Is some of the music during the parade of nations reminding you of a climactic battle you once fought, or perhaps a title screen you clicked through a hundred times?
You’re not wrong: The athletes are marching around Tokyo Stadium to songs from video games, which the organizers describe as “a quintessential part of Japanese culture that is loved around the world.” Songs from popular games like Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, Sonic the Hedgehog and the Final Fantasy series have been featured. All were developed by video game studios in Japan.
Curiously, songs from Japan’s best-known video game studio, Nintendo, seem to be missing. No Zelda, no Mario, no Pokemon, despite the fact that, five years ago in Brazil, Japan’s then-prime minister transformed into Mario, red hat and all, as part of the closing ceremony for the symbolic handoff of the Summer Games from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo.
For those who need their fix of Mario and friends, Nintendo released a game called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games in 2019. You can choose from 20 characters — including Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Wario — to play 30 sports.