Hi Jan, welcome to TSS.
I also bought my first VP around 1997. Not a Bandai tama (couldn't find those anywhere in my small town at the time), but a dino pet - which I still have, even though most of the design has rubbed off the shell now and one of the back screws is missing.
I have around the same number of tamas that you have. Might be cool to start a thread showing pictures of our collections!
I've been dithering for a while now about whether to get a Santaclautchi or not. I see them pop up occasionally on eBay. They're always so expensive (ditto the Devilgotchi). If I catch myself on a reckless day then I might just splurge out.