Masaya Nakamura, the founder of renowned Japanese video game developer Namco, has recently passed away. According to an official press statement from the company, Nakamura died on January 22, but news of his death was made public just a few hours ago.
Nakamura is best known for having created the instant-classic arcade game Pac-Man back in the 1980s. Long before he developed the aforesaid cultural marvel, Nakamura first founded a Tokyo-based amusement ride company called Nakamura Manufacturing in 1955 — having later changed its name to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (Namco) in 1958. More importantly, however, the corporation gained worldwide recognition in 2005 when it merged with Bandai—switching the name for the third time to Bandai Namco.
In regards to the design of the ubiquitous yellow character, “The Father of Pac-Man” was inspired by a slice of pizza, as per the Associated Press. In addition, Nakamura decided on the word “pac” or “pakku” (Japanese) from the sound of Pac-Man gulping down the ghost monsters. Other hit games under Nakamura’s belt include Ridge Racer, Soul Calibur, Tekken, Galaxian, Splatterhouse, Dig Dug and Time Crisis.
In 2007, Nakamura was prestigiously awarded the Japanese government’s Order of the Rising Sun in 2007, for his unparalleled contribution to the industry. He was 91.