Now that Evangelion is easily accessible by a wide audience, thanks to Netflix putting it up for streaming in 2019, a whole new audience is discovering the anime. This might get people wondering if there are games to go with it. The answer is yes. But, unfortunately, none of them are available in English. They were only available in Japan. Which is a shame, because some of them were really weird in a very interesting ways. In addition to the action games you would expect from the series, odd stuff showed up. I’m not just talking about the Mahjong games either. I’m talking about things like Princess Maker-style simulations and rhythm games.
Let’s start with the rhythm game, since it is the most accessible game out there. Evangelion New Theatrical Edition: 3rd Impact was a Grasshopper Manufacture game based on Rebuild of Evangelion’s 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone and 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. It let you go through 30 songs from their soundtracks. You are fighting the angels as you go through each one, while also occasionally experiencing critical moments from the two storylines. There were six different kinds of “modes” for different songs, which could range from standard “press the button when prompted” fare and odd “mind reading” segments. It was only available on the PSP.
The Princess Maker style games were the Neon Genesis Evangelion:Ayanami Rei Ikusei (Ayanami Raising Project) titles. The initial PC and Dreamcast versions had people preparing Rei Ayanami over the course of the events of Evangelion. You are a NERV lieutenant in charge of setting her schedule. Depending on the decisions you make, her personality and skills will change. In turn, her fate can be altered. The PS2 and DS ports were known as Ayanami Ikusei Keikaku with Asuka Hokan Keikaku, and let you to raise Rei or Asuka Langley Soryu, should you unlock Asuka’s route. Think of them as the game equivalent of getting to know characters better and perhaps avoiding the endings people might not have liked.
Puchi Eva: Evangelion @ Game is one of the more carefree and goofier Evangelion games. See, it is a minigame collection based upon the Puchi Eva: Evangelion @ School parody anime series. It was an incredibly import-friendly web video and manga series that made everyone “normal” junior high students. Except, Evangelion Unit 01 is actually a classmate, there are three different Rei Ayanamis who are all sisters named “Rei,” the angels aren’t necessarily bad and Gendo is both Shinji’s father and the school’s principal. It is very odd. Appropriately enough, the game is also super odd, with players helping to resolve problems and… well… move obstacles out of Shinji’s way as he runs to different places.
Of course, there were the sorts of odd games you expect any popular anime to spawn. Two typing games appeared as a result of Evangelion. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Typing Project-E was available on the Dreamcast and PS2, which meant you had to have the keyboard peripheral to “play.” Neon Genesis Evangelion: Typing Hokan Keikaku for the Dreamcast and PC was a little more comfortable, because at least one of those involved a keyboard from the start. There are multiple Mahjong games, like Shinseiki Evangelion Mahjong Hokan Keikaku for the Game Boy. There are also, um, lots of pachislot games, like Evangelion: Locus of the Soul for the DS and PSP.
Basically, we missed out on a lot of Neon Genesis Evangelion games, especially when it came to unorthodox titles. Fortunately, some of them are manageable even without knowing any Japanese. If you can find a copy of Evangelion 3rd Impact for the PSP, it is absolutely playable. (A lot of its menus and text are in English, even.) But, the lack of attention meant no character-raising simulations, weird minigame collections, or opportunities to learn to type with NERV’s help.
Well, at least now people can more easily watch the anime.