The charismatic Reggie Fils-Aimé is currently on a media tour to promote his new book Disrupting the Game* and also gave an interview to Axios Gaming. It was about his role as black president and his efforts to increase diversity at Nintendo.
In the current Axios newsletter, Reggie urges people like him to “see the benefits of their uniqueness.” From 2003 to 2019, Fils-Aimé was president of Nintendo of America and one of the most prominent non-Japanese in the Super Mario house.
“I celebrate that I am a black man who not only thrived in the video game industry, which is not dominated by black men, but that I thrived at Nintendo as a black American,” said Fils-Aimé at Axios Gaming.
He rarely spoke out on such matters during his time at Nintendo, but he obviously knows that he stood out as someone in an industry dominated by Japanese or white CEOs. “If I was able to succeed, it’s because I put all my personality into this role,” says Fils-Aimé.
culture of appreciation
“I stood up for what I believed in and used my personal experiences in life and business to make my point,” Fils-Aimé continued. We have already learned this from the interesting history of the launch of the Nintendo Wii in America.
Fils-Aimé also told Axios Gaming that it is important for the success of employees from different backgrounds that leaders create a culture in which different people feel valued. This was obviously not the case for part-timers and contract workers, as the current media suggests.
Reggie has always had a close relationship with Satoru Iwata. Both started out in their own way as underdogs at Nintendo. Fils-Aimé never learned much Japanese, but he always tried to understand the culture.
Commitment to more diversity
According to him, Reggie Fils-Aimé’s accomplishments include not only the successful launches of the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, but also better representation in Nintendo games. “We championed all levels of diversity,” says Fils-Aimé, referring to the US team’s communication with Nintendo developers in Japan.
For example, her team lobbied for Avatar-like characters called Mii to have more hairstyles associated with people of color. Same-sex relationships in Fire Emblem are also on his account.
“It’s been a constant push to recognize that we need a lot more variety in games where we’re representing people and that we need to give the player the ability to make choices that they should be able to make,” says Fils- Love.
Images: Disrupt The Game, Reggie Fils-Aimé, HarperCollins Leadership