Where EAST meets the Northwest
Asian Reporter web extra, July 23, 2021
Athletes are introduced during the opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium at the
2020 Summer Olympics, on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. The athletes were
greeted by a few familiar notes — those video game songs that get stuck in your
head. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Olympics ceremony uses music from Japanese video games
By WALSH GIARRUSSO
The Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — The athletes of the Tokyo Olympics were greeted by a few
familiar notes Friday.
Those video game songs that get stuck in your head.
An orchestral medley of songs from iconic Japanese video games served as the
soundtrack for the parade of countries at the opening ceremony. The arrangement
included songs from games developed by SEGA, Capcom, and Square Enix.
Video game themes are often maligned as annoying earworms, 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, has seen three of its soundtracks appear on Japanese
The first song played Friday was "Roto’s Theme" from the Dragon Quest series.
Dragon Quest was enormously influential 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 they left school to purchase Dragon Quest III.
The music of the Final Fantasy series is among the most familiar to western
audiences. The parade included the main Final Fantasy theme and "Victory
Fanfare," the song that plays when a player wins an encounter. Both arrangements
have been part of the series from its first to its fifteenth installments.
Another well-known song that was featured was "Star 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 Olympic
Many of the iconic themes from other Nintendo games, such as Mario Bros. and
The Legend of Zelda, weren’t played in the parade. And producers didn’t include
many of the shorter jingles from early video games, such as Pac-Man and
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