Now known as Bandai Namco Entertainment, the history of Namco stretches all the way back to 1955, when founder Masaya Nakamura established a company called Nakamura Manufacturing, creating amusement rides for department stores. He would go on to change it to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, AKA Namco, which would eventually find huge success in arcades with games like Galaga, Pole Position, Galaxian, Xevious, and, of course, Pac-Man.
Nakamura passed away on January 22 at age 91, and Bandai Namco made the news of his death public today in an official statement.
While Namco continued to survive through the video game crash of the early ’80s and found success on the NES and the 16-bit consoles that followed, the 32-bit era was a big hit. Games like Ridge Racer, Tekken, and SoulCalibur made a major splash for Namco, paving the way for its 2005 merging with rival company Bandai.
In 2007, the Japanese government awarded Nakamura the national decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun for his many achievements and contributions to the Japanese industry.