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.
The first bishōjo games were not too popular, At the beginning of the genre almost all the games were pornographic.
A notable landmark was Jast's Tenshitachi no gogo (1985), a precursor to the modern dating simulation.
Games ported to consoles usually have adult content removed.
It was also the first to have recognizably modern anime-style artwork: its characters had very large eyes and a tiny nose and mouth but were otherwise basically normally proportioned, characteristics which today are found in virtually all bishōjo games.In the early nineties the atmosphere in Japan became more and more hostile towards bishōjo games.In 1989 serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki was arrested and was revealed to be a consumer of lolicon manga, causing widespread opposition to pornographic manga, otaku and anything similar.The main consoles used for bishōjo games in the nineties were the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast.More recently the Play Station 2 has been the console of choice with a growing number of games for the Play Station Portable and Nintendo DS handhelds.Faced with the threat of being forcibly censored out of existence by the government, in 1992 the bishōjo game industry formed the Computer Software Rinri Kikō (meaning "Ethics Organization for Computer Software", and often abbreviated EOCS or Sofu-rin), setting industry guidelines for acceptable content and packaging.This organization tamed down the most objectionable content in the "wild west" of the 1980s.The game caused debate in the Japanese parliament and was eventually recalled and re-released with the most controversial scenes removed.The industry gradually moved away from proprietary Japanese hardware to the burgeoning DOS platform, and then later in the decade to Windows.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.