Pac-Man’s Father Dies at 91
Sad news for the gaming industry today: Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco has passed away at 91. Nakamura’s death was on January 22nd, but his passing was only just reported by the company in a press release. Citing respect of his family’s wishes, the cause of death was not revealed.
Founding kiddie-ride manufacturer Nakamura Manufacturing in 1955, the company was renamed Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company and again abbreviated into what we know today as Namco. Namco would go on to produce a legacy of arcade and home console hits over the next several decades, but it was most famous for its numerous 80’s arcade hits such as Pac-Man and Galaga (it’s worth noting that while he was not the inventor of Pac-Man–that honor goes to Toru Iwatani–he was responsible for the “Pac” name, which came from the character’s classic munching noise).
Nakamura would go on to further expand the company by acquiring famed film studio Nikkatsu and assist in the 2005 fusion of Namco and toy/game producer Bandai, in which he was kept on as an honorary member. He would go on to be inducted in the Video Game Hall of Fame and awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun” badge from the Japanese government for his industry achievements.
Nakamura’s passing has spurred an outpouring of from fans and developers alike, including notable Namco developers such as Tekken’s Katsuhiro Harada and Katamari Damacy‘s Keita Takahashi. Needless to say, without his input the world of video games would be a very different place.
For all his invaluable contributions to the gaming industry, we wish Nakamura well in the next world.