In honor of the Tokyo Olympics, which begun July 23 with a special interactive Doodle, Google is celebrating both Japanese culture and sports in a unique way inspired by the 16-bit era.
Doodle Champion Island Games, which can be played on any browser on any device (desktop or mobile), is the largest and most in-depth interactive Doodle ever created. It includes anime cutscenes created by Japanese animation company Studio 4°C and is playable on any browser on any device (desktop or mobile).
Players take on the role of Lucky the calico, who arrives to an island that is celebrating a festival with a series of mini-games inspired by 16-bit video games. It is made up of seven different sports, each one of which was inspired by a real-life event from the Tokyo Olympics: table tennis; archery; skateboarding; climbing; rugby; artistic swimming; and the marathon.
If you want to get into the competitive mood even more, players can choose one of four teams to join at the beginning of the game, each represented by an animal mascot: Ushi the cow in Blue, Karasu the cow in Red, Inari the fox in Yellow, or Kappa the yokai-like turtle in Green.
As you defeat each event’s champion (who is also represented by characters from Japanese folklore) and earn a sacred scroll, Google will keep track of your total score while the Doodle is active over the next couple of weeks until the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics to determine which team will be victorious in the final competition.
A number of interactive games have been published on Doodles in the past, most of which were inspired by other sports such as baseball, cricket, and basketball, as well as a fully playable Pac-Man game that could be accessed through the browser.
The game, however, is a surprisingly big bite-sized product that pays homage to old Japanese 16-bit games while still featuring an expansive overworld to explore, a diverse cast of characters drawn in pixel graphics, and anime cutscenes that follow each event.
When the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics begun today, video game players can expect to see even more tributes to their favorite games. Back in 2016, the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe made a memorable debut at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics closing ceremony costumed as Super Mario, setting the stage ablaze.