Some have theorized that bishōnen provide a non-traditional outlet for gender relations.
Throughout the nineties, bishōjo games underwent an evolution from being one of the most technologically demanding types of games (because their detailed 2D graphics required a large amount of storage space by the standards of early computers) to one of the least (they rarely use 3D graphics).
Thus, more than regular games, the main employees required by bishōjo game companies today are not programmers but artists and writers.
Prior to 1985, girls were generally drawn either as normally proportioned adults or super deformed children.
Some games involved elements of force and brutality.
The aesthetic of the bishōnen began as an ideal of a young homosexual lover, originally embodied in the wakashū , or adolescent boy, and was influenced by the effeminate male actors who played female characters in kabuki theater.
The term arose in the Meiji era, in part to replace the by then obsolete erotic meaning of the older term wakashū, whose general meaning of "adolescent boy" had by this point been supplanted by the new term shōnen.Last, bishota can be used to refer to a beautiful, pre-pubescent male child or a childlike male.Outside Japan, bishōnen is the most well-known of the three terms, and has become a generic term for all beautiful boys and young men.Among early bishōjo adventure games it had a degree of polish that previous games lacked.It was also the first to have recognizably modern anime-style artwork: its characters had very large eyes and a tiny nose and mouth but were otherwise basically normally proportioned, characteristics which today are found in virtually all bishōjo games.Bishōjo games are a uniquely Japanese phenomenon: they have virtually no equivalent in the Western video game industries, but are similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books.