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Reggie discusses his first time meeting Shigeru Miyamoto

Posted on May 31, 2020 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime had plenty of meetings with Shigeru Miyamoto over the years while working at the company. However, their very first encounter was understandably memorable. Reggie very much knew about Miyamoto and his historic career, but Miyamoto had no idea who Reggie was at the time.

Reggie recounted the story of meeting Miyamoto during an episode of the Talking Games podcast. It came about early on in his career when he was being shown for the DS for the first time. Reggie had made a comment about the importance of the handheld’s touch screen without realizing Miyamoto was in the room. After this, he quickly became aware that the legendary game designer heard what he said, and Reggie’s knees began to shake. Fortunately, Miyamoto liked Reggie’s comment, and he was able to get off on the right foot.

That’s only a summary of the story. Here’s the full transcript from the podcast:

“It was very early in my tenure – just a few weeks within me coming on board. I was making a trip with another senior executive, a gentleman by the name of Don James. Don is legendary at Nintendo. I think he’s employee number three or number four, continues to be an employee at Nintendo and he runs our operations team. Historically he had responsibility for developing our trade show activity for Nintendo.

So Don and I make a trip to Japan. One of the things that we were doing was to see an early prototype of Nintendo DS, and some of the content. And when I say an early prototype, I mean literally it was circuits on a motherboard with a couple of screens showing software as it’s running, the hardware developers and software developers describing for us what this product would be. Don had not see it yet, obviously it was my first time. Imagine we’re in a meeting with all of these people, and Don had introduced me, and we get started. They’re doing this demo, they’re showing some content. They’re asking our opinion and our perspective. And one of the things they were showing was a very early prototype of what would become Nintendogs, and it would really be one of the first games that made dramatic use of the touch screen.

So I remember they turn to me – the new guy, the new head of sales and marketing guy, we need his opinion – and I remember making a comment about the touch screen, and how this would truly be the first consumer electronics mass market device that would utilize a touch screen. This was well before iPhone ever existed. Touch screens were only being used for some high-end PDAs – personal digital assistants that people were using.

This would be the first mass-market touch screen device, and I made a comment about how we would need to leverage that, communicate that, and that this game would be a key way for us to drive that message, and I remember a presence at my shoulder, and it was Mr. Miyamoto. He had come into the room after the meeting had started, and he was starting next to me. I didn’t know it when I was making my comment. Now I’ve made my comment and I turn towards this presence, and it’s Mr. Miyamoto. And literally my knees start to shake, because I knew who Mr. Miyamoto was. I never met him before. And now he starts speaking Japanese, and now they’re beginning to translate this. And he says, ‘You know, that is a very good comment. That’s very perceptive. Yes, we’re gonna need to make sure to leverage the touch screen, and this game is gonna be a great way to do it. And by the way, who is this person?’ They go on to introduce me and we shake hands. That was my first introduction – my first meeting – with Mr. Miyamoto. He snuck up on me, he heard me make a comment, and luckily he agreed with it, so I guess I got off on the right foot.”

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