When it comes to dating simulations, there is one name that often comes up. It is Tokimeki Memorial. This Konami series has offered everyone an opportunity to return to high school and possibly find someone to fall in love with along the way. Unfortunately, it has remained a Japan-exclusive series. Let’s go over what you should know about this dating sim pioneer.
What is Tokimeki Memorial?
Well, Tokimeki Memorial is a simulation series from Konami. Part of the challenge is living your daily life, attempting to build stats and generally become a well-rounded person. The reason for this is because it is necessary to find love. Each of the possible love interests have certain traits they desire in a mate. This means success depends on behaving properly in conversations and trying to become a better person.
The series is also notable for the interactions between characters. There is a bomb system in the games, where the characters you are not pursuing, but know, are aware of your interest in a specific person. If you do not manage their jealousy by occasionally spending time with them, a “bomb” will go off and ruin relationships. This can result in you not getting the best ending, so it is something to avoid.
In addition to the many games, there are also some manga and anime series. The two manga are Tokimeki Memorial Online: Tokimeki Gakuen Dai Panikku and Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: The Sleeping Beauty. Neither one has been released outside of Japan. There are three anime series. The first was Tokimeki Memorial, which was two episodes long and focused on the first game’s story and characters. Tokimeki Memorial Only Love is a 27 episode series based on Tokimeki Memorial Online. The most recent is Tokimeki Memorial 4 Original Animation: Hajimari no Finder, based on the fourth game. None of the shows were released outside of Japan.
What are the main Tokimeki Memorial games?
There are quite a few Tokimeki Memorial games out there! The main line of titles involves a young man in high school looking for love with one of the women he sees in his daily life. This line can have a lot of romance options to choose from, with over 10 characters appearing sometimes. They can also have pretty out there minigames, which range from participating in a 100 meter dash for school to actually fighting in a turn-based RPG battle.
To make things simpler, we are focusing only on installments you can actually still acquire and play.
Tokimeki Memorial (Turbo CD, 1994)
This is the game that started it all. Players follow a young man (who goes by Naoto Takami in various drama CDs) who attends school and has a chance to date Shiori, Ayako, Megumi, Miharu, Mio, Mira, Nozomi, Rei, Saki, Yuina, Yukari, Yuko and Yumi. It got its start on the PC Engine CD in Japan. (Turbo CD here, for those unfamiliar.) It quickly spread to other platforms with more content.
People can easily find copies of Tokimeki Memorial to import. It is available as Tokimeki Memorial: Densetsu no Ki no Shita de on the Super Nintendo and as Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with You on the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and most recently PlayStation Portable.
The Game Boy Color versions of this entry are the most interesting. Yes, I said versions. When it went portable, the game was split into Tokimeki Memorial Pocket: Sports Edition and Tokimeki Memorial Pocket: Culture Edition, with the possible girlfriends from the original game split between the two. This entry added Kyoko as a love interest in Culture Edition and Patricia and Naomi as potential girlfriends in Sports Edition. It also added a minigame based on Konami’s Beatmania.
You can also find some PlayStation and Saturn Tokimeki Memorial Selection and Drama Series games. These are separate volumes that focus on additional stories starring the heroines and the player. These are more traditional visual novels and drama CDs. Tokimeki Memorial Selection: Fujisaki Shiori and Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1-3 are available.
Tokimeki Memorial 2 (PlayStation, 1999)
Tokimeki Memorial 2 is the same sort of game as the original, only with more bachelorettes. In this installment, you can date Hikari, Akane, Homura, Kasumi, Kaedeko, Kaori, Kotoko, Maeka, Maho, Mei, Miyuki, Mei, Miho and Sumire. It only ended up on the PlayStation.
However, it was unique in that it received an add-on, the EVS Append Disc. See, this was the first game with an Emotional Voice System where the heroines can actually speak your name. Hikari and Kasumi had this ability in the base game, but you would need to get the Tokimeki Memorial 2 Hibikino Watcher magazines to get the CDs with the other girls’ data. However, the digital version on the PlayStation Store lets you get the game and EVS Append Disc with all the extra data.
Like Tokimeki Memorial, Tokimeki Memorial 2 had a number of spin-off PlayStation games. These are the Tokimeki Memorial 2 Substories series, which are basically side-stories focusing on different characters. In this line, you can find Dancing Summer Vacation, Leaping School Festival and Memories Ringing On.
Tokimeki Memorial 3: Yakusoku no Ano Basho de (PlayStation 2, 2001)
Third verse, nearly the same as the first! Tokimeki Memorial 3 is the first PlayStation 2 game and kind of the black sheep of the Tokimeki Memorial family. A part of that is the switch from 2D to 3D character models. It also has very few love interests compared to past installments, as you can only date Yukiko, Chitose, Emi, Hotaru, Kazumi, Mari, Rika and Serika.
Tokimeki Memorial Online (PC, 2006)
I know I said I would be avoiding installments you can no longer play, but an exception is being made for Tokimeki Memorial Online due to its importance. This is a MMO where the goal was to make a student character and socialize with other players. It only ran from March 2006 until July 2007. However, it did end up inspiring the Tokimeki Memorial Only Love anime series, which makes it rather important.
Tokimeki Memorial 4 (PlayStation Portable, 2009)
How did Konami celebrate the Tokimeki Memorial series’ 15th anniversary? It released Tokimeki Memorial 4! This game returned to the series’ roots by offering 2D art and a large roster. People can romance Maki, Aki, Elisa, Fumiko, Haruna, Itsuki, Kai, Miyako, Rhythmy, Rui, Tsugumi and Yu. This entry ended up also getting a mobile adaptation.
What about Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side?
While the main Tokimeki Memorial series is about a young man living his best high school life and finding a girlfriend, the Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side series stars a young woman who is attending school and possibly finding love with one of her male classmates. It was unique in that the first two games also has female friends for the players who can get very jealous if you pursue the guy they also like. The third entry abandoned that notion and offered players two “true” friends. (In case you missed it, we have covered this series before!)
Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (PlayStation 2, 2002)
In the very first Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side game, players have an opportunity to date both fellow students and teachers. Kei, Mr. Amanohashi, Chiharu, Mr. Himuro, Kazuma, Madoka, Sakuya, Shiki and Wataru.
This series enjoyed new life when it came to the Nintendo DS. The new version added an additional man to date named Jin.
Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 2nd Kiss (PlayStation 2, 2006)
The second game is very similar to the first, just with entirely new bachelors. You can date Teru, Christopher, Itaru, Katsumi, Kazuyuki, Kounoshin, Motoharu, Shota and Mr. Wakaouji.
Like the first Girl’s Side game, the second was brought to the DS. When it made the jump to the handheld, two more possible boyfriends were added: Taku and Taro.
Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story (Nintendo DS, 2010)
The third Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side game is a big deal. This was the first designed just for the DS. It added the option to double date and participate in love triangles. It also had a clothing system that helped influence affections. Players get to romance Ruka, Kouichi, Arashi, Junpei, Kenta, Mr. Oosako, Seiji, Shuugo, Taiyou and Tamao.
This entry eventually appeared on the PSP. When it did, it added a new character named Tatsuya.
Are there any spin-offs?
Boy, are there! There are lots of extra Tokimeki Memorial games out there. Most of them are, oddly enough, puzzle games and typing applications.
Tokimeki Memorial: Taisen Puzzle-Dama (PlayStation, Saturn and PC, 1996)
This is a matching puzzle game featuring the cast of Tokimeki Memorial. Orbs and colored blocks rise from the bottom of the screen and must be matched in order to win. It also appeared in Japanese arcades.
Tokimeki Memorial: Taisen Tokkae-Dama (PlayStation and Saturn, 1997)
It is the exact same sort of game as the previous title, Taisen Puzzle-Dama.
Tokimeki no Houkago: Ne Quiz Shiyo (PlayStation, 1998)
This is a quiz game starring the characters from the original Tokimeki Memorial. If you answer correctly, the characters will love you.
Tokimeki Memorial 2: Taisen Puzzle-Dama (PlayStation, 2001)
Remember Tokimeki Memorial: Taisen Puzzle-Dama? This is a lot like that, only with the Tokimeki Memorial 2 cast.
Tokimeki Memorial 2 Music Video Clips: Circus de Aimashou (PlayStation 2, 2002)
This is a minigame collection where you go through various challenges in order to watch music videos based on Hikari, Homura, Kaori, Kasumi, Mei and Sumire’s image songs.
Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 1st Love Typing (PC, 2004)
This is educational software for PCs where players type words to proceed through outings with the guys from the first Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side game and earn CGs.
Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 2nd Kiss Typing (PC, 2007)
Like the previous typing game, you type as you are on dates with various bachelors from the second Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side game to earn images of them.