Video game music at the Olympics was a culturally welcome surprise
This story about video game music & culture, boiled down, in 1:39 minutes.
What’s the fuss?
The opening ceremonies for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games featured a number of classic tunes featured in Japanese video games, highlighting the cultural significance of the medium.
Despite the lack of audience at this year’s Olympic opening ceremony, the format and cultural importance of the show remained the same.
- The ceremonies began with traditional song, dance, and a display of Japanese carpentry.
- What followed was the traditional Parade of Nations, where video game fans were surprised to hear some familiar tunes.
Olympic athletes from every nation were introduced to different pieces of orchestrated music from Japanese video games.
- Starting with the main theme song for the famous role-playing game Dragon Quest, other featured tracks included works from Final Fantasy, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Monster Hunter just to name a few.
- Surprisingly, no music from Nintendo games (not even the Super Mario theme) were featured at all in the Parade.
Boiling it down
It makes sense that Japan is the first Olympic locale to feature video game music so prominently.
- Japan is widely considered as the birthplace of video games, as some of history’s most iconic games hail from the country.
- The nation proudly wears its contributions to video games on its sleeve — after all, the Prime Minister of Japan first announced the Tokyo Olympics dressed as gaming’s most famous plumber.
The music in video games is a crucial part of the gaming experience.
- Similarly to film scores and/or soundtracks, video game music immerses the player, such as by heightening investment in a story and to motivate certain player actions.
- Classic video game soundtracks can also evoke feelings of nostalgia, bringing gamers back to the days they were immersed in these games for the first time.