Olympics ceremony uses music from Japanese video games


TOKYO (AP) – Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were greeted with some familiar notes on Friday night.

Those video game songs that stay in your head.

An orchestral mix of iconic Japanese video game songs served as the soundtrack for the country parade during the opening ceremony. The arrangement included songs from games developed by SEGA, Capcom and Square Enix.

Video game themes are often disparaged as boring verse, but in Japan the music that accompanies games is considered an art form.

Video game composers are famous in Japan, and NieR, one of the series featured in the parade, saw three of its soundtracks appear on the Japanese music charts.

The first song played on Friday was “Roto Theme” from the Dragon Quest series. Dragon Quest had a huge influence as the first console role-playing game, launching a genre. The series became so popular in Japan that 300 students were arrested for truancy after leaving school to buy Dragon Quest III.

The music from the Final Fantasy series is among the best known to Western audiences. The parade included the main theme of Final Fantasy and “Victory Fanfare,” the song that plays when a player wins an encounter. Both arrangements were part of the series from its first to its fifteenth installment.

Another well known song that was featured was “Starry Light Zone” from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. In addition to appearing in the original game, a remixed version appeared in the DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympics.

Many iconic themes from other Nintendo games, such as Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, were not played in the parade. And the producers haven’t included many shorter jingles from early video games, such as Pac-Man and Asteroids.


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