The 2020 Olympics have made their official pandemic-delayed start, and the opening ceremony, complete with the torch lighting, took place today. Keen-eared viewers might have noticed a certain kind of music being played during the whole ceremony and the Parade of Nations. That’s right — the Olympics featured video game music as its score for the lengthy opening ceremony, and it fits in perfectly.
Viewers first began to spot — or hear, I suppose — the music and point it out on social media. The Parade of Nations featured music from SEGA, Capcom, and Square Enix titles. The complete list of game music used in the opening ceremony included music Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter, Chrono Trigger, the Tales series, Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star Universe, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, Pro Evolution Soccer (or eFootball, I suppose it is now), Gradius, Nier, SaGa, and Soul Calibur.
It’s a great lineup of music, to be sure. One wonders why Nintendo music didn’t make the cut into the ceremony — Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda tunes would have been welcome — but perhaps it was a matter of rights and permission. There also doesn’t seem to be any consistency with the era of games presented. But all of the games in the series have Japanese composers (at least as far as I know), and they’re all lovely.
Games have already played an unexpectedly prominent role in the Olympics so far. The Olympics Google Doodle is a full-blown sports RPG with playable sports minigames. Twitch users can also catch the games on the NBC Twitch channel. One can only hope there’s a playlist of all the songs on YouTube or Spotify (though not many game soundtracks are on Spotify). The tracks were so good that even viewers who know nothing about games or music will have been able to enjoy them.