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The Unexpected Way Video Games Infiltrated The Olympics

The 2020 Olympics kicked off with an opening ceremony in Japan, during which gamers around the world were treated to some familiar tunes.

As reported by The Associated Press, orchestral versions of songs from Japanese games served as the soundtrack for the parade of countries during the opening ceremony. The arrangement featured tracks from the "SaGa," "Final Fantasy," "Dragon Quest," and "Sonic The Hedgehog" franchises, among others.

The parade kicked off with "Roto's Theme" from "Dragon Quest." The franchise is one of the most popular in Japan and "Dragon Quest' is credited as the first console RPG. Iconic tunes such as the main theme from "Final Fantasy" and "Victory Fanfare" were included in the ceremony as well.

"Sonic the Hedgehog" made his glorious return to the Olympic Games with "Star Light Zone" from the original release in the series. The track was remixed for the Nintendo DS version of "Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games." Notably, that's as close as the Olympics got to including a song from a Nintendo game, despite the Switch's run-away success in Japan.

The Olympics highlighted the growing popularity of video game soundtracks

Polygon compiled the full Olympics track list, which included pieces from some newer titles and games that aren't as prolific as "Dragon Quest" and "Final Fantasy." "Monster Hunter," "Tales," and "Chrono Trigger," were all represented with different themes. Some of the more interesting inclusions were "Nier," "Kingdom Hearts," and "Pro Evolution Soccer."

While non-gamers might find the use of orchestral video game themes at the Olympics a bit odd, this isn't a new concept. There have been numerous video game concerts, both in person and online, over the past few years, including the "Final Fantasy" Distant Worlds tour and the "Sonic the Hedgehog" anniversary concert

This isn't the only time video games will pop up at the 2020 Olympics, as esports are appearing at the games, albeit not in the traditional manner. Many of the "esports" featured are meant to mimic physical sports and are not the usual suspects like "League of Legends" and "Overwatch."