Reggie-Fils Aimé's Most Memorable Moments As Nintendo President
Today, April 15, 2019, is Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé's last day at the company, marking the end of an era at Nintendo. Known lovingly by fans as "the Regginator," Fils-Aimé has taken a remarkably involved role in Nintendo of America's marketing, distribution, and localization since his arrival at the company in 2003, an active approach that few other gaming executives have managed to match. As president, Reggie has spent the past thirteen years presiding over a corporate position that usually attracts little else but ire from consumers, making his revered status within the gaming community the industry equivalent of a unicorn sighting. One of very, very few American executives who can even dare to claim to be well-liked, even Reddit's foremost gaming community has rocketed Reggie to the site frontpage in a wholesome farewell.
Despite Nintendo of Japan being ever out of touch with Western audiences and making poor judgments at times throughout Reggie's tenure, the man has tirelessly dedicated himself and his staff to ensuring that Nintendo games and consoles appeal to as many people as possible. Dubbed the "Reggielution," Fils-Aimé's work helped to create and capitalize upon global successes like the Wii and DS and calm the waters during the turbulent launch of the 3DS and lifetime failure of the Wii U, all the while maintaining a public presence that's remained as consistent as it's been friendly.
As the figurehead of a regional division with minimal control over top-down decisions from Nintendo of Japan, Reggie not only rolled with the punches but actively influenced Nintendo's worldwide strategy and image. He accomplished the former by fostering stronger communication and creative collaboration between Japanese and Western teams behind the scenes, meanwhile he most notably achieved the latter by doing what he does best: reaching out to the community. Since his public debut as a Nintendo executive, Reggie asserted himself as a capable and approachable figure, and unforgettable moments from his countless appearances at key Nintendo press events and videos have constructed the larger-than-life character that the gaming community affectionately calls one of its own. Though Reggie's time at Nintendo is nearly at its end, read on to relive some of the most popular memes and finest moments that his career has spawned - and perhaps learn about what's still to come.
Reggie kickstarted his career at Nintendo of America as VP of Sales and Marketing at a run, with the first words that E3 2004 attendees heard come from his mouth being, "My name's Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about making video games." At a time when Nintendo was viewed as too family-focused to make anything more adult than Mario and reeling from the relative failure of the Nintendo GameCube in comparison to the PlayStation 2 (which still holds the title of all-time best-selling console today), this aggressive approach was precisely what both the press and gamers needed to hear. Reassured that Nintendo wasn't going the way of Sega with its own version of the failed Dreamcast, it was at this very conference that Reggie unveiled mature GameCube exclusives like Resident Evil 4, as well as the Nintendo DS, which went on to become the highest-selling handheld console of all-time.
Whereas 2004's E3 presser introduced Reggie as a newcomer unafraid to come out swinging, a single, brief incident at E3 2007 solidified him into the goofy, lovable meme factory that persists to this day. Showcasing the Wii's all-new Balance Board peripheral for Wii Fit, producer and illustrious developer Shigeru Miyamoto and translator Bill Trinen invited Reggie (now president of Nintendo of America) to test it out in front of the crowd. Appearing to suddenly deviate from the presentation script, Reggie jokingly announced, "My body is ready," unknowingly spawning one of the decade's most popular and influential internet memes. Embracing his online fame, Reggie has continued to reference this moment in other promotional materials, even reassuring fans that his body is still ready in his retirement announcement.
In an E3 2010 trailer for the all-new Nintendo 3DS (which Reggie also had the pleasure of announcing to the world during the same conference), Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata, the late and great CEO of Nintendo who passed away in 2015, are each literally sucked into 3DSes. After waltzing through a space strewn with various items from iconic Nintendo franchises like Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, Reggie picks up a 3Ds of his own and laughs derisively when he finds Miyamoto and Iwata trapped in the Mario universe, running away from their own fiery creations. That is, until Bowser enters the real world and immolates Reggie's screaming head, at which point the real, on-stage Reggie can be seen collecting himself and ditching his now smoldered jacket before moving on.
Aware of what they and the online Nintendo fanbase had created together after 2007's legendary "my body is ready" episode, Nintendo kicked off their first-ever Nintendo Direct in 2011 with an brand new Reggie-ism. Announcing the addition of Hulu Plus to the Nintendo 3DS' software library, Reggie introduced the concept of Nintendo Direct in his characteristically deliberate manner (comparable to Barack Obama's signature style of oration) before hitting viewers with a sudden, shocking curveball. Referring to those who had yet to buy into the 3DS family - which was a rather large number of gamers at the time, as the 3DS was very slow to pick up steam after a lukewarm launch - Reggie had only to ask, "What's wrong with you?" It's doubtful this jest pushed many 3DS units all on its own, and it certainly never took off online on the same scale as "my body is ready" had three years prior. Nevertheless, Nintendo fans were enamored with not only the phrase but the continued commitment to lighthearted, sometimes surreal humor demonstrated by Reggie and his staff.
In what may be the coolest, most over-the-top trailer Nintendo will ever release, an E3 2014 video featured Reggie and Iwata facing off in a sequence that looks as though it could have been ripped straight out of some bizarre anime about supernatural fight clubs for the corporate elite. After matching blows, their hilarious fight is revealed to be the announcement for the inclusion of the Mii Fighter character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, slated for simultaneous release just months later. Iwata brandishes a Wii U gamepad while Reggie takes up a Wii U Pro Controller, and the two show one another a bit more civility by letting their Miis do the fighting in-game. Until, of course, Iwata summons a high-level Mario AI using an Amiibo, which makes short work of Reggie and seemingly banishes his corporeal form to the Shadow Realm.
Fils-A-Mech was another result of Nintendo's concentrated effort at E3 2014 to take Reggie's reputation and run with it. The skit stars the cast of the Mega 64 web series and Reggie, playing an identical cyborg clone of himself called Fils-A-Mech. In a plot to infiltrate Nintendo of America's headquarters in Redmond, Washington ahead of the upcoming conference, Mega 64's Rocco Botte merges with Fils-A-Mech and walks in through the front door. Things quickly go awry, however, with Fils-A-Mech's convincing appearance getting it swept into an executive meeting, in which Botte cancels the real Reggie's meeting with the US president in order to host that year's nationwide Smash-Fest promotional event, disintegrating a dissenting staffer with Fils-A-Mech's obligatory laser vision in the process. While raiding Reggie's office, Fils-A-Mech has an accidental run-in with the genuine Reggie, but the robot preserves itself by proclaiming to be one of Miyamoto's latest peripherals.
Nintendo's funniest crossover of E3 2014 was by far their collaboration with the industry savvy creators of Robot Chicken, who transformed Reggie into an action figure in one of their trademark stop motion sketches. In addition to parodies of major Nintendo franchises that poke fun at Link's contentious art styles, Bowser's attendance of company functions despite his repeated kidnappings of Princess Peach, and the inability of Little Mac from Punch-Out!! to remove his gloves, the skit also takes a jab at the usual industry and fan responses to the company's E3 announcements. A heckler in a press badge invariably complains about everything Reggie has to say, grumbling about "another Mario game" and demanding a new Star Fox and an English localization of Mother 3, the Japan-exclusive sequel to EarthBound. It's Reggie that does the immolating this time around, calmly absorbing a Fire Flower, launching a fireball at the unpleasant journalist, and continuing with his announcements.
Announcing a promotional event to accompany 2015's E3 conference through a skit in a similar manner to Fils-A-Mech the year prior, Reggie makes the decision to bring back and compete the long-abandoned Nintendo World Championships and quits his job as president to avoid a conflict of interest. Clearly, this video has gained renewed sense of perspective with Reggie's impending resignation in the real world, but art doesn't quite imitate life in this case as Reggie appoints a child to take his place, rather than current VP of Sales and Marketing Doug Bowser. (Yes, his name is actually Bowser.) Reggie can then be seen incorporating a number of visually amusing Nintendo consoles and peripherals into his training regimen, including the Wii Balance Board and the ill-fated, eye strain-inducing Virtual Boy. Interestingly, the Virtual Boy was such a catastrophic failure for Nintendo at launch that this is one of a small handful of the company's acknowledgements of its very existence in recent years.
In one of Iwata's final appearances, the late CEO, Miyamoto, and Reggie all voice reimagined versions of themselves as Muppet-like puppets. Himself roused by a production assistant, Iwata enters Reggie's office to discover him performing "Nintendo 64" push-ups. Joined by Miyamoto, they prepare to host the introduction to Nintendo's E3 2015 Digital Event, but each of the company icons begin to morph into the main characters of the Star Fox franchise before they can even begin. Of course, series creator Miyamoto transforms into titular protagonist Fox McCloud, while Iwata and Reggie turn into the older, wiser Peppy Hare and brash Falco Lombardi, respectively. Playing on a running joke within the Nintendo community inspired by Peppy's incessant reminders in Star Fox 64 that players must perform aileron rolls in order to avoid incoming projectiles, Iwata and Reggie jokingly suggest Miyamoto "do a barrel roll," prompting the announcement trailer for Star Fox ZERO to play.
On June 11, 2015, Satoru Iwata passed away in his thirteenth year as Nintendo CEO at the tragic age of 55, shaking the gaming world to its very core. His passing came just days before that year's E3 conference, and his absence was deafening throughout the event. That year and in those to follow, countless Nintendo studios and others within the gaming industry paid their respects to the man who revolutionized the field through in-game tributes and posthumous awards. In a heartfelt speech at the 2015 Game Awards, Reggie was able to publicly pay his own respects to the company's most influential leader in its long history. With his characteristically unflappable composure showing cracks at times, Reggie called attention to Iwata's meteoric rise to prominence through sheer hard work as a programmer, engineer, and creative visionary, an honorable career path that granted him unmatched leadership capability over Nintendo. Remembering Iwata as a truly unique force for good within the industry, Reggie stated, "On a personal level, he was my boss, and he was my mentor, and he was my colleague. But, most of all, he was my friend, and I'm a better person for it."
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and so it is that Reggie's time as President of Nintendo of America is at its close. In a video posted to Nintendo of America's Twitter in February, Reggie extends his thanks to Nintendo fans for giving him a "Mushroom Kingdom full of incredible memories that [he] will never forget - ever." Taking a stroll down memory lane, Reggie related how his close relationship with the Nintendo community over the years has both humbled and honored him, fondly revisiting many of the career-defining moments and jokes seen here. In this video, Reggie announced VP of Sales and Marketing Doug Bowser as his successor, ensuring everyone that Bowser will be up to the job and "probably spent too much time in front of a Donkey Kong arcade machine" in his youth. Like his predecessor before him, it's likely that Reggie will still be involved in high-level Nintendo decisions as its Chairman of the Board, but the fact remains that Bowser has a massive pair of shoes to fill as Nintendo's next president. However...
According to a reputable leak, Reggie Fils-Aime intends to take one final victory lap before handing the castle keys over to Bowser. Proving that his body always ready, Reggie is apparently going to share one final Nintendo Direct with the online community to coincide with his departure. It's still unknown what topic(s) Reggie will cover in this rumored Direct, but it's sure to provide some sense of closure for those who have matured alongside the rapid growth of Nintendo that Reggie has helped to foster for so many years. As always, Screen Rant will keep readers up-to-date on the time and contents of the hopeful surprise Direct; however, to those less keen to hear Reggie's final goodbyes: what's wrong with you? Reggie also just opened a Twitter account following his retirement: