At Moegino High School, there is a legend...
There is a path leading up the hill to the school away from the main road.
A small, old shrine sits along the path to campus at the peak of the hill, surrounded by beautiful cherry trees.
This hill has become known as Legendary Hill, because it is said that two who meet and fall in love among the cherry blossoms here will be blessed with eternal happiness...
Hello, and welcome to my play diary for Tokimeki Memorial 3! I'm playing yet another series's 'black sheep' title, with TokiMemo3 being by far the least popular game in the series, though understandably so.
Tokimeki Memorial was originally a "love simulation" PC game in the mid-90s in which the player plays a simulated high school life, managing their resources like stress and stamina, building a character through stats like academics and sportsmanship, and most importantly, meeting a wide variety of characters and being able to go on dates where the way you respond to conversations can change the way things turn out. I don't like to use the term "dating sim" because in English that seems to have come to largely refer to pornographic visual novels for some reason, and this is by no means anything like that. And the genre used in Japanese media to describe the game is literally "love simulation," so I like using that.
The game was a huge hit and expanded to many different platforms and spawned tons of spinoffs, merchandise, and anime. Five years later, the game got a sequel that had way more content than the original -- more characters, more events, more story, more everything. It quickly became the favored game of the two, and fans were eagerly awaiting yet antoher release.
Realizing the continuing growth in popularity of their franchise, Konami decided to shove out another game in the series only two years after the release of Tokimeki Memorial 2. This third entry in the series took the game into 3D, and... contained far less content than the previous game. And the 3D was pretty ugly -- they even used the same 3D model for all of the girls, so they all look identical other than their hair color. A lot of the game systems of managing numbers and resources were simplified to have less numbers to manage, but in a way that somehow made the gameplay more convoluted and less interesting.
Because of the ugly look of the 3D models compared to the hand-drawn sprites of the previous games and the unnecessary changes in the game mechanics, fans were quickly disappointed and Tokimeki Memorial 3 was received quite poorly.
However, the game did add some interesting new features to the game, such as a clothing system that requires you to think about what you wear on your dates, and a hobby system that is pretty involved and satisfying, allowing you to pursue all kinds of interesting activities within the game. And underneath the ugly exterior, the game has a lot of fun writing and interesting characters. I'll admit that I, too, thought the game looked bad and was disappointed when I first played it, having played some other games in the series before getting this one because it was on sale, and expected it to be a bad game.
It's a stretch to call it a good game when you compare it to other entries in the series, but I quickly fell in love with it anyway, because I really liked the characters and hobby system, and continued to play it over and over to see different events and endings. I've grown pretty attached to it over time to the point where even the graphics of the game seem cute to me. Though I don't expect many people to agree.
Since the game is unpopular and only available in Japanese, I'd really like to share the experience with people who otherwise miss out on the game, and with people who can't stomach the graphics and changes but are curious about some of the more nuanced aspects of the game, characters, and story. And thankfully, the critical failure of this game didn't stop Konami from continuing the series -- since then, we've seen another (and very polished!) main entry in the series, as well as a second series with three games of its own called Girl's Side in which the player character is a girl and you date boys.
Before starting this play diary, I have only cleared four or so endings on my own (out of an available 7, or 8 if you count the bad ending), and in one of the endings I wasn't able to see most of the story scenes with the character I was interested in, but I still got her ending anyway, so I missed out on that. So half of the game will still be new to me, too! I hope we can enjoy our high school life at Moegino together through this play diary, and maybe find a special someone, too, hehehe...
- Let's Tokimeki!
- First Day at Moegino High!
- Let's High School!
- Our First Date!
- Fitness Tests
- School Exams
- Summer Vacation
- High School Celebrity
- Are You OK? Shut Up!!
- Christmas Party