Japan’s prime minister became ‘Super Mario’ at the Olympic closing ceremony

japan pm as mario olympics head
BBC
It’s not every day you see a world leader dressed up as a famous video game character, but that’s exactly what happened during the Rio Olympics’ closing ceremony on Sunday night.

The character in question? Only Mario from Nintendo’s wildly successful Super Mario franchise. Oh, and the leader? None other than the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.

Of course, there was good reason for the stunt; it wasn’t like he just showed up wearing the outfit because that’s what he likes to do in his spare time. His surprise appearance was actually part of the closing ceremony, with Japan, as the next city to host the Games, given a few minutes during Sunday night’s show to offer a flavor of what to expect from Tokyo 2020.

Abe as Mario

In a video sequence played as part of the evening’s extravagant proceedings, we see Prime Minister Abe moving slowly through Tokyo traffic in an official car (full sequence at the bottom of this page). He’s concerned that he won’t make it to Rio in time for the closing ceremony, and considering it’s already well underway, he’s absolutely right.

It’s at this point he magically transforms into Mario, and with the help of another famous Japanese creation – manga character Doraemon – he speedily tunnels a Super Mario green pipe all the way to Rio’s Olympic Stadium. Like you do.

Next thing we know, Mario bursts out from the ground, slap in the center of the packed stadium, the familiar costume falling away to reveal Prime Minister Abe. Yes, it’s the real Abe. In Rio’s Olympic Stadium. Dressed as Mario.

The crowd was suitably surprised, and quite possibly impressed, though we can’t help thinking about the meeting where the idea was posed to the PM: “So we want you to, like, tunnel through Earth to get to Rio and, well, then you burst out of the ground dressed up as, err … Mario.” Abe: “Where do I sign up?”

Sunday’s unexpected stunt was reminiscent of the one pulled at London 2012 during its opening ceremony. There we saw the Queen meeting with James Bond, the pair of them leaving Buckingham Palace in a helicopter before parachuting into the stadium. At least, we assume it was the Queen.

Gaming

Seven years later, ‘Dark Souls’ is still a gloriously punishing masterpiece

Despite my experience and love of From Software’s Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, I never played the original Dark Souls. The new remastered version gave me a chance to remedy that, and it was glorious.
Movies & TV

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Everything we know so far

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Gaming

PlayStation does the smart thing, stops selling digital codes at physical stores

Sony will no longer offer PlayStation digital full-game downloads at retail stores. The game downloads will now only be available directly from the PlayStation Network's own digital store.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Gaming

Atlus reveals Persona 5 The Royal, teases mysterious new female character

Atlus revealed Persona 5 The Royal in a trailer that features a mysterious new female character. It appears that the redhead will be an antagonist to the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, but many details about the upcoming game remain unclear.
Gaming

Save big on Corsair gaming headsets and a premium keyboard

From March 24 to 30, you can pick up one of two models of the great Corsair's Void Pro gaming headset on a sweet discount. One of Corsair's best mechanical keyboards is also on sale this week -- at a steep discount.
Gaming

Blizzard says Overwatch endorsement system helped slash toxicity by 40 percent

Blizzard said that toxicity in Overwatch is down 40 percent, partly thanks to the addition of the endorsement system. The feature allows players to reward teammates and opponents who show good behavior during a match.
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 to add Shang Tsung, in likeness of 1995 movie actor, as DLC

Mortal Kombat 11 will add Shang Tsung as its first DLC character, and he will be in the likeness of and be voiced by the actor who played him in the 1995 movie based on the series. Noob Saibot was also revealed as a part of the roster.
Gaming

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers to add Dancers and the Hrothgar

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will add a second set of new jobs and races to the MMORPG, namely Dancers and the Hrothgar. The Dancers use throwing weapons and can buff teammates, while the Hrothgar are a male-only, leonin race.
Gaming

Sony to launch State of Play videos for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR

Sony will debut a new video program named State of Play on March 25. The first episode will focus on new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games, and it remains to be seen if Sony will tease the PlayStation 5.
Gaming

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild bug lets Link ignore temperature effects

A newly discovered bug in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild allows players to max out both hearts and stamina. The glitch also disables temperature effects such as the heat of Death Mountain and the cold of Hebra.