As with yaoi manga, the major market is assumed to be female.
Games aimed at a homosexual male audience may be referred to as bara.
Most eroge games, a fairly large library, found its way on the NEC PC-98 platform.
Although many eroge still market themselves primarily on sex, eroge that focus on story are now a major established part of Japanese otaku culture.
Oftentimes, voice actors who have voiced for eroge have been credited under a pseudonym.
Games also started to appear on Windows as it grew in popularity. In it, before any eroticism, the user has to first win the affection of one of a number of female characters, making the story into an interactive romance novel. Soon afterwards, the video game Otogirisou on the Super Famicom attracted the attention of many Japanese gamers.
Otogirisou was a standard adventure game but had multiple endings. In 1996, the new software publisher Leaf expanded on this idea, calling it a visual novel and releasing their first successful game, Shizuku, a horror story starring a rapist high school student, with very highly reviewed writing and music. However, in 1997, they released To Heart, a sweetly sentimental story of high school love that became one of the most famous and trendsetting eroge ever.
To Heart's music was so popular it was added to karaoke machines throughout Japan—a first for eroge.
After a similar game by Tactics, One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e, became a hit in 1998, Visual Art's scouted main creative staff of One to form a new brand under them, which became Key. It contains only about seven brief erotic scenes in a sentimental story the size of a long novel (an all-ages version was also released afterward), but the enthusiasm of the response was unprecedented, and Kanon sold over 300,000 copies.
In some of the early erotic games, the erotic content is meaningfully integrated into a thoughtful and mature storytelling, though others often used it as a flimsy excuse for pornography.
Erotic games made the PC-8801 popular, but customers quickly became tired of paying 8800 yen () for such simple games.
In 2006, JAST USA announced they would be releasing Enzai as Enzai: Falsely Accused, the first license of a BL game in English translation.
Some fan communities have criticized the choice of such a dark and unromantic game as the US market's first exposure to the genre.
However, there are also many other gameplay genres represented within eroge, such as role-playing games, mahjong games, or puzzle games.