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One of the earliest video games (if not the first) to feature sexual themes was the 1981 text-based Softporn Adventure, published by On-Line Systems for the Apple II.
Despite heavy piracy the game still sold 25,000 copies, roughly equivalent to 25% of the number of Apple II's sold at the time.
In 1983, a company called Entertainment Enterprises, Ltd., released an arcade game called Swinging Singles which was mostly meant for bars, adult stores and sex clubs.
The game requires the player to drive through the city maze gathering dots like Pac-Man before reaching a brothel where the player is required to fight off venereal disease and collect keys to unlock sex scenes.
Once the scenes are unlocked the top door is open where the player can go and engage in a controllable sex scene letting the player have intercourse with a woman until the player reaches orgasm and the game is over.
Also released in 1984 was Strip Poker: A Sizzling Game of Chance for the Commodore 64 which was created by Artworx Software.
These factors often led to widespread condemnation from the Japanese media.
Erotic games made the PC-8801 popular, but customers quickly tired of paying 8800 yen () for such simple games. ASCII's Chaos Angels, a role-playing eroge, inspired titles such as Dragon Knight by Elf and Rance by Alice Soft.
In the 1990s NEC (on the PC Engine series and PC-FX) and Sega (on Saturn) were the only companies who officially allowed sexual content on their consoles in Japan, but eroge was more prevalent on the NEC PC-98 and FM Towns computer platforms.
X-man features the player as a nude man working through a maze toward a pink door in the center, past antagonistic crabs, teeth and scissors.
Players that reached the pink door were rewarded with a controllable sex scene.
Like with Koei, several other now-famous Japanese companies such as Enix, Square and Nihon Falcom also released erotic adult games for the PC-8801 computer in the early 1980s before they became mainstream.
Early eroge usually had simplistic stories and extreme sexual content, such as rape.