'Father of Pac-Man' Masaya Nakamura dies at 91

The arcade pioneer founded Namco in 1955 and continued to hold an honorary position at the company until his death.

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Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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Pac-Man, launched in 1980, remains one of the most popular arcade games to this day.

AAron Ontiveroz, DP/Getty

Think arcade games and you'll likely think Pac-Man.

Masaya Nakamura, known as the "father of Pac-Man, died Jan. 22 at the age of 91, Namco announced Monday.

Nakamura leaves behind an impressive gaming legacy. He founded Namco in Tokyo in 1955. Right from the start, the company was creating public entertainment. The company's first effort was running two mechanical horses atop a department store. Fast forward to 2016 and Bandai Namco, the company's name following its 2005 merger with Bandai, set up the world's first virtual reality arcade in Tokyo.

But it is Pac-Man that the company is most famous for. Namco's famous biscuit-eating blob is up there with the likes of Space Invaders in defining arcade gaming, even decades after its introduction in 1980.

Nakamura continued to hold an honorary position at the company until his death.

Namco said it will not comment on the cause of Nakamura's death, citing the wishes of his family.

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