I'm a sucker for an Olympics opening ceremony. I love the spectacle of it, with all the singing and dancing and references to historical things. Whenever the athletes march out, I often turn over the TV for a bit, though. It's nice to see them happy and waving, but it's usually a long one.
But not this year! Since this Olympics are taking place in Tokyo, Japan's decided to spruce up the atmosphere with an ambience game-likers will appreciate. Yes, each country's athletes are entering the stadium to orchestral versions of music from classic Japanese video games.
The medley features tracks from Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Sonic the Hedgehog. I mean, I'm literally watching it right now and yes, it's bizarre to see a nation emerge to the "Victory Fanfare" from Final Fantasy, but it's also rather fitting. These are all catchy, iconic tunes, and they absolutely deserve to usher these sporting titans.
As I write this, Tunisia's just rocked up and I can't identify what the music is, and it's killing me. God, it's so upbeat and catchy, almost like I'm drifting along a shoreline in a Mario Kart game. And I suppose that's why they've chosen these tracks. Of course, they're a celebration of Japan's video game excellence, but also, they're just fun. And isn't that at the heart of sport anyway? Competition is exciting, sure, but we throw balls and swim fast and jump over barriers at lightning speeds because they're fun.
Here's the full list of tracks if you're interested to see what absolute blinders the Tokyo Olympics athletes are storming out to (thanks, Nikkan Sports):
- Dragon Quest - "Introduction: Lotto Theme"
- Final Fantasy - "Victory Fanfare"
- Tales of Series - "Sley's Theme-Guru-"
- Monster Hunter - "Proof of Hero"
- Kingdom Hearts - "Olympus Coliseum"
- Chrono Trigger - "Frog Theme"
- Ace Combat - "First Flight"
- Tales of Series - "Royal Capital-Dignified"
- Monster Hunter - "Wind of Departure"
- Chrono Trigger - "Robo's Theme"
- Sonic the Hedgehog - "Star Light Zone"
- Inazuma Eleven - (Pro Evolution Soccer) "eFootball walk-on theme"
- Final Fantasy - "Main Theme"
- Phantasy Star Universe - "Guardians"
- Kingdom Hearts - "Hero's Fanfare"
- Gradius (Nemesis) - "01 ACT 1-1"
- NieR - "Initiator"
- Saga Series - "Makai Ginyu Poetry-Saga Series Medley 2016"
- SoulCaliber - "The Brave New Stage of History"
A shame they didn't feature the menu theme from Yakuza 0, but there's always next time, whenever that may be. Probably when I'm 80 and living in a sun-blasted wasteland with my pet rock.
If you'd like to watch the ceremony, you can watch live or catch up over on BBC iPlayer.