65 Facts About Namco


Namco Limited was a Japanese multinational video game and entertainment company, headquartered in Ota, Tokyo.

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Namco was founded by Masaya Nakamura on June 1, 1955, as Nakamura Seisakusho, beginning as an operator of coin-operated amusement rides.

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Namco renamed itself Namco in 1977 and published Gee Bee, its first original video game, a year later.

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Namco prospered during the golden age of arcade video games in the early 1980s, releasing popular titles such as Galaga, Xevious, and Pole Position.

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Namco entered the home console market in 1984 with conversions of its arcade games for the MSX and the Nintendo Family Computer.

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Arguments over licensing contracts with Nintendo led Namco to produce games for competing platforms, such as the Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and PlayStation.

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Namco continued to produce hit games in the 1990s, including Ridge Racer, Tekken, and Taiko no Tatsujin.

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Namco endured numerous financial difficulties in the late 1990s and 2000s as a result of the struggling Japanese economy and diminishing arcade market.

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In 2005, Namco merged with Bandai to form Namco Bandai Holdings, a Japanese entertainment conglomerate.

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Namco produced several multi-million-selling game franchises, such as Pac-Man, Galaxian, Tekken, Tales, Ridge Racer, and Ace Combat.

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Namco is remembered in retrospect for its unique corporate model, its importance to the industry, and its advancements in technology.

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Namco secured a deal with Walt Disney Productions to produce children's rides in the likenesses of its characters, in addition to those using popular anime characters like Q-Taro; this move allowed the business to further expand its operations and become a driving force in the Japanese coin-op market.

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Name Namco was introduced in 1971 as a brand for several of its machines.

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Namco grew to having ten employees, which included Nakamura himself.

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Namco established a robotics division to produce robots for entertainment centers and festivals, such as those that distributed pamphlets, ribbon making machines, and a robot named Putan that solved pre-built mazes.

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Namco released Gee Bee, its first original game, in October 1978.

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In 1979, Namco published its first major hit Galaxian, one of the first video games to incorporate RGB color graphics, score bonuses, and a tilemap hardware model.

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Namco regularly released several successful games throughout the early 1980s.

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Namco's team created a conversion of Galaxian with their newfound knowledge of the console's capabilities, which exceeded the quality of previous home releases.

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The port was presented to Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi alongside notification that Namco intended to release it with or without Nintendo's approval.

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Namco's demonstration was the impetus for Nintendo's decision to create a licensing program for the console.

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Namco signed a five-year royalties contract that included several preferential terms, such as the ability to produce its own cartridges.

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Namco established Tengen, a publisher that challenged Nintendo's licensing restrictions for the NES by selling several unlicensed games, which included ports of Namco arcade games.

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In 1986, Namco entered the restaurant industry by acquiring the Italian Tomato cafe chain.

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Namco's continued success in arcades provided its arcade division with the revenue and resources needed to fund its research and development departments.

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In 1988, Namco became involved in film production when it distributed the film Mirai Ninja in theaters, with a tie-in video game coinciding with its release.

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Namco developed the beat 'em up Splatterhouse, which attracted attention for its fixture on gore and dismemberment, and Gator Panic, a derivative of Whack-a-Mole that became a mainstay in Japanese arcades and entertainment centers.

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In early 1989, Namco unveiled its System 21 arcade system, one of the earliest arcade boards to utilize true 3D polygonal graphics.

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Video arcades under the Namco banner continued opening up in Japan and overseas, such as the family-friendly Play City Carrot chain.

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Namco saw continued success in the consumer game market as a result of the "Famicom boom" in the late 1980s.

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Revocation of Namco's terms enraged Nakamura, who announced the company would abandon Nintendo hardware and focus on production of games for competing systems such as the PC Engine.

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In 1989, it was reported that Namco was underway with developing its own video game console to compete against companies such as Nintendo and NEC.

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In return, Namco America was given Atari's video arcade management division, Atari Operations, allowing the company to operate video arcades across the United States.

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Namco began distributing games in North America directly from its US office, rather than through Atari.

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Namco Hometek was established as the home console game division of Namco America; the latter's relations with Atari Games and Tengen made the company ineligible to become a Nintendo third-party licensee, instead relying on publishers such as Bandai to release its games in North America.

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In Japan, Namco developed two theme park attractions, which were demonstrated at the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition: Galaxian3: Project Dragoon, a 3D rail shooter that supported 28 players, and a dark ride based on The Tower of Druaga.

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In February 1992, Namco opened its own theme park, Wonder Eggs, in the Futakotamagawa Time Spark area in Setagaya, Tokyo.

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Namco created the park out of its interest in designing a Disneyland-inspired theme park that featured the same kind of stories and characters present in its games.

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Namco designed smaller, indoor theme parks for its larger entertainment complexes across the country, such as Plabo Sennichimae Tenpo in Osaka.

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Namco followed its success with Tekken, a 3D fighting game, a year later.

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Namco began work on a conversion of Ridge Racer, its most-popular arcade game at the time.

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Namco was given the rights to produce controllers, such as the NeGcon, which it designed with the knowledge it gained through developing its cancelled console.

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Namco introduced the Postpaid System, a centralized card payment system, as a means to combat the piracy of IC Cards in Japanese arcades.

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In September 1997, Namco announced it would begin development of games for the Nintendo 64, a console struggling to receive support from third-party developers.

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Namco signed a contract with Nintendo that allowed the company to produce two games for the console: Famista 64, a version of its Family Stadium series, and an untitled RPG for the 64DD peripheral.

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In October 1998, which one publication described as being "the most stunning alliance this industry has seen in a long while", Namco announced a partnership deal with long-time rival Sega to bring some of its titles to the newly unveiled Dreamcast.

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For its PlayStation-based System 12 arcade board, Namco released the weapon-based fighting game Soulcalibur in 1998.

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Namco began experiencing decline in its consumer software sales by 1998 as a result of the Japanese recession, which affected the demand for video games as consumers had less time to play them.

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Namco had previously hinted at this during an event with industry analysists, blaming its struggles on the depressed Japanese economy and dwindling arcade game market.

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Namco closed its Wonder Eggs park on December 31, 2000, which by that point saw an attendance number of six million visitors, in addition to shuttering many of its video arcades that returned substandard profits.

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In February 2001, Namco updated its projections and reported it now expected a 6.

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Namco underwent restructuring to increase its income, which included the shuffling of its management and the announcement of production of games for Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox.

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Namco Hometek was stripped of its research and development divisions following Namco's disappointment in the quality of its releases.

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Anxious about the company's continuing financial struggles, Nakamura suggested that Namco begin looking into the possibility of merging with another company.

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Namco first looked to Final Fantasy developer Square and Dragon Quest publisher Enix, offering to combine the three companies into one.

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Namco opened the Riraku no Mori, a companion to its Namja Town park that held massage parlors for visitors; Namco believed it would help make relaxation a source of entertainment.

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In early 2005, Namco began merger talks with Bandai, a toy and anime company.

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Namco's advisors were critical of Bandai for focusing on promotion and marketing over quality.

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Namco honored the 25th anniversary of its Pac-Man series with Pac-Pix, a puzzle game for the Nintendo DS, and entered the massively multiplayer online game market with Tales of Eternia Online, an action role-playing game based on its Tales franchise.

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Namco name was repurposed for a new Namco Bandai subsidiary the same day, which absorbed its predecessor's amusement facility and theme park operations.

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The second Namco company was renamed Bandai Namco Amusement on April 1, 2018 following a corporate restructuring by its parent.

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Namco USA was absorbed into Bandai Namco Amusement's North American branch in 2021 following its parent company's decision to exit the arcade management industry in the United States.

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Namco was one of the world's largest producers of video arcade games, having published over 300 titles since 1978.

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The writer believed that Namco's success lay in its forward-thinking and firmness on quality, which they argued made it stand out from other developers.

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Staff for IGN in 1997 claimed that Namco represents the industry as a whole, with titles like Pac-Man and Galaga being associated with and representing video games.

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