A Quaint Laboratorium

Virtual Digital Hypothetical Pet


Digimon as a franchise transcended in so many hemispheres. Looking back at old designs, I can't help but marvel at the character and edge combined with utter inconsistency. I ADORE it. Of course my snow kitty would turn into a ball with guns that would turn into a celestial mecha - why the hell would it not? It's bold, it's dumb, and it makes me wonder why I as a gender non-conforming person am so enthralled by it. And why do I get the very same feeling when I care for some virtual pet?

V-pets are so simple and fascinating. They feel great in your hand, you feel obligated to tend for them, while they are just so damn annoying at times. They rarely produce that dopamine rush gacha is trying to amplify. Likewise, they give you the feeling of possessing something you put effort into, or have grown to love (after not overfeeding this little piece of shit enough, ugh). People will fall in love with the idea of you having something. There is no competition over a v-pet, after all. People who get it, just get it. They get the pride and the effort put in. It to me feels like artistic admiration - in a very loose context. I am not saying that hatching v-pets is an art form, but what if ... it is or can be?

I am exaggerating, of course. That very same vibe I get when I find myself in virtual pet site communities. The very creative ones will thrive on people sharing their creations. "Yo, I made a Blue Poogle, I love her" - "I fucking ADORE your Blue Poogle. I love her greeting so much!" - it's innocent and full of joy. Possession, Ownership, the power dynamic is clear, yet video games give you this abstraction that circumvents the political implications while preserving the joy that comes with it. That, of course, is why NFTs were so embarrassing.

But how the hell would I bring this back down to gender identity? How would yellow poo turn into a monkey with glasses? I have no fucking clue, but that's what identity comes down to, does it? It's an abstraction of lived experiences. It grows stronger by treasuring the past and evolving with the intention to become whatever grows inside. It's all the little facets that shaped us. The dazzling evolution is just a metaphor for how gender affirmation would truly feel if lived freely. We could never know why the poo felt like being a monkey, yet who are we to stop it?

I know this all must sound like utter garbage to some. Honestly, I might brush over too many things to bring my point across thoroughly. But maybe there is a person, that just absolutely understands why this poo with claws is now a funky monkey. Possibly, over whatever brain rot, they found a way to express that gender euphoria through a silly pet on a website. They will equip it with a friend, write some goofy prose, code an animation for it, and what comes is pride. What comes is the joy to look at it, and the fun of sharing it with people who will respect the way you played with the medium. What comes are so many ways to support these people in their creativity - to make them fall in love with new old media.

But maybe you just want a badass Omegamon Alter S, that's fiiiine.