That old-school mix was a very pleasant surprise. Nice to see Tanaka revisiting the game that gave him some sort of mainstream exposure for the first time, even if his role was just sound effects up till Donkey Kong 3. Anyway, although Tanaka left Nintendo some time in the mid to late 90s, he's still been very busy. He left Nintendo to become the president of Creatures Inc. He has focused on Pokemon-related productions (particularly the cards) in a management role and also composed songs for the Japanese Pokemon anime. However, he has also produced two games -- Chee-Chai Alien and Nonono Puzzle Chai-Rian -- that he probably also composed for. I haven't seen confirmation either way anywhere -- can anyone help here? Also, he produced an abstract composition for Extra: Hyper Game Music Event 2007 that appeared in the official compilation.
It's all explained in an interview available upon registration here. I'll quote the most relevant Q&A here:
AB. Do you have a studio now that you use to create music for current games and Pokemon?
HT. The company is called Creatures Inc., and the former president is the executive producer of Pokemon. I took the job to create the music for the Pokemon TV series for my spare time, before Pokemon gained today's popularity. I don't need to explain this, but Pokemon quickly became the phenomenon beyond my imagination. At first, I composed the music for it almost as a joke and didn't take it seriously. But I was asked to continue composing music for the anime series. Nintendo didn't allow employees to work for other companies, so combining my personal reasons that I had then, I made the decision to leave the company.
Everybody thinks I am a dedicated music composer, but before resigning from Nintendo, I planned and developed Pocket Camera and Pocket Printer. In the project, I wanted to put everything I felt in the flow of the gaming industry. I gave a presentation to Mr. Yamauchi [former chairman and president of Nintendo], and I drew all the images and even programmed the prototype game myself. Around then, I had a strong desire to create not just music, but to plan and develop a new product.
In the Pocket Camera, I prepared the sequencer that you can port the core parts of the Game Boy sound source, and enjoy the music from Game Boy on it. Having been on the staff who created the Game Boy sound source, this is something I wanted to do. There is a pirate CD software that is using this portion.
At Creatures, while composing the music for anime, I designed and developed a Game Boy title called Chee-Chai Alien. This game is also something I had in mind since I was at Nintendo.
Two years ago, the former president set up a new company and took off, so I was asked to operate Creatures. With my experiences at Nintendo, we basically design and develop game software and trading card games, inclusing Pokemon card games. I want to continuously supply unique gaming experiences, on whatever the platform might be.
I'm also inclined to say that Nintendo EAD's current sound team aren't that bad. They are all quite productive and versatile, specialising quite well in light-hearted projects. I have a lot of time for Kenta Nagata, the eclectic force behind Mario Kart 64 and a lot of the best tracks in The Wind Waker (although 1080° Snowboarding was largely unappealing to me despite its good ideas). Kazumi Totaka has done a great job enhancing the interactivity of game music with Animal Crossing and Pikmin 2, even if some of his works are mundanely superficial. I think Toru Minegishi is a good lead force of the Zelda series, though I suspect he is the reason for so much filler in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. I found some of Hajime Wakai's Pikmin / Star Fox works endearing too, even if a lot of his music bores me. I haven't warmed up to Shinobu Tanaka, responsible for the recent Mario Kart scores and many of the lesser themes on Super Mario Sunshine / Luigi's Mansion, but Nintendo fans seem to like her. Asuka Ota, the lead composer of New Super Mario Bros. and Four Swords Adventures, is up there with Mahito Yokota as a talented new employee. And then there's Koji Kondo... I love nearly all his major scores and think he's a very good manager at EAD.