Tamagotchi (たまごっち) is a series of handheld virtual pets co-created by Yokoi Akihiro of WiZ Inc. and Maita Aki of Bandai. The product was introduced by WiZ in November 1996 and subsequently marketed by Bandai. Its name is derived from the portmanteau of "tamago" (たまご), meaning "egg", and "wotchi" (ウォッチ), "watch".
The Digimon virtual pets were initially conceived as a boys-oriented version of the Tamagotchi before expanding out in their own right. The general control scheme and methods of play are much the same as the Digimon virtual pets: three buttons (labelled A, B, and C) allow the user to select various options to feed, play with or otherwise take care of the virtual pet. There is a wide range of "characters" which the Tamagotchi can evolve into, depending on how the user takes care of it.