Hirokazu Tanaka 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.
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.
In some of Nintendo's VS arcades, he was sometimes credited in the high scores as "NAK" (as in, TaNAKa). This isn't a surefire way of determining the composer of an game because NAK was also used for Akito Nakatsuka.
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.
Hirokazu programmed the sound engine used in Nintendo's arcade games in 6502 assembly.
At the time Tanaka started working for Nintendo, there wasn't a sound engine for the Famicom, so Tanaka programmed his own sound engine in 6502 assembly the same way he made arcade music.
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
|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)||Sound effects only.|
|1983-??-??||Mario's Bombs Away (GW)|
|1983-??-??||Mario's Cement Factory (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)||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)|
|1986-02-21||Famicom Disk System BIOS (FDS) (ファミコンディスクシステム)|
|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||Super Mario Land (GB)|
|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)||
|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)|
|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)|
|Unreleased||M82 (NES)||1988-06-09||Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)|
|Unreleased||Sim City (NES)||Sound Driver|
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,47443/ - MobyGames.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirokazu_Tanaka - Wikipedia.
- facebook.com/hirokazu.tanaka.560 - Facebook.
- twitter.com/#!/hirokazutanaka - Twitter.