2024 Video Game Hall of Fame Nominees Include a True Oddity

The 2024 Video Game Hall of Fame nominee list is a stacked cast of classics that includes one likely obscure title.

2024 Video Game Hall of Fame
Photo: Konami

The nominees for the Strong National Museum of Play’s 2024 World Video Game Hall of Fame have just been announced, and this year’s competition is as fierce as it has ever been. Here is the full list of this year’s nominees:

Guitar Hero
Resident Evil
Tokimeki Memorial
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
You Don’t Know Jack

Just look at that lineup. There’s a good chance that one of the games that helped shape your life as a gamer is included somewhere in that list. At the very least, you can probably look at nearly every game on that list and immediately understand why it is considered worthy of this honor.

However, when you cast your vote on which three games deserve to join the National Museum of Play’s Video Game Hall of Fame, one name will almost certainly stand out from the pack as something of an oddity: Tokimeki Memorial. Whereas all the other 2024 nominees need no introduction, Tokimeki Memorial‘s credentials are likely more obscure. For that matter, there is a good chance you’ve never even heard of the game until now.

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There are good reasons why that may be the case. First released in 1994 by Konami for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM (a.k.a. the TurboGrafx-CD), Tokimeki Memorial was a small project developed for a relatively niche console’s even less popular add-on. On top of that, the game has never received an official English port, and its long-awaited unofficial English translation isn’t for the original (and best) version of the game.

So why is Tokimeki Memorial nominated for the Video Game Hall of Fame? Well, among other things, it is probably the most important “Dating Sim” game ever made. Though there were dating sim games released before Tokimeki Memorial, they were often simple and surprisingly lurid. Tokimeki Memorial was a comparatively well-written title that treated its subject matter (and players) with maturity and respect. In that sense alone, it essentially alerted a generation of gamers to their love for dating sims, visual novels, and similar titles that are now a staple of the indie scene. That means it’s also responsible for getting quite a few people into gaming who probably never otherwise considered themselves gamers in the previously popular cultural sense of the term.

Even if you’ve never enjoyed those kinds of games (or simply never played one), Tokimeki Memorial still deserves your respect. The game’s use of advanced social tracking metrics and relationship systems wasn’t just a milestone for dating sims but role-playing games as well. Again, Tokimeki Memorial wasn’t the first game with such relationship systems, but it was the one that really cracked the code in regards to how those systems could be dynamically implemented into a game and how they could enhance the role-playing experience. If you’ve ever enjoyed forming an evolving relationship with a character in a video game (especially a romantic one), you owe at least part of that experience to Tokimeki Memorial.

While Tokimeki Memorial has grown in global popularity in recent years, its chances of being inducted are realistically still quite low. Fan votes in this category are essentially the equivalent of a lone committee member vote, and it’s unlikely the voting panel is as fond of it as its considerable competition.

Even still, games like Tokimeki Memorial go to show that there is so much video game history that has yet to be discovered, discussed, and fully appreciated. At the very least, consider it a stand-in for that one game that means the world to you that never seemed to get enough love.