Masaya Nakamura, father of Pac-Man and arcade game legend, dies at 91

Nakamura was the founder of Namco which brought about what could only be termed as the golden era of arcade video games.

Masaya Nakamura

Masaya Nakamura, perhaps better known to the world as the "Father of Pac-Man" has died at the age of 91. He was the founder of Namco which was instrumental in bringing about what could only be termed as the golden era of arcade video games. Nakamura's firm said on its Japanese-language website he died on January 22. It did not give details of the cause of his death.

Nakamura founded Namco in 1955 as a company which operated mechanical horses on the roof of a department store and later made a transition into producing arcade games by the late 70's with arcade hits like Galaxian, Galaga and Xevious under its belt. However, it was Pac-man which would become the major money spinner for the firm.

Pac-Man, which became immensely popular, made a name for itself in the annals of the history as one of the best-selling arcade games of all time and it is now an international culture icon on its own right. Pac-Man even now sways considerable influence in Japanese culture, and still commands impressive merchandise sales and has TV series, theme parks and a film to its credit. In 2008, Guinness World Records named it the world's most successful coin-operated arcade game.

Masaya Nakamura was awarded "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette" by the Japanese government in 2007 for his contribution to Japanese industry. He was also inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010 with his beloved creation Pac-Man.

Nakamura also essayed the role of an executive producer for several movies after Namco took over Nikkatsu in 1993; "Warm Water Under a Red Bridge," "A Stranger of Mine" are a few of them. He was also executive producer on Crystal Sky's 2010 game adaptation "Tekken."

This article was first published on January 31, 2017