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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 bishōjo gaming industry has resisted the transition into 3D graphics because of the blocky and distorted nature when viewed zoomed up close.In 2001 Tokimeki Memorial 3 became the first bishōjo game to break this trend.Tokimeki Memorial, the first dating sim, featured good graphics, full voice acting, and a role-playing game-like gameplay system.To be accessible to a more mainstream audience, it contained no erotic elements, seeking instead to create a "romantic" atmosphere.
(The game's title originates from the number of the Japanese law criminalizing rape.) 177 was not actually the first game designed around this premise, but it was unusually explicit.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.Thus free from controversy and fueled by continuing improvement in technology, in the 1990s the bishōjo game industry underwent a decade-long boom.The first major title of the 1990s was Tokimeki Memorial,released in 1994 by Konami who was on the verge of bankruptcy, the platonic dating sim becoming the first major bishōjo game since Koei's release of Night Life. While the title was another eroge title targeted at males for its sexual content, the players began to identify with the protagonist and the idea overcoming "the emotional trials and tribulations of pure love." A late Play Station 2 port removed the sexual content and sold better than the original, leading eventually to two anime adaptations. Dōkyūsei, whose gameplay focused on meeting girls and seducing them, established the standard conventions of the dating simulation genre.