Namco pixel artist Hiroshi Ono dies at 64

Hiroshi Ono
(Image credit: MotionGallerys via YouTube)

Former Namco pixel artist Hiroshi Ono, also known as Mr Dotman, has died at the age of 64.

Ono joined Namco in 1979 as a graphic designer, contributing his work towards some of the company's most iconic arcade games. Along with providing cabinet artwork for Pac-Man, he is perhaps best known for his sprite work on the excellent Galaga and Dig Dug (thanks, VGC). Much of his early work went uncredited, but also provided art for the likes of Mappy, Xevious and New Rally-X.

Ono's career with Namco continued through its merger with Bandai in 2006 before he left in 2013 to pursue freelancing and independent projects, including running numerous pixel art workshops.

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Earlier this month, a crowdfunding campaign for a movie about Ono's life and work was announced alongside news that the artist was suffering from health issues. The campaign page revealed that Ono had been in hospital since early October with suspected autoimmune hepatitis.

A statement from the Mr Dotman team was released on Twitter and Facebook this morning announcing that Ono had passed away on October 16, with a private funeral being held for friends and family. The team announced that they will be discussing the future of the crowdfunding project, which has already hit its goal, and will let backers know of any changes in the future.

Industry figures and fans of Ono's work have been flooding in to pay their respects, including Square Enix pixel artist Kazuko Shibuya and Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.