I started sleeping late when I was five. Most of those nights were either spent watching horror films on TV and screaming at intrusive commercials, or sitting beside my uncle as he played Super Mario Bros., Gradius, and Pinball on the Famicom.
My uncle would
play Galaga while my cousin and I
would stand behind him, jumping and cheering until it was our turn to play. We
would fight over the controller and my uncle would hit us on the back of our
heads and tell us to play nice.
Among those games, Pac-Man remained as one of my favorites - an early instigator of shrieking and my first experience of horror in video games. It was what I would like to call the Amnesia of the '80s. I remember holding my grandmother's hand as we strolled by the arcade in shopping malls, full of people shouting as they watched one man rake up those points with a single token.
Years later, Tekken became one of my earliest games for the PlayStation. I missed Tekken 2, but that was quickly remedied as my friends came over with a bootleg copy of Tekken 3, which we would play for hours. We would gather during lunchbreaks in school, toss half our lunch money into a hat, and on the Saturday, meet up and compete in the Iron Fist Tournament.
Of course, the winner took all the money. There came an Eddie ban (because his capoeira fighting style was just simply damnable), a Dr. B. ban (because no one understood how to hit him), and finally, when a Gon ban was proclaimed (because of his "circle spam"), everyone simply quit and the entire tournament melted away.
I still visited
the arcades every once in a while. My grandfather would buy tokens and we would
play Time Crisis, since it was a talked
about game and kids my age begged their mothers to buy them the gun attachment
for the PlayStation. I remember wanting one myself. It was either that or a
dance pad. I chose a completely random Japanese game, Super Robot Wars F.
Not many people remember the game Soul Edge. I don't either, honestly. But I do remember its sequel, Soul Calibur II, and its succeeding releases. It was a game where a few of my friends wanted to relive those weekly fighting tournaments that Tekken brought about, but instead of taking things seriously, a lot of guys had too much fun looking at the female character models. Needless to say, it pissed of more serious players.
In more recent years, Bandai Namco Entertainment helped release some of the most loved video games that have impacted the medium as a whole: Super Smash Bros., Super Robot Wars, and the ever notorious Souls series.
The animation studio Sunrise, a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Entertainment, has even brought us well-loved anime such as Cowboy Bebop, The Vision of Escaflowne, Code Geass, and Gundam, all of which I have watched growing up.
A few days ago, it was announced that Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco, passed away at the age of 91. He saw the value and potential in video games, shifting focus from kids' rides to development of arcade games. Their first release, Pac-Man, was headed by Namco employee Toru Iwatani and has become a legend in video game history that has helped bring Namco to where they are today.
It would be idiotic to speculate what would have happened if Nakamura had not decided to invest in videogames. The point is he did. And the company to this day continues to deliver an excellent oeuvre of video games.For that, I would like to thank Masaya Nakamura for sharing with us a life well-played.