Founder of the Japanese video game company Namco, and the “Father of Pac-Man,” Masaya Nakamura, died at the age of 91.
Nakamura is widely regarded for his role in bringing Pac-Man — created by Toru Iwatani in 1980 — to Japan and to the US by way of a licensing deal with Midway. Namco was originally founded as Nakamura Manufacturing, which sold coin-operated children’s rides to a department store in Yokohana, Japan. The name was later changed to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (NAMMCo!) and began producing arcade machines such as 1976’s Namco F-1.
Simplified to Namco, the company sky-rocketed when it purchased Atari Japan from owner Nolan Bushnell for $500,000 — a far higher hid than Sega‘s offer of $80,000. This deal granted Namco exclusive license to distribute Atari’s games in Japan for a decade, leading to the development of original games such as Gee Bee and Galaxian.
Namco cemented its rightful place in the video arcade industry with the release of Pac-Man, known as Puck-Man in Japan for all you trivia buffs. The game’s main character would later become a major cultural icon. The Guinness World Records named Pac-Man the world’s most successful coin-operated arcade game of all time.
In 2005, Namco merged with Japanese toy maker Bandai where Nakamura held an honorary position until his death on January 22, 2017.
Source: Ars Technica UK