news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Olympics and video games the obvious and not-so-obvious links

Olympics and video games – the obvious and not-so-obvious links

From snowboarding to figure skating, the tie-ins are there

Anyone watching the Winter Olympics 2010 last night saw Shaun White win the gold in the half-pipe with an amazing first run in the finals. Of course, it’s Shaun White – snowboarding legend, 23 years old, video-game icon. If the first run was not amazing, the second certainly was. White performed a trick no has done before, or seen.

My wife commented that he raised the bar. My teen daughter dryly added: “Ya, and it’s sitting on top of the lights” (that illuminated the course).

Tony Hawk (another video-game icon, and real-world skateboarding legend) was on hand to comment in a small piece with Cris Collinsworth as a teaser to the event. White and Hawk are friends, so that was a no-brainer.

But there is another link to video games and it’s tucked in the unlikeliest of places – the men’s figure-skating competition. After the short program Tuesday, Nobunari Oda (of Japan) sits in fourth place heading into tonight’s free skate (the long program and where the medals are decided). Nobunari is the 17th descendent of Oda Nobunaga, a warlord in the 16th-century feudal Japanese era. Nobunage was also the center piece in a series of video games originally released by KOEI beginning in 1988 called Nobunaga’s Ambition. The game, which saw numerous iterations, was released on the NES, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive, Super NES, PlayStation 2 with ports for the Macintosh and Amiga PC platforms.

Aside from the blood-line thing, it appears that both the warlord and the figure skater have another connection – both use blades. Will be interesting to see if the younger Oda will be as handy with steel under him as his long-dead predecessor was with steel firmly gripped.

Of course, there are other Olympic tie-ins to video games … like Olympic themed button mashers, but let’s not go there.

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