Namco is one of gaming’s oldest and still most prominent companies, which merged with Bandai over a decade ago to now become Bandai Namco Entertainment. The company was founded by Masaya Nakamura back in 1955 as Nakamura Manufacturing and has found much success over the years, but sadly we have to report that Mr. Nakamura has passed away.
After originally founding the company in 1955, with it starting off running children’s rides on the roof of a department store, the company expanded and was reorganized as Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, or better known as NAMCO. Over the years, Namco became more involved with gaming, including producing the coin-operated driving simulator Racer in 1978. Nakamura really changed the game though when he acquired the fledging Atari and the rest was history.
Sadly, according to a Japanese press release from Bandai Namco Entertainment, Masaya Nakamura passed away last week on January 22, though his death was just now made public today. No reports of his cause of death have been released, but we do know that he was 91 years old as of the time of his passing.
Nakamura played a huge role in where video games are today, as Namco was a big part of the arcade scene that led to what we have now. He was honored back in 2010 by being inducted to the International Video Game Hall of Fame in Ottumw, Canada, but even more prestigious was being awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays With Rosette” back in 2007 by the Japanese government for his role in Japanese industry.
There is no question that Nakamura was a pioneer in the industry and the landscape of gaming likely wouldn’t be what is today if not for him. Namco has brought us too many classics to count over the decades, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, and more recent series like Soulcalibur, and so many more.