Why The Digital Monster Ver. 20th is the best Quarantine Buddy
Quarantine seems to be dragging on forever and my timeline is full of people dealing with this never ending drudge by getting new pets. Cute new kittens, puppies and many other feathered or scaled friends. I totally encourage adopting pets from your local shelter. There are plenty of animals that are looking for permanent homes. I myself already have quite a 25 pounds of cat, which means I don’t have much more room in my apartment for another animal. Yet, feeling the weird itch to take care of something sent me on a search for a companion. I tried house plants but learned quickly I don’t have much of a green thumb. Animal Crossing scratched this itch for me for a bit. It wasn’t till I saw a familiar, brightly colored sight in a Target aisle that I found what I was looking for.
I spotted it like one would a long lost friend. It took me a second to realize what I was looking at. The classic packaging helped me recognize it and I was brought immediately back to my childhood. The Digital Monster V-Pet, like it was ripped from my memories. Tiny, brightly colored plastic and simple screen. A reissue of the the thing that started it all. Wwwwaaay back in the 90’s, Bandai was enjoying success with the Tamagotchi but wanted a more “boyish” version to market and came up with the Digital Monster or Digimon. Everyone I knew had a Tamagotchi or a Digimon growing up, all with their own colors. I liked the show and still do, but my first love of Digimon was these devices. My brother and I owned one of each, different colors of course, and took them with us everywhere. It was amazing to level up and take care of your own monster, then battle your friends to see who raised the strongest. Back in the day, you had to have a friend with their own device, otherwise you were stuck just training it, hopeful for the day you might actually face someone. Unless you owned two and just battled yourself all the time, like the loser you are, or like that one Pixar short. Decades later, they’ve improved the experienced with this remake and make the device worth having in 2020.
The original devices had a lot of restrictive features that I feel have been unlocked here, so you have a lot more options. Way back when, there was only about 14 Digimon for you to unlock per device, the Version 20th has over 115 digimon to unlock and upgrade. You can now can take care of two Digimon at the same time, which leads to tag training and battles, which digivolve your monsters faster and ensures your ability to explore the different evolution branches, and in turn, get more Digimon as a result. That also means feeding, cleaning up and putting them both to sleep. Keeps things efficient. Having two Digimon to take care of at the same time adds a lot to this little device and helps with that quarantine itch. Version 20th also adds a “tournament mode”. This is a single player mode, where you face increasingly more powerful CPUs. You can still battle other people if and when you meet up, but now you can battle and level up your creatures all by yourself. It’s a simple battle system, but there’s enough button mashing to keep you involved. I thought tag team tattles were the best thing about the device, even though it basically amounts to a Madden kick-off. Still, it is kind of exciting to watch my little 8-bit dudes duke it out in unison. With over 15 unique eggs to hatch, and one exclusive egg to each color Digivice, that can lead to over 115 different results, which all have their own requirements. There is plenty to experiment with and eventually collect them all.
Now, one of the reasons I love this little thing, admittedly, comes from a super 2020 mindset. The screen is not LED or lit up in anyway. It is an LCD screen with classic black pixel interface. No fancy colors, no pretty lights, just simple 8-bit graphics on a non lit screen. In 2020 this is big. I work virtually most of the time and spend a majority of my day bombard with blue light. Then I go home and watch TV or movies on another bright screen. At the end of the day, my eyes just want a rest. It is great to have a game to play that isn’t actively tiring my eyes. I know this is something that was very common place in the 90’s and 00’s but nowadays, it’s hard to find a device that isn’t LED and shining a blue light directly into your eye holes. It’s great that the Digivice has such simple and relaxing gameplay while also being easy on the eyes.
Sure, it is dope that the Digimon can battle, train and eventually become way cooler versions of themselves, but what about them as buddies? These beeping little buds are a great way to kill those background thoughts that creep up on you when you’ve been stuck inside for so long. They need you to feed them, clean up after they crap all over the screen, keep them strong and sometimes most importantly, making sure they get enough sleep. Some careless mistakes lead to unique digivolutions, so even that’s another avenue to explore with them. Sometimes it’s good to just ignore one Digimon for the other, which could lead to Numemon and many others that don’t need as much training or care. Later forms do need battles to evolve a certain way but all the early Digimon change based on your care or lack thereof. I enjoy the simple task of making sure they are all set and good to go, plus two Digimon look super cute sleeping in their basket.
I feel like this is a great mix of idle gameplay and active, classic RPG battles. It’s a grind but this is about embracing the grind and making the most powerful Digimon or collecting them all. It’s not exactly tough to do any of this but that is the beauty of it. How simple and benign it all is, to raise your monster, so it can beat up all the other monsters, and get a bunch of new buddies along the way. Also, it comes in a bunch of dope colors!