also designed so that you would raise them train them in battle them with other other people's demand so there you go. There's the boy right the so apparently girls girls want to nurture and raise a pet and boys want to train a killer monster. I don't know if I could if I could get a really cute little little Tamagotchi not and fight it with other really cute Gucci. That sounds like the best game to me really really cute deadly fights. I have nothing to say about that. That would be great. Nineteen Ninety Eight. We see the introduction of a toy that made people go bonkers when it came out the furby. Yeah now Furby is not not not a digital in the sense of these other ones that are software. This is a this is more like a kind of a robot. Some and closer to the Teddy Ruxton model than the Tamagotchi model and the original one would speak in this language called furbish and would gradually learn are quote unquote learn English. It would really just incorporate English into its vocabulary over a set amount of time But later models introduced in two thousand five live in two thousand eleven had more features that would let it converse with people There was some voice recognition stuff that was introduced and they had they had motion. Sensors could tell when you were touching them or when you pick them up and move them around right. Yeah Yeah there were. I remember when they came out because I remember how people people went went really bonkers over them like the. There are certain toys that I can remember. People really going crazy for The first one I can remember Berg with that happening would be coach. Patch kids Sharon. So that's the classic from my childhood was Kevin Rich Kids and then you had things like Furby Teddy Ruxton actually was really leap popular when it first came out furby another great example And of course there's always beanie babies right right but getting back to virtual pets nineteen eighteen. ninety-nine that's when we get to a web based virtual pet. That's neo pets right yes neo. Pets is a virtual pet website. So you would go in you would create we in the count you would adopt a virtual pet and you could buy virtual items for your pet using virtual currency and you could earn currency through participating in various things on the web site whether it was a game like a quest or something or you could actually purchase virtual currency using real. We'll cold hard cash as many thirteen. To seventeen year olds certainly certainly have on the Internet in one thousand nine hundred nine this this was was actually created by two British students originally just for other students and it was picked up by a market research. Expert who then sold it to MTV Viacom for one hundred sixty excu million dollars not a bad turn and it was. They originally thought up in one thousand nine hundred ninety seven but it took about two years of research and development to really build out about the capabilities of the site which launched in ninety nine And it lets you customize pets you could chew you up to. I think there was something like fifty four different pet head types. You could choose from. And then once you chose the type you could actually customize the pet further You could compete in the battle dome if that was your desire or you could do little requests and neo pets still going. Yeah Yeah The last numbers I have out at work from two thousand six at which point it claimed over one hundred the million users and a hundred and fifty million individual pets kinda crazy And I think that neo. Pets was also one of the first ones that really incorporated advertising since it was web. Based it could have a McDonald's or or you know or you could. You could purchase a branded food or or toy- items for your digital toy items for your digital pet. Yeah originally. They use banner ads on their website. But then they they were. That was one of the first instances of in game advertising. We're the the the advertisements were like you said into the virtual world the opium as I recall yes and And Yeah you could end up encountering countering stuff that was specifically branded for a particular company you could even purchase stuff like you were saying Yeah and I as I recall neo pets even got got some flack for that about the fact that they were using branded stuff within the world of neo pets But the response was everything that is branded is clearly marked as an ad. It's not being. It's not being presented as just an element of the game right. Well I think the part of the controversy was that for for a while this little tag at the bottom of page like this page contains Content and and but every page had that warning. So you know especially when you're dealing with young kids don't know the differences between an ad and content. It's the problem just with kids. You're you're very correct. I yes I'm not going to say anymore sentences on that. Hey guys by Tem Gottschee died. I need to go flush it down a digital toilet. While I'm in the morning process we're GonNa take a quick break available salable now from iheartradio the new series presented by t mobile for business. The restless ones join me as I explore the coming technological revolution and the business business leaders who stand right on the cutting edge there are certain decision makers that are restless. They know there's a better way to get things done and they are ready. Curious curious excited for the next technological innovation to unlock their vision of the future. These restless ones are in pursuit of bigger. Better stronger stronger they seek new partners new strategies new processes they pursue innovative platforms and solutions to propel their teams businesses and industries. The street forward in each episode will learn more from the restless ones themselves and dive deep into how the five G. Revolution could enable their teams to thrive. The restless ones is now available on iheartradio APP. Or wherever. You listen to podcasts. Here's the thing saving money with. GEICO is almost better than playing pickup. Got Basketball because there's always that guy who joins your game. He never passes the rock. He constantly bricks threes. And who completely hack you. And and then put his hands up and say no foul no foul with GEICO. It's easy to switch and save on car insurance. No need to fake. An ankle sprain. Because you're absolutely Louis exhausted so switch and save with GYCO. It's almost better than sports. Let's move onto ninety another thing that happened in one thousand nine hundred nine my favorite virtual pet of all time. I didn't own this virtual pet but holy cow. What a weird concept? The Sega. DREAMCAST dreamcast. Release a special game called Seaman extremely special this this game. I don't have any notes on this. I'm I'm just speaking taking from the kindness of my heart. This game was narrated by Leonard. Nimoy a AKA spock and it was a classic spot Zachary Becker Quinto spock quinto an entirely separate human person But so you would have this little fish thing larva egg and and it would spawn and kind of developed this weirdly human face and it would talk back to you like it was. It was a little fish teenager it would. It would stay really very angry. Leonard Nimoy things you and and and the dreamcast. If you don't remember had a little port that you could plug various things into on the controller like like for example in this case a microphone so you could talk to to your seaman right. Yeah you you could actually ask you when your birthday was and you would tell it when your birthday it was and it would give you information about other things that happened on that day in history so you get a little trivia with your man and you you were supposed to interact with your seaman Dan at least once a day or else it would die and If you continue to interact with it it would possibly like you but but it always was a little snarky pretty snarky. Yeah even even if the seaman wasn't outright hostile it was still a little most of mine mercy actually hostile took care of my nearly because they remind me of terrifying love. Crafty and horror established. What your your your your our capacity to care is already in this podcast? No surprise that you're seaman. went bad as you would care for the seaman and It could meet other seen men. That's a terrible thing to say. And then they would end up Spawning and you would have evolving seaman. Where eventually it would turn into like this frog? Like thing and creepy human stool excellent tastic. Yeah the seaman to was actually released in Japan in two thousand seven. Can't imagine why it didn't make its way over here. That was for the playstation two. Obviously the dreamcast was long sad about that. We will have to do a full episode of cancer lately but yeah it would help. That's kind of a crazy virtual pet thing. It was weird because a had an attitude. I mean it wasn't like Putin cuddly. It was weird to look at and it acted is in a very bizarre way so it was like. How do you nurture something? That is that unusual unusually The appearances unusual and its behaviour is inexplicable explicable. Also none of I mean not you know. I don't have any children but I suspect that if I do none of them will sound quite so much. Leonard Nimoy right off the bat probably not you. You have to really train them for that. So the next I have I mean. There are other virtual pets that that came out around the that era but two thousand five was the next. They're fairly big success. That was winning. INTENDO release Nintendo dogs right. Yeah was that originally for the DS intend guzzo as I ah butchered that one. I was so confident going in and then it just fell apart as it was leaving my lips Chris now anyway. So yeah you use the screen interface and the actual built in microphone on the the S to interact with your ritual so you could Give it commands verbally and it would follow them. Well if it was a well behaved dog would follow them. Well trained dog would follow if not right and you could link the DS with other other. Other people hadn't ten dogs you could you know have have your dog visit other dogs so again it really went back into this whole model that we were talking about and There are other examples as well. You had one that was An upcoming example. Yeah there's well you know there. There's still a lot of a lot of web application virtual pets out their web kinser tremendously popular ability. These are stuffed animals that have access codes. So you go online and you interact with the digital version of your stuffed animal and it's pretty ingenious and evil actually because it excels Not only virtual accessories for this thing but when you buy physical accessories for your physical toy you can plug the codes into the Internet and and get virtual stuff too. So it's it's terrific marketing actually Stuff like that Fu Pets Sue Beta in back in two thousand six with a big the thing I may or may not come back to that later because we have also of note about virtual pet zombies But the interesting interesting one that I had. What Hatch Hatch? Thank you hatch. Yes this is. This is an upcoming iphone APP. You can sign up for the Beta. It's it's supposed to come spring sometime of twenty thirteen. We are recording this in February and as of right now it does have a date and as of now. If you go to the hatch website you can just pick which little egg you on and and it'll send you an email with a with a certificate of adoption. I know this because I've done this. Okay I don't have an device that I use with this otherwise I would hope secretly that mine would turn into the cloverfield monster because the love that documentary that is a terrific documentary documenting that WanNa hang out with you anymore. I want to control the to Abrahams documentaries that I've I've mentioned in one podcast. I'm pretty soon. It's GONNA be hard not to mention. He will rule the Kiki University. I I actually out of all these virtual pets. The only thing that I ever owned that was similar to this. They're they're these toys called the cube world digital stick peak right. Yeah Yeah yes so. They're these plastic cubes. They have magnetic contacts on on four sides of the Cube The forward facing side is screen. That has a little digital stick figure in it. Behaves a certain way depending upon that that figures occupation or main hobby so for example you might have one that has a dog and so all the activities the stick figure does involve the dog in some way. You might have one. That's an office worker or a janitor or whatever and the interesting thing was not only would they behave a particular way within their cube and you can pick up and shake it and that would actually make the figure fall over like there was an earthquake or you could turn it on. Its side that make the figure slide because gravity had changed terrific. You could also put two of these cubes together are with their magnetic contacts and then the two different stickers could visit would interact in Harry Potter. Yeah more often than not they would fight right but sometimes get along and you could actually stack. I think it was up to three or four. Might be four. I think you could sack up to four together And how in a in either horizontally vertically and have them interact with each other and then he could even make blocks of these cubes like grab a whole bunch and then you'd have essentially an apartment of these little stick figures all behaving in various ways. They were pretty limited in what they would do. You could play games with them as well. The Games we're usually pretty limited but it was was a cute idea and So Yeah I had Four of those and they They're a little wacky not not terribly sophisticated compared to some of the other virtual pets. We talked about but This this is going to lead to this This Market of creating virtual creatures for people to have real companionship companionship. Things like the Liu botts which are play robots. That's artificial human companions. I bow or Cleo the little robotic dinosaur right. We have an article about how Leo Works on. How stuff works? Dot Com includes pictures of PLO. That has been slightly taken apart. I believe it was kind of traumatic role of Tracy actually wrote that our our site director Tracy Wilson wrote that article and I remember. You're hearing gleeful cackles and seeing lightning and hearing thunder All from her office as she was working on that article. True Story Then there's also Pero which is a therapeutic feel robot. I saw this at WanNa say it was several years ago and I also saw at Japan Japan fest in Atlanta Georgia one year. But it's a robotic seal that's meant as a companion for senior citizens because in Japan in particular stickier they have a rising problem of an aging population right. People are having fewer children which means that the population is growing older. The percentage percentage of population entering their their senior years is growing each year. And and there's a very real problem of how do you provide companionship For those people so so that they have a positive Outlook and the the Pero therapeutic seal robot is kind of a way of doing that and it builds within it a lot of these concepts. It's up to the virtual pet. That's what response to you. It It at hers or moves in in very nice little ways and it's it's it's an absolutely absolutely adorable robot. I mean look at this thing and you can't help but yeah that looks cuddly but before we sign off. I want to talk about this Zombie thing. How how I want to hear more about the Zombie thing right right so I have no idea how to France's aid to Beta or so beta? Yeah it's it's it's a website thing they ahead back in two thousand nine. It was on Valentine's Day. They had a love epidemic and when players signed on on on this particular Valentine's Day they found out that every every little critter in this universe had been infected by some kind of love virus. which if anyone else here seeing the documentary stacey which is a Japanese horror film you will you will perhaps have have already ideas about this but yeah And and this virus would slowly turn these creatures into into these kind of gory. Zombie things and and people wound up. Really digging it they. They wound up keeping their characters as zombies. You could you could eventually cure for it by by applying something called La- Morris Dylan which which I am. I am enchanted by. I think that is terrific But but yeah so you know. There's there's a little bit of darkness to a little little dark corner there. which again? I think that I don't know you know. Some of the stuff is so cute while I was doing research arena across a couple of pages for the current Tamagotchi line and I I was honestly terrified by the sheer cute level. And I know that. I'm not in the the demographic anymore so it's not aimed at me but just the amount of giant is with sparkles. Why did they sparkle? So it's Niazi that's what it is and look it up kids it's all. It's all very strange to me. You know it's there's when when they were doing some initial research which with Herbie's Up At mit I think mit helped develop the verbis or kids at MIT help. Develop it and so so a lot of the research around it was done by those folks but the kids kids said that they realized that the Furby wasn't alive but but that it was a little bit alive in Furby kind of way not in a human way not an animal way but in a furby anyway so there was like a new definition for life in the sense of well. It's more than something that's inert but it's not something that's organically living right right and one of the Frederick Kaplan who's worked with the team at Stony in Paris was saying that you know these these creatures. Paradoxically are are not designed to respect Asimov. Second robotics which is that robot must obey human beings orders. They're designed to be Thomas and to have their own goals their their own wants their needs to disobey. You sometimes like a real pet lead. Yeah Yeah because with those behaviors you end up developing this relationship and ship. It always did everything you said. That would probably become fairly boring fairly quickly. You know it's it's that that process of teaching your pet and nurturing your pet that ends up being so rewarding from An owner perspective. Sure there has to be positive feedback loop of you doing something that has an impact tacked on pets life and therefore having an impact on yours. It's interesting and like we said there's a lot of scholarship on the matter. Although to to be fair the scholarship did kind of died down simply because the trend didn't really sustain itself in the United States. Anyway but I expect we'll probably see more of that. I mean especially as you talk about the development of things like artificial intelligence. We're going to see more toys that are incorporating some form of AI in them and they'll probably follow a lot of the same features that digital pets established and so Yeah it's an interesting interesting subject and that wraps up this this classic episode of Tech Stuff and all the silliness it that ensued. I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you have any suggestions for topics for future tech stuff episodes why not get in touch with me. Use The social media outlets that we have all been forced to join twitter and facebook. The the handle for both of those texts stuff H. W. and I'll talk to you again really soon. Tech stuff is a production of iheartradio house. Stuff words for more podcasts from iheartradio visit the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your favorite shows sir. The office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size office office depot has a wide range of services. They can provide twenty four seven tech support. Print your marketing materials and can even help design your office with with a variety of furniture solutions office. Depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates and over thirteen hundred stores or online at Office Depot Depot Dot Com. I don't think America has ever gone back to the way that it was before the DC sniper the gunman most likely a skilled marksman fired six times in the course of sixteen hours. The killed the five people one day and then went on the rampage for the next next month. He was a psychopathic cold blooded killer that can never walked the streets again. Listen to monster. 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