Since the late nineties, there has been a trend towards better storytelling in mainstream bishōjo games.Particularly notable in this respect are Leaf's To Heart (1997), and Key's Kanon (1999).Dating sims (or dating simulations) are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements.The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic relationship.This organization tamed down the most objectionable content in the "wild west" of the 1980s.Thus free from controversy and fueled by continuing improvement in technology, in the 1990s the bishōjo game industry underwent a decade-long boom.Some Sim Date games have been made into Harem anime, though the result is usually nothing special due to the removal of sex and the fact that the narrative can no longer focus on any single character.
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.Let's see; she's smiling, so option one should work — unless that throwaway line of dialogue back in Chapter 2 was hinting that she was actually a Tsundere and so I should choose number two... The Dating Sim is a type of game designed to set up goals, usually in the forms of schedules and stats corresponding to social skills, which must be achieved to discover a story focused entirely around the Character Development of the player's chosen girl/guy, get into his/her pants, or both.This leads to Multiple Endings, though some Dating Sims make it possible to see several of these "endings" in a single playthrough.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 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.