Game industry legend Bernie Stolar dies at 75

Bernie Stolar, former President/COO of the American branch of a Japanese multinational video game and entertainment company, SEGA Companyand founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America died June 25 at the age of 75.

Central role in the gaming industry

He has been a leader in the interactive and video game industry for over four decades. He helped introduce the iconic PlayStation game to the world during his time as Senior Executive Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The Dreamcast console is the brainchild of Bernie which was the most successful console launch in the history of the gaming industry.

Between the early 1980s and 1999, Stolar played a vital role in shaping the gaming industry and served as a senior executive for most of the major players in the gaming industry.

Stolar began his career in 1980 as a co-founder of Pacific Novelty Manufacturing Inc, a coin-op company that served arcades in the state of California. He then worked for Atari in its coin-op division and later joined the company’s home console division.

Stolar was the first executive vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment America

Stolar became the first executive vice president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America in the early 1990s. He helped create early PlayStation games like Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, Oddworld Inhabitants, Spyro The Dragon, and Battle Arena Toshinden.

He joined the American multinational toy maker and entertainment company, Mattel in 1999 and achieved little success selling Barbie-based video games.

He then moved to Adscape Media after a few years in 2005. The company was later sold to search engine giant Google for a whopping $23 million. He then started collaborating with many startups like GetFugu, Zoom Platform, Jordan Freeman Group and CogniToys.

Speaking about the gaming industry, Stolar once said, “I love this job. I like it because I work with young and passionate people. I’m one of the old gray haired guys in the industry, but it’s wonderful to work with all this young talent. I’ve been doing this since 1980. I loved working for Sony. I wouldn’t have left Sony if I hadn’t also lived in fear of being fired with everyone else.

Tributes and condolences from friends and supporters

Gaming enthusiasts and supporters have flooded social media with tributes and messages of condolence.

Dean Takahashi, Journalist and Senior Writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat tweeted, “Sorry to hear that. I pulled some quotes from a long interview I did with Bernie in 2015. Gaming legend Bernie Stolar has passed away.

The dynamic producer and marketing consultant remembered the video game legend, writing, “I will miss you Bernie – always appreciated you for attracting me to AdscapeMedia”.

Ethan Johnson, independent gaming researcher, tweeted: “Confirmation of death of Bernie Stolar, legendary leader of Pacific Novelty, Konami, Atari Corp, Sony and Sega. He was a huge force in the industry as it grew into what it is today and has done more good than anyone is apparently willing to give him credit for.

A funeral service was held today at 11 a.m. PT at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles on June 26.

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