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Monster Rancher
Monster Rancher logo.png
The Monster Rancher logo of Monster Rancher 4, the eighth game in the series. Most titles use a similar logo.
Genres Life simulation role-playing game
Developers Tecmo
GRC (secondary)
Publishers Tecmo
UFO Interactive (secondary)
Platforms PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS
First release Monster Rancher
November 30, 1997
Latest release Monster Rancher 1 million
July 15, 2012

Monster Rancher, known in Japan as Monster Farm (モンスターファーム, Monsutā Fāmu), is a Japanese media franchise and series of life simulation role-playing video games created by Tecmo (now Koei Tecmo). The series consists of fourteen games across different video game platforms. The series has been adapted into an anime. A remaster of the first installment is planned to be released in Japan in 2020. As of 2007, the series has sold 4 million copies.


Before the world's continents broke up into pieces, a huge disaster hit the world. People prayed to god for help, and god created new life forms. However, new life forms brought new troubles, so god became exasperated and sealed them in "disc stones". Many years have passed since then and god entrusted the humans with the secret of "disc stones". Today people still continue searching for these missing "disc stones" to unlock the lifeforms within.

It is said that the "disc stones" are almost impossible to find among the ancient ruins. It is said that one monster is trapped inside each one. One day a group of workers excavating the ancient ruins happened to dig up one of these mythical disc stones. The worker who first discovered a disc stone took the disc to the Monsters' Temple. There the priests, using the ancient methods, unlocked the monster inside the disc stone. In a place where ranchers and monsters coexisted peacefully, the battle of the monsters began! As time passed these monster battles became extremely popular, and monster breeding became the standard pastime of the land. Eventually disc stones were found around the entire world. Now ranchers across the globe come together and enter battle.


Monster Rancher is often compared to Pokémon, though the two series play differently. While the Pokémon games are traditionally collection-based role-playing video games, Monster Rancher games tend to be simulated animal breeding games. The genre Monster Rancher occupies is shared by other simulation virtual pet games, such as Digimon, and games based on raising horses for racing, like in the Gallop Racer series, also by Tecmo.

In the games, the player takes the role of a monster breeder whose goal is to raise monsters to fight in tournaments. The breeder must take it in hand to raise the monster throughout its life, training it, keeping it healthy, making an exercise schedule, and trying to maximize its abilities before it dies of old age or is retired. Monsters have good or bad morale depending on how they are raised; loyal monsters are more likely to perform critical hits, while disloyal monsters might refuse to obey commands or not fight at all. Retired monsters can be combined to create more powerful monsters.

Monster generation

Although not widely popular, the games do have a loyal cult following, mostly because of the games' innovative "unlocking" aspect. In Monster Rancher, Monster Rancher 2, Monster Rancher 3, Monster Rancher 4, and Monster Rancher EVO, monsters can be generated by inserting any CD into the game system. Monster Rancher 3, Monster Rancher 4, and Monster Rancher EVO can also use DVDs.

The characteristics of the monster (such as stats, breed and traits) are determined by various numbers stored in the game. To generate a monster, a random number generator is needed to define what characteristics the monster will have. Tecmo created a CD-reading system that would use the discs to generate random number seeds and, consequently, a large variety of random monsters. The values found in the discs' data are mapped to monster characteristics.

Some discs are designed to produce specific monsters, often thematically related to the disc in question. For instance, in Monster Rancher 4, the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets DVD (as well as the tie-in PlayStation 2 game) generates a unique owl monster, and in Monster Rancher 2 and Monster Rancher 4, Tecmo's Dead or Alive game creates a Pixie named Kasumi. Special CDs, called pandora discs, can produce multiple monsters. Often, the Monster Rancher game CD itself is a pandora disc.

In Monster Rancher Advance and Monster Rancher Advance 2, the system generates random monsters by using character sequences rather than CDs, due to the limitations of the Game Boy Advance game cartridges. Certain combinations of characters will determine the monster's breed, sub-breed, stats, and traits. Codes found in-game can be used to generate rare monsters.

In Monster Rancher DS and Monster Rancher DS 2, the system is revised to take advantage of the Nintendo DS's input devices. Monsters can be generated by speaking into the microphone, drawing figures on the bottom screen, or inserting a Game Boy Advance game cartridge into the second slot.

For Monster Farm Online, the unlocking system is changed entirely. Players select a monster species they have some knowledge of, with the basic purebreeds automatically available, and insert a CD or DVD to create their traits. This is so that players do not need to find a disc that is unique to one particular territory to get the rarest monsters.

Game releases


Game Boy Color

PlayStation 2

Game Boy Advance

  • Monster Rancher Advance
  • Monster Rancher Advance 2

Nintendo DS

  • Kaite Shabette Hajimeyou!: Monster Farm DS (Japan only)
  • Monster Rancher DS (known as Monster Farm DS 2: Yomigaeru! Master Breeder Densetsu in Japan)

Microsoft Windows

  • Monster Farm Online (Japan only)

Android Phones & iOS

  • My Monster Rancher
  • Monster Rancher 1 Million
  • Monster Farm POP (Japan only)
  • Monster Farm POP 2 (Japan only)


Monster Rancher is an anime series based on the Monster Rancher video games. It originally aired in Japan on TBS, while it aired in the US on Fox Kids and Fox Family Channel, and on Fox Kids and CBBC in the United Kingdom, as well as YTV in Canada. A total of 73 episodes were produced over 2 seasons, which were split into 3 seasons for the English release. Dubbed into Tagalog, it was released in the Philippines from 2000.

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