In the early 1990s eroge games became much more common.
Most eroge games, a fairly large library, found its way on the NEC PC-98 platform.
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.
The defining distinction is that both the playable character(s) and possible objects of affection are male.
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.
According to Satoshi Todome's A History of Eroge, Kanon is still the standard for modern eroge and is referred to as a "baptism" for young otaku in Japan.
Although many eroge still market themselves primarily on sex, eroge that focus on story are now a major established part of Japanese otaku culture.
This most often occurs as hentai scenes of the player character having a sexual encounter with other characters.
Usually the sexual content is presented as a reward for the player's successful fulfillment of certain tasks.