MASAYA NAKAMURA, the founder of Namco, has sadly passed away at age 91.
Nakamura established Nakamura Manufacturing, a Toyko-based amusement ride company, in 1955, and the firm turned into Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, or Namco, in 1958. The company later merged with Bandai in 2005 to become Bandai Namco.
Namco hit the big time after the firm purchased the then-struggling Atari Japan for $500,000, offering $80,000 more than rival outfit Sega. The deal granted Namco an exclusive license to distribute Atari's games in Japan for ten years and led to the development and release of original games such as Gee Bee and Galaxian in 1978.
However, it was 1980's Pac-Man which really put Namco on the map, and earned Nakamura the nickname of 'the father of Pac-Man'. The game, which to this day remains a cultural phenomenon, has been named by Guinness World Records as world's most successful coin-operated arcade game.
Other notable franchises released over the past few decades include Galaxian, Ridge Racer, Soul Calibur, Tekken, Splatterhouse, Dig Dug and Time Crisis.
Nakamura was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2007 by the Japanese government for his achievements.
Bandai Namco's press release states that Masaya Nakamura passed away on 22 January. Only close relatives attended his wake and funeral, while information on a farewell event to look back at the life and achievements of Masaya Nakamura will be announced at a later date.
RIP Nakamura. µ
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