If there's anything more American than a college football game, it’s the marching band's halftime show. Baseball games don’t have it. Pro football games rarely have it. Hockey games definitely don’t have it. It’s a beloved oddity of tuba-flavored Americana jammed halfway between four quarters of watching giant men batter one another.
And despite the brutality of American football — where the athletes get bigger and faster every year and careers are brutish and short — marching bands have helped usher nerd culture into the mainstream.
At this weekend's Big Ten game between Ohio State and Nebraska, the Ohio State marching band put on a raucous, well-applauded video game show tapping into nostalgia.
The games spanned continents and generations: Space Invader (an ‘80s mall-arcade regular created by the Japanese), Pokémon (a ‘90s sensation and branding phenomenon also from Japan), Tetris (coded by a Soviet), Super Mario (Japanese, but featuring two Italian brothers), and 2000s American favorite Halo. Most technically impressive, perhaps, was the band’s galloping-horse formation during the Zelda theme.