An Ode to Reggie Fils-Aimé

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I thought this gif was the most appropriate parting gif(t).

As many regular viewers of this blog are aware, I’m a pretty big fan of Nintendo. I have often in the past referred to myself as “Nintendo’s bitch,” a label I’m sure many passionate fans could share with me. In a generation of technological advancement that gave rise to social media, companies have taken full advantage in delivering gaming news and headlines directly to the consumer via sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and otherwise, often in real time. Nintendo was no different, and soon enough their Nintendo Directs became a feature of all the Nintendo-related news that fans have come to treat like hardcore drugs: always desired, yet never enough.

Around the time I became aware of social media and the like, there was a new head of Nintendo of America: Reggie Fils-Aimé. While I wasn’t present in the early days when he made the infamous “My body is ready” line while showing off the Wii Balance Board, the ensuing memes were hard not to come by. It was around 2009 or 2010 that I became aware of Reggie as an actual representative of Nintendo and not as some mysterious meme source. I was most aware of his presence during E3, a giant gaming expo where gaming companies broadcast their biggest gaming news and announcements. The above gif was shown first at an E3 presentation.

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Soon enough, particularly within my adult years (I turned 18 in late 2011), I began to associate Reggie with Nintendo almost as much as I did Shigeru Miyamoto. He was almost like a representative for my side of the world (which, technically, is correct), a person who was as much a part of the company’s success as those actually making the games. His face was a constant reminder that Nintendo was alive and well, and his almost-robotic mannerisms and line delivery made him more charming. It made the zanier Nintendo presentations, like the giant fight sequence or the puppet show, all the more endearing.

Upon yesterday’s announcement that Reggie would be retiring from his role as President of Nintendo of America, I felt an immediate sense of guilt. I had taken for granted the image of stability that Reggie had provided for Nintendo and simply assumed he would be there until the day he died. Little did I think of the consequences the job may have had on his mental or physical health, as I assumed the job was just a dream that anyone would be overjoyed to have. For that, I wish to apologize, and that I hope to not do similarly with his replacement, Doug Bowser. Always when the good times finish does one realize that good times were present.

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Reggie basically was Nintendo to me in these last few years. With Miyamoto becoming a less frequent public figure and the death of Satoru Iwata a few years back, Reggie was the one who picked up the slack for both and became a prominent figure in Nintendo’s image. Whether his body was ready, he wanted to get back to playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on his Nintendo 3DS, or was waiting in anticipation to drop off the battle bus and meet us on the battlefield in Fortnite, Reggie was, by all accounts, the gift that kept on giving. The meme-ability of his character, the prevalence of him, his predictable hand gestures; he was a shockingly great candidate for the position he will no longer hold by May. The gaming world adored him, and I felt the same sense of passion exuding from him as I could from any fan of gaming.

He’s taking a step down from his position as President and “leveling up” the time with his friends and family, which is as wholesome a reasoning for retiring as I could possibly imagine. He’s still relatively young, at 57, so he will likely still be around for many years to come—enough time to see the evolution of Nintendo into the coming generations of new innovation. He also left at a great time for the company, with the Nintendo Switch being a financial success and a beacon of hope after the meandering failure of the Wii U era. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reggie felt that Nintendo was more than capable of handling itself from that point on.

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I will miss Reggie tremendously. All the memories I have of him and the moments he was a part of will be documented for eternity within Nintendo’s archives. There will likely be a few tributes in upcoming Nintendo titles for his contributions, as Nintendo has a tendency to do so. He will always be the face of Nintendo to me, even many years from now when Doug Bowser and whoever replaces him have come and gone. Reggie had that certain quality that made him immensely likable, which aided in making Nintendo immensely likable. It was never smooth sailing, but Reggie made it as smooth as it possibly could be. For that, I am and will always be thankful. Thank you, Mr. Fils-Aimé. Enjoy your retirement.

Thank you for your time. Have a great day.

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