The defining distinction is that both the playable character(s) and possible objects of affection are male.
Erotic games made the PC-8801 popular, but customers quickly became tired of paying 8800 yen ($85) for such simple games.
Soon, new genres were invented: ASCII's Chaos Angels, a role-playing-based eroge, inspired Dragon Knight by Elf and Rance by Alice Soft.
Eroge gameplay is often in the style of a visual novel or dating sim.
However, there are also many other gameplay genres represented within eroge, such as role-playing games, mahjong games, or puzzle games.
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Like other pornographic media in Japan, erotic scenes feature censorship of genitalia, only becoming uncensored if the game is licensed and released outside Japan, unless produced illegally by doujin (usually with a construction kit like NScripter or RPG Maker).
Additionally, some games may receive an "all-ages" version, such as a port to consoles or handheld devices where pornography isn't allowed, which remove the sex scenes entirely.
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Both Nintendo and Sony disallowed adult video games on their consoles.