The Tokyo Olympics has officially started.
After a long journey fraught with controversy and being postponed due to the pandemic, the Olympics held the opening ceremony with tennis player Naomi Osaka lighting the cauldron. What was unexpected, however, was that the athletes were met with an orchestral medley made of iconic Japanese video game music.
The medley included music from Sega, Capcom, and Square Enix games. Social media is filled with jubilant reactions as people discover their favorite video game make an appearance.
The Full Tracklist
In case you missed the ceremony, here’s the full tracklist in order of appearance. See if any of your favorite games made the list.
- Dragon Quest — “Roto’s Theme”
- Final Fantasy — “Victory Fanfare”
- Tales of – series — “Sorey’s Theme – The Shepherd”
- Monster Hunter — “Proof of a Hero”
- Kingdom Hearts — “Olympus Coliseum”
- Chrono Trigger — “Frog’s Theme”
- Ace Combat — “First Flight”
- Tales of- series — “Pomp and Majesty”
- Monster Hunter — “Wind of Departure
- Chrono Trigger — “Robo’s Theme”
- Sonic the Hedgehog — “Star Light Zone”
- Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution Soccer) — “eFootball walk-on theme”
- Final Fantasy — “Main Theme”
- Gradius (Nemesis) — “01 ACT 1-1”
- NieR — “Song of the Ancients”
- SaGa series — “The Orchestral SaGa – Legend of Music”
- Soul Calibur — “The Brave New Stage of History”
Interestingly enough, there are no soundtracks from the Super Mario series even though the pudgy plumber was featured heavily back when the Tokyo Olympics were first announced.
It may seem strange to people elsewhere, but Japan has a much different attitude towards video game music. Video game music is considered an art form in Japan, and well-known composers become minor celebrities in their own right. In fact, the NieR series has seen its soundtrack pop up on Japanese music charts.
THE KINGDOM HEARTS OLYMPUS THEME
AT THE OLYMPICS
THIS IS SO MUCH pic.twitter.com/DfIezJGV47
— Lulu🌈🎏 (@luulubuu) July 23, 2021
The reactions on social media have been ecstatic with fans of each series pointing tracks and losing their minds.
Controversial Turn of Events
While the video game orchestra is a welcome addition, not all stories from the Games have been so positive as the Olympics have been fraught with scandal after scandal. Two athletes and 10 support staff members recently tested positive for COVID-19. These 12 cases bring the total number of COVID cases directly associated with the Games to 87. The virus continues to spread in Japan with the Delta variant accounting for the majority of cases in Tokyo.
Apart, but not alone.
With the emergence of COVID-19, many athletes had to train for this moment in isolation. But they were always connected by their hope and shared passion. ❤️#StrongerTogether #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/7teAvhljXe
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
The climate has also been a concern as temperatures and humidity levels are higher than usual for this time of year and have been hazardous for athletes and organizers. A beach volleyball training session had to be delayed because the sand was burning the players’ feet. Tokyo recorded a temperature of 33°C (92°F), but with 60% humidity in the area, it felt much closer to 39°C (102°F).
Olympics officials face scrutiny as well. The opening ceremony director was fired when comments he made about the Holocaust in a comedy skit over 20 years ago resurfaced. And the former Tokyo 2020 chief, Yoshiro Mori, was forced to resign after he made sexist comments about women.
Hopefully, the controversies end there and the spirit set in place by the opening ceremony stays throughout the events.