Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime recently appeared on the Talking Games podcast and shared the story of his first-ever meeting with the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto. According to Reggie, Miyamoto overheard him speaking as he was shown the DS for the first time. While observing an early Nintendogs prototype, he commented on how the DS would be the first mass-market device to have a touchscreen, and that would be important leverage to use while marketing the handheld. Upon hearing this, Miyamoto jumped into the conversation, agreed, and then asked who Reggie was. Fils-Aime, meanwhile, immediately recognized Miyamoto and was incredibly nervous, but their relationship ended up being pretty strong, don’t you think?
For a full transcript of the story, as told by Reggie and as assembled by Nintendo Everything, read the excerpt below:
“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.”
Reggie is basically a legend now – speaking at major industry events, giving exciting lectures at Cornell, and even being inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame. It’s hard to remember how he used to be a bit less famous (and, apparently, mistaken for E3 security), but it’s nice to have him as a face of the industry now.