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Arcade pioneer and ‘father of Pac-Man’ Masaya Nakamura dead at 91

The video game world just lost a legend.


Sarah Weber

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 30, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 2:43 am CDT

The video game community is mourning the death of a man who helped make the industry what it is today. 

Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco, has died at age 91 according to a press release by Bandai-Namco (formed in a merger in 2005). He was considered the “father of Pac-Man” by the company, which had a series of arcade hits in the late 1980s that helped popularize video games, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Galaga. 

Nakamura started his amusement company in 1955 with just a pair of mechanical horse rides, according to NBC News. Nakamura saw early opportunities to innovate in the fledgeling video game space, overseeing the 1979 launch of Galaxian, a Space Invaders competitor that added color and more freedom of movement. A year later, the company debuted Pac-Man, designed by Toru Iwatani, which holds a Guinness World Record for most successful coin-operated arcade game. It’s estimated Pac-Man has been played more than 10 billion times. 

Nakamura’s family has planned a private burial, but Bandai-Namco said it would host a separate memorial. 

H/T NBC News

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2017, 12:05 pm CST