TokiMemo hidden musings

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Hello there, long time no see!

I was going to some loot posts but I didn’t, because of 100% pure lazyness and procrastination. In the end, all purchases sort of blurred together and I couldn’t be bothered, considering the amont of loot posts lately I felt like another one wasn’t really necessary right now…perhaps?

Anyway, today I want to talk games. Hidden gems, in fact, with hidden being the operative word here.
You see, sometime in late December last year I picked up Tokimeki Memorial for PC Engine – yup, the original. I really prefer the later Saturn version of this one but:
1) it is cheap.
2) it contains a PCE only unlockable.

Actually, to be fair, all different versions of TokiMemo seems to have some unlockables that aren’t available elsewhere, but I digress.

After putting it off for some months I sat down and gave it a spin. And, whelp, it feels decidedly more spartan than the Saturn version, or what I remember from it. Character sprites, while good and sharp, have some odd colors here and there (might be caused by the composite signal). Backdrops have certain digitized photo look to them which I’m not very fond off, and the “painted on detail” is…actually not detailed enough. 😛
And music? Music is…okay. I like the PCE sound but the game’s soundtrack isn’t all that to be honest. It’s fun hearing familiar tunes played back as they once were intended but really, later versions does it much better.
Lastly, I just can’t help but feel I’m having no real way of planning out the weeks in the game. It was a while since I last touched the Saturn version but I want to remember it being much better at visually indicating if a test was coming up or if I had a date on one day…or just showing anything really.

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But don’t get me wrong – the PCE version is still very much playable. And it’s still fun. In the beginning anyway, as TokiMemo can get pretty dreary after a while when you do the same thing all over again. But it mixes things up enough for it to keep it interesting. And it’s easy to forget just how much content there is in TokiMemo.

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My mission was simple. Unlock a specific mini game by being active in the computer club and playing close to three full years.
Okay…well…simple maybe isn’t the right word but it doesn’t sound that hard either. You just have to man up and play the game (almost) to completion.

However, I was off to a bad start as I wasn’t entirely sure about what I needed to do at first. Maybe it didn’t help I opted to continue from where I left off after my little test run instead of starting a new game either.

Anyway, after doing a double check in the instructions I quickly joined the computer club and began to slowly but surely raise those stats.
Speaking of which, this is a good time to try and win the heart of Yuina Himoo, the mad scentist girl, since you’ll be in the same club and all.

And, maybe you’re wondering, what is this PC Engine only little secret? It’s a mini game – “Force Gear“, a caravan styled horizontal shooter with some heavy vibes from other Konami titles. It’s not very long, the controls are a bit clunky, the end boss is hard but it’s quite fun and the music is nice. It’s quite charming actually, and it’s obvious that more work has gone into this game than you’d expect. HG101 wrote a little piece about it here.

So is it worth picking up TokiMemo just in order to play Force Gear? I’d say that depends on how much you like Tokimeki Memorial. There are alternative options for those not wanting
to do a full run through an old dating sim presented in moon runes – these options are either finding an ISO with Force Gear already unlocked or unlocking it with some kind of cheat device.

Well in the game, on the first culture festival I demonstrated some kind of love compatibility computer software. Compatibility with our blue haired genius is deemed to be “normal”.
MISSION STATUS: Could go better.

I spend the year trying to get her on a few dates, as well as raising more stats…and taking care of (read: dating) the girls that approached me because of said raised stats.
Christmas was spent alone as I wasn’t allowed entry to pretty boy Ijuin’s mansion. Appearance stats probably too low. How sad.

Second culture festival: Twinbee Returns unlocked. Shame it’s not a very great looking game. Also, I’m terrible at it. But it’s something at least. Situation with Himoo is good. She secretly has the hots for me. I think. Though she called the game I made stupid.
MISSION STATUS: Making progress.

Even after raising the good look-stats a bit, christmas was alone. Again. Ouch.

And then finally, the third culture festival! Will this be it? Will I unlock what I’ve been seeking?
No. Himoo performed a live hacking demonstration and took over a military satellite instead. I guess that’s something. Oh and she totally has the hots for me now.
Sometime here, the me in the game also said something about sending a game in for a competition. Huh. Oh well.
MISSION STATUS: Failed?

Decided to keep playing, with this being the last year and all.
And then, after the new years eve – the results for that earlier mentioned game competition is in. 3rd place? Can’t remember but surprise, surprise – screen goes black and Force Gear starts!
MISSION STATUS: COMPLETE. Almost.

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As you can see, it’s a bit of work to unlock this “hidden” feature. The only thing that remains at this point is to finish the game so that Force Gear will be playable straight from the omake menu in options.

And I did – even if a “bomb” did go off and lowered the relation level with the girls. BUT HOW DID IT EEENNNND?

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YEAH.

This felt quite good actually. Regardless how much I suck at Force Gear, I have been wanting to at least try it for quite some time. And, I mean, it’s a transforming mech sidescrolling shooting game with Gradius vibes in an overly fluffy pretty girl game…does it get any cooler than that? 😀

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About Ji-L87

Laid back swede with an for affection games, sweet music and specific parts of Japanese pop culture.

5 responses to “TokiMemo hidden musings”

  1. Walters says :

    Well welcome back. I just recently found your site and followed on the off chance you’d come back. Glad you did!

    Huh…that’s a sneaky addition right there. It’s basically a visual novel…then all of a sudden a Gradius like game? What??? lol

    • Ji-L87 says :

      Ha! …yes. I think I’m better at lazying around and getting stressed out because I’m not doing anything than actually doing some…thing, like now, blogging.

      Well, to be fair, I think Tokimeki Memorial is pretty much as far away from a visual novel you can get, with it still looking like one, visually.

      *going off tangent here*

      To me, and I’m not sure if there are “rules” set in stone somewhere where the lines goes between these games as they are so similar sometimes, TokiMemo is not a visual novel and not really an “adventure game” either (which is usually what some of these games are called…sometimes. It’s confusing).

      I like call it a dating sim because I feel it’s pretty much the perfect example of what a dating sim is. I mean, in this game you interact with girls by dating them, that is the whole point. I don’t mean to blame you at all for using the term visual novel, it’s just been on my mind for a while and I didn’t really have another outlet.

      Sorry for that 😀 I should probably make a post about it sometime just to vent, haha.

      But yes, you play the game and BAM! Shmupping sweetness!
      TokiMemo also puts you in RPG-like battles some times, for example on the school field trip. I think it’s a pretty brilliant way to mix things up 😀

      Heres a good post about some other minigames:
      http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net/2011/06/shooter-minigames-of-tokimeki-memorial.html

      By the way, is the drawing in your gravatar avatar done by an artist under the name of Agahari? Really reminds me of his/her works 🙂

      • Walters says :

        Weird. I heard most of the Tokimeki games are either VNs or Galge games. It wouldn’t fall under the VN category anyways? Weird :/

        I have no idea. I was looking for an updated version of Sigurd, instead found this via google ;-;

        • Ji-L87 says :

          Oh, yeah, I’d say it’s probably more under galge. I think that for it to be considered a visual novel, there needs to be a much bigger focus on actual storytelling. TokiMemo basically has a premise and an ending. Between that is just raising your parameters. Usually, a VN also offers less interaction, since it’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure-book turned into a of game.

          But visual novels in general has become pretty popular today it seems, even here in the west. There’s also quite a few of them being made – probably more than ever.

          So perhaps it’s being used more as an umbrella term to mean “all those japanese games that look like this” – since the presentation, actual difference in gameplay aside, is very similar. 😀

          Regarding Sigurd, found the image. It was Agahari – if you’re interested in more artworks by the same artist:
          http://danbooru.donmai.us/posts?tags=agahari (site not safe for work – and maybe more)

          • Walters says :

            VNs still need better advertisement, and I think so, even though I don’t play em O.o

            Ah, interesting: thanks for letting me know (and leaving me the link!)

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