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FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2004 file photo, a youth tries a Ms. Pac-Man TV game in New York. Computers already have bested human champions in Jeopardy! and chess, but artificial intelligence now has gone to master an entirely new level: Space Invaders. Google scientists have cooked up software that can do better than humans on dozens of Atari video games from the 1980s, like video pinball, boxing, and breakout. But they don?t seem to have a ghost of a chance at Ms. Pac-Man. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The 'Father of Pac-Man,' Masaya Nakamura, died at 91


The founder of the company that created "Pac-Man," Masaya Nakamura, died at 91 on Jan. 22, Bandai Namco confirmed on Monday.

Nakamura formed Namco in 1955. The game company later merged with Bandai in 2005. Pac-Man was created in 1980 by Namco engineer Toru Iwatani and went on to be played roughly 10 billion times in arcades, game consoles and smartphones.  

Namco did not confirm the cause of Nakamura's death, citing his family's wishes.

pac-man 2.jpg
FILE - In this 1983 file photo, this close up view of a monitor shows the electronic video game Pac-Man. Masaya Nakamura, the "Father of Pac-Man" who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game, died on Jan. 22, 2017. He was 91. (AP Photo)

The idea for Pac-Man's design came from the image of a pizza with a slice carved out. Nakamura reportedly chose the word "Pac," or "pakku" in Japanese, to represent the sound of the Pac-Man munching its prey.

Nakamura started with just two mechanical horses to his name.

Twitter quickly filled with tributes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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