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Digimon Bits and Bytes: A Thread About V-Pets and Related Hardware

Fyonne

did their best!
Recently, Serephine asked when I was gonna make a thread about all the weird Digimon stuff I find in pursuit of Digimon stuff I want. That's this thread! Mostly, it's going to be about Digimon V-Pets (which I think count as video games), but I'll also touch on other stuff and the console games.

I think the best thing I can do for a first post about this stuff is breaking down some common terminology and mechanics for the electronic toys as I understand it and/or use it. Afterwards, I'll touch on the absolute most basic V-Pet I have.

Digimon V-Pet: You must clean up MetalGreymon's poop or it will die. A Digimon electronic toy in which you raise a Digimon. V-Pet Digimon grow over time, have branching Digivolutions based on how well they are raised, and will eventually die from old age, neglect, sickness, or consecutive wounds in battle. These are my favorite.

Digivice / quest toy: You do not need to clean up anyone's poop. A Digimon electronic toy in which you collect Digimon and add them to your squad. Generally, you'll pick one to lead your team, and go from place to place fighting bosses, where you may need to spend a resource to Digivolve for the duration of an individual fight. I have owned one of these. If you had a Digimon electronic when you were a kid in the United States, it was probably one of these, since we didn't get most of them for a while, but only got the first V-Pet. Most of, but not all of, these are directly modeled on the Digivice from a season of the Digimon anime, and feature the Digimon from that season.

Version: Lots of V-Pets have multiple releases of the same device but with different ~~graphics~~ Digimon, it's very different, I promise. It's basically like Pokemon was doing. Versions are often differentiated into families of similar Digimon or an ecosystem in which all these Digimon exist. Consequently, some versions are named things like Version 1.5 and others are named things like Nightmare Soldiers or Impulse City.

Hunger Meter: Usually a chart of four hearts. A single Meat will fill one of these hearts. Sometimes more than four “hearts” are available on older Digimon so they need to be fed less frequently, but only the final four are displayed.

Training Meter: Usually a chart of four hearts. A single instance of successful training or one protein will fill one of these hearts. Sometimes multiple hearts can be filled in one go if training goes particularly well.

DP: In V-Pets, it's usually a measurement of a Digimon's stamina. Once it runs out, they can't fight anymore until they get some sleep. In Digivices, it's usually the fuel spent to Digivolve for a battle.

Care Mistakes: When the player fails to respond to a Digimon V-Pet's needs in time. What counts is inconsistent, but things that have counted in the past include leaving too much poop uncleaned, not feeding the Digimon, feeding the Digimon way too much, not training the Digimon, not tucking the Digimon into their cute little bedtime blanket when they're sleepy, not turning off the lights while the Digimon sleeps on the floor, and not curing a Digimon's sickness when they get sick. Care Mistakes are the single biggest determinant as to a Digimon's Digivolution results.

Digivolution: When a Digimon evolves into a higher form. Unlike with Pokemon, Digimon often have a wide variety of things they can Digivolve into, some of which can be unexpected. For me, a big part of the appeal is not knowing which Digimon I'm going to get when my Digimon Digivolves. Each stage of a Digimon's life has a name, and I'll be using (mostly) the western names. The chain is Fresh, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, Mega.

DNA Digivolution / Jogress: When two Digimon combine to make one Digimon that is way stronger than usual. In V-Pets, sometimes both participants in the DNA Digivolution get a copy of the new Digimon, sometimes one kid gets screwed over. Some of the modern V-Pets have mechanics that let you DNA Digivolve with one device, often via a Digimon saved into memory.

Super Ultimate: If for some reason a Mega level Digimon manages to Digivolve again, they're a Super Ultimate. Usually this only happens because of DNA Digivolution. For a long time this didn't have a name. I don't know the western equivalent of this term.

Egg: Digimon hatch out of these. Different eggs lead to different Digimon. Often eggs are used as a meta progression mechanic, unlocking as the player meets certain criteria. Really fancy unlockable eggs tend to not have any branches in their Digivolution tree, and result in extra strong Digimon.


A long time ago, I decided that as a huge fan of Digimon, I should own a virtual pet, you know, just to have one. I spent a long time deciding which virtual pet to get, because at the time I was a fool who did not know I was opening the gates of an inescapable hell of cute pixel dinosaur friends and consequently thought I would only ever own one.

It came down to two devices, the Digimon Mini and the Digimon Twin, which at the time, nearly a decade ago, were the newest virtual pets available. Since the Digimon Twin requires you to have a friend or raise two different Digimon on two different devices (who could possibly raise two Digimon at the same time???((I'm raising three Digimon right now.))), I bought the Digimon Mini.


Digimon Mini
Digimonminiver1.gif

One of my Minis, the one I started with, is a bit of a weird customer. It has a blue body, yellow buttons, black screen, and is a Version 1. That's not a combination of colors and version that you'll find much about. That's because it's exclusive to the Hong Kong region, and was the cheapest one to acquire at the time. It's also the best color combination for the Mini, so doesn't bother me at all. My other Mini has a yellow body, white buttons, a blue screen, and is a Version 2.

The Mini doesn't have the common menu of options flanking the top and bottom of the screen that most V-Pets have, and that's because the Mini is, as you may have guessed, really small. It also features no text, making it a great choice for an import. Without the menu, the device uses a lot of context-sensitive stuff with its buttons. Starting from the top of the device, the buttons are A, B, and C. When nothing else is going on, the A button brings up the feeding menu; when there is poop on the floor, it flushes the poop; when the Digimon is sick or hurt, it brings up the medicine menu; and when the Digimon is sleepy it brings up the light switch menu. Pressing B is for training, and holding it queues up a connection battle with another compatible V-Pet.

Version 1 features Botamon and Koromon as the Fresh and In-Training Digimon, branching into the Rookies; Agumon, Gabumon, and Betamon. Version 2 features Bubbmon and Mochimon as Fresh and In-Training, branching into the Rookies; Tentomon, Elecmon, and Kunemon.

As usual, all Digimon up to Champion are guaranteed, though poor care may result in worse Digimon. Other Digivolutions have criteria, and since Digimon's lives are extended by Digivolution, a Digimon that doesn't meet them will also have a shorter lifespan. Ultimate Digimon and Mega Digimon require the Master Condition to be fulfilled by the time the Digimon is supposed to Digivolve. The Master Condition requires at least 30 battles, and higher win percentages result in higher chances of Digivolution.


Good Stuff
  • Simple and easy to use!​
  • Very small, useful for concealing your Digimon at work.​
  • Lack of menu options means care can be provided rapidly or even without looking at the device.​

Bad Stuff
  • Tiny buttons...​
  • Two sound settings: very loud beeps and off.​
  • No solo battle mechanic! Sacrifice the blood of one of your friends for the sake of the other.
  • Not only is there no pause function, there's no early bed time, either.

Stuff
  • No DNA Digivolution in this one, though there are Super Ultimates available via battling 100 times as a Mega.​
  • Don't confuse it with the Digimon XROS Wars Mini, which uses the same body, but says DIGIMON XROS WARS instead of DIGITAL MONSTER on the screen's border. That one's not a virtual pet, it's one of the quest-type devices.​

Image credit goes to Wikimon, and mechanics were double-checked using File Island.


Hey! I want a Digimon Virtual Pet right now! Which one should I get?
Go pre-order the English version of Digimon X. It's pretty much the ideal Digimon v-pet, imo. The Digimon 20th Anniversary also has an English release and a ton more Digimon, but the Digimon on that one poop at a regular frequency and that's a problem I will explain when I get to it.
 
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Fyonne

did their best!
I should mention, I'm only talking about the rosters on devices I own. I'd be here all day just covering what Digimon are on each individual version for each device. The Digimon Mini Version 1 & 2 both have 13 possible Digimon, which is a pretty normal number for one Digivolution tree. The Digimon Mini Version 3 has 18 Digimon, also a pretty normal number. All three versions have more Champions than other stages, which is pretty normal.

Eventually I got tired of seeing Greymon and Seadramon on my Digimon Mini (never could thread the needle and get Garurumon), and wanted to access more of the device. That meant I would need another device, so they could fight. I did my research on which devices can communicate with the Mini, which amount to the Digivice iC and the Accel. The Accel is huge and involves scanning these full-sized cards and I wanted no part of it. Instead, I got the iC.


Digivice iC
Digiviceic10x.jpg

Hey lets immediately break all the rules I've told you about.

The iC is the Digivice for Digimon Savers. It's also a virtual pet instead of a quest device! The iC is both the most complicated and easiest device I own. It has a gimmick of reading these little chips, or any conductive surface (or just manually pressing the contacts down) to get special events. Usually the events are just an item that you find. It's pretty easily manipulated, but unfortunately, my iC's contacts are not long for this world and barely work. The iC can communicate with other iCs via infrared light, and has the oh-so-crucial at the time three-pronged contact for communicating with Minis and Accels. My iC is the blue and white one.

The iC has the customary menus flanking the top and bottom of the (much larger) screen. Because it's so complicated, it also has a ton of text menus which are all in Japanese, making this one a really poor choice for importing. We've got:
  • Some Dude Punching Icon: Lets you scan random stuff and the iC chips for events and items.​
  • Scale Icon: Stats, which include things like name, hunger, type, etc. Costume Items, which let you put hats on your Digimon. Battle Items, which let you boost your damage output for the next fight. And an entire page dedicated to DP, which, in the iC, is just money.
  • Meat Icon: Food items which include... Meat, Large Meat, Cold Medicine, Bandages, De-Digivolution Capsule, some candy, and best friends juice. Later versions feature even more items. This icon also leads to DigiSouls.
  • Poop Icon: This is how you flush poop, and also turn the lights off for... some reason.
  • Two Dudes Yelling Icon: Challenge the coliseums for glory and profit.
  • Hadoken Icon: Do minigames, including Annihilate Building, That One Guess The Cup Game But There's Only Two Cups, and Don't Get Hit By All This Poop.
  • Signal Bars V-Pet Icon: Battling other devices and... shopping for some reason.
There are some fairly unusual features on this device. Let's start with the new stat Reliability. Reliability goes down with Care Mistakes. But playing with the Digimon restores Reliability, so the iC effectively doesn't care about Care Mistakes that don't literally kill the Digimon, making this the easiest virtual pet I know of.

Digivolution then, focuses on DigiSouls instead of quality of care and training. There are a ton of types of DigiSoul, like Dragon, Metal, Beast, etc. But there's not nearly as many available Digimon so most of them just do the same thing. Rub at least one DigiSoul on a Digimon to get a random result, and rub several DigiSouls on a Digimon to lock-in the next Digimon. Thanks to the lack of functional connectors for the chip/encounter scanning thing at the top, I've just got a pile of Beast DigiSoul, which is appropriate because I've got the blue one, which is the Beast family Digivice.

The iC is also our first device with a solo battle mode, the coliseum. Digimon can be entered into tournaments at one of three coliseums. Each coliseum is harder than the previous one, has a higher DP entrance fee, and pays out more. I'm a big fan of solo battle modes because there's no way I'm ever going to meet someone else with a virtual pet imported from Japan in my day-to-day life. Also, since Digimon only really need to send hit/miss and sometime damage data to each other, and never have to show the other person's Digimon on screen during battles, many later V-Pets have backwards-compatible battle modes, which is why the iC can fight the Mini.


Digimon Available
iC.png


  • 27 raisable Digimon!
  • 13 more non-raisable Digimon show up as opponents in the Coliseum!
  • Fresh: Botamon
  • In-Training: Koromon, Wanyamon, Badomon
  • Rookies: Agumon, Gaomon, Lalamon, ToyAgumon, Chuumon

Good Stuff
  • Larger screen with larger sprites.
  • Coliseum mode for solo-battles.
  • Vertical orientation.
  • Relatively large buttons.
  • Very forgiving.
  • Saves data between battery swaps/resets.
  • You can take your Agumon and put an afro on it, and then it will be an Agumon with an afro.

Bad Stuff
  • Buttons are a weird shape.
  • Very, very easy.
  • Relies on the contacts remaining in good condition.
  • No pause or early bed time mode again.
  • Two sound settings: regular loud and off.
  • LARGE

Stuff
  • Turning the lights off when a Digimon doesn't need to sleep just turns the screen black which is very funny to me.
  • No Jogress/DNA Digivolution to be seen.

Bonus
Digimon Mini Version 1 Early Roster
MiniV1.png

Digimon Mini Version 2 Early Roster
MiniV2.png


Image credit goes to Wikimon, and mechanics were double-checked using File Island.
 
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Fyonne

did their best!
A long time later, once I had wrung all the fun out of my Mini and iC, having decided that virtual pets were bad, actually, I heard about the 20th Anniversary Digimon V-Pet. It had. SO MANY Digimon. You don't even know. I'm going to tell you in a minute, but it's wild. I bought it immediately, and it is, at this moment, my favorite virtual pet despite The Poop Problem.


Digimon V-Pet 20th Anniversary Edition
DigimonVPet20th.jpg
DigimonVPet20thBack.jpg


This is the one. Honestly, as much as I'm excited about the Digimon X, this one is extremely the one to get if you're not willing to dive super far in. Why? You can buy this one for about $16 on Amazon, in English. I mean, the X is also going to be in English, and is only $20, but the X is a regular V-Pet and not an anniversary edition, and consequently doesn't have nearly as many Digimon. Also, since I'm actually raising some Digimon on (one of) my 20th Anniversary V-Pets, I can take real-ass pictures of it, like this one:

20th1.jpeg

Say hi, Luna the Agumon!


For all intents and purposes this is the same device as the original V-Pet. In fact, it can even fight an original V-Pet if you've got one! The big differences are in the sheer absurd number of Digimon available and some new modern features like blankets oh my god it's so cute and the best. Being marketed to adults, it features a much faster lifespan for Digimon, Copy Digimon that let you carry an extra Digimon from another device in memory for battling and Jogressing, and it lets you raise two Digimon simultaneously.

20th2.jpeg

Jack the Gabumon is ALSO here!


When you have two Digimon (which is a feature that unlocks once your first Digimon hits Rookie), you can scroll between them using the C button. You can look at one of them at a time or both. When looking at both, you can do things like feeding them a huge meat that they share and sparring to train them both at once, though sparring sucks. Most importantly, you can put them to bed at the same time, in which case they share a blanket and oh my god you guys.


20th3.jpeg

Oh my god, you guys!!! (Thank you Luna and Jack for posing for this picture. It is not actually bedtime.)


This does mean it's finally time to talk about The Poop Problem. So, since you can have two Digimon. And Digimon are set to poop at certain interval. And the amount of poops that cause sickness (four) has not changed. And Digimon poop just as frequently as they did on the original device. And younger Digimon poop more often. The 20th V-Pet has to be checked fairly regularly if you actually raise two Digimon because they poop simultaneously if they're the same digivolution level, and consequently you have to catch every time they poop or they will get sick constantly. The 20th Pendulum fixed this problem, but the 20th Pendulum is not in English. So if you want to raise two Digimon in English on a virtual pet, welcome to the poop dimension.

20th9.jpg

Warning: Poop dimension construction in progress.

I haven't really talked about battles before now, because I'm not too familiar with the Mini and iC battle systems anymore. The Mini, I believe, basically uses the same battle system as the 20th, but a more simple rendition where it's 3 HP instead of 10 HP with varying damage and defense levels. In the 20th V-Pet, you pick if you want to do a solo battle or a tag battle, then pick a (or two) Digimon from your two active Digimon and one copied Digimon, and they go do a battle against another Digimon (or two). The battles get progressively harder, but you can restart from the first one any time you want. Solo, your Digimon and your opponent's exchange attacks until five rounds or one Digimon is knocked out. In a tag battle, the same rules apply, but every time a Digimon gets hit, their partner tags in, and each team has a shared healthbar. The victory (or defeat) counts for both Digimon, so a sufficiently strong Digimon can help other Digimon get wins. Sadly, there are no unlockables for beating every fight, but there are unlockable eggs at 50 and 100 battles, which is only really reasonable using the internal battles.

20th4.jpeg

Time for sharing big meat! Also reminder that meat grows on farms in the Digital World. It appears to grow basically like potatoes or maybe carrots. Please wash the dirt off your meat before consuming.


Of note, the 20th V-Pet features the Effort stat, which is a measurment of how many times the Digimon has been trained. Both training and protein will increase the Digimon's Strength stat, but only training effects Effort. Effort has a greater effect on battles, and is a primary deciding factor of what a Digimon Digivolves to, alongside Care Mistakes and Overfeeding.


Menu Stuff
  • Scale Icon: The Digimon's stats; name, age, weight, hunger, strength, effort, battles, and win percent.​
  • Meat Icon: Feed the Digimon meat or protein.​
  • Punching Bag Icon: Train the Digimon via mashing for big attacks or the much, much worse sparring minigame.​
  • Trophy Icon: Fight in the solo or tag team championship tournament. They are both very long tournaments.​
  • Poop Icon: Clean up poop​
  • Lightbulb Icon: For tucking Digimon into their ADORABLE BLANKETS.​
  • Bandage Icon: For applying bandages and medicine.​
  • Book Icon: For looking at all the Digimon previously raised on the device, and checking the status of a copied Digimon.​
  • Two Dudes Punching Icon: For battling, and also for sending/receiving copy Digimon to/from another device.​
  • Yelling Icon: This is lit (and also beeping happens) when there is something that needs to be urgently attended to, like low Hunger or Strength gauges, or bedtime.​

Digimon Available
20thVPetRoster.png

  • 109 Rasiable Digimon on each device. That's the Anniversary edition difference.​
  • 5 Eggs representing all 5 Versions of the original V-Pet, 3 of which have never been seen in English.
  • 2 New Megas for each of the 5 classic eggs.​
  • 6 Unlockable Eggs for each device, featuring linear digivolution paths, including some brand new Digimon.​
  • 3 Jogress-able Super Ultimates available to each device!​
  • 20 Additional Unrasiable Digimon just for the solo and tag battle modes!​
  • Fresh: Botamon, Punimon, Poyomon, Yuramon, Zurumon, Petitmon, Sakumon, Dodomon.
  • In-Training: Koromon, Tsunomon, Tokomon, Tanemon, Pagumon, Babydramon, Sakuttomon, Dorimon.​
  • Rookies: Agumon, Betamon, Gabumon, Elecmon, Patamon, Kunemon, Biyomon, Palmon, Gazimon, Gizamon, Dracomon, Zubamon, Huckmon, DORUmon.​

Good Stuff
  • Did you see the bit about 109 Digimon? That's a ton of Digimon! That's almost 90 more Digimon than normal!​
  • Two Digimon at once!​
  • The Digidex feature gives the device a(n extreme) long-term goal!​
  • Very lengthy tournament modes!​
  • Two Jogressable Super Ultimate Digimon on every device that can be obtained without an additional device. RustTyrannomon and Omegamon Alter-S.​
  • Save feature that lets you resume right from where you left off after a battery swap.​

Bad Stuff
  • Unless you memorize the patterns, the sparring minigame is a wash, and even then it's slower than the button mashing one.​
  • Small buttons.​
  • Poopageddon.

Stuff
  • Pretty easy to fill in all that brick scuplting with a panel-lining marker.​
  • Some eggs feature some overlapping Digimon, like the Version 1 and 2 eggs overlap with the Anime Agumon and Anime Gabumon eggs, and the Blue/Green Coredramon eggs.​
  • The Japanese/English difference is literally just whether a particular circuit is connected or not. A confident hand with a soldering iron can swap one to the other.​


Bonus Stuff
20th5.jpeg

Special Guest Star Patch the BanchoMamemon from my Japanese 20th V-Pet.


20th6.jpeg

Extra Special Guest Star, the Copy Data for Sol the Slayerdramon from my Japanese 20th V-Pet freshly transmitted to my English 20th V-Pet.


20th7.jpeg

The kickass English instruction manual with one of the new Rookies, Zubamon, on the cover.


20th8.jpeg

The manual's interior, touching on raising two Digimon and also the icons.


MeatFarm.jpg

A genuine Digital World meat farm. Steve the Agumon says hi.
Partial image credit goes to Wikimon. Photos, including the one taken in the Digital World, are by me.
 
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Fyonne

did their best!
Let's talk about the Agumon problem.

FiveAgumon.jpg

I name my virtual pets using acryllic paint pens. The Pendulum 20th is the most recently named: Rouge on the left, Blue on the right, named after SaGa Frontier characters.

Buns in the back is the starting Agumon from Digimon World ReDigitize Decode.

Then we've got Anby, who is the starting Agumon from Digimon World. Technically you can also get a Gabumon, but if you do, its only move is the worst one in the game.

Then up front, we've got Bit, who is usually an Agumon, they don't have a battery right now.

Then Luna, who was an Agumon until they digivolved into Greymon yesterday. Since the Version 1 Egg is all that's available on that device to start with, you're either going to get Agumon or Betamon, and Betamon only happens if you're bad.

Then there's Rouge who is not an Agumon. Instead they're a ToyAgumon, the best Rookie from the Metal Empire egg which is much different than regular Agumon. You see, Agumon, when taken care of properly, digivolves into Greymon, then MetalGreymon*, then WarGreymon*. ToyAgumon's best-case scenario digivolution line is Greymon, then MetalGreymon, then WarGreymon, which, as you can see, is completely different and not the exact same. Rouge is a 20th Anniversary Pendulum, by the way, which we haven't talked about yet.

For some reason, Digimon settled on Veemon being the classic Digimon that keeps getting brought back as a special bonus for hardcore fans, leaving us with Agumon. This is like if instead of starter Pokemon, the beginning of every Pokemon gave you a Charmander.
Don't get me wrong, I like Agumon, heck, MetalGreymon is my favorite Digimon (the virus-type variant though),


*Actually there are a bunch of these sets now like RizeGreymon and ShineGreymon.

Greymons.png

From the top left to the bottom right: MetalGreymon (Virus), MetalGreymon (Vaccine), SkullGreymon, Greymon, GeoGreymon, RizeGreymon, ShineGreymon, oh that last one's Tyrannomon actually. Hi Tyrannomon! I love you!
 
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Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
While I’m generally less of a fan of digimon that look like Power Rangers, Rise and Shine Greymon (Greymons? Greysmon?) are pretty snappy looking.

Also, only one could charitably be called “grey”. That is orange, my friend.
 

Fyonne

did their best!
Fully in servitude to my endless hunger for more Digimon, I definitely hopped on the Pendulum 20th train as soon as it was announced. I ended up getting a Silver Black Pendulum, as it has Tentomon via Nature Spirits. It also has Nightmare Soldiers and Metal Empire on it, which is as far from the Agumon problem as I could get.


Digimon Pendulum 20th
PendulumBox.jpg


The Pendulum is great, aside from slightly-frustrating-to-me mechanics. Most of the device's function is the same as the 20th V-Pet, but refined. There are more versions that are more distinct than the 20th V-Pet, but the amount of content you get is a lot, even with one device. The Pendulum, though we never got it (and still haven't!), is the source of virtually everything about Digimon. Like, Mega level Digimon? Those are from the Pendulum. Surfaced info on Vaccine/Data/Virus? That's a Pendulum thing. DNA Digivolution? Pendulum.


Pendulum1.jpg

Rouge the ToyAgumon and Blue the DemiDevimon are thrilled to be in each other's presence.


The single biggest change from original/20th V-Pet to original/20th Pendulum is the pendulum that serves as the device's namesake. When you shake the device, it does... stuff! The 20th Pendulum still has a non-functional pendulum in it to replicate the sound, but the functional replacement is an accelerometer.


Pendulum2.jpg

Rouge the Cyberdramon and Blue the DemiDevimon: Also thrilled to be in each other's presence. But wait – how did Rouge become a Cyberdramon so quickly? Perhaps there is a hint in this very post!


I've neglected to mention that every device has a little minigame you play before battles to grant your Digimon additional power. What exactly the minigame does varies from device to device, but in both the original V-Pet and the Pendulum's case, it determines how powerful your Digimon's shots are (but it's still up to your Digimon alone as to whether or not they hit). For the original/20th V-Pet, it was button mashing when solo, and stopping a golf game-esque power meter followed by button mashing in a team.


Pendulum3.jpg

Checking back in with Luna and Jack, who are impossible to photograph and have become a Greymon and a Vegiemon respectively. I wasn't trying for a Vegiemon, but I could not overfeed Gabumon quickly enough to get Frigimon.


In the Pendulum and 20th Pendulum's case, the minigame is shaking the device. But not too much. Every Digimon in the game has several shake targets you want to hit to trigger a Mega Hit. Generally, the lower-level the Digimon, the lower the number of shakes, but that's not always the case. As an additional wrinkle, Digimon on the Pendulum sometimes are capable of Giga Hits, which require a specific number of shakes based on the target's attribute (Vaccine/Data/Virus). In most cases, it's a fairly low number for Digimon your Digimon has the advantage over, and higher (if at all) for Digimon your Digimon doesn't have an advantage over, or is disadvantaged against.


20thAttributeCollage.png

Some example Digimon. Angemon is Vaccine, Drimogemon is Data, Numemon is Virus, and Armor Digimon like Halsemon tend to be classed as Free these days.

Since I haven't mentioned this dynamic before since it hasn't been super relevant, there are four attributes of Digimon: Vaccine, Data, Virus, and Free.
  • Vaccine Digimon beat Virus Digimon.​
  • Data Digimon beat Vaccine Digimon.​
  • Virus Digimon beat Data Digimon.​
  • Free Digimon are neutral* to all other attributes and themselves.​
*Some Digimon on the Pendulum can still Giga Hit a Free Digimon, but they're usually on the same number of shakes as Giga Hitting Digimon they're disadvantaged against.


Omegamon.png

A famous DNA Digivolution / Jogress Digimon, Omegamon, previously localized as Omnimon.


The other big addition to the Digimon formula for both the original and 20th Pendulum is the addition of Jogressing. Jogressing is a lot like DNA Digivolution, but since it originally involved two different kids' virtual pets, both Digimon involved get a new form. That's still the case on the 20th Pendulum, unless both the Digimon are from the same device. When using two Digimon from the same device, the first Digimon selected is the Source, and the second is the Material. The resulting Digimon is based on the Source + the Material's attritube (Vaccine/Data/Virus). The Source will gain the new form, and the Material will revert to their Fresh form. Jogressed Digimon start with zero DP, and a full DP bar is required to Jogress, so they can't fight or Jogress again that same day. Otherwise, there are no limitations on Jogress frequency, which is how Rouge became a Cyberdramon immediately after becoming a Thunderballmon.

If you aren't using a guide, Jogressing significantly expands the Pendulum's possibility space, as now to be sure they've gotten every Digimon, they need to Jogress every Champion and Ultimate with a Vaccine Digimon, a Data Digimon, and a Virus Digimon. In the original Pendulum, there were no Jogress combinations that required two specific Digimon, but the 20th Pendulum adds one or two to every classic egg, such as the most famous one, Omegamon.


Pendulum4.jpg

Gone from sleep mechanics are blankets, making the 20th Pendulum objectively inferior to the 20th V-Pet.


A new addition for the 20th Pendulum is the freeze function. It's no longer possible to have Digimon take a nap or send them to bed a few hours early. Instead, turning the lights off on a Digimon that is awake freezes it. This is represented as a literal refrigerator the Digimon is ostensibly inside of. Frozen Digimon do regain DP as if they were sleeping. They do not age or have any needs. Effectively, at the price of a Digimon not reaching its next stage as quickly and not increasing their age counter, it is possible to completely pause a Digimon. This is a per-Digimon setting, too, so one Digimon can be frozen while the other one is being raised. This is such a huge boon raising a virtual pet as an adult. You can achieve something similar by pressing the reset button on a 20th V-Pet, but both Digimon are effectively paused at the point of the device's last save.


Pendulum5.jpg

Copymon being escorted by Cyberdramon. This one is a Vegiemon. Copymon doesn't have a non-sprite appearance, as they are compressed data. Just imagine whatever Digimon the Copymon is, just very, very small, and maybe with some jpg artifacting.


Copy Digimon have been reworked as well. Copy Digimon are still a static version of a Digimon from another device (including the 20th V-Pet!), but they cannot be used for battles... sort of. Instead, there are two copied Digimon slots, one for each Digimon on the Pendulum 20th, and they both become Copymon, a tiny Digimon that backs the device's main Digimon up in battle. With the help of a Copymon, Giga Hits become Tera Hits, as the Copymon assists with the attack. Copymon can be Jogressed with, but the Copymon is consumed in the process. Most importantly, Copymon appears next to their partnered Digimon on the main screen, and will attempt to do backflips sometimes. The Copymon and their partner will celebrate or mourn the success or failure of the backflip.


Sukamon.png

Sukamon, a filth type Digimon, just like Vegimon, incidentally. They throw poop. All filth type Digimon do this. Generally, it's a bad thing if you get a filth type Digimon, but filth type Digimon that manage to Digivolve despite their poor stats tend to be very strong, ala a Magikarp-Gyarados situation.


Most importantly, Digimon no longer poop at the same time (they take turns, which is very funny to me), and they poop less frequently, and the device makes a noise when a Digimon poops. The Poop Problem is well and truly vanquished. But was it worth losing blankets?


Menu Stuff
Go look at the 20th V-Pet one, they're identical. Jogressing is done via the communication icon.


Digimon Available on Pendulum 20th Silver Black
20thPAvailable.png

  • 129 Raisable Digimon, again, an absolute ton!
    Three classic Pendulum eggs!
  • One revised 20th edition egg – Nightmare Soldiers featuring Digimon created after the original Pendulum, like Impmon!
  • Fourteen Ultra Digimon available via specific Jogress combinations!
  • Ten special Copymon unlocked via passwords!
  • Fresh Digimon: Bubbmon, Mokumon, Choromon, Kotukomon, Zerimon, Dodomon, Yukimi Botamon, Nyokimon
  • In-Training Digimon: Mochimon, DemiMeramon, Caprimon, Kakkinmon, Gummymon, Dorimon, Nyaromon, Budmon
  • Rookie Digimon: Tentomon, Gotsumon, Otamamon, Bakumon, Candmon, DemiDevimon, ToyAgumon, Kokuwamon, Hagurumon, Impmon, Phascomon, Ludomon, Terriermon, DORUmon, Plotmon, Vorvomon, Lalamon

Good Stuff
  • Jogressing means you could explore the Digivolution tree of even a single egg for a very long time.​
  • No more poop problem!​
  • Copymon are very cute.​
  • The shake mechanic is more nuanced than the button mashing mechanic, and the uncertainty of the input adds a dimension of skill to the battles.​
  • If your Digimon is dying, if you manage to shake the Pendulum 20th 100 times, you can save their life!​
  • A huge variety of Digimon across the line.​
  • Each of the 100-battle-long solo and tag team tournaments now reward the player with one of the unlockable eggs upon completion-, providing incentives for doing the whole thing.​

Bad Stuff
  • The content of individual 20th Pendulum devices are dramatically more varied than the 20th V-Pet devices, reducing the sense that owning one of them is owning the whole original line.​
  • Never released in English.​
  • Solving the poop problem is not enough to dissuade me from wanting blankets.​

Stuff
  • Digimon age while asleep now, meaning you may wake up to a brand new Digimon! On the other hand, if your Digimon's current form has already been wounded 5 times, sick 5 times, or had 5 care mistakes, it may die upon hitting old age in the middle of the night...​
  • If you're brave enough to attempt the soldering job, it is possible to trick the device into giving you every egg available on every 20th Pendulum, and then while you're at it, switch the device to the fully-implemented English translation. I tried, but it, uh, was not a good choice for my first time soldering something. Rouge and Blue survived, thankfully.​
  • Why yes, I am raising four Digimon right now. I'm alone in the apartment most of the time right now, and I'm not really playing any video games, so I've got a lot of time on my hands. Okay, actually it's five Digimon, but.​
  • I swear I'm almost out of these effort posts. Just two left to go!​

Digimon Starring In This Post
20thStarringCollage.png

From left to right: ToyAgumon, DemiDevimon, Cyberdramon, Greymon (again, he's inescapable), and Vegiemon

Partial image credit goes to Wikimon. Photos are by me.
 
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Fyonne

did their best!
More recently, I bought a Digimon Vital Bracelet, the newest (for about a month or so) Digimon virtual pet on the market. I, uh, can't actually remember why I did that? Oh yeah, someone on the Abnormal Mapping discord shared that there's going to be a Medabots x Digimon crossover DiM Card for the Vital Bracelet, complete with a Rokusho+Metabee Omegamon (as opposed to Some Kind of Greymon+Some Kind of Garurumon ones that you normally see), and that led me to seeing the P-Bandai English page for it, and now here we are.


Digimon Vital Bracelet
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I've tried my best. But. The Vital Bracelet is virtually impossible to photograph thanks to its backlit (!) full-color (!!!) screen. So I'm not going to have a lot of pictures to show off this time. Hopefully you'll enjoy making fun of Pistmon as much as I do, so it won't hurt too much.

It's really hard to call the Vital Bracelet a virtual pet, because while it does, like, sleep and digivolve based on how well it is treated, that's about it. Even what “how well it is treated” means something drastically different now. The reason why is that the Vital Bracelet is kind of a fitness device? See, instead of feeding your Digimon, now you need to be wearing the Vital Bracelet, which will measure your pulse every five minutes. If it detects a pulse, congratulations, the Digimon gets some Vital Points based on how high your pulse is. If it doesn't detect a pulse, the Digimon loses 50 Vital Points immediately, which will become increasingly wild the more you learn about the device. If a Digimon doesn't get any of that sweet, sweet human arm candy for 24 hours, it dies. And that's it! That's the only way your Digimon can die! That's the only way you can mess up!


Pistmon.png

Pistmon, the worst Digimon. It's just a bicycle centaur. And it's a plant Digimon, apparently? Like, I guess a little bit of it is plant-like?

Vital Points are kind of like Experience Points, in that they make your Digimon stronger. I'm not 100% sure because I haven't done rigorous testing or anything, but I'm pretty sure Vital Points increase all of a Digimon's stats. Every Digivolution stage has a higher and higher cap for Vital Points, and therefore have a higher potential stat range. The stat increases don't seem to be too dramatic, but since a Digimon resets to 0 Vital Points upon Digivolution, it seems like a max VP Champion is about on par with a zero VP Ultimate, for instance. It seems fairly feasible to get moderately high VP just by wearing the bracelet, but the quickest way is to fight battles against wild Digimon – but we'll touch on those later.


Vital2.png

Thanks, P-Bandai, for all this English promotional material.

The second way Digimon are influenced by the player is via Trophies. The fact that it's Trophies makes zero sense to me, but I guess it had to be something. I don't know why this isn't just effort, but. Every day a Digimon loads in one Normal Mission and four Hard Missions found in the training menu. Normal Missions are things like “gain 400 Vital Points” and “win one battle” and “fight five battles,” and they give one Trophy upon completion. Hard Missions, though, are where the Vital Bracelet does its best to be an actual fitness device. The Hard Missions give a simple, short exercise like “do squats for 20 seconds” or “do crunches for 30 seconds,” and these grant one or two Trophies on completion depending on how much movement the device detects. This doesn't feel much like a real workout, especially when it tells you to do punches? for twenty seconds, but I've been using it as a decent warm-up for actual exercise. Though actually doing my best Zack Fair / Cloud Strife impression for twenty seconds does kick my ass a little bit sometimes.

The final way players influence their Digimon is via number of battles and win percent. The Vital Bracelet, however, does not... exactly have internal battles, though. Instead it does the Barcode Battlers / Scannerz / Pokemon Go thing of making the world around you part of the game. Well, assuming you live in a place with like vending machines or something else that uses NFC*. The Vital Bracelet has a NFC detector-detector, and consequently moving the bracelet near a NFC detector will trigger a random encounter with a wild Digimon! These encounters are a little disappointing, in that they only draw from the Digivolution tree of your current Digimon; the battles can't even pull from a Digimon backed up on the device. Since there's no way to predict how powerful an encounter will be, there now is the option to run from a battle by holding the confirm button when the enemy Digimon's portrait appears, which prompts a cute little running away animation.
*Something else that uses NFC includes most modern smartphones and Nintendo devices that are trying to scan an amiibo. I use the Reset Amiibo Data screen in the Switch's settings as my go-to battle zone.


Vital5.png

Pulsemon, the Impulse City Rookie. He's basically Sonic the Hedgehog and Pulse Man at the same time, and given the exercise + lightning theme... fair enough.

For the first time in this thread, we can actually look at our Digimon's battle stats. Also for maybe the first time ever, there's more than one! We've got DP, which is something completely different again and determines how likely the Digimon is to “win” a round and deal damage, HP which determines how much damage the Digimon takes before being knocked out, and AP which determines how much damage the Digimon deals when it wins a round. Digimon also have a hidden activity stat that can be Stoic, Active, Normal, Indoor, or Lazy. This stat determines when the Digimon wakes up and goes to sleep, and also determines how soon in a battle they perform their super attack.


Bulkmon.png

Bulkmon, Pulsemon's "best" Champion. I actually really dig this Digimon, easily the best design on the device and wouldn't look out of place dropped in the middle of, say, Digimon World PS1.

Setting aside how it sucks that sleep schedule is directly correlated to the combat abilities of the Digimon, the full-color screen has enough dpi that super attacks are accompanied by a full-screen splash portrait of the Digimon's official artwork. I actually really like that super attacks are a set thing per Digimon, as it adds a new layer to the combat since you know that both Digimon are going to get one if the battle goes long enough, and super attacks can still miss. It does feel kind of frustrating that after the more chaotic tag battles of the 20th and 20th Pendulum, we're back to a “one Digimon lands an attack per round” combat style. At least there's enough memory for every Digimon to have their own regular and super attack sprites, though they're all still projectiles with no frames of animation, which is deeply weird now that it's alongside 16/32 bit style sprites.


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Volcanic Beat and Blizzard Fang, the "Volume 1" DiM Card set. All the DiM Cards come with these really high quality plastic cards they're set in and can easily be reset into. I'm a really big fan of these, actually. Fun fact, as far as virtual pets go, these are the first ever Fire and Ice themed eggs. Usually these elements get bundled with the Dragon and Deep Sea themes.

I think the most revolutionary thing about the Vital Bracelet from a virtual pet standpoint is the usage of DiM Cards. Remember when I mentioned the Medabots one at the beginning of this post? Vital Bracelets are more expensive than a normal Digimon virtual pet. We're talking $75 vs the MSRP of about $20 a regular virtual pet has. The difference here is that if you're the person who buys every version of a virtual pet, that price might be worth it in the long run. DiM cards make it so you only need one Vital Bracelet, and new releases of Digimon can be on DiM cards that go for about $20 for a two-pack. All the data for new Digimon, Digivolution trees, animations, backgrounds, etc. are stored on the DiM cards, so theoretically the Vital Bracelet could receive new content indefinitely. Now there's been some weirdness about how some DiM cards have been distributed, like Shadow Howl being only available as a contest reward, and the Tamers DiM cards being exclusively available via a lottery, and the Veemon DiM card being solely paired with with an absolutely ugly special edition neon sickly green Vital Bracelet. But Bandai has admitted “hey we're still figuring this new idea out, and some of this has been a bad move, we realize that.” And in Shadow Howl's case, that was a limited edition “preview” DiM card without a full set of Digimon that will be superseded soon by True Shadow Howl and its other pack-in Mad Black Roar.


Hyarimon.png

This is Hyarimon, the In-Training Digimon from Blizzard Fang. I feel like I've seen them somewhere before...

Here's where I'm not so hot on what you get with the Vital Bracelet. If you get the regular Vital Bracelet, you are getting VS Memory, which is a special DiM Card meant for fighting other Vital Bracelets and Impulse City. Every single Digimon in the Impulse City DiM Card is themed around exercise, and most of them have some kind of electrical power. And they're all new. It's very clear that the team designing these Digimon had to stretch to to meet the exercise theme especially. Dokimon, Bibimon, and Pulsemon are all fine. I even like Bulkmon, Runnermon, and Exermon. But the collection of Ultimates on the Vital Bracelet feels like a pile of additional Champions, and some of them are really, really bad. Like Pistmon might legitimately be the worst Digimon. If you get the special Veemon edition, you get Impulse City and Veemon's DiM card, which has just a huge pile of different things Veemon can Digivolve into including, like, GoldVeedramon, which is just a Veedramon recolor. I think, for Veemon fans, that's probably a sweet deal, but it does mean that there's very little variety there as well.


Blucomon.png

Blucomon, the Blizzard Fang Rookie. This guy's pretty awesome, and I usually don't go for icy Digimon.

Consequently, I think if you want to get a Vital Bracelet, you kind of have to go in knowing that you're also going to buy the Agumon and Gabumon set (which are roughly analogous to the Version 1 and 2 V-Pet eggs), the Volcanic Beat and Blizzard Fang set, or one of the upcoming sets like Mad Black Roar and True Shadow Howl or Infinite Tide and Titan of Dust. And that's a pretty heavy buy-in for a device exclusively in Japanese if you're not already accustomed to paying too much for importing virtual pets or getting other limited releases from P-Bandai like, say, the HGUC Slave Wraith Gundam Pixy sitting two feet away from me.


Vorvomon.png

Vorvomon, the Volcanic Beat Rookie. I swear this is just a tiny Monster Hunter wyvern.

Other stuff I haven't talked about because I haven't done it yet: Each DiM card has an Adventure mode that progresses based on the step counter that I haven't mentioned yet because it doesn't matter. In Adventure mode, you go through stages and fight every single Digimon on the card until the last one, which unlocks it in the Digivolution tree. There's an app that works with the Vital Bracelet's NFC. You can store additional Digimon in the app, get a more detailed break down of their stats, fill out a Digivolution tree for each card, get Special Missions that are even harder than Hard Missions, and supposedly eventually participate in online VS battles and tournaments using your stored Digimon. My phone doesn't have NFC and the micro USB port on the device is solely for charging, so I literally can't use the app.


Omedamon.png

The previously mentioned Rokusho + Metabee Omegamon, Omedamon. It kicks ass.

There are a couple more things we need to talk about from a usability perspective. Digimon sleep. And if they're asleep, you can't do any of the missions. Which is really weird for a fitness device? Secondly, many of the Digivolutions require very specific numbers of Trophies and battles. If you want to get every Digivolution, like the app's Digivolution tree encourages you to do, sometimes that means you have to wear the device and simply not interact with it because if you get three trophies, you've locked yourself out of Namakemon, for instance. And that's really weird for a fitness device. And sure, this is a virtual pet first and a fitness-themed device second. But it also sacrificed a lot of the virtual pet stuff to justify the fitness stuff. Digimon don't even walk back and forth on the screen. They have a walking animation, they just walk in place. That said... “your Digimon will be a worse one if you don't get up and exercise” has been a powerful motivator for me personally in a way that other “gamify exercise” things have failed to be. Alongside dietary changes, I've lost ten pounds since getting this device, have Volcanic Beat and Blizzard Fang on the way, and am seriously considering getting Mad Black Roar, True Shadow Howl, Infinite Tide, and Titan of Dust.


Menu Stuff
No menu this time, instead we've got a thing you scroll through with the A button and confirm with the B button. Also there are only two buttons - holding B now serves as the cancel button instead of having on dedicated for it.
  • Scale Icon: Your stats, including Vital Points, pulse, and steps for today.​
  • Botamon Icon: Digimon stats, including Digimon name and attribute, DP/HP/AP, battles and win percent, and trophies. Hitting B on the Digimon name page also lets you cycle through each stage of this particular Digimon's life so far.​
  • Punch Bag Icon: Normal Missions, Hard Missions, Special Missions, and Adventure Mission are found here.​
  • Lightbulb Icon: You can back your Digimon up here, freezing it in time. Two Digimon can be on a single Vital Bracelet at a time, one backed up, and one active.​
  • App Icon: Connect to the app via the magic of NFC.​
  • Gear Icon: Lets you adjust settings like the time, sound, and current background.​

Digimon Available on Impulse City
VitalAvail.png

  • 17 raisable Digimon.​
  • One Rookie, four Champions, six Ultimates, four Megas.​
  • Fresh: Dokimon​
  • In-Training: Bibimon​
  • Rookie: Pulsemon​

Good Stuff
  • Despite all the flaws I've pointed out and will continue to point out about this device in the next section, I really like it, and am sure to put it on as soon as I wake up. I spent two hours doing nothing but fighting random Digimon with my Pistmon the other day in service of number-go-up.​
  • Theoretically limitless expansions since all the data for new Digimon including their graphics are stored on DiM cards.​
  • Serves as a pretty good excuse to warm-up for an actual work-out.​
  • Higher stage Digimon provide more VP if you beat them, and subtract less VP if you lose to them, meaning punching above your weight is the fastest way to make your Digimon stronger.​
  • Even though none of the animations move across the screen, there are several different animations, like standing idle, walking, running, and lifting weights.​
  • I really like the little hop that Digimon do when they dodge attacks as opposed to the older devices' tendency to have the Digimon turn away, which represents blocking, I guess.​
  • The absolute most detailed sprites ever on a Digimon virtual pet, by far. Finally catching up with Tamagotchi!​
  • The screen is really good.​

Bad Stuff
  • Thanks to lack of care mistakes, Fresh and In-Training Digimon are completely pointless since they can't do Missions, instead of being the hardest part of taking care of a Digimon.​
  • Also because the lack of care mistakes there's only one Rookie, meaning the Digivolution possibility space explodes at Ultimate, not Champion, which is the opposite of how Digivolution trees are usually balanced.​
  • Digimon sleep schedules change based on the Digimon, which means you end up exercising on the Digimon's schedule, not yours, which is bad.​
  • The device penalizes you for not wearing it. The device is also not water proof.​
  • You can just turn the device off at no penalty, but that means there's literally no consequences for not wearing it and no way to fail to take care of the Digimon.​
  • You need to already have a phone that is a certain degree of fancy to make full use of the device.​
  • Both a virtual pet and a fitness watch, and we all know that jacks of all trades are masters of none.​
  • I'm not sure who this is meant for other than me. And I don't know if I'm that big of a demographic, especially considering the number of posts in this thread. That's a bad sign for this device and the continued release of DiM Cards. Hopefully DiM Cards are cheap to produce.​

Stuff
  • Even the solid black version of device is pretty unavoidably bulky and noticeable thanks to fitting a laser, a charging port, and a DiM card port.​
  • Similarly, the wrist strap is meant to be easy for kids to use, and is only 16 cm. A 21 cm wrist strap is coming, but only as a Premium Bandai exclusive, despite the fact this was marketed primarily to adults just like the 20th V-Pet and 20th Pendulum.​
  • Every DiM Card has an exclusive background for the Vital Bracelet, but they aren't saved to the device – you can only use the special background for the current Digimon.​
  • Pistmon is the worst Digimon. I love how bad it is. Let's see him again, for the road:​
Pistmon2.png

What a terrible Digimon design. They had to try really, really hard to not make it extremely phallic.

Image credit goes to Wikimon and P-Bandai.
 
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Fyonne

did their best!
While ordering a regular watchband adapter for my Vital Bracelet on etsy, I discovered the existence of something else. Something deeply cool to me. The Alpha Communicator. They're very cheap, going from the $10-$20 range depending on how much assembly you're willing to do, so I bought one immediately.


Alpha Communicator
AlphaCom1.png

1:1 scale custom color LBX Pandora and non-scale MegaMan.exe provided for scale.
This is an Alpha Communicator, specifically it's a Beta Link, which has this cute 3D-printed case to keep most virtual pets secure inside it. Why? When Digimon devices battle, they send data about the Digimon involved to each other using two or three contacts. This data is completely unencrypted and a device that knows what to look for can hijack it trivially. The Alpha Communicator is an arduino that, with the help of appropriate drivers and apps, is designed to grab that data, do stuff with it, and provide return data. Since VS matches never show the opposing Digimon, either, this means you can get away with so much stuff.


AlphaCom2.png

MegaMan.exe is pointing to the contacts on top of the device for use with three-pronged devices like the Mini or iC, and there two contacts inside the device that the majority of Digimon virtual pets, like the 20th V-Pet and 20th Pendulum can get cozy with.

The big obvious things you can do with this are boring stuff like feeding your device battle data that will always lose, or bypassing annoying stuff like how the 20th V-Pet requires you to battle five different 20th V-Pets to unlock one of its eggs (good luck finding five other people with V-Pets in the US or Canada). The cool stuff though? Let's talk about the cool stuff.



Cool Stuff One: Alpha Link
AlphaLinkTitle.png




Kabuterimon.png

Alpha Link is an app for your phone that lets you upload your Digimon's data to a server and challenge people to asynchronous battles over the magic of the internet. I've already got Luna and Blue registered on the device (sadly Jack and Rouge have not survived this long, and I have not re-hatched them yet). So for the purposes of demonstration, I have raised this Kabuterimon, Byte. Say hello, Byte!


AlphaLink3.png

First we connect the Alpha Communicator to the phone, then attempt to scan the device. Since lots of references to which Digimon is which are just pointers referencing a table, we also have to select which device we're using to help Alpha Link figure out which list of Digimon it needs to look at. Then we perform the device's main battle system. For the Mini, this is literally just “do a battle.” For devices like the 20th Pendulum, it means picking Battle, Pendulum, then 20th. Alpha Link then grabs the data up and feeds the virtual pet what the developer call an “Inert Code,” one that causes the battle to fail on the virtual pet instead of affecting your Digimon's win record. And here's the result:


AlphaLink1.png
AlphaLink2.png

Alpha Link now knows that we have a Kabuterimon from the v2 Mini named Byte, and will start tracking Alpha Link wins and losses for that Digimon. Other Alpha Link players can also view our registered partners, so they know what kinds of battles they can do with us. It's completely possible to fight Digimon from other devices, but we have to use the appropriate battle system. If a 20th Pendulum were to fight our v2 Mini Kabuterimon, the 20th Pendulum player would need to select Battle, Other to use the most basic battle system.


AlphaChallenge.png
AlphaLin5.png

A challenge from another player, and a hastily-taken shot of Luna the BlitzGreymon participating in the battle.

Conveniently, while taking the screenshots for this post, we got challenged by another player and their WarGreymon. WarGreymon would be a heck of challenge for our barely-out-of-their-Digi-teens Kabuterimon, but we've got Luna on standby, who should be a good match. On their end, they would have picked their Digimon and played the power-up minigame on their phone instead of the device. Now that I'm available, I do the minigame on my actual device, connect it to Alpha Link via my Alpha Communicator, and receive the battle data from their Digimon, which results, in this case, a victory for Luna. Eventually, when they get back to their phone and Alpha Communicator, they'll receive that battle data on their virtual pet to find out that their WarGreymon lost, at which point they can deploy their WarGreymon in a challenge again. So far as the virtual pets know, they both just participated in a face-to-face battle, and their win records now reflect that accurately. This is effectively an online match-making service for tiny LCD virtual pets and that's maybe the coolest bit of indie programming I've seen in a while alongside things like Parsec.



Cool Stuff Two: w0rld
WorldTitle.png

Those discord and patreon links are really the only place w0rld has a presence online.
World2.png

So this is w0rld, a fan-made MMO loosely based on Digimon World 1 that you play using your Digimon virtual pet, and it's very cool. I'll give you a moment to finish processing my beautiful blue mullet and plaid shirt. It's programmed in GameMaker and, as we see from the Betamon and Seadramon chillin' nearby, uses colored sprites from the virtual pets, so the connection between what we see on the virtual pet and in-game feels congruous. UI wise, we've got our BITs (that's Digimon World money) in the upper left, with our inventory, crafting book, Digipedia, and Alpha Communicator buttons above it. You might also notice that Drimogemon is returning in 1567 seconds, and over on the right that I'm supposed to be finding a Pixiemon (I've tried and cannot, so I will look that up later). We've also got a little minimap, with the light blue icon being us, the white icon being another player, and all the little angry face? icons being wild Digimon.


World3.png
World4.png

Our first order of business is to take Byte and get them into w0rld. We click on the Alpha Communicator icon, and it has us select from a huge group of devices, then we perform the same “use the main battle system” rite as we did with Alpha Link and... boom! There's our Kabuterimon, ready for adventure!


World62.png
World7.png

After losing a PvP challenge from the other player on this map, we wander off to find an appropriate challenge for Byte. We check their information, and as we can see here, Byte is a Vaccine with a Power of 56, so an ideal fight for them would be a Virus of roughly the same power level or lower. And this wild SunaRizamon is a Virus with a Power of 40.



World8.png


World9.png
Kabuterifight.png

We click on the SunaRizamon and challenge it to a battle just like it's another player – since it's a wild Digimon not currently engaged with another Digimon, it automatically accepts the challenge. We perform the simplest battle system available on our device – in this case the Mini's only battle system – and soon Byte is fighting the SunaRizamon in both w0rld and on our virtual pet. We can watch either version of the battle – they both show the same number of fireballs and have the same result. Much like with Alpha Link, this results in an actual win for Byte, helping along the road to Digivolving to Ultimate, all without having to fight another person's Digimon or have two of our own fight.


World112.png

Unlike Alpha Link, which aims to provide the most accurate experience possible for everyone involved, w0rld is here to include progression mechanics like loot and crafting. This is why w0rld asks for the device's simplest battle system – it's using its own battle algorithm. Items our character is wearing, and even consumable items can affect our Digimon's power in individual battles. w0rld is reporting a code that will always win or always lose back to the virtual pet after it figures out who won the battle, then mimicking the same animations. The ranked/unranked PvP also factors this stuff in, so it isn't a clean and fair as Alpha Link, but it also gives you a ton more things to do, most of which is facilitated by expanding what resources are available back at File City by doing quests. Quests like finding that Pixiemon.


World10.png

For our efforts, we received this stylish tanktop, seen here alongside a completely different SunaRizamon. You may have noticed that the SunaRizamon had 3 HP, a thing that isn't even listed on our Kabuterimon. That's because you have to win multiple battles against wild Digimon to actually defeat them and win items and money from them. Keeping in mind that most virtual pets have a limited number of battles per day, this means that taking down a Mega level Digimon will be a very tiring experience for even other Megas. Assuming, for instance, Luna won every single match against a MegaSeadramon X, it would still eat up 15 out of their 42 DP for the day.


World122.png

Messing with battle results also opens the way for cool multiplayer content like MVPs, like this giant RedVegiemon with 56 HP. Though RedVegimon is a Champion, and has the stats to match, it's pretty unreasonable for just one player to chip away at it. Instead they're intended to function as world bosses or FATEs, if you're of the FFXIV persuasion. There's not a ton of content implemented in w0rld as far as I can tell, but stuff is getting added all the time. Like, literally during the writing of this post, a brand new gathering system featuring both mining and chopping wood was added with hundreds of new items and multiple tiers of gathering skill. And you don't even need a Digimon to do those, so it gives players who are still waiting on getting an Alpha Communicator something to do.



Digimon Available on Alpha Link and w0rld
  • Alpha Link: Yes.​
  • w0rld: Yes+.​

Good Stuff
  • It's your virtual pet, but on the internet. Not only does this kick ass, but it's inexpensive and thematically appropriate for the franchise.​

Bad Stuff
  • Alpha Link spoils the results of the battle before it happens, and there's no cute little animation of the battle or anything on the app itself. That's just set dressing, though.​
  • w0rld's wild Digimon have a little bit too much HP for my tastes, but I'm also not sure if there's a way to deal multiple HP of damage via equipment or buffs yet.​

Stuff
  • I'm finally out of virtual pet stuff to talk about.
  • FOR NOW
  • Please watch this space for info on the Digimon X when it's released in English sometime in July? I think? Alternatively, use this space to talk about Digimon or other virtual pets. Or don't. I don't care, I'm not the cops.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I’ve got the Tamagotchi bug hard again. I picked up a Pix, the latest Western model, as well as a re-release of the original Gens 1 and 2. Fun times.

I also found out that the previous models, Meets/On, are SUPER expensive now, which is a shame and makes me wish I collected more of them. They let you marry and breed Tamagotchi, then raise the baby that’s an amalgam of its parents DNA. This hits its apex in the special Sanrio models, which feature Sanrio characters as marriage candidates, which means I can have my duck alien monster get it on with Hello Kitty and then raise the resulting monstrosity, which then seduces Pompompurin until I have a family line of bootleg Sanrio mutants. It’s amazing and adorable and terrifying and I’m so sad they got rid of the DNA mixing in the newer models.

I also asked for the Vital Bracelet BE for Christmas, which will be my first Digimon device. It sounds pretty improved on the original, if only because it’s water resistant.
 

Fyonne

did their best!
Oh yeah, the Vital Bracelet BE / Vital Hero Digimon fix the biggest issues with the Vital Bracelet. I haven't taken the plunge on one, but it's always in the back of my head. Most importantly, the sleep function is something you engage, not something the Digimon does on its own when it feels like it.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
From what I understand, the Vital Hero is a localization of the second Vital Bracelet, and the BE is the third. It's annoying that they localized the product just a few months before it was about to become obsolete. They really botched the marketing, too:

Acx81Tm.jpg


You'd think they'd want to put "Digimon" somewhere on this box in giant letters. That's pretty much the only draw anyone is going to have to this thing, but you wouldn't know it's a Digimon product unless you recognized the specific characters or saw the generic "digital monsters" way down in the corner. It looks like a bootleg, honestly.

I know the BE in Japan is distancing itself slightly from Digimon because it incorporates other series as well, but the Vital Hero only works with Digimon cards. The heck?
 
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