Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passes away at age 91

Bandai Namco Entertainment announced that Masaya Nakamura, the man who founded Namco, passed away at the age 91. In 1955, Nakamura would create Nakamura Manufacturing, a company that made amusement rides for children in department stores. Years later, the name of the company would be changed to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, and eventually changed simply to Namco. The company would add a focus in video game development with Nakamura seeing a rising interest in the entertainment medium.

The company would go on to release Gee Bee in 1978, its first internally designed arcade game designed by Toru Iwata, the man who is known as the father of Pac-Man. It was followed by a huge library of games that would go on to shape the video game industry as we know it. It’s also interesting to note that at one point in time, Namco owned a controlling interest in Atari back in 1985, which were one of the two companies responsible for distributing Namco’s titles in the West before selling off the shares after interest in operating an American subsidiary.

Nakamura would step down as the CEO of Namco in 2002 but would stay as a part of the company in a ceremonial role, even after the merger with Bandai in 2005. In 2007 Nakamura would be honored with the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette” for his contributions to the Japanese industry and in 2010, he was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame.

Thank you for everything, Masaya Nakamura!

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