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Bandai Celebrates Digimon’s 20th Anniversary With Re-Release of 1997’s Virtual Pet Device

It’s the virtual pet that spawned the Digimon franchise way back in 1997, and Bandai is re-releasing it. That’s right! To celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary, the company has announced that it’ll be releasing an updated version of the device and it’ll be out in Japan this June for 3,780 yen in “Original Brown” and “Original Grey” colors.

Called “Digital Monster Ver. 20th,” it comes with the following features (translation courtesy of Gematsu):

Appearing Digimon

In addition to all the Digimon from Ver. 1 to Ver. 5 of the Digital Monster virtual pet, the 10th anniversary and 15th anniversary Digimon, Dracomon and Hackmon, and a new 20th anniversary Digimon, Zubamon, will appear for a total of 134 trainable Digimon and 154 appearing Digimon. “Special Digi-Eggs” have also been added that can be obtained by meeting certain conditions (Digi-Eggs are the first step in the bringing-up of your Digimon), as well as the ability to obtain Omnimon by fusing the Original Brown-exclusive Agumon and Original Grey-exclusive Gabumon.

Training and Evolution

For the first time in the Digital Monster virtual pet series, you can train two Digimon simultaneously.This allows you to enjoy watching the two Digimon befriend each other, eat, and sleep together. The training speed compared to previous versions has also been increased (what took one hour now takes 10 minutes, what took two days now takes six hours, etc.). Additionally, new evolution methods such as tag battle fusion have also been added, the battle feature—not only training—has also been leveled up.

Communication, Battles, and Web Connection

The tag battle feature, which lets you fight in tag battles against your friends and the CPU with the two Digimon you trained, can copy and receive a Digimon a friend has trained to tag up and fight with the Digimon you trained. Also, you can register the Digimon you trained to the Web. In the latter half of the 1990s, a “D-1 Grand Prix” took place all over Japan. This event will be revived through the web, where you’ll be able to fight against rivals from all over Japan using the Digimon you trained. (More information about the D-1 Grand Prix will be announced at a later date.)

There’ll probably be plenty of interest in the item by collectors world over but so far, only a Japanese release has been confirmed.

Did any of our readers own one of these back in the day?

[Source: Digimon via Gematsu]