Hirokazu Tanaka

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Hirokazu Tanaka
Hirokazu Tanaka - 01.jpg
Local 田中 宏和 (たなか ひろかず)
Born December 13, 1957 (Age 60)
Birth Place Unknown
Nationality Japanese   Japan.svg
Aliases H. Tanaka, Hip Tanaka, T.H, NAK,
Website hirokazutanaka.com

Hirokazu Tanaka is a Japanese composer and programmer. He is known for composing several popular soundtracks, including the Mother series, Tetris (Game Boy and NES), and Metroid.

Hirokazu was first enrolled at the Yamaha Music School in Japan at the age of five. From nine to eleven he primarily studied piano. Early in his life he became interested in rock music and he began to study guitar, drums, and keyboard.

Tanaka went to college majoring in electrical engineering to better his understanding of the electronics used in creating music. During college Tanaka was in a band that made it all the way to the finals of a music competition. However, in 1980, Tanaka quit the band in order to start work for Nintendo.

Tanaka started with sound effects on Nintendo's early arcade games, but by 1984 when Nintendo began work on the Famicom, Tanaka became the primary music composer for the R&D1 division of Nintendo.

Aside from his music composition, Tanaka also wrote code for a few games, helped design the audio hardware of the Game Boy, and designed the Game Boy camera and printer.

In 1998 Tanaka left Nintendo because they refused to allow him to continue work on the Pokémon project. He then went to work for Creatures, Inc. the company that produced the Pokémon trading cards. Since 2000 he now works as president for the company.

Tanaka has reused some songs in his video game music career, such as using the VS high scores theme in Barker Bill's Trick Shooting, the Nintendo World Championships 1991 song in Hello Kitty World, and Balloon Fight in Balloon Kid.

Music Composition


Hirokazu programmed the sound engine used in Nintendo's arcade games in 6502 assembly.


Tanaka originally used Yukio Kaneoka's sound driver, but later reprogrammed it for his own use. The music was written in 6502 assembly.


Hirokazu used Nintendo's in-house Kankichi-kun sequencer.


Most of these games have been verified to have been composed by Hirokazu Tanaka via Square Enix's website: http://www.squareenixmusic.com/composers/tanaka/projects.shtml

Released Title Sample Notes
1980-??-?? Helifire (ARC) Sound effects only.
1980-??-?? Radar Scope (ARC) Sound effects only.
1980-??-?? Space Demon (ARC) Sound effects only.
1981-??-?? Donkey Kong (ARC) Sound effects only.
1982-??-?? Donkey Kong II (GW)
1982-??-?? Donkey Kong Jr. (ARC)
1982-??-?? Mickey and Donald (GW)
1983-??-?? Donkey Kong 3 (ARC)
1983-??-?? Donkey Kong Jr. (GW)
1983-??-?? Mario Bros. (ARC) Sound effects only.
1983-07-15 Donkey Kong Classics (NES) Arranged by Yukio Kaneoka.
1983-09-09 Mario Bros. (NES) (マリオ ブラザーズ) Sound effects only.
1983-??-?? Mario's Bombs Away (GW)
1983-??-?? Mario's Cement Factory (GW)
1983-??-?? Pinball (GW)
1983-??-?? Popeye (GW)
1983-??-?? Snoopy (GW)
1984-??-?? Balloon Fight (VS)
1984-??-?? Duck Hunt (VS)
1984-??-?? Spitball Sparky (GW)
1984-02-18 Wild Gunman (NES) (ワイルドガンマン)
1984-04-21 Duck Hunt (NES) (ダックハント)
1984-06-12 Hogan's Alley (NES) (ホーガンズアレイ)
1984-07-04 Donkey Kong 3 (NES) (ドンキーコング3)
1984-11-14 Urban Champion (NES) (アーバンチャンピオン)
1985-01-22 Balloon Fight (NES) (バルーンファイト)
1985-01-30 Ice Climber (NES) (アイス・クライマー) Sound Driver
1985-06-18 Wrecking Crew (NES) (レッキングクルー)
1985-07-26 Stack-Up (NES) (ロボットブロックセット)
1985-08-13 Gyromite (NES) (ジャイロマイトジャイロセット)
1986-06-06 Gumshoe (NES)
1986-08-06 Metroid (NES)
1986-12-19 Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story (NES)
1988-08-12 Famicom Wars (FC) (ファミコンウォーズ)
1988-11-18 Ice Climber (FDS) Sound Driver
1989-02-03 Wrecking Crew (FDS)
1989-04-21 GameBoy BIOS (GB)
1989-04-21 Alleyway (GB)
1989-04-21 Baseball (GB)
1989-04-21 Super Mario Land (GB)
1989-04-21 Yakuman (GB)
1989-06-14 Tetris (GB) (テトリス)
1989-07-27 Mother (FC)
1989-11-?? Tetris (NES)
1989-11-28 Golf (GB) Sound Effects
1990-04-20 Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (FC) (ファイアーエムブレム 暗黒竜と光の剣)
1990-06-05 Knight Move (FDS)
1990-07-27 Dr. Mario (NES)
1990-07-27 Dr. Mario (GB)
1990-08-?? Barker Bill's Trick Shooting (NES)
1990-10-?? Balloon Kid (GB)
1990-??-?? Nintendo World Championships 1990 (NES)
1991-??-?? Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991 (NES)
1992-03-14 Fire Emblem Side-Story (FC) (ファイアーエムブレム外伝) Sound Driver
1992-03-27 Hello Kitty World (FC) (ハローキティワールド)
1992-05-05 Mario Paint (SNES) (マリオペイント)
1992-05-29 X (GB)
1993-01-14 Sanrio Carnival 2 (FC) (サンリオカーニバル2)
1993-03-19 Sanrio Carnival 2 (GB)
1994-08-27 EarthBound (SNES) (MOTHER2 ギーグの逆襲)
1994-12-?? Tetris & Dr. Mario (SNES)
1995-05-19 Snoopy Concert (SNES) (スヌーピーコンサート)
1998-01-01 Wrecking Crew '98 (SNES) (レッキングクルー'98)
1998-10-21 Tetris DX (GBC) (テトリスデラックス)
2001-02-23 Chee-Chai Alien (GBC) (ちっちゃいエイリアン)
2008-01-31 Super Smash Bros.: Brawl (WII)
N/A M82 (NES)

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