Thanks for the memories, ‘Father of Pac-Man’

Rest in peace


By Gwen Ong

Thanks for the memories, ‘Father of Pac-Man’

If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you would be familiar with the video games that ruled our days. One of the more popular games would be the creature-gobbling Pac-Man. This was all thanks to Masaya Nakamura, who has passed on at the age of 91. Fondly known as the ‘Father of Pac-Man’, he founded the Japanese video game company Namco (which later became part of Bandai Namco following a merger in 2005) that was responsible for popularising the arcade classic.


Namco first began operations with just two mechanical horse rides, selling coin-operated children’s rides to a department store. But Masaya went on to pioneer game arcades and amusement parks. He was widely credited for bringing the hungry yellow circle game created by designer Toru Iwatani in 1980 to the masses. He reportedly chose the word ‘Pac’ or ‘pakku’ in Japanese to represent the sound of the Pac-Man munching its prey.


It can’t be denied Pac-Man is an engrossing game as you steer the big yellow monster through its mazes to hunt for ghostly bites. From its arcade beginnings, the game has since been adapted on the Nintendo Family Computer home console and later for mobile phones, PlayStation and Xbox. Guiness World Record has named it the world’s most successful coin-operated arcade game. It’s estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times.


That’s a lot of Pac-Man munching. Thanks Masaya Nakamura, our childhood would not have been the same without you.


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