- The fan remake of Digimon World 3's trailer awakens nostalgic feelings with its faithful recreation of the game's iconic locations and boss battles.
- The original game's expansive world and intricate gameplay made it a massive adventure that captured my imagination.
Sometimes I take a stroll down memory lane and feel a surge of longing for my childhood spent in a modest house in a third-world country. While I missed out on the whole Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, and Final Fantasy craze that most Western kids were swept up in, I've come to appreciate my unique gaming upbringing as I grew up, surrounded by some lesser-known gems like Silent Bomber, Bloody Roar, and the first game my mother bought for me along with the PSX console, Digimon World 3.
The years I dedicated to Digimon World 3 had actually faded into oblivion until I stumbled upon a YouTube channel dedicated to reviving it, and I can't describe how teary-eyed I got. The remake's trailer paints a vivid picture of nostalgia—from the iconic Asuka City where you get to choose your first digimon partners to the warmth of the Central Park right outside the Asuka city gates and the ruslting windmills of Seiryu City in the East Sector. Even the first boss battle with Pharaohmon has been painstakingly recreated, all while retaining the UI, battle animations, and the overall soul of the original, just in modern 3D.
To be fair, these details were perfectly clear without the need for a makeover, but I can understand the impulse that would drive someone to undertake such a feat and remake the entire adventure. Digimon World 3 had an expansive world (two, actually) on one simple disc, a fact that eclipsed any other game for me at the time (as well as many JRPGs today as well). Eight sprawling regions across two world maps, connected by a never-ending network of dungeons with varying landscapes. There were also more than 50 Digivolutions to unlock and a separate card battle game to enjoy with just about every NPC you encountered. It was such a massive game in a time when open-world games were still a Midsummer Night's Dream.
I don't think many people would appreciate that scale today if it remained in its iconic top-down perspective, but I wouldn't have minded either way because the game felt—and still feels—immense to me in other ways. You see, back then, the gaming lexicon of "RPG" and "JRPG" was beyond my comprehension, so I didn't understand how to interact with missions and text clues and in-game quests, and the English words were, of course, a collection of cryptic symbols to me when I only spoke Arabic. There was no Internet either, just the game and me, so it wasn't hard for it to take its place in my heart and become my entire universe.
Digimon World 3 expanded my world in a way that no other game did. I vividly remember printing out Digivolution charts at an Internet cafe and deciphering the secrets to evolving each Digimon partner along with the meanings of English grammar. I taught myself to read like that so I could understand what the characters wanted, evolve my digimon, explore new locations, and advance the story. It was because of this game that I became aware of the limitations of my world and language along with my love for adventure games.
Even the NPCs were mostly from places all over the world, like Sydney and London and Japan, and at that time I didn't even understand that there were people leading different lives in places far from me, so the game felt like one big chatroom where we all logged into this digital world. And ironically enough, the image that the game tried to portray, with the netizens getting trapped into its digital landscape (the basic plot of most Digimon media), still echoes today with the advent of things like social media and globalization.
I suspect that the mastermind behind this remake is keeping everything but the top-down perspective because they share my feelings about the game; that it's already perfect and big and has a strong vision that just needs to be seen, and the new 3D remake would help a lot with that. If more people could experience and resonate with the vast world of the game through a visual overhaul, I think they would appreciate it for what it is and get lost in the Digimon grind like I did. And who knows, they might even learn a thing or two about the beauty of the English language and the people who live all over the world.
And I guess I should say this: To my younger self who dreamed of being able to talk and write in English and meet different people like those in the world of the game, I'm living your dream now, so thank you for trying so hard for me and helping me get this far.