Toshihiko Nakago

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Toshihiko Nakago in 2010.

Toshihiko Nakago (中郷 俊彦), born 1957, is a video game programmer, manager, and supervisor, and now the president of Systems Research & Development, a development company that has worked very close with Nintendo ever since they began their involvement with home video games. He was the primary programmer for a lot of Nintendo's early Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System titles. He became a director of programming in the early 1990s, and a manager of programming in the early 2000s, and now primarily acts as a supervisor.

During his time as a programmer, Nakago worked primarily on the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and developed some very impressive code. His programming on Super Mario Bros., for example, gave a template for really responsive player control in platformers, something that was seriously lacking before the game's release. He was also very good at fitting very large games into especially small amounts of code as can be seen with the expansive game maps in tiny ROMs. Most of the games he wrote are free from any obvious bugs or slowdowns.


Although I had played and beaten many of the early games Toshihiko Nakago programmed, he was often not credited in the games, or I didn't pay much attention to the credits to recognize his name. In my adulthood, I started paying much closer attention to developers of the games I loved, and I started seeing Nakago's name show up a lot. This was when I discovered that he was the primary developer for the early Mario and Zelda games, which are among my favorites.


I currently only include his games up to 1999.

Released Title Role
1983-07-15 Donkey Kong Sole NES port programmer.
1983-07-15 Donkey Kong Jr. Sole NES port programmer.
1983-08-27 Mahjong Sole programmer.
1983-12-12 Donkey Kong Jr. Math Sole programmer.
1984-11-30 Excitebike Sole programmer.
1985-01-30 Ice Climber NES port programmer.
1985-06-21 Kung Fu Sole NES port programmer.
1985-09-13 Super Mario Bros. Lead programmer.
1986-02-21 The Legend of Zelda Lead programmer.
1986-06-03 Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Lead programmer.
1987-01-14 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Programmer.
1987-07-10 Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic Lead programmer.
1988-10-23 Super Mario Bros. 3 Lead programmer.
1988-10-?? Super Mario Bros. 2 (US game) Lead programmer.
1990-11-21 Super Mario World Programming director.
1991-11-21 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Programming director.
1993-06-06 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Special thanks.
1993-07-14 Super Mario All-Stars Main SNES port programmer.
1995-08-05 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Programming director.
1995-08-09 BS Zelda no Densetsu Special thanks.
1996-03-31 BS Super Mario USA Programming director.
1996-10-26 Marvelous: Mohitotsu no Takarajima Technical support.
1997-04-27 Star Fox 64 Supervisor.
1997-12-21 Yoshi's Story Programming director.
1998-11-21 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Supervisor
1999-05-01 Super Mario Bros. Deluxe Supervisor