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Short History of Namco
Believe it or not, Namco started out as making small children’s rides in 1955. When Atari Japan was struggling financially, the Namco founder, Masaya Nakamura, signed a deal to help them rebuild pinball machines. This gave Nakamura the notion that people wanted more types of these games and he started to create arcade machines with games made by his own company. These days, Namco games is now conjoined with Bandai and the third largest video game company in Japan. They have a wide range of video games suitable for gamers of all types.
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Pac-Man is known to millions and gained popularity all throughout the 1980’s. It stands today as a true classic and is still Namco’s best selling title. Pac-Man remains as one of only three games to be on display at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.
Even though the simple object of the game doesn’t fit in with today’s gaming standards, Pac-Man can be played on next generation systems. The idea of being a half circle eating dots and running away from ghosts won America’s heart and became a household name.
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Dig Dug (1982)
Another arcade classic, Dig Dug started out with high popularity in Japan before being released in the U.S., where it had the same reception. The task of the game is simple, defeat the critters coming up from the dirt by inflating them or dropping a few rocks on them.
This game can now be played in the Namco Museum, a collection of Namco arcade games for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It has retained the same look and feel without any upgrades, which makes it the perfect "remake" for fans of nolstagia.
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Dangerous Seed (1989)
Namco is known for their arcade shooters and Dangerous Seed is the doesn’t have as much recognition as the others. The objective is the same as every space ship shooter, you make your way across levels and blast objects and creatures out of your way.
This game utilizes special attacks such as the wind shot, the laser, and a speed up. This game was only released in Japan, but its worth the import for any arcade fan.
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Tekken was Namco’s first 3D fighter and one of the earliest in general. It had full polygonal 3D graphics which made it revolutionary for its time. The game features a number of unlockable characters adding up its replay value compared to other fighting genre games of the time.
The game play seems dated now and it’s a bit clunky, but this game sparked the Tekken franchise into what it is today. The franchise now has over 6 titles with a couple spin-offs and is still going strong. The latest game to come out is a new Tekken Tag Tournament for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Arcade.
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Time Crisis II (1997)
First released in arcades before being developed on the PS2, Time Crisis II is a follow up to the original. The game has a very basic formula of shooting your enemies while avoiding being hit by the bullets they fire.
This game is also the first in the series to have a two player co-op where players can team together and fight through the streets. The concept may be simple, but the simplicity is what takes gamers back to the golden age of Namco.
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Mr. Driller (1999)
As a throwback to the 1980’s arcade games, Namco presents Mr. Driller as a fusion of game play that is reminiscent of both Tetris and their previous title, Dig Dug. You play as Mr. Driller and must drill your way through colors of blocks to reach the goal and gain points.
The special kinds of blocks have different effects on your character either adding life, making time speed up, or losing health. Mr. Driller is made for two players in mind and for those that enjoy puzzles.
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Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht (2003)
Published by Namco and considered to be one of the deepest RPGs of its time, Xenosaga blends in an interesting complicated storyline with traditional RPG gameplay. Playing as an ensemble cast, a group of different personalities try to find the secrets of the magical Zohar and stop the gnosis aliens from forming.The two main characters who get the most screen time are Shion a young scientist woman who created a female android, and Jr., a man in his late 20’s with the appearance of a 12 year old.
The game is quite weird but that’s what makes it interesting, even if the rest of the series was canceled and the franchise was only made into three parts instead of six.
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Soulcalibur IV (2008)
Produced by Namco Bandai, Soulcalibur IV was the first Soulcalibur game for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It has stunning new graphics with plenty of the same characters as well as a few new ones, such as the Viking princess Hilde.
A new portion of the game is called Tower of the Lost, in which the player must reach the top of a tower with grueling fighting challenges in order to win rewards.
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Tales of Vesperia (2009)
Another game for the PS3 and Xbox 360, Tales of Vesperia is another role playing game in the Tales series. Like all Tales game, characters can move around the battle course freely and use special attacks with a variety of button combinations.
The game takes place on the planet of Terca Lumireis where people must use the magic of blastia to live their lives. Yuri Lowell use to help the people in the knight order, before making his own resistance group; Brave Vesperia.
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Katamari Forever (2009)
The Katamari series is silly and downright weird, which is way many gamers who love the unusual have grown to enjoy it. You must help the King of All Cosmos regain his memory and in order to do that, you have to roll up as many objects as you can in different levels, just like the previous games.
The game might be a bit peculiar to some, but its interesting game play and oddness is what makes it fun. There have been a few other Katamari games that have the same feel as Katamari Forever, one of them being the PSP game, Me and My Katamari.
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Namco's Growing Future
Namco has many more games that its planning to shell out. The company has flourished for many decades and they improve their games every year. All these Namco games should be played at least once to get a taste of how different Namco’s products are.
- All references from author's own experience and screenshots from respective games.