Hiroshi Ono, aka Mr. Dotman, created some of gaming’s most famous pixels while working at Namco. He was a graphic designer on iconic games including Pac-Man, Xevious, Dig Dug and Galaga. The designs were originally drawn by hand and according to Japanese retro game researcher Zek, they’ve been stolen.
Zek has interviewed Mr. Dotman for books about his career and his art. In the above image, you can see Ono signing one of those books. According to Zek, that art has recently been stolen, and he’s sounding the alarm on Twitter to keep an eye for it should it surface on internet selling sites.
Below is a translation of his tweets via GSK:
"I went to meet [classic Namco designer] Hiroshi 'Mr. Dotman' Ono today & I found the storage area had been broken into & his files containing sketches, illustrations & other documents from the Namco era were all stolen; if you see them on Yahoo, Mercari, etc please let me know" https://t.co/cnPkhqD0zd— GSK???? (@gosokkyu) February 27, 2020
(for those completely unaware, Hirosho Ono did pixel art & logo/cabinet design for tons of golden-era Namco games, so late-'70s to late-'80s and all stuff you'd at least recognise if you're into Namco or classic arcade games—Galaga, Dig Dug, Mappy, Xevious, Rally X & loads more)— GSK???? (@gosokkyu) February 27, 2020
Ono joined Namco in 1979 and worked there until 2013, so his art does span a long and historically important period in Japanese gaming. If you see any Mr. Dotman art circulating online for sale, it would probably be a good idea to let Zek or the official Mr. Dotman Facebook page know.