Nintendo wasn’t a part of my childhood. I was raised with PlayStation and Xbox; with Crash Bandicoot and Halo. While I played Super Smash Bros and Super Mario 64 at friends’ houses, my nostalgia is more centered around Halo 2 LAN parties than Mario Kart, and I wouldn’t become a fan of Mario, Zelda, and Metroid until I reached adulthood. Any emotional attachment I feel towards Nintendo is less than five years old. Even with all those caveats, I’m still emotional Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime’s retirement from the company. He served more than 15 years with Nintendo and plans to officially step down on April 15 when his title well be transitioned over to the aptly named Doug Bowser.
“Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever,” Fils-Aime said via a Businesswire press release. “It’s a part that is filled with gratitude — for the incredibly talented people I’ve worked with, for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful brand, and most of all, to feel like a member of the world’s most positive and enduring gamer community. As I look forward to departing in both good health and good humor, this is not ‘game over’ for me, but instead ‘leveling up’ to more time with my wife, family and friends.”
Fils-Aime is a rarity in the gaming industry. Where other prominent executives make decisions based around dollar signs, Fils-Aime embraced the distinct corporate culture that emerged at Nintendo during his tenure at the company alongside late CEO Satoru Iwata. These were suits making hard business decisions, but that business was both outwardly and inwardly committed to a spirit fun and an emphasis on quality. The cultish devotion to Nintendo Direct promotional videos is a reflection of Fils-Aime’s own playfulness in those videos and at major events where his love for Nintendo, as well as its games and products, was clear.
That joy was and is downright infectious. It was what made me a Nintendo regular. I was won over by Fils-Aime, Iwata and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and their warm personalities. That the games were always as good and as open as the people selling them suggested that their public personas weren’t an act; Fils-Aime genuinely cared.
As an avowed lifelong Xbox and Playstation fan, I wish Fils-Aime the happiest retirement and to express my thanks. Afterall, it’s because of Fils-Aime and the Nintendo culture he helped foster that I too am able to describe myself as a Nintendo fan.