Namco founder and innovator Masaya Nakamura has died at the age of 91, according to a report by WWG.com’s Robert Workman. Nakamura died on Jan. 22, but Bandai Namco Entertainment didn’t announce the news until Monday.
Nakamura founded Namco in 1955 as the manufacturer of amusement-park rides before shifting the company’s focus to developing games for arcade cabinets after the acquisition of Atari’s Japanese subsidiary.
Nakamura helmed Namco through the birth of video games and is often touted as “the Father of Pac-Man” for his role as CEO during the game’s release.
He helmed the company through many other notable releases, including Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man and Dig Dug.
Nakamura stepped down as CEO of Namco in 2002 but remained with the company in a more ceremonial role.
In 2005 the company merged with long-time rival Bandai to form Bandai Namco Entertainment, which publishes such notable game franchises as Dark Souls and the Tales series of games.
Just got word from King Kai. Masaya Nakamura, creator of Pac-Man, and founder of Namco, has passed through the Other World Check-In Station.
— Goku (@Goku) January 30, 2017
Masaya Nakamura the guy who made Pacman, founded Namco and was a Pioneer of Arcades passed away. What a track record! Rest well 🤙 pic.twitter.com/s54fxOCxqR
— SpaceHamster (Jeff) (@Jeff_like_Feff) January 30, 2017
Hard to imagine video games without Namco. Their influence on games and the industry was huge. RIP Masaya Nakamura https://t.co/W7d6FjgauK
— Pat Contri (@PatTheNESpunk) January 30, 2017
— Jo-Han Ng (@jo_usmc) January 30, 2017