Hiroshi Ono, better known as “Mr. Dotman”, passed away on October 16. the new was announced through his official Twitter account. According to Automaton, Ono had been hospitalized with autoimmune hepatitis. He was 64 years old.
Ono joined Namco in 1979, as the company entered the golden age of arcade games. At Namco, he created some of the most iconic video game sprites. As Densetsu Video Game points out that Japanese games did not have a staff credit list, so much of his most famous work was uncredited at the time. However, he worked as a graphic designer on the following games: Dig Dug, Xevious, Pac-Man, Galaga, Mappy, Pole Position, and much more. Besides drawing sprites, he also designed arcade game cabinets and marquees.
At Namco, his skills in creating sprites were quickly recognized. When Galaga creator Shigeru Yokoyama was asked about the game’s sprites, he said previously, “They were actually drawn by Hiroshi Ono, a designer who, from Galaga left, became famous for drawing this kind of sprites. He became known as’ Mr. Dotman, ”an authority on pixel design, but these characters were the first he created.
Last year, Kotaku reported last year, some of Mr. Dotman’s original artwork was stolen last year. Japanese retro game researcher Zek has posted an All-Rounder newsletter to keep people on the lookout for art surfacing on internet auction sites.
Ono would work at Namco even after its merger with Bandai. In 2013, he left the company and became independent.
Mr. Dotman is the subject of a documentary about his work and his battle for health. The crowd-funded project has already been fully funded, raising over $ 42,000.
Hiroshi Ono helped define an era of gaming with brilliant art and designs. If you like video games, you have undoubtedly come across his iconic and influential work over the years.
May he rest in peace.