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 game. 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. This let you go through 30 songs from the first two movies in this series. You are fighting the angels by going through the tracks, while also experiencing the events of those two movies. 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 sorts of games were the Neon Genesis Evangelion:Ayanami Rei Ikusei (Ayanami Raising Project) titles. The initial PC and Dreamcast version 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, your 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, allowing 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 better deal with 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 its own original character and classmate, there are three different Rei Ayanamis who are all sisters named “Rei,” the angels aren’t necessarily bad and Gendo is Shinji’s father and the principal. It is very odd. The game is also super odd, with players helping to resolve problems, move obstacles out of Shinji’s way as he runs places and go through other brief minigames.
Then, 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.” More comfortable was Neon Genesis Evangelion: Typing Hokan Keikaku for the Dreamcast and PC, 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. Some of them are manageable now. If you 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, it also meant no character raising simulations, weird minigame collections or opportunities to learn to type. Well, at least now people can watch the anime series more easily.