Bishōjo games are similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books in the way of narrative, in which the game tells a story but the player may make choices to change how the story flows. Bishōjo games began to appear in Japan in the beginning days of personal computers.The first bishōjo game commercialized in Japan appeared in 1982 as Night Life by Koei.In November 1991 there was an incident where a middle-schooler shoplifted an adult bishōjo game Saori: the House of Beautiful Girls, resulting in increased police scrutiny for makers and retailers.Several prefectures began classifying games as obscene and pulling them off the shelves.Today the industry has grown, with most publishers making releases for Windows, including download only files.Some of the least pornographic and most successful also branching off into the console market.Both were first released on the PC with erotic scenes, which were subsequently removed in their console ports.The bishojo gaming industry has resisted the transition into 3D graphics because of the blocky and distorted nature when viewed zoomed up close.
Since the late nineties, there has been a trend towards better storytelling in mainstream bishōjo games.Games ported to consoles usually have adult content removed.The industry of bishōjo games is closely related to the industry of anime and Japanese manga.To be accessible to a more mainstream audience, it contained no erotic elements, seeking instead to create a "romantic" atmosphere.
Sega's popular bishōjo game series Sakura Wars also first saw publication in 1996 for the Sega Saturn; like Tokimeki Memorial, it contained no erotic elements.
The game caused debate in the Japanese parliament and was eventually recalled and re-released with the most controversial scenes removed.