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Taking care of real animals is a tricky, time consuming business. In the ’90s, an electronic alternative to real pet ownership was created via the virtual pet. Virtual pets like the Tamagotchi let people feel like they were responsible for the survival of another living thing without the trouble, expense or clean-up of actual pets. While the fad lost most of its steam after a few years, I’m pleased to report that virtual pets live on in the app world. Now people can take care of zombies, fish, raptors and even aliens. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
My Pet Zombie (Free)
During the numerous seemingly endless debates I’ve had with friends regarding whether it would be “fun” to be part of a zombie apocalypse, no-one has ever suggested keeping a zombie as a pet. My Pet Zombie makes a strong case to do just that. The app lets you dress and feed a zombie of your very own. Everything from the zombie’s hair to his shoes can be customized to your liking. You can also play mini-games with your zombie. And if you just need someone to talk to, My Pet Zombie has a talk back feature as well.
If you’ve been missing your pocket Tamagotchi from the early ’90s, Virtual Pet Tamagotchi Raptor presents a solution in app form. You take care of the Raptor Tamagotchi just like you used to take care of the simple LED guy you kept in your pocket all those years ago. Feed him, clean up after him, and make sure he’s a happy raptor. There are also in-app purchases to be made if you want to buy different kinds of food for your pet.
Fish Farm (Free)
Fish Farm appeals to the sort of virtual pet owner who prefers calm, relaxing pet experiences. The app gives users the opportunity to run a virtual aquarium featuring over 185 different fish and sharks and 85 kinds of tank decorations. In addition to watching your fish swim around, you can also breed them to discover entirely new varieties to put in your tank. Fish Farm allows for 18 separate aquariums, so you can experiment with all sorts of different fish and tank design combinations.
Bathing Puppy ($0.99)
When I owned a dog, I was never a big fan of trying to wrestle the furry mutt into taking a bath. That doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way though. So if you can’t get enough dog washing in your life, Bathing Puppy looks to fill the empty pit in your heart. The app offers up a cute cartoon dog covered in mud. Your job is to slide your finger across the screen and clean that pup up. Sure, it’s not the most sophisticated app, but it is a pretty cute puppy.
Harro – Virtual Pet Alien (Free)
Harro the alien is a virtual pet app thankfully less concerned with clean up and more concerned with interaction. He offers you 24 commands to give to your new alien chum, most of them rather silly. You can make him pick his nose, for instance, and tapping on items in his lab often results in fun, interactive results. While not the most intensive virtual pet experience, Harro is a lot of fun for kids thanks to the terrific animations of its titular character.