by Bandai

DigiMon was originally called by several other names including: Digital Demon, Digi Demon, Digital Monster, and Tama-Hawk. Among the first interactive pets, Digimon is a linkable fighting pet by Bandai. Like many pets, Digimon was initially made for sale in Japan and was later revised and packaged for sale in the U.S.

The pet is similar to other keychain virtual pets, except these are raised to fight and kill. It is obviously much more "boy" oriented than the earlier pets. You can hook your pet to a friend's pet and fight to the death or be seriously wounded. The toy has hit Japan in August 1997 and began to show up the U.S. in early 1998.

Similar to the Tamagotchi, DigiMon has several potential outcomes. An excellent "life map" is on Robert Worne's web site.

We received an interesting story from one of our young readers, "Relic" who investigated why his Digimon was resetting on its own. I thought this was a very interesting story and an excellent example of virtual pet research.

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998
From: Relic

Why DigiMons Reset So Much

About a month ago Month ago I was playing at my school. My little Digimon was right beside me on the chain. He had just turned to an Agumon yesterday. Anyway I was walking up the slide and I heard a long beep coming from my Digimon. I thought he must of been sick or something. I looked down at him and I saw a striped egg on it. Ohh Noo!!!! He reset!!! I was very upset and I went home to show my mom. I went in my room and hatched a new one. Let me tell you my theory about why my little Digimon reset...

When my DigiMon reset it might of been either from the air blowing against the reset button ( It was a real windy day ) . The other thing might of been the static. I think it was probably the wind but later I found out it wasn't.

I did a little test the next day and went back to the slide when my Digimon was a Koromon. I went up the slide ( where all the static was ) , and put my Digimon near the static. I waved it around and about 10 seconds later it reset. I guess it must of been the static!

I decided to do another test and see if the air did it. I went to the fan and turned it on. I put my digimon in front of the fan and waved it around a little. I waited a few seconds and nothing happened. I guess the static did it!

Well, I hope this helps in case there is a lot of static around and if you have a digimon and dont want it to reset go around it if you can, or cup your hands around it and then go through it.

We have not had time or opportunity to review DigiMon. I recently noticed a nice review posted in the alt.toys.virtual-pets newsgroup by Mr. Douglas Henke. We contacted him and received his approval to post it here.

Date: 12 Jan 1998 19:27:09 -0600
From: "Douglas G. Henke"
Newsgroups: alt.toys.virtual-pets, alt.pets.tamagotchi
Subject: DigiMon:

The waning hours of 1997 brought / led different people to ask different
questions. For some, the important question was "how can they charge
five bucks for a beer?" or "is this the line to the restroom?"

For me, the question was "Do you have my DigiMon yet?"

When I asked my question at the local (Houston) Toys-backwards-R-Us,
the answer was "yes." And I am now going to deign to share my
impressions of the DigiMon with you, the lowly reader. (I'm afraid
most of the description is going to be in the form of comparison to
the Tamagotchi. If you've never seen a Tama, then what follows is not
going to make much sense, and you might as well press 'n' now.)

First, physical characteristics:

The DigiMon (yes, Bandai spells it with StudlyCaps in the
instructions, and I'll follow their lead even though I abhor the
practice) is a plastic box 58mm x 42mm x 20mm, almost but not quite
rectangular in profile (unlike the Tama's flattened egg shape). It is
in a "landscape" layout (you hold it with the long axis
left-to-right), as opposed to the Tama's "portrait" layout.

The three control buttons are arranged in a vertical column to the
right, with the screen to the left. The screen is of precisely the
same dimensions and pixel count as the Tama screen, though the icons
above and below it have changed somewhat.

The box is textured in an attempt to resemble a stone wall, and the
screen is surrounded by an (unattractive, IMHO) piece of decorative
trim which I think is supposed to be a cage door, in a different color
plastic. (My DigiMon is the EXTREMELY RARE AND VALUABLE cobalt blue
with grey buttons and trim; email with best offer over $800. I have no
idea what other colors are available, since I didn't have the heart to
ask the employees of Toys-backwards-R-Us to dig through the
stock in the back room.)

On the right side of the case is a triangular bump to which the
keychain can be attached. It sticks out a lot more than the analogous
loop on the top of a Tama, though it seems more sturdy. The top of the
case features (from left to right) a bump, two electrical contacts,
and a pit, which together form the interface for the "dock 'n' rock"
(who thinks up these cornball names?) system by which two DigiMons can
be connected.

Overall impression: the DigiMon is much larger, bulkier and less
elegant than the Tama. The size, square corners and pointy keychain
attachment make it a nuisance to cram in the pockets of one's sexy
tight jeans (or, in my case, ill-fitting polyester slacks). It seems
sturdy, though, and the buttons are bigger, easier to press and feel
way more solid.

Now, on to the game itself...

On the whole, Digimon is very similar to Tamagotchi. If you've used a
Tama, you'll recognize nearly everything right away.

The interface has improved considerably. I initially didn't like the
vertical button layout, but it really isn't bad. (It does make it a
little more awkward to operate one-handed, though.) The buttons, from
top to bottom, perform precisely the same "select, do, cancel"
functions as those on the Tama, left to right, including "chording"
the first and third buttons to perform clock setting, pause and
turning sound on or off.

The first change I noticed, and the one I like the most is that the
"meter" function (the sixth one on the Tama) has been moved to the
first (upper left) position for easy access.

Also, the screen updates seem much faster and the controls more
responsive. (For example, I noticed that the Digi could go from the
clock screen to the game and back in the time it took the Tama to get
from the clock to the game.)

The stuff measured by the meter is a little bit different, too. The
first screen shows age and weight, just like before. The second
measures hunger, same as before, including the four "heart" icons
(which seem incongruous in the context of the DigiMon's apparent
"Tamagotchi for the pre-adolescent male who's allergic to cute"

The third screen measures "strength" (which is almost exactly
analogous to "happiness" in the Tama). The fourth, "energy." This
replaces, but is not the same as, "discipline" on the Tama. According
to the manual, the DigiMon gains energy when it sleeps and loses it
when it fights. (I can't give a firsthand account of how this works,
as I only have the one DigiMon, and it has not yet gotten old enough
to acquire or use energy).

The fourth screen has a label reading "Victories" under which is a
numeric percentage. The manual rather unhelpfully explains: "Get the
factored percentage chance of your DigiMon winning a Monster Match!
The Victory Ratio computes from previous Monster Match results, too!"

Factored by what? Computes what from the previous results? And what is
it with illiterate imbeciles that makes them want to sprinkle
exclamation marks hither and yon with wild abandon?

The second function is feeding. Just like the Tama, only you have
vitamins which are a quick way to boost strength instead of cake to
quickly boost happiness. (The food also looks like a bone with meat on
it instead of a hamburger. The vitamins look like little capsules.)

Unlike the Tama, the DigiMon will gleefully continue to eat even when
all four "hunger" hearts are filled. (It appears to be willing to eat
about twenty items of food before it finally refuses.) The manual
indicates that it is a good idea to continue to feed until the DigiMon
refuses to eat.

The third function is training, which is closely analogous to the play
function on the Tama. The game is very close to the one from the first
generation Tama; you have to guess which one of two possible options
the DigiMon will choose. There are no numbers or other signs which
choice is more likely.

(If you follow the directions given in the manual about feeding the
DigiMon until it refuses food, you will become very familiar with the
stupid game, as you will have to play it a _lot_ to keep the monsters
weight reasonable.)

The fourth function is battle. Like most things in life, this is no
fun alone; you must have a second DigiMon to have a monster
battle. (My DigiMon seems to be surviving quite happily without ever
having fought, however.)

The fifth function is "flush," which works just like the analogous
function in the Tama, though without the confusing (to Gaijin, anyway)
duck icon. (The DigiMon uses a more abstract series of curved lines
radiating downward.)

Number six is lights, just like in Tama. (They still provide a means
of turning the lights on, which is baffling since the DigiMon, like
the Tama, does so automatically as need. You only need to turn them
off at night.)

Seven is for medical attention. This is roughly analogous to the
medicine in the Tama, but the DigiMon does not get sick on its
own. Rather, it sometimes is injured in combat.

The final icon is attention, which is identical in function to the one
on the Tama. (The user does not select this icon; instead, it is lit
when the DigiMon needs something. Unlike the Tama, the DigiMon does
not need to be trained not to ask for attention needlessly.)

A big thanks to Mr. Henke for sharing his review with us ( I would have put an exclamation point here, but per his review, he doesn't seem to much like them.).

 This page was created 19 January 1998

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