NEC was behind its competitors in terms of hardware with only 16 colors and no sound support and needed a way to regain control of the market. Thus came the erotic game. The first commercial erotic computer game, Night Life , was released by Koei in It became a hit, helping Koei become a major software company.
In some of the early erotic games, the erotic content is meaningfully integrated into a thoughtful and mature storytelling, though others often used it as a flimsy excuse for pornography. Soon, new genres were invented: In the early s eroge games became much more common.
Both Nintendo and Sony disallowed adult video games on their consoles. Games also started to appear on Windows as it grew in popularity. In it, before any eroticism, the user has to first win the affection of one of a number of female characters, making the story into an interactive romance novel.
Thus, the love simulation genre was invented. Soon afterwards, the video game Otogirisou on the Super Famicom attracted the attention of many Japanese gamers. Otogirisou was a standard adventure game but had multiple endings. This concept was called a "sound novel". In , the new software publisher Leaf expanded on this idea, calling it a visual novel and releasing their first successful game, Shizuku , a horror story starring a rapist high school student, with very highly reviewed writing and music.
Their next game, Kizuato , was almost as dark. However, in , they released To Heart , a sweetly sentimental story of high school love that became one of the most famous and trendsetting eroge ever. To Heart's music was so popular it was added to karaoke machines throughout Japan—a first for eroge.
After a similar game by Tactics , One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e , became a hit in , Visual Art's scouted main creative staff of One to form a new brand under them, which became Key. In , Key released Kanon. It contains only about seven brief erotic scenes in a sentimental story the size of a long novel an all-ages version was also released afterward , but the enthusiasm of the response was unprecedented, and Kanon sold over , copies. In a episode anime series was produced, as well as another episode anime series in According to Satoshi Todome's A History of Eroge, Kanon is still the standard for modern eroge and is referred to as a "baptism" for young otaku in Japan.
Although many eroge still market themselves primarily on sex, eroge that focus on story are now a major established part of Japanese otaku culture. Oftentimes, voice actors who have voiced for eroge have been credited under a pseudonym. As the Visual Novel standard was adopted, the erotic parts in eroge began to become less and less apparent.
Many eroge become more story-oriented than sex-oriented, making story as the main focus for many modern eroge. More and more people who used to reject such type of games began to become more open-minded that it isn't just about sex anymore. This most often occurs as hentai scenes of the player character having a sexual encounter with other characters. Usually the sexual content is presented as a reward for the player's successful fulfillment of certain tasks. Like other pornographic media in Japan, erotic scenes feature censorship of genitalia , only becoming uncensored if the game is licensed and released outside Japan, unless produced illegally by doujin usually with a construction kit like NScripter or RPG Maker.
Additionally, some games may receive an "all-ages" version, such as a port to consoles or handheld devices where pornography isn't allowed, which remove the sex scenes entirely.
Eroge gameplay is often in the style of a visual novel or dating sim. However, there are also many other gameplay genres represented within eroge, such as role-playing games , mahjong games , or puzzle games. Some eroge, such as those made by Illusion Soft , are just simulations of sex, with no "conventional" gameplay included.
List of BL games Boys' Love BL games also known as yaoi games usually refers to eroge oriented around male homosexual couples for the female market. The defining distinction is that both the playable character s and possible objects of affection are male. As with yaoi manga , the major market is assumed to be female. Games aimed at a homosexual male audience may be referred to as bara. Beyond the Void , Togainu no Chi and Dramatical Murder , each one of the last two have been given a manga and an anime adaptation.
A breakdown of the Japanese commercial BL market estimated it grosses approximately 12 billion yen annually, with video games generating million yen per month. Falsely Accused , the first license of a BL game in English translation.
JAST USA subsequently licensed Zettai Fukujuu Meirei under the title Absolute Obedience ,  while Hirameki International licensed Animamundi ; the later game, although already nonexplicit, was censored for US release to achieve a 'mature' rather than 'adults only' rating, removing some sexual and violent content.
Kidd, Michelle Ann Abate. University of Michigan Press.