2016 may have been Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary, but 2017 belongs to its greatest rival, as Digimon celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. Bandai Namco has revealed that they will be re-releasing the original brick-like Digivices, hearkening back to the franchise’s humble roots as popular keychain toys of school kids everywhere back in 1997.
Two versions, red and blue, will be released. Each version will feature at least one exclusive Digimon – Agumon and Gabumon respectively – which can be traded between the two versions.
Bandai Namco has preserved the low-pixel resolution sprites, animation, and even the simple matte background, that came with the original 1997 device. While the 1st generation Digivices look decidedly more primitive when compared to several of the modern models and the previous 15th Anniversary Digivice, the 20th Anniversary Digivice will have several updates and features that will be exciting for many nostalgic fans.
The Digivices will contain an expanded roster, featuring Digimon from the first 5 generations of the toy franchise. In addition, the 20th Anniversary commemorative Digimon – Zabumon – and previous anniversary-exclusive Digimon will be available. Several fan-favorites such as Omnimon will also be included.
The 20th Anniversary models will also make it easier for players to raise their Digimon. Growth rates for the monsters have been significantly increased, with players being able to raise a Digimon to Champion level (the first ‘adult’ form) within 24 hours instead of the original 4 days. Raising Digimon to their maximum Mega level will also only require 2 days instead of over a week as originally required.
In addition, players will be able to raise 2 monsters at the same time, doubling the convenience for players. This includes being able to use 2 Digimon to Battle at the same time, although how this will affect the original combat is unknown. It is also unclear whether you will be able to Fusion Digivolve (combining 2 Digimon into a single more powerful one) with the two that you raise, as this was a feature that originally required two separate Digivices.
Another intriguing feature is that you will be able to upload your Digimon from the Digivice to your PC, and then online. This will allow your Digimon to compete in the D-1 Grand Prix, however, no further information on this contest has been revealed so far.
Bandai Namco is currently accepting pre-orders for the devices at a selling price of ¥ 3,780 (approximately USD $30), with shipments scheduled for June 2017.
For further information (in Japanese) about the 20th Anniversary Digivices, please view Bandai Namco’s official announcement page here.
Bandai Namco going retro with their 20th Anniversary celebration is honestly pretty awesome. It is personally really nostalgic for me as I was EXACTLY the demographic the original 1997 Digivices were aimed up, and I have a lot of memories of battling with other kids on the schoolyard with my Digimon. Full disclosure, I used to own about 5-6 Digivices and linked them all together by their keychains as a single hydra-ball. Alas, I regret losing that bundle of kid-joy somewhere…
Are you a 90s Kid that played with the original Digivices? Will you be pre-ordering? Let us know in the comments below!