Masaya Nakamura has died at 91 years old. Nakamura was one of the pioneers in the world of arcade games. He was well-known for having established the video game company that created one of the most influential games of all time, Pac-Man. Nakamura was dubbed as the “Father of Pac-Man.”
Who Is Masaya Nakamura?
Businessman Masaya Nakamura was the founder of Namco. The company was first an amusement ride manufacturing company in 1955. After World War II, the rooftops of Japanese department stores served as homes to these family rides and analog arcade games. In fact, Namco started with two mechanical horse rides on a rooftop, as reported by the Associated Press.
Nakamura later turned Namco into Japan’s third biggest video game developer under his leadership. Under Nakamura’s lead, the company was able to make games such as Galaxian, Galaga, Pole Position, and Xevious. However, Namco is best known for making the coin-operated game Pac-Man, engineered by Toru Iwatani in 1980, which became the highest-grossing video game of all time. The game was adapted into gaming consoles, television series, films, and theme parks. The game was claimed to have been played 10 billion times.
In 2002, Nakamura stepped down as CEO. He later took on a ceremonial role in the company’s management. In 2005, Namco merged with rival Bandai, thus forming Bandai Namco. Nakamura was an honorary adviser in the company’s entertainment arm, Bandai Namco Entertainment.
Nakamura never thought that Pac-Man would be the success that it actually is. He said in an interview that “I never thought it would be this big. You know baseball? Well, I knew it would not be a single. But I thought maybe a double, not a home run.” Pac-Man exploded and created a new massive era. In fact, more than 250,000 units were sold ever since the game saw an emergence in 1979, of which 100,000 sales came from the US alone.
Cause of Death
Nakamura’s death happened last January 22. Bandai Namco confirmed the news after one week on its website. But, Bandai Namco did not disclose the cause of his death or the location where he died.
Nakamura was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010. Japan also awarded him in 2007 with the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette” for his unforgettable contributions.