Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passed away on January 22 at the age of 91, Bandai Namco has confirmed.
Nakamura founded the company, then known as Nakamura Manufacturing, in 1955. Back then, its main purpose was to operate children's rides on the roof of a department store in Yokohama, although the business did eventually expand into the Tokyo area.
In 1958 the firm was reorganized to become Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, which would eventually inspire the acronym "NAMCO."
Under Nakamura's guidance, Namco released its first original video game, Gee Bee, in 1978. That was followed up a year later by Galaxian, a landmark title that pioneered the use of dynamic RGB color graphics.
During the 1980s the company released a string of arcade hits including Pac-Man (the best-selling arcade game in history), Galaga, and Dig Dug, cementing its status as one of the game industry's key innovators. In the decades that followed, Namco established new franchises such as Ridge Racer, Tekken, and Time Crisis.
Throughout his life Nakamura held a number of different positions within the company, but notably became Namco president in 2002.
Following the company's 2005 merger with Bandai, and subsequent rebirth as Bandi Namco Holdings, Nakamura stayed on as an honorary advisor.