The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics was not only a celebration of the sporting event, but also one for video game fandom. As athletes for each participating country walked in, everyone was treated to a treasure trove of video game soundtracks. Though one clear omission was anything from Nintendo. Their absence was especially jarring considering the way the 2016 Olympics in Brazil ended. A new report looks to have the explanation.
Japanese magazine Shukan Bunshun reports that Nintendo removed content from the Tokyo Olympics at the very last minute. The company was previously very involved in planning a video games sequence for the show, which was also scrapped. The report mentions up to 10 script proposals for the opening ceremony as well.
The report also mentions that five tracks, including the main themes from Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon were supposed to be played during the Parade of Nations. These were part of a script for the opening ceremony, dated 16 June 2021. Ultimately, that didn’t happen, which reinforces the notion that Nintendo decided to not be involved with the Tokyo Olympics at the very last minute.
There may be two reasons behind Nintendo not wanting to make an appearance at the Tokyo Olympics. One is the negative perception towards the event itself, being held during a rise in COVID-19 cases in Japan. The other was the scrapping of a very elaborate plan involving an 8-bit sequence for the opening ceremony. Said sequence had many revisions, and ultimately didn’t make it.