Hello! On the internet, I go by thebreat. You may have seen me around before on Tama forums or seen some of my photos on Instagram. On YouTube, I am rainbowbreat. I have been collecting since virtual pets first came to the United States in 1997. (Many people say 1996. Not unless you lived in Japan! Virtual pets didn't leave Japan until 1997.) I have a collection of over 400 virtual pets. I do not just collect Bandai. I am a collector of all brands of virtual pets. One of my favorite brands is Takara Tomy. You can see a list of my collection here.
As for my personal life, I graduated from Purdue University. I work full-time in corporate. I am married with no human children, but I have 8 fuzzy, four-legged kids. I have 6 cats named Mondego, Harlequin, Lolita, Viola, Olivia, and Penelope. I have 2 rabbits named Maple and Willow.
How it all started…
The first time I had ever heard of a virtual pet was in 1997 when I was 12 years old. I had a copy of Seventeen magazine, and the very last page which always showed the newest products trends had this little plastic, egg-shaped toy. It said that Tamagotchi was taking the West Coast by storm as a little virtual pet you feed digital food, and clean up its digital poop. My mind was blown. I ran to my mom with the magazine review, and said "I HAVE to have this!!" She didn't see the excitement.
I went to the toy section of stores every time we went shopping. I kept finding empty shelves. Everyone wanted a Tamagotchi. It was like Tickle Me Elmo all over again for anyone who remembers that fad. Then I heard people talking about the other types of virtual pets coming out, and it was overwhelming.
One day, my mom wanted to go to Kmart. I had a really good feeling that day. They had listed Giga Pets as being on sale that week, but with how fast they sold out, it was hard to tell if I could get one. I remember walking through the doors and making a b-line for the toy department. I walked to the aisle that had all the virtual pets. I looked up to see three pegs full of Giga Pets. I remember just saying "Mom!! Mom! They have them!!" An employee stocking toys down the aisle said "You are lucky. I just stocked those, and they won't last the day."
I selected a Compu Kitty, because I am a cat lover, and clutched my prize all the way to the checkout. (There are many times that I wish I could go back in time and purchase every single one!) I ripped opened the packaging in the car (I know, poor packaging), and immediately started a cat named Anna. My addiction was affirmed. The damage was done. I was now and forever a virtual pet collector.
At my school in '97, only the younger kids at the elementary were collecting virtual pets. They had a ban on bringing them to school. I was in junior high, and there were only 3 of us who played with them in the junior/senior high building, so there was no need for a ban on us. One of the three, who I was close friends with, would "babysit" all the virtual pets that belonged to the elementary students she rode the bus with. Every day in home room, she would have a ball of 7-8 of them trying to keep them alive. They were all usually dead by the time they got back to their owners!
Through the rest of the 90's, I was able to get a Tamagotchi P2, Giga Pet Digital Doggie, and an 8-in-1 multipet. Even when my friends quit playing theirs, I tried to convince them to give their pets to me. I could only convince one friend to a trade around 2001. Old makeup palettes for Tamas and Polly Pockets! Sounded like a good trade to me!
When I finally was old enough to get my own checking account at 18, I went on eBay and purchased a Micro Chimp. My friends thought I was nuts for paying a whole $20 for it. Ha. They have since learned the value these pets can hold.
In early 2005, I was walking around the toy department at Target with my then-boyfriend, now-husband to see a totally new line of Tamagotchis for sale. I had never fully discussed my love and obsession with virtual pets, and so I think I confused him when I was dancing around the aisle. I stopped to pick out a shell color, when I discovered that they could now mate. Queue another aisle dance, and we were off to the checkout with a white and rainbow "cheerio" V2.
It wasn't until 2006 that I discovered there were virtual pet forums. I signed up for an account on TamaTalk, but was quickly disappointed in the maturity of many of the members there. It's not easy being 21 among unsupervised 10-year-olds. I did see that there was another forum called Tama-Zone, but thinking it would be the same as TamaTalk, I didn't join.
In 2009, I had purchased every new release of Connections, and I was really looking for a group of people to have nerdy conversations with. I decided to try to join Tama-Zone. I was very surprised by how different the members there were. I was suddenly surrounded by people around my age with my affinity for these little digital creatures, and I absorbed as much information about other pets I had never heard of as fast as I could. I have met some of my closest friends through that forum.
And now here we are just before the 20th anniversary of Tamagotchi. I am 30 years old with a collection of over 400 virtual pets, and continue to play them to this day.