Name: Namco Year Made: Unknown
Arcade: Namco City: Various
State: Various Country: Various
Category: Arcade Token
Search Tags: 1955 Masaya Nakamura Disney Midway Atari AT Games Inc PIER 39 Barrel of Fun 2001 Aladdin's Castle Edison Brothers Space Port Time-Out Commander Ragtime's Midway Bandai Sega Open Chain

In 1955 Masaya Nakamura with his father founded Nakamura Seisakusho Ltd. also known as Nakamura Manufacturing Ltd. to operate and design kids rides for amusement spaces in department stores.1, 2, 3, 4 Their first installation was to install two mechanical childrens horses on the rooftop of a department store in Yokohama. The company continued to grow eventually changing its name, in 1959, to Nakamura Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Then in 1963 the company scored its greatest deal yet, installing small replica automobiles running on an elaborate miniature railway for Mitsukoshi department store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. This ride was so popular that Mitsukoshi commissioned the ride to be built at all their stores.1, 3, 4 In 1966 Nakamura Manufacturing Co., Ltd. opened a manufacturing plant in Ota-ku, Tokyo allowing them to manufacture their own rides. This same year the company signed a deal with Walt Disney to produce children's rides with the likenesses of Disney characters for the japanese market. The company then started development on mechanical games and released their first arcade game "Racer" in 1970.4 This game operated similar to "F-1", an arcade game they would release in 1976.5

By 1971 Nakamura Manufacturing Co., Ltd. had already shortened their name to "Namco".4 Masaya Nakamura set his sites on the then failing Atari Japan in order to expand Namco's entertainment portfolio. In 1972 Namco purchased Atari Japan for $500,050. The deal also made Namco the exclusive representative of Atari in Japan, for 10 years. Namco began opening arcades featuring Atari games.6 It was about this time the Namco started hiring software engineers and designers to develop games in house.3, 6 Namco released Gee Bee, its first independent video game, in October 1978.7 On October 15 1979 Namco made their first major hit in japanese arcades with the release of Galaxian. Later that same year it would be released in the US by Midway.3, 8 The following year on May 22, 1980 Namco would release Pac-Man in Japan and the US at the same time. Pacman would become Namco's biggest hit ever. Pac-Man was so popular that in 1982 it was estimated Americans spent $8 million a week playing Pac-Man in arcades. Toys, songs, cartoons, and more have been made using the Pac-Man license.9

June 8, 1978 Namco America opened its doors in Sunnyvale, CA.6, 10

On January 10 1985 Namco-America, Inc executed Articles of Incorporation of AT Games Inc. and approved 1,000,000 shares of stock in the company. Then on February 4, that same year, Namco Ltd. announced the purchase of Atari Coin-Operated Games ("Atari Games") division of Atari Games, Inc. from Warner Communications Inc. for US$10 million. On February 19 1985 AT Games Inc. became the Atari Games Corporation with Namco America owning 60% and 40% owned by Time Warner. On December 21, 1987 Atari Games established Tengen Inc., for the purpose of marketing games for home video game systems. Since the use of the Atari name for home console games was owned by a seperate company. Over the following years Atari Games would be responsible for releasing many of Namco's games in arcades and on home console.10

Namco-America, Inc. would purchase Funtasia games arcade at San Francisco's PIER 39 in March 1990. This was only the beginning for Namco-Americas expansion. On June 26, 1990 Atari Games announced they were repurchasing all of the shares held by Namco-America, Inc. and sold ownership of its Atari Operations subsidiary that operated approximately 40 video game arcades, including "Barrel of Fun" and "2001", in the USA to Namco-America, Inc. They next purchased Aladdin's Castle, Inc. on December 2, 1990, giving them 276 more locations. On June 1 1994 Namco merged its two subsidiaries, Namco Operations, Inc. and Aladdin's Castle, Inc. into Namco Cybertainment, Inc. The company continued to grow with the announcement of purchasing Edison Brothers Entertainment on February 1 1996 for $15 million. This added 128 more locations including the popular arcade chains Time-Out and Space Port.10

In 2003 Namco and Sega were in negotiations for a merger but it ultimately failed. On September 29, 2005 Namco and Japanese toy maker Bandai merged to form Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. The merger made the new company the second largest japanese game and toy business behind Sega Sammy Holdings.11, 12 The following year, on January 2, 2006, NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. was formed with their merger in the United States.13 Namco;s amusment facility operations were transfered to the newly established Namco Limited on Mach 3, 2006. In January 2007 Namco Holdings UK Ltd was established.14

In 2014 NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc became Bandai Namco Amusement America Inc.12 Namco Bandai then expanded into china with the creation of Bandai Namco (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. on January 1, 2015. In April 2017 Bandai Namco Technica Inc created to house their arcade machine repair and service.14

Today Bandai Namco operates in a wide range of fields. There corporate profile includes toys, video games, amusement facilities, movies and music all over the world. As of March 2017, 79.5% of Bandai Namco sales were centered in Japan with only 7.6% in the Americas and 6.2% in Europe.They continue to grow and restructure. In April 2018 all amusement machine business for the company was transferred to Namco Limited and Namco limited changed its name to Bandai Namco Amusement Inc.14

Companies Owned/Operated by Namco:
Companies owned or operated by Namco. If Namco sold a company after that date I ignored it to make the chart easier to read. One example is the Atari Games Corporation, it eventually became controlled by Time Warner and sold to Midway, and changed names multiple times. I did not include those events. Also I tried to focus on the arcade side of things. As the company grew, especially in the 2000's after Bandai took control, the company started to branch out more and include things like alcohol and business services. The company's current list of owned companies can be found here.

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  1. "Our History" Namco. Oct 3, 2018. Web. Oct 3, 2018.
  2. "A Tribute to Masaya Nakamura" History of how we play. Feb 23, 2017. Web. Oct 3, 2018.
  3. Soble, Jonathan. "Masaya Nakamura, Whose Company Created Pac-Man, Dies at 91" The New York Times. Jan 30, 2017. Web. Oct 4, 2018.
  4. Plunkett, Luke. "How A Company Went From Rocking Horses To Pac-Man" Kotaku. Apr 5 2011. Web. Oct 3, 2018.
  5. "F-1" The International Arcade Museum. Oct 3, 2018. Web. Oct 3, 2018.
  6. Sheff, David. Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. Vintage, 1994.
  7. Namcokid47. "Gee Bee Trilogy - The Epic Namco Game Spectacular" Namco Forever. Nov 12, 2017. Web. Oct 8, 2018.
  8. Sporman, Sean. "This Day in Entertainment History: Galaxian Arcade Game Released in Japan (October 15th, 1979)" WTVY. Oct 15, 2014. Web. Oct 8, 2018.
  9. Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Pac-Man A Short History of the Pac-Man Video Game" Thought Co. June 08, 2018. Web. Oct 8, 2018.
  10. Current, Michael D."Atari History Timelines by Michael Current" Atari History Timelines. 2014. Web. Oct 8, 2018.
  11. Feldman, Curt. "Bandai, Namco to merge" Gamespot. Dec 13, 2005. Web. Oct 17, 2018.
  12. Montano, Nick. "Arcade Game Giant Becomes Bandai Namco Amusement America Inc." Vending Times. Apr 3, 2014. Web. Oct 8, 2018.
  13. "Namco and Bandai complete merger in North America" Gamespy. Jan 4, 2006. Web. Oct 17, 2018.
  14. "About Company" Bandai Namco Holdings Inc. Oct 17, 2018. Web. Oct 17, 2018.


  • October 19, 2018- Token Posted.

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