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Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Japanese video game company Namco, has died at age 91. Nakamura is widely known as the “Father of Pac-Man” for his role in bringing the arcade classic—created by designer Toru Iwatani in 1980—to Japan, and to the US via a licensing deal with Midway.
Nakamura originally founded the company as Nakamura Manufacturing, selling coin-operated children’s rides to a department store in Yokohama, Japan. He later changed the name of the company to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (NAMMCo!), and began producing electromechanical arcade machines like 1976’s Namco F-1.
Namco hit the big time when Nakamura shrewdly purchased the struggling Atari Japan from owner Nolan Bushnell for $500,000—far higher than the $80,000 offered by Sega.

The deal granted Namco an exclusive license to distribute Atari’s games in Japan for ten years, and led to the development and release of original games such as Gee Bee and Galaxian.
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