Digital Monster (virtual pet)

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A Digital Monster model (mini Version 2).

The Digital MonsterJPN is a digital pet released in 1997 by Bandai. This pet was a masculine counterpart to the Tamagotchi, which was deemed more appropriate for girls.[1] It spawned the Digimon franchise. It was similar to earlier virtual pets with the distinctions of being a fighting pet that could connect with others like it.

The original Digital Monster model that was released in 1997 sold 14 million units worldwide, including 13 million in Japan and 1 million overseas, up until March 2004.[2] By 2005, more than 24 million Digital Monster units had been sold.[3]

In 2017, a 20th anniversary edition was released in Japan which allows the owner to choose from any of the eggs from the first 5 versions of the original toy, as well as several new ones unlocked through various methods.[4] This edition was released worldwide in 2019, the anniversary of the franchise outside of its home country.[5]


The Digimon game consists of the following functions:

  • Checking the pet's status (age, weight, strength, hunger and energy)
  • Feeding the Digimon to increase the pet's fullness, strength, and energy
  • Training the Digimon to lose weight and increase strength
  • Battle mode (once activated, the owner can link their console to another owner's Digimon and begin a battle)
  • Cleaning up the Digimon's droppings[6] (leaving droppings uncleaned for too long causes the Digimon to become ill)
  • Toggling the light. If the Digimon fell asleep and the light was never turned off, its overall condition (an unviewable stat) would decrease, and its chances of a high-power evolution would decrease.
  • Healing the Digimon. If the Digimon got sick or injured in battle, it would have to be healed before it could battle again.

Device operation[edit]

The original Digimon Device has three buttons and one reset button, located to the right of the screen. The top "A" button scrolls through the icons and options on the screens. The middle "B" button activates the selected function. The bottom "C" button cancels out whatever is on the screen. Pressing "A" and "C" simultaneously toggles the sound. The reset button could only be pressed with a pen or other sharp object.

Changes for US market[edit]

When the product brought to the US, elements such as the "Megalithic Mainframe" were added to soften the concept of death (thus Digimon cannot die, but instead return to a fictional world). Devimon was renamed Darkmon because of censorship[vague] and the Japanese-related reference[vague] in Monzaemon's name was removed in favor of Teddymon. These names were never used in the franchise again, as the games and anime would use Devimon and Monzaemon.

Digimon Pendulums[edit]

Original Pendulum series[edit]

In 1998, Bandai released a follow-up virtual pet series known as Pendulums which features higher evolution levels and is the first to introduce the Jogress function which enable combination between certain type of digimons. The pendulum is used to count the number of times the device has been shaken. Five versions of the Digimon Pendulum were released which is Nature Spirit for version 1, Deep Savers for version 2, Nightmare Soldier for version 3, Wind Guardian for version 4 and finally Metal Empire for version 5. Each of these being followed by a 0.5 version which contained a slightly-altered character lineup. A Version 0 representing Virus Busters was also later released.

Pendulum Progress series[edit]

Pendulum Progress was the successor of the original Pendulum series. There are three in total; the Pendulum Progress is an upgrade similar to the Tamagotchi Connection. The character lineup on each is expanded and it retains the pendulum feature that became a series standard; it also has the ability to have the current monster fight a computer monster in battle as opposed to linking up with another device.

Pendulum X series[edit]

The successor of the Pendulum Progress, the Pendulum X series, was released in 2003. It combined the RPG elements of the Digivice games with the standard pet-raising. Unlike its predecessors, the Pendulum X line was accompanied by a story titled Digimon Chronicle (デジモンクロニクル, Dejimon Kuronikuru), which was told mostly through prose text interspersed with short, non-sequitur six-page manga comics printed in the booklets. There were four "chapters", one sold with each progressive version of the Pendulum X.


In this storyline, the Digital World is controlled by an intelligent computer named Yggdrasil. Digimon have multiplied so much that Yggdrasil is unable to handle the load and the Digital Hazard occurs. This leads to the creation of the "New Digital World", which consists of three layers known as Urd (past), Versandi (present), and Skuld (future). Yggdrasil then lets loose the Project Ark as well as the X Program to eliminate any Digimon it no longer wants. However, some Digimon adapt by obtaining a program called the X-Antibody, which strengthens them, changes their appearances, and immunizes them against the X Program. Yggdrasil sends in the thirteen Royal Knights to keep order in the Digital World. After that, three human boys, Kouta, Yuuji, and Shinji, find their way into the Digital World and meet their respective partner Digimon, Dorumon, Ryuudamon and Omnimon X. Kouta and Yuuji resist Yggdrasil and the Royal Knights, while Shinji sides with the computer and the thirteen Digimon. 15 years later, in 2019, the Manga received a sequel titled "Digimon Chronicle X", which followed the story of the Royal Knights and Seven Great Demon Lords fighting against each other in their X forms.

Digimon Mini[edit]

The Digimon Mini is modeled similarly to the original pets but at a much smaller size. The character set has been minimized and functions are limited. For example, there is no status screen to view the Digimon's hunger. The player must simply feed it when it is hungry.

The Mini also uses the three-prong connector; it is thus compatible with the Pendulum X, the Digimon Accelerator, and the Digimon iC. The third Mini updates the character roster, expanding the available Digimon from 13 to 18.


Digital Monster Ver. WonderSwan is a Japanese handheld version of the original Digimon pet for the WonderSwan. It includes all of the original Digimon from the first four virtual pet devices and the first pendulum device. In this game the player can have up to eight different Digimon with them at a time. It has computer-controlled opponents to battle with. The game has the ability to connect to another WonderSwan through a special link cable. It can also hook up to the original pets through a Digimon "dock N rock" connector.


^ デジタルモンスター (Dejitaru Monsutā)


  1. ^ "Digimon Tamagotchi". Pixelmood. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  2. ^ "New Digimon for 2005". Anime News Network. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Bandai Unveils New Digimon Virtual Pets". Anime News Service. November 11, 2005.
  4. ^ "Bandai Celebrates Digimon's 20th Anniversary With Re-Release of 1997's Virtual Pet Device". Playstation Lifestyle. January 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Digimon 20th Anniversary V-pet Can be Preordered at GameStop". NerdBot. May 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Michael, Galloway (December 8, 1997). "Virtual Pets:Tamagotchis take America". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 16 February 2020.