Immensely more interesting than both Chrono Trigger and Persona 4
January 3, 2021 2:12 PM   Subscribe

"Tokimeki Memorial profound 1995-ish narrative tricks genuinely brought me to actual tears, as a 41-year-old man, living in the year 2020. And these were no simple tears. These were weird, deeply interesting tears. Look at the length of this video, buddy. That's how long it's going to take for me to describe these tears." Tim Rogers reviews Tokimeki Memorial.

It's strongly suggested to take breaks between each chapter of this 6-hour video.
posted by simmering octagon (28 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
From Wikipedia:
Tokimeki Memorial (ときめきメモリアル, Tokimeki Memoriaru, lit. “Heartbeat Memorial”) is a dating sim video game developed and published by Konami. The first game in the Tokimeki Memorial series, it was first released for the PC Engine’s Super CD-ROM² System on May 27, 1994. It was directed by Yoshiaki Nagata, with Koji Igarashi working on scenario writing. It later received numerous ports to the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, PlayStation Portable, and mobile platforms. Tokimeki Memorial popularised the use of social statistics-raising mechanics in games for following decades.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:18 PM on January 3

A 6 hour review?? How long does it take to play the game? It seems like the cost/benefit of watching the review is widely skewed in the wrong direction, save perhaps for someone who may have already played the game and wants to revisit it in depth. (Which would be fine, but, still, 6 hours? Dude might want to think about writing it out instead.)
posted by gusottertrout at 3:05 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]

A 6 hour review?? How long does it take to play the game?

Tim Rogers answered this on Twitter: "i have logged literally 180 hours across 24 playthroughs and have seen maybe 60 percent of the "whole" game, so"

BTW, the video includes two full play throughs that can be skipped over, bringing it down to 3.5 hours. Still a lot, admittedly, but ever since Rogers' 3 hour Doom review was posted on the Blue, I've been a fan.

(But yes, definitely spread it out over several days. I've started treating Tim Rogers' videos like episodes of a series and that works quite nicely.)
posted by bigendian at 3:12 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

Yeah his videos are definitely the sort of thing that for any other commentator would be six episodes released over the course of three or four weeks. He just puts them out as a single video instead, and leaves it to you to decide when to pause it.
posted by rifflesby at 3:38 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

Having read his... essay? about EarthBound, I remain honor-bound to provide the reminder that he just kind of made shit up wholesale for that, so there has been a certain necessity for caution warranted from that point on
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:06 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]

Folks, this is your daily reminder that if you think the subject of an FPP is boring, you have the option of skipping over it instead of explaining to everyone else how boring it is.
posted by teraflop at 4:47 PM on January 3 [15 favorites]

A 6 hour review??

I know.

I'm absolutely addicted to them. Whatever his "thing" is, it's perfectly suited to this format.
posted by billjings at 5:00 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

I'm only partway through this one, but I love Tim Rogers and am grateful for the MF FPP about his DOOM review that turned me on to him. These reviews aren't just about the game, they are about history, culture and journalism, along with a healthy dose of autobiography.

While not one of the Action Button reviews, his Tim Rogers Roasts The 2018 Games Of The Year segment about God Of War is so great and personal. I can see that some people might ask why he tells this story during a video game review, but it totally brings extra color to his opinions, which I appreciate.
posted by Gorgik at 5:44 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

This was open in another tab when I saw this post... FYI the playthroughs are pretty truncated as well, it's more Tim narrating the important bits and adding his usual commentary.

It's very interesting, and I can see how influential Tokimeki Memorial was, but he's not quite selling me on why it's so emotionally powerful for him. It definitely looks difficult to successfully date Shiori, but it seems to come down more to manipulating the in-game math than "getting" the systems.

I'd definitely play this if it was translated, though. I just think I like the Persona style of evolving relationships during an ongoing plot better — of course Persona likely would never have existed as it does today with Tokimeki Memorial. I do love the immense attention to detail and hidden complexities. Sometimes pieces of media appear that both blaze a new path and do so better than any of their predecessors. Like could you really improve on "Rear Window"? Similarly, Tokimeki Memorial is in a way the original and the unequaled when it comes to dating sims.

Incidentally if you like the pixel art (and you should), there's a ton of it in the Konami PixelPuzzle nonograms game.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:46 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

A 6 hour review??

If this had the media length/review length ratio of several of the incomprehensibly misguided The Last Jedi reviews, this would be literally 2 months long, so this seems positively succinct.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:05 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]

I'm really interested in the topic, but is there a summary of this 6 hour long video anywhere? What's the thesis?
posted by airmail at 6:07 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]

Tim himself stresses that each of his video reviews should really be considered a series of episodes. They all have built-in act breaks and labels, so there are parts that are deliberately engineered to be natural stopping points. YouTube will also save your viewing progress (somewhat imperfectly, if you’re watching across different devices...) if you’re logged in to a Google account and don’t have viewing history turned off.

In the case of this video, the segments (so far? I’m just getting into part 3) have been about an hour long. It might not be your thing — his style is DEFINITELY not for everyone — but if you chunk it out that way it’s pretty manageable.
posted by Kosh at 6:38 PM on January 3

Unfortunately a summary kind of misses the point (I'm not saying you're wrong to ask for it - only that it wouldn't work).

Rogers is sort of a long-form essayist about video games and culture and uses his own tangents and anecdotes to punctuate and illustrate it. The stories, themes, history and other things that develop over the course of the video (or long review - like 10k words or more) are all part of it.

Although he does develop ideas and come to conclusions, it's not like he delivers some epiphany at the end that no one else knows. In fact in this case he is massively late to the party since Tokimeki Memorial is sort of a founding document of Japanese game design but is totally obscure (and misunderstood) everywhere else.

Honestly if you're interested in the topic, it's worth doing it "episode by episode" and you can skim through the two full games if you want. It covers a lot of topics, the most interesting to me so far was the emergence of the genre in a way from nothing, in the form of interactive fiction that wasn't nearly as open-ended or relatable. Someone said, hey we could put this level of detail and design effort into the perennially popular in Japan quirky high school romance/drama genre. Seeing the result, and how fully formed it is, takes time and explanation since you can't do it yourself.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:44 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]

The worst part of the video is that at the end, after successfully selling me on a game I'll never be able to play because it's in Japanese, he mentions that Tokimeki Memorial 2 is much, much better. Where's the 6-hour sequel video about that game, huh? Huh?!
posted by simmering octagon at 6:54 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

I'm really interested in the topic, but is there a summary of this 6 hour long video anywhere? What's the thesis?

The way Tim Rogers works is, you're on a six-hour bus trip through his brain while it circles the Greater Tokimeki Memorial area. So one minute you're hearing a breakdown of how Metal Gear Solid might never have been made if the game Night Trap hadn't existed, the next minute you're listening to Tim's admission that his fear of talking to girls as a teenager was more objectifying to women than a dating sim could possibly be.

I like his stuff a lot, but like Kosh said, it's absolutely not everyone's thing. He's kind of the Björk of video game reviewers.
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:55 PM on January 3 [14 favorites]

Having "review" in the title ("ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS Tokimeki Memorial") is like how Final Fantasy VII Remake had "remake" in the title. While the word fits, it doesn't carry the meaning you assume it does. This (and much of Tim's other work) is really more of a video essay. To me, "review" feels like an in-jokey reference to the sort of generic video game writing that inspired New Games Journalism (previously). (Or maybe I'm just nostalgic for the Insert Credit days)

I'm a few episodes in and so far I'm enjoying it, even the ones he warned were skippable up front.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:03 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]

Every Tim Rogers review is like a shaggy dog story where all the details are interesting and connected and add up to something, but there is no real punch line in the end, just a shambling mound of moving parts and stories and memories and connections. If you like reading Moby Dick, you'll probably love watching his reviews. I think they're great, but I recognize they're not everyone's cup of tea.
posted by rikschell at 7:23 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]

This sounds like the Metal Gear Solid 4 of reviews.

On second thought, that makes it sound like I don't actually like CGI films disguised as video games. I'm one of the weird people that actually enjoy them, at least as long as there is some actual gameplay scattered in between the cut scenes.
posted by wierdo at 10:04 PM on January 3

Having "review" in the title ("ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS Tokimeki Memorial") is like how Final Fantasy VII Remake had "remake" in the title. While the word fits, it doesn't carry the meaning you assume it does. This (and much of Tim's other work) is really more of a video essay

That, along with some of the other comments, are fair takes. It was the "review" label that threw me off, given how the other video game reviews I've watched tended to go. I did in fact watch part of his Doom review/essay, so I guess I can sorta understand where those who like his work are coming from, though I tend to prefer a more robust set of central points or guiding purpose to the form I guess. But seeing there's a six and a half hour long set of podcasts on a why CATS is awful has been linked above, I guess six hours on a videogame most of the intended audience can't play isn't so bad.

(There is something really interesting about the popularity of these thing, along with that of those long videogame playthroughs and other extended series, like the one on the guy rebuilding a yacht that needs more unpacking, but probably not here.)
posted by gusottertrout at 11:04 PM on January 3

These reviews are great yarns. I’ve been watching them with plenty of breaks but with the goal to get as much at once to achieve max mirth. It is very much my thing and worth making time for when I am able.

Haven’t seen anyone mention that “The Bottom Line” of the review is stated right at the top:
- “Tokimeki Memorial Objectifies Love”

That’s a profound statement compared to other “Bottom Lines” of his videos, those being:
- The Final Fantasy VII Remake is "More Final Fantasy VII Than Final Fantasy VII."
- The Last of Us is "A Great Game... By Default"
- Doom Speaks For Itself
- Pac-Man Has Come A Long Way... From Itself

It's always interesting to see how he gets there but this one is special.

I'm very interested to see where the Cyberpunk 2077 review goes.
posted by dagosto at 2:56 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]

I was a bit leery at first, especially when no one was willing to provide a summary of the review to airmail. But then I saw "ACTION BUTTON" in responses and understood. I have read some of their impossibly long but endlessly fascinating long form video game "reviews" years ago and taquito sunrise nailed the aesthetic perfectly. Not sure how much I would like them in video format but it would probably be easier to digest piece by piece as "episodes" than finding the will to stop reading.
posted by Nec_variat_lux_fracta_colorem at 10:33 AM on January 4

I am not a gamer and I've yet to watch two Tim Rogers 'reviews' in their entirety but I appreciate the hell out of what he's doing. I happened to play Quake about as intensely as I have or will ever play a game, and the Doom review mentioned here earlier was transcendently pleasing. Definitely a journey vs. destination thing, I don't think a person should even try to summarize it.
posted by elkevelvet at 2:42 PM on January 4

This sounds like the Metal Gear Solid 4 of reviews.

Action Button. Is. The Metal Gear Solid 4. Of.

posted by billjings at 12:33 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]

i'm a first timer on this channel, and i'm slowly working through this, and this review automatically gets a kudos for the fact he loves the J-drama Long Vacation a lot (and yes, i would definitely recommend it if you're in a romcom mood spanning a reasonable number of episodes).
posted by cendawanita at 2:02 AM on January 5

Can anyone explain (or simply name, so I can look it up myself) the New Year's practice with the slips of paper? While Rogers does a good job of explaining some of the cultural and linguistic points, there are a few things he still leaves untranslated, and that one in particular it feels like I need some extra context.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 8:19 AM on January 5

Can anyone explain (or simply name, so I can look it up myself) the New Year's practice with the slips of paper?

Omikuji. It's something you do in temples. Donate some money, draw a paper telling you your fortune.
posted by simmering octagon at 9:30 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]

Incidently, there is an anime version of the game, which can be found subbed in the usual pirate infested waters, but it's not very good.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:18 PM on January 7

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