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Japanese arcade pioneer, ‘Father of Pac-Man’ dead at 91

Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 12:54:02-05

TOKYO — The Japanese games company Bandai Namco says Masaya Nakamura, the “Father of Pac-Man” who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game, has died at age 91.

Nakamura, who died on Jan. 22, held an honorary position at Bandai Namco, formed in 2005 from a merger of two game companies. He founded Namco in 1955. Its beginnings were humble — just two mechanical horses on the rooftop of a department store.

This picture taken on Feb. 13, 2006, shows Masaya Nakamura, Japan's Bandai Namco Holdings Senior Advisor. Masaya Nakamura, the Japanese video game pioneer known as the "father of Pac-Man," died on Jan. 22, 2017 at age 91, his firm said on Jan. 30, 2017. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

This picture taken on Feb. 13, 2006, shows Masaya Nakamura, Japan’s Bandai Namco Holdings Senior Advisor. Masaya Nakamura, the Japanese video game pioneer known as the “father of Pac-Man,” died on Jan. 22, 2017 at age 91, his firm said on Jan. 30, 2017. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Pac-Man, designed by video game maker Toru Iwatani, went on sale in 1980. Guinness World Record has named it the world’s most successful coin-operated arcade game.

Bandai Namco reported Nakamura’s death Monday, but would not comment on the cause of his death or other personal details, citing his family’s wishes.