Exploring the influence of Disney on classic and modern games

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Disney has long influenced the gaming industry since its early ventures in the 1980s. From 8-bit adventures to cutting-edge virtual experiences, Disney’s magic continues to cater to diverse interests and abilities. Its vast selection ensures that its animated games enchant players across generations.

Some of the best examples of its unmistakable mark on classic and modern video games are “Kingdom Hearts” (2002), “Toy Story 3” (2010), “Fix-It Felix Jr.” (2012), “Disney Infinity” (2013), and “Fantasia: Music Evolved” (2014).

Disney’s popular games

“Kingdom Hearts” merged Disney’s enchanting worlds with iconic characters from the popular Final Fantasy series. The action RPG introduced Sora, a charismatic protagonist, who embarked on an epic journey accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy, encountering iconic Disney characters in a real-time combat system with RPG elements.

Featuring a groundbreaking crossover, Kingdom Hearts paved the way for the emergence of other crossover games that appealed to fans of both Disney and other franchises, such as “Disney Infinity Series,” “Disney Magical World Series,” and “Disney Heroes: Battle Mode.”

Following the success, Disney released Disney Infinity, a sandbox game with bespoke adventures featuring iconic Disney properties like Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. Players used figurines on the base to unlock characters and missions, while its cohesive art style brought these diverse worlds together.

Disney created Fix-It Felix Jr. after the success of “Wreck-It Ralph.” Fix-It Felix is a nostalgic arcade game that mirrors the fictitious classic featured in the movie. Players repair the building using a magic hammer while climbing the tower to confront Ralph.

Moving away from standard movie tie-ins, Avalanche Software’s Toy Story 3 offered a retelling of the movie’s story while introducing the imaginative Toy Box mode. This sandbox allowed players to customize the world, interact with characters, and serve as a precursor to the acclaimed Disney Infinity.

Music is a big part of Disney’s movies. Serving as Harmonix’s homage to Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, the classic musical movies, this game capitalized on Xbox Kinect’s motion-sensing capabilities. Players interacted with the music, conducting like a composer, offering a unique and immersive rhythmic experience.

Another honorable mention is Lego: The Incredibles, which combined the beloved Lego formula with both films, allowing players to collect brick studs as currency and access a vast roster of characters, including Pixar cameos from Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

It’s also worth it to check out Tron 2.0, released in 2003, which received critical acclaim with an 84 Metacritic score.

Other Disney-inspired games

Over the decades, Disney’s beloved characters, enchanting stories, and immersive worlds have inspired countless video games, including the classics like Bubble Shooter.

Bubble Shooter games are popular casual games that involve shooting colorful bubbles to create matches and clear the screen. Its simplicity makes it easier for the developer to redevelop the game to match almost any theme, including Disney’s classics.

This is not the first time a developer is making a fusion between a new or foreign concept with Disney’s legendary characters. Another example worth mentioning is “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.” 

While not directly featuring any Disney character, this action RPG developed by Big Huge Games and published by Electronic Arts was designed by renowned comic book artist Todd McFarlane. The game features an art style reminiscent of classic Disney animation and incorporates fantasy elements similar to those in Disney films.

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