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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.
Erotic games made the PC-8801 popular, but customers quickly became tired of paying 8800 yen () for such simple games.
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. The first commercial erotic computer game, Night Life, was released by Koei in 1982.
Early eroge usually had simple stories, some even involving anal sex, which often led to widespread condemnation from the Japanese media.
In 2002 a 13-episode anime series was produced, as well as another 24-episode anime series in 2006.
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.
There is no set definition for the gameplay of eroge, except that they all include explicit erotic or sexual content depending on the game.
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.
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. 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. In 1996, the new software developer and 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. However, in 1997, they released To Heart, a sweetly sentimental story of high school love that became one of the most famous and trendsetting eroge ever.