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“We’ve been really happy to see the way fans outside of Japan have learned about this wonky but fun culture of adult dating-sim games and embraced it,” says Peter Payne, 41, founder of online web shop J-List.

“At first it was an uphill battle with each customer as we explained what the genre was and why it was important for people to try games about love and sex.

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Playing styles range from virtual conversations between the player and the characters in “galge” (girl games) to overt pornography in “eroge” (erotic games) and “yaruge” (sex games).

In “otome” games, the player is a woman going after hot guys, while in “boys love,” it’s just dudes getting rude.

Our big news this year was that we’re now the licensor of Nitro , one of the most famous visual novel publishers in the world.” Controversy erupted over ‘Rapelay’ game While J-List is a success story in the cross-cultural exchange of dating-sim culture, the Internet age has been a mixed blessing.

As the profile of games has risen, the industry has come under increasing public scrutiny.

Dating sims really took off with the rise of affordable PCs in the mid-’90s.

At the same time, the chronically underfunded anime industry imploded under demands to produce hit TV series like “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” a rare bright spot in a recessionary market.

Since there was no system in place for distributing adult-themed software, J-List had to create a distribution network to sell the games to shops. “We’ve been able to make a profit from every game we’ve licensed,” Payne says.

“We’ve been bringing out some really awesome games, which have done extremely well in the Japanese marketplace…

The game was denounced, first in the UK then in the U.

S., and the feminist group Equality Now sent letters of protest to the publisher calling for the title to be banned.

Successful illustrators like Carnelian and companies like Nitro are extremely profitable, yet the shrinking youth population and ongoing economic downturn have some distributors worried about long-term domestic sales.

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