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.
Nevertheless, only a few titles of this sort have been translated or commercialized outside of East Asia.
Notable subgenres of bishōjo games are ren'ai games (often called "dating sims" in English, although they can also be visual novels) and eroge (often called "hentai games" in English).
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.
Throughout the nineties, bishōjo games underwent an evolution from being one of the most technologically demanding types of games (because their detailed 2D graphics required a large amount of storage space by the standards of early computers) to one of the least (they rarely use 3D graphics).