It was weird, it had moments that felt ripped straight from the best Japanese horror, and it had some great light projections. But once the athletes started walking in – the slowest, most boring part of every ceremony – there was something familiar about the orchestral backing tracks that turned this nerds head.
OK, the first in this house to notice was the 15 year old Monster Hunter fan. But then we began to wonder, and listen closer, to see what else from Japanese videogame classics were being piped into the stadium and loungerooms across the globe.
It turns out it was all videogame music. Every last bit of it (during the athlete walk in anyway).
Here’s some of the tracks we feel confident we’ve heard (with some guidance from some chats online to help flesh out the list):
- Dragon Quest
- Final Fantasy
- Monster Hunter
- Kingdom Hearts
- Chrono Trigger
- Soul Caliber
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Phantasy Star Universe
- Tales of Series
- Winning Eleven / Pro Evo Soccer
This page in Japanese seems to have scored the official listing, complete with the specific track names from the various games featured in the ceremony.
It’s a tricky year, it’s hard to represent the gravitas of gaming at an Olympic ceremony – but if we’re never really going to get esports at the Olympics (and I don’t think it’s an important debate at all) it’s cool to hear some first class game music welcoming the world to Japan.
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Seamus runs Byteside. You may also have spotted his words at the Australian Financial Review, the ABC, Junkee, Gamespot, The Esports Observer, CNET, Gizmodo and a few other spots over the years. He's very happy that he gets to nerd out for a living.