|Sad news all you retro gamers out there. Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco and the man known as the “Father of Pac-Man,” has sadly died at the age of 91.
Nakamura founded Namco waaaay back in 1955 when they originally ran children’s rides with two mechanical horses on the roof of a department store.
The soon to be gaming icon later expanded into the world of arcade games in the 1970s with Gee Bee and Galaxian in 1978 and 1979. However, it was Pac-Man, released in 1980, that came to define his legacy, going on to become a fixture in popular culture and a household name.
The idea for the game, came from the image of a pizza with a slice carved out and Nakamura reportedly chose the word “Pac” to represent the munching of the Pac-Man devouring its prey.
Launched at a time when there were few rival games, such as Space Invaders, Nakamura was one of the people credited with launching the Japanese videogame industry. In addition to retro icon Pac-Man, Namco also released other arcade classics like Dig Dug, Pole Position, and, of course, Ms. Pac-Man.
In 2008, Guinness World Records named it the world’s most successful coin-operated arcade game. It is estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times. Pretty sure we’re responsible for a large chunk of that!
Nakamura sadly died on January 22 which was confirmed by Namco. He will be greatly missed and his mark on the world left behind if truly profound.