After former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe emerged out of a giant warp pipe at the closing ceremony for Rio 2016, fans expected to see more from Nintendo at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. However, that ended up not being the case. The opening ceremony featured music from many game franchises, but nothing from Nintendo franchises. According to an article by Bunshun, there were originally plans for Nintendo content at the opening ceremony, but the company has reportedly opted out among several others.
The plan was to have a segment with performances inspired by the 33 Olympic sports and by the 8-bit world of video games. Shigeru Miyamoto was expected to supervise the video game part, which would have featured Super Mario and Space Invader characters in CG form. From there, it would have transitioned into a comedy performance by the pictograph party.
Plans for the omitted comedy performance featured a remote Lady Gaga wearing a Mario hat going down a warp pipe. The report mentions “that’s if she agrees,” so it wasn’t set in stone at the time of planning. After Lady Gaga entered the warp pipe, Japanese comedian and entertainer Naomi Watanabe was to appear in person at the venue, dressed as Lady Gaga in a Mario hat. The joke here is that popular impersonator Naomi Watanabe did a sensational Lady Gaga parody last year that now has almost 25 million views on YouTube.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony featured video game music from franchises like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, and even Ace Combat. Nintendo would have had five musical compositions had plans gone through:
Nintendo musical compositions for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
- “Main Theme” from The Legend of Zelda
- “Super Mario Suite” from Super Mario Bros.
- “Super Deluxe Medley” from Kirby
- “Opening” from Pokemon
- “Nintendo Song”
The report also mentions that Shigeru Miyamoto made weekly visits to attend meetings in Tokyo from Nintendo’s Kyoto headquarters. That means things were pretty serious for a while. However, things seemingly changed within a month of the Olympic Games. When Bunshun reached out for a comment, a Nintendo representative stated, “We’re not in a position to provide an answer at the moment.”
Unfortunately, there was no Nintendo content at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony. However, we did get a Snorlax Pokemon shoutout from skateboarding gold medalist Yuto Horigome.