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Kenta Nagata

Kenta Nagata Instruments: Piano, Bass
Joined Nintendo: 1996
Company Role: Composer
Game Works: Mario Kart 64, 1080° Snowboarding, Wind Waker


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris and is under copyright.

Kenta Nagata has been a composer at Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development since 1996. He has brought elements of instrumental popular music to the company with several landmark contributions and is also known for producing memorable melodies. Nagata debuted the company by scoring Mario Kart 64. The exciting themes for the title's race tracks — ranging from the humorous "Moo Moo Farm" to the euphoric "Rainbow Road" — continue to inspire nostalgia. It received a Japanese, domestic, and 'best of' soundtrack release as well as a club remix album. In 1998, Nagata scored the stylish sports game 1080° Snowboarding. The score featured an innovative mix of rock, techno, and hip-hop that was popular with mainstream audiences and suited the mainstream image of the game.

Nagata subsequently assisted with the scores for Pokémon Stadium and Mario Artist: Talent Studio for the Nintendo 64. He went on to produce the field background music for Animal Crossing. He added interactivity to the title by ensuring the music adapted to the game's setting, for instance changing according to time of day. In 2002, he led the score for the GameCube's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. He created rustic and nautical themes for the game's setting and also offered memorable themes for the major characters while co-composers handled most battle, dungeon, and event music. Music from the game was subsequently performed at Mario & Zelda Big Band Live, where Nagata also made a guest appearance, and the First Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig.

Nagata later returned to the Mario Kart franchise for Double Dash. He took a backseat while newbie Shinobu Tanaka produced most themes, though his fingerprints were still present despite the different character overall. Following these projects, he created additional music for two adaptations. He produced new compositions and main theme remixes for the compilation The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition. On behalf of the enhanced DS port Super Mario 64 DS, he also made some new music for the new events and mini-games while otherwise reprising Kondo's score. In 2005, he produced the catchy and light-hearted background music for DS' Big Brain Academy. The music is especially remembered for its childish vocal theme that was later commemorated in the Touch! Generations Soundtracks.

Nagata recently marked the Zelda series' return to the seas by scoring The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. He mixed new compositions with plenty of arrangements from The Wind Waker to represent the series' return to the seas. He was also responsible for the music of Link's Crossbow Training but principally reprised Twilight Princess compositions. After his music was reprised on Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nagata has been confirmed as one of the composers of Wii Music. Directed by Kazumi Totaka and Hajime Wakai, he contributed many of the themes to the game. He added diversity of the score with his extensive experience scoring varied Nintendo projects and took a leading role with the guitar-based tracks. Nagata has evidently become one of the most popular and reputable composers at Nintendo.

List of Game Projects

Year Game / Role Console
1996 Mario Kart 64
Nintendo 64
1998 1080° Snowboarding
Nintendo 64
1999 Pokémon Stadium
Composition with Hajime Wakai, Toru Minegishi
Nintendo 64
2000 Mario Artist: Talent Studio (Nintendo EAD)
Composition with Kazumi Totaka, Toru Minegishi
Nintendo 64DD
2001 Animal Crossing / Animal Forest e+
Composition with Kazumi Totaka, Toru Minegishi, Shinobu Tanaka
Nintendo 64
2002 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Composition with Toru Minegishi, Hajime Wakai, Koji Kondo
2003 Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Composition with Shinobu Tanaka
2003 The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition
2004 Super Mario 64 DS
Composition with reprises by Koji Kondo
2005 Big Brain Academy
2007 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Composition with Toru Minegishi, Koji Kondo
2007 Link's Crossbow Training
Composition / Arrangement
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl
2008 Wii Music
Composition with Hajime Wakai, Toru Minegishi, Mahito Yokota

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
1080° Snowboarding Original Soundtrack (Japan) PCCG-00454
1080° Snowboarding Original Soundtrack (US) Promotional
Mario Kart 64 Original Soundtrack (Japan) PCCG-00419
Mario Kart 64 Greatest Hits (US) Promotional
Mario Kart 64 Race Tracks (US) 2100-Fall97
Mario Kart 64 on Club Circuit TKCA-71301
Mario & Zelda Big Band Live TKCA-71301
Mario & Zelda Big Band Live DVD Promotional
Nintendo 64 Trilogy (US) 2020-Fall97
Nintendo Sound History Series - Zelda the Music SCDC-00395
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 1: Peach Healing Music CN-P004
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 2: Koopa Loud Music CN-P018
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 3: Luigi B-Side Music CN-P020
Pokémon Gotta Catch the Sound Original Soundtrack 3591666
Touch! Generations Soundtrack Promotional
Zelda Sound Collection, The Legend of Promotional
Zelda The Wind Waker Original Soundtrack, The Legend of SCDC-00250/1