The most disturbing cosmetics for video games is this Call of Duty Tamagotchi that feeds you to death
Players of Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare get perhaps the most tinkering cosmetic option in the history of shooting games with the introduction of the ‘Tomogunchi, “A parody of the iconic Japanese digital pet watches that were launched in 1996.
Just like Bandai’s original Tamagotchi, these in-game wristwatches have a virtual pet hatching from an egg – the screenshots show a cat, a panda and what looks like a dragon. You then have to take care of the being, otherwise it can be destroyed by neglect. You can feed it, monitor the emotional state and even help it grow and eventually evolve.
The dark comedy here is that all this should not happen on a physical product, but on a virtual version of a physical product that is only accessible between photographing your various virtual brothers in the face during a standard Duty matching. You literally use the d-pad of your controller to view the in-game wrist watch as you run around a map.
Activision tends to the absurdity of it all and labels the Tomogunchi as a product of the fake Rothwynn Industries weapon manufacturer that exists only in the fiction of the loosely reality based world of Duty. (Something like the fake Middle Eastern nation of the Urzikstan campaign.)
Here’s how it is described in the fake Rothwynn press release, which – and this is starting to hurt my brain – doubles as a real Activision press release that promotes the sale of the virtual item:
Rothwynn Industries is proud to introduce Tomogunchi. This is more than just a watch: this is a nesting device with the most realistic artificial intelligence ever seen in a wrist-based product from Rothwynn Industries.
Utilizing the latest advancements in pixel-based monochromatic LCD screen technology, the ‘home’ of your Tomogunchi is a durable watch, machine-made from the best non-biodegradable plastic designed to give you the most immersive, animal-based, combat related experience ever seen.
Do you have the nourishing aptitude to keep your Tomogunchi alive? Will your new friendly being be well-fed and thrive? Or will it panic and eventually die as a result of inattention?
To his credit, we have never seen a paid video game item meta rather, and it is a wildly more creative look at standard weapon cosmetics and other junk shooter games that are sent to players to increase revenue from micro-transactions. I would much rather see things like this than a skin of $ 20 characters that you rarely see wearing your first-person avatar.
That said, it all has a rather sinister appearance, from the gun punctuation in the name to the fact that you can change your Tomogunchi’s mood – and apparently even accelerate its evolutionary growth for certain pet breeds – by killing people:
Feed your new friend to satisfaction by finding out what emotional state you need to change. They go into battle and start a disaster to feed your Tomogunchi; providing food in the form of Kills, Objective Scoring, Killstreaks and Wins. That will brighten up your being soon! Unless your fights start to go bad, of course …
Maybe Activision is indeed setting the tone here; I haven’t bought the Tomogunchi yet, but I want to see it in action. Maybe it’s so ridiculous and breaking the fourth wall that it works. But something just seems a little bit doubtful about rebranding toys for children as a fictional military accessory in a shooting game.