Online hardcore dating game
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.
Released in 1994 by Konami who was on the verge of bankruptcy, the platonic dating sim becoming the first major Bishojo 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.
Tokimeki Memorial, the first dating sim, featured good graphics, full voice acting, and a role-playing game-like gameplay system.
The first major title of the 1990s was Tokimeki Memorial.
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.
The industry gradually moved away from proprietary Japanese hardware to the burgeoning DOS platform, and then later in the decade to Windows.