Influential Namco founder dies at 91

Influential Namco founder dies at 91

Masaya Nakamura may not be a household name in the west, but his legacy certainly is. Founder of Japanese gaming giant Namco (recently merged with Bandai to form Namco Bandai), he was responsible for pushing the growth of Namco’s fledgling gaming division in the 1970s and 80s. His biggest success was in helping get Toru Iwatani’s Pac-Man (originally Pakkuman in Japan) into arcades across Japan and America. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nakamura passed away on January 22nd, with Namco Bandai publically announcing the legend’s passing on Monday the 30th. Cause of death was not disclosed.

He is reportedly known as the ‘Father of Pacman’, although until today I always thought that title reserved for Toru Iwatani. A quick Google search gives us Iwatani, followed by a huge list of news posts just like this one calling Nakamura the ‘father’. Odd, to say the least.

Originally studying in shipbuilding, Nakamura quite successfully predicted a need for light-hearted entertainment in a post-war Japan, which led him to found Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company. Such a mouthful was later shortened to the much catchier and more enigmatic ‘Namco’. Perhaps the similar structure to the word ‘Nintendo’ has always led me to believe it meant something much more intriguing in a foreign tongue. You can thank me when it’s origin comes up on a pub quiz in a few years…

Pac-man holds the record for the highest-grossing arcade game of all time and is synonymous with video gaming, especially the retro and arcade scene, the world over. Nakamura was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame alongside Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario and Donkey Kong) and Pac-Man in 2010.

Nakamura was responsible for Namco’s global success, move into video games and eventual purchase of Atari’s assets upon their collapse. He remained an honorary advisor for the company throughout his retirement, up until his recent death.

The Washington Post says “hits from Namco include driving-simulation games such as “Ridge Racer” and a drumming game.” Their choice of games to showcase Namco’s impact are odd and a little unflattering. Aside from the vague and uninteresting examples of Ridge Racer and a ‘drumming game’, Namco are responsible for the Pacman, Galaga, Digdug, Katamari Damacy, Time Crisis, Tekken and Soul Calibur series, among others. A tribute to the late Masaya Nakamura (or perhaps an odd coincidence) can be seen in Humble Bundle’s latest Namco Bandai bundle.

Related posts

Google Purchases Twitch for $1 Billion Dollars

Google Purchases Twitch for $1 Billion Dollars

For those of you unfamiliar, Twitch TV is a gaming stream platform that's rapidly become an essential pillar of the eSports and online gaming community. Gamers love Twitch because it allows viewers to tap into gaming as a spectator sport, often it becomes more about the personality and persona...

NewsBite 21/08/14 – “Quinspiracy” and Accusations of Corruption

NewsBite 21/08/14 - "Quinspiracy" and Accusations of Corruption

Vince takes a look at this weeks biggest news story and its ramifications on the wider video gaming press and communities. Be warned, he has strong opinions as always on the topic, as well as the industry and associated community's reactions to the "Quinnspiracy"...

IGDA Names and Shames Online Harassers with the GG Autoblocker

IGDA Names and Shames Online Harassers with the GG Autoblocker

IGDA Names and Shames Online Harassers with the GG Autoblocker

The Day One Censorship Controversy

The Day One Censorship Controversy

  Criticism can be tough. Whether you are a writer, painter, sportsman or game developer - having someone level criticism, especially negative, at your hard work can be hard. However, criticism is a necessary force. It protects the consumer, and it allows for media, arts and...

IO-Interactive Announce New Hitman Game – News

IO-Interactive Announce New Hitman Game - News

Hitman developers IO-Interactive posted an open letter to the gaming community earlier today announcing a next-gen Hitman game. From the sounds of things the game will be a prequel to the fairly disappointing Hitman: Absolution released in 2012. Set during the “prime of his career,” the...

Bulletstorm developers go independent

Bulletstorm developers go independent

Developers of Bulletstorm and Painkiller, People Can Fly, have regained their independence from Epic Games

Google Now Hiring for Pokemon Masters

Google Now Hiring for Pokemon Masters

This April Fool's Day, Google has announced that they are hiring a Pokemon Master! By simply updating your Google Maps app on your smart phone, you can use the GPS-enabled maps to track down 150 pokemon. Catch them all and maybe you too will be able to work for Google as a full time...

Update: Batman Arkham Knight

Update: Batman Arkham Knight

Batman Arkham Knight has now joined a very select club of games, ones which have been removed from Steam. Albeit admittedly by the game's publisher, Warner Brothers. In the last two days, since Voletic did a PSA warning potential consumers against purchasing the title, it has come to light that...

Why the Snes Playstation Pictures are Fake

Why the Snes Playstation Pictures are Fake

The Snes Playstation pictures have been floating around the web recently. Here's why we feel the prototype is fake.

Leave a Reply