‘Father of Pac-Man’ Masaya Nakamura Dies (1925-2017)

Namco founder Masaya Namakura has died aged 91. A major player in the arcade game world, he was best known for releasing Pac-Man, a game he named.

The company took its name from Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, having originally been Nakamura Manufacturing. It began with just a pair of mechanical horse rides but went on to be one of the pioneers of coin-op games after buying out Atari’s Japanese subsidiary. The purchase included the Japanese distribution rights to Atari’s games in Japan for 10 years, something Nakamura exploited by opening arcades.

Although the company had released other games beforehand, including Galaxian (the first with multi-color graphics,) it was 1980’s Pac-Man that became the most famous. Toru Iwatani designed the game, but Nakamura is credited with naming the character, taking the name from Japanese term “pakku”, which both describes and audibly resembles the action of repeatedly gobbling food.

In 2007 Nakamura was honored by the Japanese governments for his contributions to the business world.

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