Founder of Namco & Pacman Dies at 91

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Robin

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Masaya Nakamura, the "Father of Pac-Man" who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game, has died. He was 91.

Nakamura, who died on Jan. 22, founded Namco, part of Bandai Namco, in 1955. It started out as just two mechanical horse rides on a department store rooftop but went on to pioneer game arcades and amusement parks.

Bandai Namco, formed in 2005 from a merger of two game companies, confirmed Monday that Nakamura had died.

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Pac-Man, designed by Namco engineer and video game maker Toru Iwatani, went on sale in 1980, at a time when there were few rival games, such as Space Invaders. The plucky yellow circle with the huge mouth was a huge hit.

It's estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times: Guinness World Record has named it the world's most successful coin-operated arcade game.

The game was non-violent but just challenging enough to hook players into steering the Pac-Man for hours through its mazes on the hunt for ghostly tidbits.

The iconic Pac-Man adorns T-shirts and other merchandise and inspired animation shows, a breakfast cereal and even the nickname for Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.

The idea for Pac-Man's design came from the image of a pizza with a slice carved out. Nakamura reportedly chose the word "Pac," or "pakku" in Japanese, to represent the sound of the Pac-Man munching its prey.

"Pac-Man is a gamer friendly game with tons of cute characters and that's why it was loved for such a long time," Iwatani said in 2015 at a New York red carpet premiere of "Pixels," that featured Pac-Man creatures and featured him in a cameo role.

The game started out as an arcade item and then was at first played on the Nintendo Family Computer home console. It since has been adapted for cellphones, PlayStation and Xbox formats.

Other hits from Namco include driving simulation games like "Ridge Racer" and a drumming game.

Nakamura was a key player in Bandai Namco's global growth. His pet saying was that his company delivered varied and total entertainment. He took pride in having fun and games for his job.

The company reported Nakamura's death but would not comment on its cause or other personal details, citing his family's wishes. A private wake and funeral were held for the family, but a separate memorial is being planned, Bandai-Namco said.

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What a great company with great games. Had many good times playing Ridge Racer.

R.I.P.
 
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ryzno

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The Japanese business giant who helped put Pac-Man on the path to chomping dots and ghosts has gone to the great arcade in the sky.

Masaya Nakamura, founder of Namco, died on January 22 ... according to a release from the company on Monday.

Namco released Pac-Man in 1980 ... and has been inhaling dots at record pace ever since. The game was named the highest-grossing arcade game of all time last year.

The company didn't release any details about how Nakamura passed away. It's worth noting ... his death came 18 months after the release of "Pixels."

Nakamura now has more in common with Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.

#RIP

Rest in Peace sir and thank you for being a pioneer in the gaming world.:(
 
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Masaya always struck me a the nicest, happiest, business man I'd ever seen in the interviews I have read over the years. It's like that old saying, 'Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life', Masaya Nakamura lived that very principle, we should all be so lucky.

Whether you've played a Pac Man game or not, every gamer should pay homage to this man for his influence on video games. Just like Ralph Baer, he is one of the true fathers of the video game industry and it would not be where it is today without him.

RIP Masaya and thank you for all of the smiles and fun and may there be many more for years to come.