Doodle Champion Island Games: the Google game that pays homage to the Olympics

Doodle Champion Island Games: the Google game that pays homage to the Olympics

Doodle Champion Island Games

For a few days, to celebrate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - as you know, the year has remained the one originally planned - Google has created a doodle that leads to a video game: Doodle Champion Island Games. It is a work that pays homage to, or would like to pay homage to, the land of Japan and the Olympic games.

The choice to create a videogame is certainly not accidental. If Italy had carried out the candidacy of Rome 2020, and had obtained the organization of the event, Google would hardly have celebrated the occasion through a video game. It was chosen because it is considered an identifying element of Japanese culture, and this should make any enthusiast happy. The pride with which Japan has shown off its connection with video games is simply historical. In Italy, a portion of adults, basically born before the 70s (we are talking about perception, they have no data to share), consider video games a waste of time, a pastime for the ignorant, a non-edifying activity.

Well, in Japan this is not the case: and it certainly is not a country with little history behind it. During the opening ceremony, as you may have heard, many pieces taken from video game soundtracks were used, such as Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger. And many more should have been, according to rumors, if some companies (Nintendo, among others) had not preferred to untie their name from this event which, we remember, in Japan is unwelcome - due to pandemics and restrictions - to a large extent. of the population. The demonstration was announced by Shinzo Abe, then prime minister, dressed in a Super Mario hat; he had arrived in Rio, straight from Tokyo, right through one of the plumber's pipes - and who knows how fast you go in there.

Two years ago Shigeru Miyamoto, first among the creators of video games, received the honor of "person of cultural merit" from the Japanese government. This is no small claim. It means that the state recognizes and supports this activity, giving it creative and cultural dignity. And all this was seen, even more, during the inaugural ceremony of the Olympics.

In short, all this premise to try to understand why Google has chosen a video game to celebrate the Olympics, and why - as enthusiasts - we should be happy with this association. In short, its very existence is much more relevant than the quality of the work itself. However, if you would like to know more, here are some details in our special on Doodle Champion Island Games.


As we said, the game is a celebration of Japan and, at the same time, of the Olympic Games. The protagonist is Lucky, a ninja cat, which already in the name refers to the "cat of fortune" (Lucky Cat), a beautiful Japanese statuette. It is a calico cat, that is a feline with a tricolor coat that, you didn't know, is almost always female.

Adventure is framed from above, and both as a setting and at a graphic level, it pays homage 16-bit games. The introduction, and each main event of the work, is narrated through films made by Studio 4 ° C, a Japanese animation studio that has existed since 1986 (which in the past has made, among other things, three feature films on Berserk).

Once you reach the island of champions, the unique setting of the adventure, Lucky has the goal of defeating the seven legendary champions by facing each of the sports present. The commands are very simple: you move with the arrows, and with the space bar you perform the main action of the moment. The latter varies according to the situation: in table tennis, for example, it is used to hit the ball.

There are seven sports present: marathon, synchronized swimming, archery, rugby, climbing, skateboarding and the aforementioned table tennis. The events are quite short and simple, also suitable for casual players. This does not mean that they are not well done: rugby is very nice, and made us imagine a potential Mario Rugby who can deepen and deform, at a playful level, the mechanics of this discipline. The climb itself is enjoyable, with moving and spinning holds.

Lucky can join one of four teams (red, blue, green or yellow). Inside the island there are panels from which to check the general ranking: each user helps his team to accumulate points. Once you have finished the game, which also includes short side missions, you can repeat the activities as you wish, in order to improve your record.

References to Japan

The island of champions , both as vegetation and as conformation, it reminds - of course - Japan. The references to the Japanese land, however, do not end here. Each of the seven champions, for example, has a link with the traditions (or history) of this land.

In the marathon, set on a beach, you have to defeat a kijimuna (a mythological spirit of Okinawa). The table tennis champion is a tengu, a legendary creature, often represented with a long nose, red complexion and the anatomical features of a bird: his gym is in a bamboo forest. In synchronized swimming you have to challenge - underwater - Otohime, the princess of a marine kingdom (described in the story Urashima Taro). In archery you face Naso no Yoichi, a famous twelfth century samurai, in a pond with lotus flowers. In rugby, near a volcano, the Oni, orcish demons compete against each other; in Lucky's team there is also Momotaro, a hero of Japanese folklore. The climb features Fukuro, a giant owl-shaped deity (Cikap-kamuy), who watches over humans from the top of a snow-capped mountain. In skateboarding you have to overcome a tanuki, notorious shape-shifting raccoon dog (well known to Super Mario fans).

In short, every sport is linked to a characteristic setting of Japan, and is chaired by a champion linked to tradition , to Japanese culture or history. Doodle Champion Island Games is certainly not a masterpiece, but it represents a pleasant initiative, suitable for everyone, which pays tribute to the country hosting the Olympics with dignity. Above all, as we wrote at the beginning, it certifies the link between video games and Japan: a bond seen as an honor, not as something to be ashamed of.

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