As anime continues to gain popularity around the world, many fans are beginning to take notice of its influence on the video game industry. From early arcade games like Space Invaders and Tower of Druaga, to modern titles like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, anime has played a significant role in shaping the development and design of video games. Today, at Zirako Magazine, we will explore the complex intertwining of creativity between anime and the video game industry, highlighting key moments and developments that have helped shape the industry as we know it today.

Early anime influences in video games: Space Invaders and Tower of Druaga

(c) Space Invaders – 1978

One of the earliest introductions of anime into video games was the arcade game Space Invaders, released in 1978 by Tomohiro Nishikado. The game was heavily inspired by the anime Space Battleship Yamato, as well as other sci-fi influences like Star Wars and The War of the Worlds. Space Invaders became an instant hit and helped kickstart the video game industry in Japan, leading to the creation of many more anime-inspired games in the years to come.

The “Golden Age of Anime” and the integration of anime in video games

The Tower of Druaga, released in 1984, was another early example of an anime-inspired arcade game. The game’s RPG elements and Japanese animation aesthetic would later influence the designs for games like Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest. The Tower of Druaga was also notable for being inspired by Babylonian myths rather than anime itself, showing that the early stages of Japanese animation were still heavily influenced by other countries’ animation styles.

(c) The Legend of Zelda

It wasn’t until the 1980s that anime truly began to influence the video game industry, with the rise of the “Golden Age of Anime.” This period saw a drastic development of video games and anime that coincided and continued to integrate with each other. The shift from traditional to digital production allowed for a new level of creativity and freedom in the development of anime-inspired games.

One of the most notable examples of this integration was the release of the anime film Super Mario Brothers: Peach-hime Kyuushutsu Daisakusen in 1986. The film was based on the popular video game series and marked the first time that an anime film was initially based on a video game. This reversed inspiration allowed for more freedom in the development of similar styles of games and shows, leading to the creation of other popular series like Pokémon and Digimon.

During the “Golden Age of Anime” in the 1980s, Japan’s technological prowess and fascination with artificial and digital worlds positioned the country as a leader in the development of anime-inspired video games. Notable companies such as Sony, Nintendo, and SEGA revolutionized the console industry with their advancements in hardware and software, allowing for more immersive and creative anime-inspired game experiences. These industry giants, along with other prominent developers and publishers, continue to shape the gaming sphere with their innovative designs and trends.

From Xenoblade Chronicles to Genshin Impact

While anime has had a long-standing influence on video game adaptations, recent years have seen a rise in anime-inspired games that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling and immersive gameplay.

(c) Genshin Impact

One notable example of an anime-inspired game is the critically acclaimed RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles. The game features a sprawling open-world and a narrative that is heavily influenced by anime storytelling techniques. Similarly, games like Persona 5, Nier Automata, and the recent hit, Genshin Impact, have also gained attention for their anime-inspired art styles and captivating narratives.

The success of these titles further solidifies the impact of anime on the video game industry and hints at a bright future for the integration of the two mediums.

Pokémon Go: Pioneering the Way for Augmented Reality in Gaming

As the video game industry continued to evolve, so too did the technology behind it. Augmented Reality (AR) technology, popularized by games like Pokémon Go, has allowed for a new level of immersion and interaction with the real world. The game’s use of AR technology allowed players to catch virtual Pokémon in the real world, using their smartphones’ cameras and GPS. The success of Pokémon Go sparked a renewed interest in AR technology and its potential in the gaming industry.

(c) Pokémon GO – AR Photo Challenge

It also encouraged other game developers to incorporate AR features in their own games, leading to a new era of more immersive and interactive gaming experiences. The rise of virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse has further opened up new possibilities for the integration of anime and video games. With the advent of VR technology, players can now fully immerse themselves in anime-inspired worlds and experience the art and storytelling of anime in a whole new way.


The intricate relationship between anime and the video game industry has produced some of the most memorable and groundbreaking titles in the history of gaming. The rise of virtual reality and the metaverse, as well as the use of artificial intelligence, has opened up new possibilities for the integration of anime and video games. In a previous article, we covered how anime fans are connecting in the metaverse through VR Chat. As the industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more anime-inspired games that push the boundaries of art, technology, and storytelling. As fans of both anime and video games, it’s exciting to see where this relationship will take us in the future.