During the early 1980s, Namco wasn't only conquering arcades with games like Pac-Man. The company was doing something else. Something important. It was building robots.
Namco made a handful of bots for the Japanese Science Foundation Museum, including "Largo" the stamp robot. Kids would press Largo's red nose and the robot would then stamp their museum pass.
Another one of Namco's robots was Atoma, "The Atomic Robot", which was apparently able to "talk" to visitors via pre-recorded phrases.
Namco's 1983 arcade game Mappy even got a maze-solving toy.
In 1985, when Tsukuba, Japan, played host to the World Expo, Namco created a robot called Cosmo Hoshimaru. It was pink!
Many of Namco's robots were very basic, even crude, by today's standards. However, Namco did have a feminine receptionist robot Namco made for its headquarters. This was long before Japanese robotics companies became producing them around the turn of the century.
The receptionist bot is apparently still located at Namco's offices. It also appeared in the Namco Museum games for the PlayStation.
But in the decades before Namco began making video games, the company started out making coin-operated kiddy rides during the 1950s and 1960s. These rides were located on top of Japanese department stores and are similar to the coin-operated attractions found in front of North American supermarkets.
During the 1970s, the company expanded to electro-magnetic arcade cabinets and later in the decade to video games. Even during the 1980s, as Namco shifted to gaming, it continued to make electronics like 1988's "Beautiful Voice Phone", a telephone that allowed callers to change the sound of their voice and even add sound effects. Namco had a strong background in hardware, which came in handy not only when it was time to create arcade cabinets, but also robots.