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Namco

From Academic Kids

Namco is a company based in Japan, best known for developing video games. Some of the company's most famous games include Pac-Man, Pole Position, Xevious, the Tekken series, the Tales RPG series, the Time Crisis series, the Ace Combat series, the Ridge Racer series, Wangan Midnight, and the Xenosaga series. In May 2005, it was announced that Namco would be merged with toy maker Bandai and forming a new company called Namco Bandai Holdings Inc., [1] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/02/AR2005050200361.html)

History

Namco was founded in Tokyo in 1955, by Masaya Nakamura under the name Nakamura Manufacturing Ltd. It began by producing mechanical rocking-horses and similar children's rides, which were installed in a number of department stores in Yokohama and Nihonbashi. It continued this line of production through the 1960s, and expanded with the addition of rides modeled after Walt Disney characters in 1966.

The company's brand name was changed to Namco in 1972, and acquired the Japanese division of Atari in 1974, thus bringing Namco into the coin-operated video game market. Namco Enterprises Asia Ltd. was established in Hong Kong, soon followed by Namco America, Inc. in California. 1980 saw the introduction of one of the company's most famous coin-operated arcade games, Pac-Man. When Nintendo began producing its Famicom home console unit, Namco started the development of game titles for it, beginning with Galaxian, which had first been introduced to arcades in 1979.

Namco was the industry's first manufacturer to develop and release a multi-player, multi-cabinet competitive game, Final Lap, in 1987. This game allowed up to 8 players to compete when four 2-player cabinets were linked in a simple network. By 1988, the company's capital exceeded 5,500 million Yen. In 1989, another racing simulation game, Winning Run, was released; that same year, the company's expertise with driving simulation matured with the development of the Eunos Roadster Driving Simulator, a joint venture with the Mazda Motor Corporation, followed by an educational program for traffic safety developed with Mitsubishi.

In the 1990s, Namco began directly selling coin-operated arcade games in the United States through subsidiary Namco America, and expanded their market into Europe with the foundation of Namco Europe, Ltd. in London. Sennichimae Plabo was opened in Osaka, featuring a new concept of large-scale arcade amusement, and Namco Wonder Eggs, a theme park, was opened in Tokyo. Additional amusement parks were opened, including Namco Wonder Park Sagamihara and Namco Wonder City.

In 1993, Namco merged its US arcade operation, Namco Operations, Inc., with the newly acquired Aladdin's Castle, Inc. to form Namco Cybertainment, Incorporated, bringing the company to the forefront as the largest arcade company in the world. In subsequent years, Namco Cybertainment, Inc. (NCI) purchased several other arcade operators, further strengthening the company's overall arcade operation. NCI now operates arcades under the names Time Out, CyberStation, Aladdin's Castle, Diamond Jim's, Space Port, and Pocket Change.

Also in 1993, Ridge Racer, a driving simulation game, entered arcades, featuring 3D computer graphics; the game was later released for the Sony PlayStation. Another of the company's most famous games, Tekken, was released in 1994, which was also soon ported to the PlayStation. Subsidiaries in Germany, France, Spain, and Israel were established, and soon began developing arcade games there. In 1995 the game Soul Edge (Soul Blade in Europe) was released. This was the second game to feature weapons in a three-dimensional fighting environment (Battle Arena Toshinden was the first). With its Tekken and Soul Calibur franchises, Namco currently dominates the 3D beat 'em up market.

List of games (selection)

External links


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