Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco and often called the father of “Pac-Man” has passed away at the age of 91. Namco was often herald as the company that brought in the arcade video gaming boom of the 1980s.
Nakamura founded Nakamura Manufacturing in 1955, the company that later became Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company — Namco became the acronym. The company began making small carnival-type rides and midway games. Nakamura, which some business sense and forethought sought to acquire Atari’s Japanese subsidiary in the 1970s giving it a foothold in the emerging coin-operated video game market, and set the stage for Namco to launch several hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Many don’t realize that Galaxian was their first video game to use multicolor sprites in 1979, but with the game Pac-Man in 1980 that was the hit. It was the global phenomenon that took the world by storm. There were so many things Pac-Man from toys, breakfast cereal, a Saturday morning cartoon to a damn song. Anyone remember Pac-Man Fever?
Namco followed up the success with Pac-Man with the sequel, Ms. Pac-Man in 2981, which begat Galaga, then Dig Dug and Pole Position. After opening a North American licensing division across the street from Atari, Namco sold rights to adapt its hits to that console maker. Unfortunately, a poorly executed adaptation of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 is partially blamed for the collapse of home console gaming in the middle 1980s, along with E.T.
Bandai Namco announced on Monday that Nakamura had passed away on January 22nd.