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The Tokyo Olympic Ceremony Credited Its Video Game History Through Music

The Tokyo Olympic Ceremony Credited Its Video Game History Through Music

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) The opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics was full of splendour that celebrated Japan's past, present and future, despite the fact that this Olympics will be like no other given that there will not be an audience in attendance save the few media representatives. Interestingly enough, one of the main talking points regarding the opening ceremony, was the music, specifically, the video game soundtracks. Video gaming is very much a part of modern Japanese life and culture and the nation is proud of it. Whilst video gaming in the west may be seen as adolescent, in Japan it is the opposite. Along with J-Pop, Japanese video game music composers are celebrated throughout the nation.

Anyone watching the Opening Ceremony would have counted no fewer than 19 pieces of music from various Japanese made video games. Other than South Korea, we could not imagine any other country in the world proudly showcasing to the rest of the planet their rich history of video games. It's a credit to Japan that they did this.

Pioneers of Japanese Video Game Music

Perhaps the most well-known of all Japanese video game composers is Junichi Masuda, the sole composer for the first generation of handheld Pokémon games. Masuda took much of his inspiration from classical music composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky, although Masuda's favourite musical genre is techno, which is evident in his various soundtracks from the Pokémon video games. Masuda approached the compositions with the mindset that a beginner should easily be able to play them. His idea was to introduce more complex levels to the soundtrack as the player progressed further into the game. To this day, Masuda remains the head composer and director for the Pokémon series.

Staying with Pokémon, the man credited with composing the Pokémon anime and the Pokémon movies is Shinji Miyazaki. Miyazaki was inspired by J-Pop and American Pop when creating his music and also credits jazz and Gil Evans. According to one interview, when a deadline is approaching and Miyazaki still has not finished composing a song, he tries to distract himself with beauty or something unusual in the world which he can set his eyes upon. Miyazaki's music has been heard by millions of people around the world, his music themes have been well received by both video game and music critics.

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony played two different themes from the fantastic Kingdom Hearts video game, Olympus Coliseum and Hero's Fanfare. The music of Kingdom Hearts was composed by Yoko Shimomura to much success. The game has a huge range of different music from happy and cheerful to melancholy and sorrowful. Of course, much of the music in the game is already known as the themes were retrieved from Disney films. Shimomura was initially hesitant when she was approached to compose the soundtrack to the first Kingdom Hearts game, as she stated that the mix of Disney characters and square-style story made it difficult to imagine what the game would look like. In the end, the composer made it her mission to create compositions that would make the player feel good while playing. She ensured that the music would accompany the action. The soundtrack was met with an overall positive reception and has only become more popular since the original Kingdom Hearts soundtrack was released in 2002.

Arguably the best video game ever made featured in the Opening Ceremony too. Music from the excellent Final Fantasy series included Victory Fanfare and Main Theme to the delight of many viewers around the world. The composer of these pieces was Nobuo Uematsu, a self-taught musician who began playing the piano at the age of 12. Such has been the success of Final Fantasy, the video game series now sells out Final Fantasy concerts, which feature solely pieces of music from Final Fantasy. Some of the music from Japanese video games, including Final Fantasy has also helped to inspire other gaming composers. In recent times, some of the best online slots have featured music soundtracks which have drawn on similar aspects of Japanese video game soundtracks. Slot games such as Koi Princess and Samurai Ken feature unique soundtracks specifically created in order to improve the player's experience.

The Complete List of Video Game Music Played at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

  • Kingdom Hearts "Hero's Fanfare"

  • Kingdom Hearts "Olympus Coliseum"

  • Final Fantasy "Main Theme"

  • Final Fantasy "Victory Fanfare"

  • Dragon Quest "Roto's Theme"

  • Nier "Song of the Ancients"

  • Tales of series "Sorey's Theme - The Shepherd"

  • Monster Hunter series "Proof of a Hero"

  • Chrono Trigger "Frog's Theme"

  • Soulcalibur "The Brave New Stage of History"

  • Ace Combat "First Flight"

  • Tales of series "Royal Capital Majestic Grandeur"

  • Monster Hunter "Wind of Departure"

  • Chrono Trigger "Robo's Theme"

  • Pro Evolution Soccer "eFootball Walk-on Theme"

  • Phantasy Star Universe "Guardians"

  • Gradius "01 Act I-1"

  • SaGa series "The Minstrel's Refrain: SaGa Series Medley 2016"

  • Sonic the Hedgehog "Star Light Zone"

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