Trying to explain the virtual pet craze that stormed the world in the late 90s to anybody who was not a kid at that time. I've often wondered if my chronic anxiety and other neuroses can be traced back to the virtual pets I owned as a child. I mean if you forgot to feed your little pet, it would die in half a day. As a kid I hadn't quite realized that we had not developed the ability to transplant souls into tiny digital pocket watches so I felt immense guilt whenever one of my pets died. I know I was not alone in this sentiment either.
Of all the virtual pets to choose from Tamagotchi was the first and arguably the most popular. Derived from combining "たまご" (tamago), the Japanese word for egg and "watch" the name had reference to the fact that the owner raised a creature from an egg to adulthood on something the size of a watch. In fact it is often pronounced as "Tamagotch" in Japan.
Also, they literally looked like watches in eggs.
The virtual pet was developed by Aki Maita who was an employee at Bandai. Maita wanted a pet that she could take with her during her busy days, and one which she would not have to clean up after in her small apartment. Her solution was to have a virtual pet, much like many Japanese men whose solution to companionship is virtual girlfriends and wives.
Yup, that's where we are as a species. No wonder the birthrate is so low in Japan.
Apparently she was right as over 40 million units have been sold since the product first left assembly lines in 1997. If you were to pile all the virtual poop from those units they would reach the moon! That's complete b.s. You can't pile virtual poop. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. It's about as likely as being able to consummate a marriage to a girl inside your Nintendo DS. It's not gonna happen.