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

Nintendo Gains More than $1 Billion in Market Value

Nintendo Gains More than $1 Billion in Market Value

Following the announcement of a trailer for the NX, Nintendo's share price has risen dramatically, signalling that investors are highly anticipating the effect the new machine may have on the value of Nintendo.

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...

AI learns how to build Super Mario levels by watching YouTube

AI learns how to build Super Mario levels by watching YouTube

An AI that can create sections of Super Mario simply by studying Youtube videos. Wow.

Counter Strike blamed for Mass Shooting in Munich

Counter Strike blamed for Mass Shooting in Munich

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Munich on Friday (22nd of July) German officials attempt to incite moral panic around ‘violent video games

The Independent Games Festival Announces 2014 Finalists – News

The Independent Games Festival Announces 2014 Finalists - News

The Independent Games Festival - essentially the indie Oscars - has announced its finalists. The coveted Seumas McNally grand prize will be chosen from the following great indie titles of the year: Device 6 (Simogo) Jazzpunk (Necrophone) Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once...

Street Fighter V and Shadowverse Collab Announced

Street Fighter V and Shadowverse Collab Announced

Japanese Developer 'Cygames' has announced that its collectible card game, Shadowverse, will feature a collaboration with Street Fighter 5 soon.

New Lords of the Fallen Trailer Revealed – Trailers

New Lords of the Fallen Trailer Revealed - Trailers

Now that Dark Souls 1 & 2 have paved the way for stiff, brutal and punishing action RPGs, it's unsurprising that we're beginning to see games heavily influenced by the franchise, both functionally and stylistically. One such game is Lords of the Fallen, developed by CI Games in...

Bloodborne – New Game Plus Mode Proving Too Difficult For Its Developers

Bloodborne - New Game Plus Mode Proving Too Difficult For Its Developers

In a recent Interview, Miyazaki claimed the develepors could not beat the New Game + Mode of Bloodborne.

Bethesda Announces Backwards Review Policy

Bethesda Announces Backwards Review Policy

Bethesda has announced officially that it will only send out review copies of games to publications one day before release.

Leave a Reply