When you’re not making jokes about pachinko machines, Konami is best known as the company behind the likes of Contra, Silent Hill, Metal Gear, and Castlevania. But among the company’s classic old games is one of the most influential ever made – a game so popular that an entire genre followed in its wake, and a game that’s never been playable in English before.
That game is called Tokimeki Memorial, and while it wasn’t technically the first dating sim, basically every entry in the genre that followed took its cues from this 1994 PC Engine game. You play as a high school boy aiming to earn the affections of a female classmate, managing your time over the course of a few school years as you build your relationship. It’s an entirely earnest take on young romance, too, with essentially no sexual content to be found.
And now it’s playable in English thanks to a fan translation romhack from the folks at Translated.Games, under the translated title Heartthrob Memorial: Under the Tree of Legends. The volume of text in the game and the technical constraints of its best versions have prevented a fan translation from arriving for a long time. This translation patch applies to the Super Famicom version of the game, which is a bit more limited than the earlier releases on PC Engine and PlayStation.
Romhacks are essentially mods for console games. This one also introduces some additional features thanks to the custom MSU-1 chip developed for modern SNES emulators, and offers an animated intro and voice acting for some key scenes.
If you’ve heard of Tokimeki Memorial in the past year or so, it’s probably because of an extensive, half-comedic, half-deathly-serious six hour long video review from Tim Rogers. I won’t tell you how to spend the next six hours of your life, but I will tell you that it will probably be less interesting than this review.