"Father of Pac-Man" and Namco Founder Masaya Nakamura Passes Away at 91

Masaya Nakamura Credit: Getty/Bettmann/Contributor

"The father of Pac-Man" founded the Japanese gaming company in 1955

"The father of Pac-Man" founded the Japanese gaming company in 1955

The founder of Namco and "father of Pac-Man" Masaya Nakamura died last week at age 91. The Japanese studio is home to some of the most iconic and beloved game franchises, including Pac-Man, Ridge Racer and Tekken

Nakamura founded what would become Namco in 1955 as Nakamura Manufacturing, which created children's rides for department stores. In 1977, the company became Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company and then simply "Namco" as its focus shifted to arcade machines and games. By 2005, after a merger, the company had become Bandai Namco. Nakamura had remained with the company in an honorary position.

In 1993 Namco, also acquired Japanese film studio Nikkatsu, and Nakamura was executive producer on the movies Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, and A Stranger of Mine.

Nakamura was awarded the Japanese government's Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette during its 2007 Spring Conferment of Decorations in recognition of his contribution to Japanese industry.