Saying Farewell to Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo

Jason Fanelli,

February 23, 2019 5:00 PM

Reggie Fils-Aime is retiring as President of Nintendo of America, and the impact of his departure from the industry will be more than most people think.

It’s been a couple days since Nintendo broke the news that Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America for 15 years running, will be retiring on April 15. A man who had become synonymous with Nintendo at a level only few others have before, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata for example, is currently sliding down the flagpole of his career and headed to his castle to spend time with his family. Many throughout the industry expressed their gratitude to the man and his work over the years, with others lamented that Nintendo won’t be the same without him.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just NIntendo that won’t be the same. The industry as a whole will feel like something’s missing, and it’ll happen sooner than you think.

Think about how Reggie entered the scene:

Was that not a perfect introduction for that era of gaming? A new executive for any company will give its followers some pause, but Reggie dismissed those qualms in three sentences. As his time progressed he became more of a fan favorite, producing moments like the Fils-A-Mech, emboding the “Regginator” moniker the Internet bestowed on him:

Or when he fought the late Satoru Iwata in a battle worthy of Dragon Ball to reveal Miis in Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U:

How about when he did a guest appearance on The Game Theorists’ side venture Deadlock to debate whether or not Nintendo should continue to make consoles?

Finally, of course, I need to present his most memeable moment, the catch phrase heard around the industry in 2007: “My Body Is Ready.”

Moments like that, light and fun and everything that Nintendo tries to embody, make me sometimes forget about the fact that he was the acting President of Nintendo of America. He wasn’t a community manager, PR person, or even a developer of the games he was touting, he was THE GUY when it came to Nintendo in America, and there he was allowing himself to be body scanned in front of the world or walking around his office like a robot for the sake of a goofy video.

How many other top executives would even consider doing stuff like this, let alone actually following through? Is Jeff Bezos dressing up like an Amazon Alexa for an Amazon ad? Not a chance! Would Elon Musk use his Tesla platform for something off the wall like this? Unless he’s on a Joe Rogan podcast, no! Does anyone even know what The Zuck does in his spare time? Nada! The only name that springs to mind is Apple CEO Tim Cook, as he’s done a few goofy things for Apple keynotes, but that’s it.

That’s what made Reggie Fils-Aime so special: for every guest spot he took on CNBC or another business channel talking hard numbers and business analytics, there’s a weird and charming video starring him made specifically for the fans. Not only that, he seemed to relish being able to take the executive hat off for a while and just be silly, you could see it in his face. Look at him dance!

Now, none of this is to say that his replacement Doug Bowser -- perfect name and all --  won’t come in and keep the silliness coming. Hell, if he’s wearing a Bowser costume in his first ever appearance on a Nintendo Direct I think a lot of Nintendo fans would be sold immediately (there’s a free one Doug, all yours). However, there will only be one Reggie, and like Satoru Iwata before him -- albeit in a much more positive departure, of course -- his absence will be felt immediately. As soon as, say, E3 2019, when the digital event, Treehouse, and Nintendo interviews won’t include the Regginator for the first time ever.

Happy trails Reggie Fils-Aime, and thanks for all the laughs. Enjoy your retirement, the industry and the Nintendo fans out there will forever be grateful for your contribution.

For more on Reggie Fils-Aime and Nintendo, check out our coverage of when the retirement news broke.


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