Those of you who tuned in to the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics Games would have noticed the world’s most iconic video game character make a guest appearance – Mario!
In a short piece introducing the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo there was the expected cosmic-cat Doraemon, ambassador for the Tokyo bid, as well as guest appearances from Hello Kitty and Pac-Man. However, the surprise that stole the show was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe who transformed himself into Mario to make it in time to the closing ceremony, emerging via an iconic green warp pipe in the centre of the stadium. And to top things off there was even the Super Mario end stage music complete with fireworks!
This is certainly a not-so-subtle hint that Nintendo are going to play a large role in the next games in four years’ time. But will Mario be the next Olympics mascot?
Well the rumour mills will certainly be speculating for quite some time but what is for certain is that Universal Studios Japan has invested forty billion yen (US$351 million) to create a special Nintendo-themed area to be open in time for the 2020 games. And guess who the mascot will be? Mario himself! Universal Studios Japan hope this new themed attraction will be as big (and popular) as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction that is currently wowing audiences at Universal Studios Hollywood. Please let there be a Mario Kart ride!
If Nintendo do indeed have a stake in the 2020 Olympics, hopefully we will be seeing a better video game release than the rather ordinary Wii U Mario & Sonic re-enactment that was created for the Rio 2016 games.