OTTUMWA, IA -- The International Video Game Hall of Fame inducted Masaya Nakamura, founder of Namco, in a ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 7. At the same time, Pac-Man was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, the only game included in the institution's "Class of 2010." This year marks Pac-Man's 30th anniversary.
The honors were conferred during the IVGHoF's "Big Bang" festivities, which ran from Aug. 5 through 9 at Ottumwa's Bridge View Center.
Nakamura, considered a founding father of the videogame industry, established Nakamura Manufacturing Ltd. in 1955 to produce kiddie rides. The company shortened its name to Namco in 1971, and in 1974 entered the coin-op videogame market by acquiring the Japanese division of Atari. The company went on to establish a North American unit, Namco America Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), and Namco Enterprises Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong.
Pac-Man was developed by Namco in 1979 and entered production in the following year. It was built for the U.S. market by Midway, then a division of Bally Manufacturing Corp.)
In 2005, Namco was acquired by Bandai, a leading Japanese toymaker. The two companies became Namco Bandai Holdings. Namco is now a part of the Namco Bandai Group (Tokyo).
While Pac-Man is Namco's best-known game, Nakamura's legacy includes other classics like Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaxian, Pole Position, Xevious and several Pac-Man sequels.
Nakamura has received numerous honors, including the highest award bestowed by the Japanese government. He received the Order of the Rising Sun (in the Gold Rays with Rosette class) at the 2007 Spring Conferment of Decorations, in recognition of his contributions to the nation's industry.
Research conducted in 1999 by Twin Galaxies International, the authoritative source for videogame statistics, indicated that the coin-operated version of Pac-Man had been played more than 10 billion times between 1980 and 1999, making it one of history's most successful games.
As members of the IVGHoF Class of 2010, Nakamura and Pac-Man take their places alongside 27 other gaming dignitaries including Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.; Ralph Baer, the "Father of Video Games" (he designed the Magnavox Odyssey system launched in 1972); and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.
The International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to honoring excellence in the field of electronic gaming by commemorating the industry's innovators and leaders, and its technical achievements.