Why We’ll Miss Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Aimé

Today marks the end of an era. Reggie Fils-Aimé is officially retiring from Nintendo today. Looking back on his introduction to Nintendo fans, it’s honestly not surprising that he’s become such a driving force. As you can see in the clip below, never before (and likely never again) had a Nintendo rep come out of the gate with such an aggressive game plan.

Reggie introduced the Nintendo DS and gave us our first look at The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Let’s stop and think about that for a moment. A handheld gaming system that utilizes dual screens, one of which is a touch screen, can get taken for granted. We’ve seen the DS, the DS Lite, the 3 DS, the 3DS XL, the New 3DS XL, and other variations on the system, but there at the beginning, introducing this revolution was Reggie. The Reggielution, as fans call pretty much anything the Nintendo powerhouse gets behind, has been a steam engine pushing Nintendo through highs like the Switch as well as lows like the Wii U.

Reggie has shown that Nintendo can “grow up” to appeal to older gamers while still maintaining the fun atmosphere. From the “mature” change in the Legend of Zelda series with Twilight Princess to Labo, Nintendo’s first-party offerings have fallen at just about every point on that spectrum. More recently we’ve begun to see more and more “M” rated games releasing for the Nintendo Switch. But through it all, Reggie continues to remind us what we so easily forget: video games are supposed to be FUN. Whether he’s engaged in hand to hand combat with the late Satoru Iwata or hamming it up as a puppet with Shigeru Miyamoto, Reggie has brought the enjoyment that Nintendo is so well known for.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the timing of Reggie’s departure is that we won’t get to see him act the fool with the new Labo games being released. After the “My body is ready” shenanigans that accompanied the Wii Fit Board, just imagine the memes that Reggie could spawn from Labo VR and the inevitable future Labo releases.

And this brings us to what is perhaps the most significant accomplishment that Reggie has made in his time at Nintendo. He has taught us, as adults, how to have fun. When Labo was announced, many criticized the system by saying that it was a kids’ toy. But Reggie shows us time and time again that you can have fun, as an adult, with anything as long as you’re willing to look a little, or a lot, silly. And he showed us that there’s nothing wrong with looking silly. Many of Nintendo’s critics are absolutely correct. Nintendo’s offerings are silly, cartoonish, and don’t follow the trend of blood, sex, and over-the-top action. And Reggie’s lead-by-example philosophy has been the same throughout: what’s wrong with silly, cartoonish, and not following the trends?

So on Reggie Fils-Aimé’s last day as President of Nintendo of North America, I’d just like to say this: Thank You. Thank you for the fun. Thank you for the memes. Thank you for the laughs. But most of all, thank you for the unbridled love and passion that you brought to everything that you’ve done. That passion has rubbed off on us and on Nintendo, and we will all be better for it.

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Feel free to share your own memories and say goodbye to Reggie in the comments, or by tweeting @Reggie – his brand new Twitter account!
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