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Becoming a meme, becoming a Muppet, video game skills

Reggie Fils-Aimé (Disrupting the Game)

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Former President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé
Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé first became an internet meme before most people knew what memes were: At Nintendo's presentation at the gaming expo E3 2004, he turned heads by announcing, "My name is Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' games."

"I received a message from my teenage son who told me, 'Dad, you're famous,'" Reggie says. "They weren't called memes at the time — these were Photoshopped images. He sent me these images of me blowing up a competitive console; me dressed up like Sylvester Stallone from one of his movies; me looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator."

Today on Follow Friday, Reggie shares the backstory of another press conference that made him even more internet-famous, and talks about his new book Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo.

And he explains why we should follow "Originals" and "Think Again" author Adam Grant (@Adamgrant on Instagram, @AdamMGrant on Twitter and LinkedIn); Pivot co-host and New York Times writer Kara Swisher (@karaswisher on Twitter and Instagram); The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon on Instagram and Twitter); and the founder of The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley on Twitter).

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, Amy, Yoichi, Danielle, Elizabeth, and Sylnai. On our Patreon page, you can pledge any amount of money to get access to Follow Friday XL — our members-only podcast feed with exclusive bonus follows.

That feed has an extended-length version of this interview in which Reggie talks about what he has learned from following author and executive advisor Roger L. Martin.


This show is a production of, hosted and produced by Eric Johnson

Music: Yona Marie

Show art: Dodi Hermawan

Social media producer: Sydney Grodin
Full transcript of this episode
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ERIC JOHNSON: Today on Follow Friday, we're going to talk about video game skills, geeking out, Muppets, and more with Reggie Fils-Aimé, the former president of Nintendo of America! He's also going to tell us the backstory of how he became a meme.

REGGIE FILS-AIMÉ: … And when I tried out "my body is ready," he chuckled pretty loudly, so I knew I had a keeper.

ERIC: But first, there's two groups of people we have to thank. First are all the people who have donated to support this podcast on Patreon. Thank you so, so much.

I also want to thank this week's sponsors.

[ad break]

ERIC: OK, here's the show.

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, the podcast about who you should follow online.

Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more. If this is your first episode of the show, take a moment now and please follow or subscribe in your podcast app.

Today on the show is Reggie Fils-Aimé, the former president and COO of Nintendo of America, where he worked from 2003 to 2019. He's the author of the new memoir, Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo. I love that title.

You can find Reggie on Twitter @Reggie. And by the time this interview comes out, Disrupting the Game will be available wherever you buy books. Reggie, welcome to Follow Friday. It's good to speak with you again.

REGGIE: Absolutely. Good to see you again.

ERIC: First off, congrats on the book. Let's start by talking about Disrupting the Game. Who do you want to read this book and what do you want them to get out of it?

REGGIE: As we thought about the book, I really envisioned this being read by a very wide audience. Certainly, gaming fans will be excited about the book. They'll be excited for some of the inside stories I share about my time at Nintendo.

But also younger readers, people who are in high school, maybe beginning to think about college and their own personal journey. There are a lot of tidbits and a lot of perspectives on how to navigate that journey, and how I navigated that journey from a personal standpoint.

And I also think executives later in life thinking about career, career changes, and also thinking about how they want to best contribute beyond their day-to-day job will find the book inspiring as well. My hope is that we find a very wide reader base.

And in particular, because of the lessons and principles that I share that are timeless and could be applied to any industry, I really do believe that the audience will be quite broad.

ERIC: Well, this is an internet culture podcast. And I don't know if you know this, Reggie, but you are kind of internet famous. You have your own page on Let me read a quote from that here: "Most of his popularity has spawned from notable lines he has said during his E3 conferences," E3 being the big gaming expo, "as well as unpopularity from fans of the video game series Mother."

We don't need to get into that, but further down the page, it says this, "At E3 2007, while showcasing Nintendo's new fitness game, Wii Fit, Reggie spoke the phrase, 'My Body Is Ready.' That phrase has since become a popular caption used to express excitement at an upcoming or imminent event."

You kind of became a meme after you said this. Did you know when you said that this was going to become this whole running joke for video game fans online?

REGGIE: Candidly, no. Each of the statements I have made throughout my career at Nintendo, and arguably, I continue to make the internet react in my day to day life now, but each time, it wasn't a purposeful statement. It wasn't intended to become a meme. It was intended to make a point. It was intended to drive engagement with the broad video game fan base.

But I think because of my authenticity, because of my nature to have fun and to enjoy what I'm doing on a day-to-day basis, these statements have become memes and have taken on a life of themselves.

In particular, "My Body Is Ready," what fans may not understand is that when you're preparing for a big conference like this, you go through hours and hours of rehearsals. And rehearsals can get at times a little tedious, a little monotonous. I found that when we would be going through rehearsals, I would be trying out different statements, all trying to get a reaction.

And in that particular moment, Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, arguably one of the greatest game creators of all time, was going to demo Wii Fit using me as the demo subject. During rehearsals, I was constantly trying to get a reaction from him, to get a laugh. And when I tried out "My Body Is Ready," he chuckled pretty loudly. So I knew I had a keeper.

That's how that line started. That's how it became part of that E3 presentation. It was very much just a way to get a reaction on stage.

ERIC: This may be a weird question, but are you a very online person, generally? Because if you weren't necessarily intending to go viral or make something into a meme, I wonder what that experience was like, of being told, "Hey, everyone is quoting this thing you said years ago at this press conference," finding out of that internet fame.

REGGIE: Well, I do spend, and historically have spent quite a bit of time online not only for my own personal learning, listening to podcasts, but also to understand just what's the vibe and where's the momentum on a particular topic.

Dating back to my very first E3 where I said, "My name is Reggie, I'm about kicking ass and taking names, and we're about making games," it was only after I had made that statement that I received a message from my teenage son who told me, at the time, "Dad, you're famous."

I had no idea what he was talking about, but he sent to me — they weren't called memes at the time — these were Photoshopped images. He sent me these images of me blowing up a competitive console; me dressed up like Sylvester Stallone from one of his movies; me looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator.

He forwarded all these to me. I wasn't seeing them until then. My communications team wasn't seeing them. So it really began the process at Nintendo of understanding what was the reaction to the messaging we were putting out and trying to get at that in real time. And even today, I see real-time feedback to my speeches, to my comments.

So I am aware of what's going on out there, but I'm not trying to be controversial. I'm not trying to make a point, but certainly, understanding where you are in the culture is something that any visible executive needs to do.

ERIC: Well, once again, the name of the book is Disrupting the Game and now my body is ready to find out who Reggie follows online.

You can follow along with us today. Every person he recommends will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at

Reggie, before the show, I gave you a list of categories and I asked you to tell me about some people you follow who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category, "Someone who makes the internet a better place". And you said Adam Grant, who is on Instagram @Adamgrant and on Twitter and LinkedIn at @AdamMGrant.

Adam is the host of the WorkLife podcast from Ted. He's the author of several books, including Originals, Give and Take, Think Again. He's also an organizational psychologist who teaches at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. What was your introduction, out of all of this, to Adam or to his work?

REGGIE: I first met Adam at a small session with other senior executives. It was around the time he had written Give and Take. I had read that book and I had been struck by the thinking and this thought about how some individuals are givers — they are naturally looking to encourage others, work with others, help others — and other people are takers, who simply want to keep taking and taking and taking within a relationship.

And it struck me as a way to think about relationships and how to navigate relationships. One of the key points in the book is if you're a giver, you have to be careful when you're around a taker because it could be exhausting.

Adam and I struck up a conversation at that conference. We continued to be connected through email. I've loved all of his work. I love his latest book and I was fortunate as I had finished my book, I asked him to read it. And he was so generous in giving me a blurb for the book. That was my introduction to Adam.

I really love his work. He's asked me to spend some time with him on campus at Wharton. We're trying to figure out when to do that. It's probably going to be next calendar year, when his students are back. But I'm a big fan of his work, love the messaging, and just love the thoughtfulness, which is why I put him in the category of someone who makes the social space better by his thoughtfulness in his commentary.

ERIC: On the topic of Give and Take, one of the really interesting ideas in that book is that if you look at the graph of who's the most productive or the most successful in an organization, the least successful are the givers and the most successful are also the givers. The takers are somewhere in the middle.

So, when you learned all of this and you started applying what Adam was talking about in your own career, how did you characterize yourself? Did you change anything about how you went about your work or did you change how you viewed people you were working with?

REGGIE: I didn't change my own behavior, but I did work harder to understand the nature of different relationships. I did tailor back my time from people who were pure takers—people who were just wanting something from me, wanting something out of our relationship that was more one-sided.

I was much more thoughtful around reducing those interactions and finding time to spend in more productive types of relationships. I did think about the concept quite deeply and tried to think about how I could be more effective in my role as the president of Nintendo of America, by spending more time with people who had a much more balanced perspective.

ERIC: In your real-life relationship that you've struck up with Adam, has he talked about the fact that he was a young Nintendo addict when he was a kid? Do you know this story?

REGGIE: I do know this story. He shared this with me privately, just how much he played games and he had won some local competitions. He shared that piece of perspective. And who knows, maybe that's what helped open up that initial relationship. I did learn about his love for early Nintendo games.

ERIC: Yeah. He gave a TED Talk when his book Originals came out where he described himself as a pre-crascinator and he says, "This dates back to when I would wake up at 5:00 AM to play the NES." And he would just play games nonstop until they were done. And he shows an image of a newspaper clipping called "The Dark Side of Nintendo." And it's him, slack-jawed, holding the controller, just staring at the screen.

I wonder if folks like him who have played games all their lives; I wonder how that influences your organizational skills and how you approach other aspects of life.

REGGIE: He shared with me a different article. He showed me an article where he was being celebrated for being one of the youngest champions of a particular NES or SNES game. But interestingly, prior to Disrupting the Game, I was actually on a book with a different idea. And the idea behind that book was all the real-world skills that you can learn by playing video games.

It focused on playing games to improve your strategic thinking skills. It touched on playing games to improve your communication skills. So I do believe that certain games do improve your capabilities in certain areas just because of the way the game is constructed or the pace of the game. And I've had many conversations with individuals who say that they are better in their role and in their activities because of the video games that they've played in their life.

ERIC: We talked a little about Give and Take. Are there any other examples of things that Adam has written or talked about that you've been able to apply and to integrate into how you do your work?

REGGIE: I'm constantly struck by the comments that he posts. And he'll take the same comment and post it on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They tend to be three or four sentence statements that really make you pause and think.

Statements around the nature of your own career and your relationship with bosses. There was one recently where he put forward the idea that, "Look, companies don't owe you anything. Other than a paycheck, it's your responsibility to learn, to grow, and to develop. And when you're not getting these things, you have to ask for them."

I believe it's an accurate statement. It may be stated a bit more forcefully than I would. I think there's a bit more of a mutual responsibility around some of these things. But I always find Adam's statements to make me pause, to make me think, and they always come from a good place. They always come from a sense of wanting to help others or helping to push an idea forward in a positive way.

ERIC: What's something that the rest of us can do to make the internet a better place in a similar way that Adam does? What can the rest of us learn from his example?

REGGIE: I believe it's important to put out factual information. I believe it's important to back up a point of view, even if that view is controversial. I don't believe in simply being argumentative for being argumentative's sake. I think that is not positive behavior.

So, certainly, take a stand, but support your point of view. If you're going to make a comment, support your point of view. These are things that I see in Adam's commentary and certainly things that I try and emulate in the messages that I put out there in various social networks.

ERIC: Wonderful. Well, that was Adam Grant, who is on Instagram @adamgrant and on Twitter and LinkedIn at @AdamMGrant.

I definitely want to get Adam on this show at some point, and if YOU have a suggestion for a future Follow Friday guest, send us an email —

Reggie, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone you don't know, but want to be friends with. And you said friend of the show, Kara Swisher. She's on Twitter and Instagram @karaswisher, is the host of the New York Times' podcast, Sway, and she co-hosts the New York Magazine podcast, Pivot, with Scott Galloway.

I'm very biased here. I've known Kara for more than a decade; I think she's great. But why do you want to be friends with her?

REGGIE: Throughout her time with the Wall Street Journal, all of the various outlets that she's been involved in, I have always been interviewed by her partner, whoever it was at that point in time that she was doing work with. Never interviewed by Kara, and always wanted to, because I find her incredibly smart.

I find her knowledgeable and influential on so many different topics. I listen to her current podcasts. I am a huge fan of the work she does, and yet I'm so disappointed that at least to date, I've never been interviewed by her. That's why I'd love to somehow make that connection and would love to spend time with her. I think she's just so incredibly smart.

ERIC: Well, after this episode comes out, I'll be tweeting about it. We will see if we can get on her radar. But talk a bit more about what you specifically like about her style when you listen to her interviews, and listen to her podcasts. What is it that for you as a consumer of business podcasts and of things like this, what is it that you think sets her apart from other journalists, other interviewers?

REGGIE: I find she asks very thoughtful questions that allow her guest to articulate a point of view and to be able to state that point of view clearly and directly. She doesn't interrupt. She lets the guest get the point out.

But now, if she disagrees or if she has an alternative point of view, she'll challenge and she'll push, but always with respect, always from a basis of knowledge. And as someone who's been interviewed hundreds, thousands of times, that's all you can ask for from an interaction: Someone who's going to be thoughtful in their questioning, is going to allow you to state a point of view, and then if there's an engagement that happens afterwards, that it's done with full respect.

So that's what I love, in listening to her various podcasts. She encourages a wide range of different individuals to come on her show. She's had people that she flat-out disagrees with their point of view and their perspective, but she welcomes them onto the various platforms and gives them an opportunity to articulate a point of view.

Often, given how effective she is as an interviewer, she will let them somewhat hang themselves with the comments that they're making, but she welcomes alternative points of view and is able to navigate those interactions so effectively.

ERIC: I learned a ton from her over the years, working with her on Recode Decode, her former podcast. And one of the more important things was about approaching interviews with the right level of skepticism. As you were saying earlier, you don't want to be argumentative, just for the sake of being argumentative.

But even when she'd be interviewing someone who she might have been on kind of casual, friendly-ish terms with, someone who she liked stuff they did, she would still go in with professionalism and with a journalistic skepticism, a slight remove, just because that's part of the job. It's not to be the person's friend.

That's something that I think a lot of interviewers … it's easier to be nice and just be someone's friend, but challenging them is an important part of the job.

REGGIE: Absolutely, and this is something, again, as an executive, as a spokesperson for so many of the different brands that I've worked on, it's something that you learn right away.

That even if you know the interviewer, even if you've had interactions with them many times, in that instance, they're not your friend. They are doing their professional job and you need to do your professional job in terms of communicating a thoughtful, clear point of view.

ERIC: Do you find that when you were being interviewed by video game journalists … I assume you were being asked the same questions a lot, but do you remember specific instances where it was extremely refreshing? I know you haven't been interviewed by Kara, but are there times when it was like, wow, this person came at it from a different way?

REGGIE: The first part of your question, yes, I would typically get the same questions. Interviewers would probe the same areas. But I'll share that as the person responding, it was most disconcerting when an interviewer would go in and out of different topics, asking me questions that aren't necessarily connected.

I found that to be a very effective interview approach because it really made me think. It took me out of that clear spokesperson role and really made me think and provide thoughtful answers. I'll name two people who did this quite effectively: N'Gai Croal, who worked for a variety of different tech publications and also worked for Time Magazine, was very effective at doing this, asking me a variety of different questions, but they weren't linearly connected.

And then there's a gentleman by the name of Stephen Totilo, who works for Axios now. And I consider both of these people friends, but again, his typical approach would be dipping in and out of various topics, which constantly made me think and constantly made me be more thoughtful in my responses, which I really valued. I think the end product was that much better.

ERIC: So, let's say Kara calls you up tomorrow and says, "Reggie, I just heard you on my favorite podcast, Follow Friday. You seem cool. Let's be friends."

So you've said you want to be interviewed by her, but what else? Do you want to go somewhere with her? Do you just want to sit and chat?

REGGIE: Look, I'd love to be on one of her podcast shows. I'd love to sit and have a cup of coffee, especially as our world is opening up. She tends to be in the same general places that I tend to be. She's in New York, Miami and San Francisco, and these are areas I'm finding myself in more and more versus my home city of Seattle, Washington.

When I say someone I'd like to know better, someone I'd like to have as a real-world friend, just being able to sit down and have a cup of coffee, pick her brain, what's going on in the broad spaces around tech, what's going on at the intersection of tech and politics, what's going on as the world deals with some pretty tough issues and just hear a smart perspective.

ERIC: Absolutely. Well, that was Kara Swisher, who is on Twitter and Instagram @karaswisher.

If you know someone else who's a big Kara Swisher fan, then please share this episode with them! I always love it when my friends send something to me that they know I will love. So hit the share button in your podcast app and send this to one person who will love it.

We are going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Reggie Fils-Aimé. His new book is called Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo.

[ad break]

ERIC: Welcome back to Follow Friday. Reggie, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone who makes you laugh, and you said Jimmy Fallon, who is on Instagram and Twitter at @jimmyfallon.

Jimmy is, of course, the host of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Before that, he hosted Late Night and was on SNL for many, many years. Was there a specific thing that he was involved in or something he has done that turned you into a fan?

REGGIE: Yeah, I watched Jimmy during those days on Saturday Night Live. The movies that he did, I thought were just fantastic. But the relationship with Jimmy started when he was hosting Late Night. Jimmy himself is a huge gamer. He loves video games, loves a number of Nintendo franchises.

And I was fortunate to be on Late Night with Jimmy — I think in the end, it was either eight or nine times. It was very often. Some years I would be on his show twice. I'd be on his show in the summertime right when the E3 convention would be happening, the big video game conference. And then I would be back on his show in the winter time, just as we were preparing to launch either a new system or brand-new games.

And just through those experiences, I got to spend time with Jimmy and I consider him a friend. He invited Nintendo and myself onto the Tonight Show where we unveiled the Nintendo Switch, and he was the first non-Nintendo employee to pick up a controller and play on the Nintendo Switch and to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game.

[clip from The Tonight Show]

REGGIE: We have one more surprise.

JIMMY FALLON: Come on, no no no. This is so…

REGGIE: Can we get a drumroll?


JIMMY: If this is … if this is…

REGGIE: The one last surprise. This is it. Jimmy, are you ready?

JIMMY: No, no, no. Yeah, no. I'm freaking out. This is not the Switch.

REGGIE: This is the Nintendo Switch!

[audience cheers]

JIMMY: That's what I'm talking about! No way! Oh, I'm geeking out! I'M GEEKING OUT RIGHT NOW!

REGGIE: So, this is the Nintendo Switch.

JIMMY: [scream-laughs]

REGGIE: I love his skits. I love the work that he does. During the time of COVID, where he was broadcasting from his home, I thought he was doing some of his funniest work with his wife and with his girls on the show. Jimmy always brings a smile to my face.

ERIC: So you've known him for so long now. Do you have private communication with him? Are you chatting with him off-air when you're not guesting on his show?

REGGIE: We've direct-messaged each other; we've sent emails to each other. Jimmy did a really thoughtful video for me as I retired. It's been shared only with Nintendo employees during the last days as my role as president of the company. It's probably a two-minute video that he did, which made me smile and it highlighted our friendship and relationship, which was so incredibly thoughtful.

He didn't have to do it. It wasn't for mass consumption. It was just as, let's call it a personal gift, as I was retiring from Nintendo. We send the occasional direct message to each other and we'll see. COVID has been tough with limited travel and everything else, but I do hope to reconnect with him in person sometime soon.

ERIC: I've seen that clip that you were talking about, unveiling the Switch for the first time, letting Jimmy play Breath of the Wild. I think one of the things that his fans really like about him is how he wears his enthusiasm on his sleeve. He is so excitable about whatever he cares about. You can really see it on him.

REGGIE: Absolutely, and he's like a kid! He's like a kid, and to see his face light up when we unveiled the Switch. Look, he knew we were going to unveil the Switch and yet, his enthusiasm just comes through. It's fantastic.

ERIC: I figured he wouldn't give up five minutes of his show just for some mysterious announcement. I think he would probably want to know what he was going to be doing.

But in your knowing him for all these years, is he that excitable when the cameras are off, or is it something that he sort of turns on and off just to make for good TV?

REGGIE: No he is that excitable with the cameras off. Oftentimes as we're prepping to be on his show, we would spend time together in advance, whether it was in his office, whether it was during rehearsals. And what you see on TV is Jimmy. That is his personality. That is the way he acts. That fun, excitable persona is him.

We would have fun talking about video games and just talking in general about whatever might be going on. I really have enjoyed my time with him and look forward to spending more time with him.

ERIC: Well, Jimmy has recently been a big proponent of NFTs and cryptocurrency. And you recently were in the headlines, you said at South by Southwest that you're interested in blockchain and gaming applications for that— the underlying technology underneath NFTs and crypto.

I'm on the record, I'm skeptical of this stuff. So convince me a little bit, what do you find interesting about this space?

REGGIE: Well, look, I believe that, broadly, people are going to be skeptical until there's a great execution. And what I see as the potential is the ability via blockchain to have a clarity of process, whether that's through a blockchain contract, a clarity of ownership.

I think the technology can potentially enable new forms of game play and new ways for players to interact with the content. Now, that said, there needs to be that breakthrough example that brings it all to life. And I'll give an example from a different piece of technology and that's augmented reality.

Augmented reality was talked about in very conceptual terms until Pokémon Go made it a real, fun experience that hundreds of millions of consumers now have engaged in and continue to engage in. So it's all theory until it becomes real with a particular execution.

So for me, what I'm encouraging the development community is to be open-minded and to think about this technology and to look to apply it at its most basic and fundamental level, versus it being an add-on or a bolt-on to a particular experience. And I think if that's done, then we are likely to see some very interesting approaches, some unique and novel applications of the technology. Once that happens, there will be many more believers.

ERIC: I guess where I'd push back on that is that when people were playing Pokémon Go, almost none of them were saying, "Oh wow, I'm really excited to play this augmented reality application." They wanted to play a really fun Pokémon game that also got them walking around, all of that stuff.

So I think what would need to happen with blockchain gaming is, to your point, what's the right execution where it's not requiring them to necessarily know what blockchain is? It's not requiring them to make any tremendous sacrifices with their time, their money, or whatever. And I think right now the technology is not the most accessible to the average lay-person gamer.

REGGIE: I think that's absolutely true. I'll use an example from my own background. Gyroscopic technology had been around for years, but it wasn't until Nintendo incorporated that technology in a one-handed remote that we called the Wii Remote and had fun experiences like Wii Sports, where you were swinging your hand like you're swinging a racket to play a tennis game, and people were having fun.

And to your point, it was all about the experience. It's all about, I'm playing Wii Sports tennis, and that's my little avatar and isn't this fun? Let's play together. It wasn't talking about gyroscopic technology. It was talking about the fun of the experience.

I agree with you that when there is a killer experience that's fun and compelling and that happens to utilize blockchain technology, that's what's going to help push it forward.

ERIC: Well, that was a little tangent about blockchain, but that was also Jimmy Fallon, who is on Instagram and Twitter at @jimmyfallon.

If you don't have time to listen to every episode of Follow Friday but you still want to get all the follow recommendations from our amazing guests, the best way to do that is to subscribe to the free Follow Friday newsletter,

We have time for one more follow today. Reggie, I asked you for someone you've followed forever, and you said Geoff Keighley, who is on Twitter @geoffkeighley.

Geoff is a big media figure in the video game world. You have spent a lot of time with him over the years at various industry events. Do you remember at this point, how did you two first meet?

REGGIE: We first met over lunch as Nintendo was preparing to launch the Nintendo DS. And just as we are talking about Kara and others who interview individuals, Geoff came into that conversation with a lot of skepticism, but wanting to learn more about what we were doing with this dual-screened game platform and how we were looking to revolutionize the industry.

We had a very… I don't want to call it contentious, but it was a back and forth conversation where he would be asking me questions. And this was off the record, it was a background type of conversation, but he was pushing and he was probing, and I was pushing right back.

For me, what I took from that conversation is someone who absolutely is passionate about gaming. Someone who really was being thoughtful around the challenges for launching new systems and bringing new content to bear, but also someone who is willing to listen and willing to hear out an alternative point of view. And that was the beginning of our relationship.

We went on to do many, many televised interviews. He went on to work with me on creating some content during my time at Nintendo. Some of the best-known Nintendo skits and things of that nature, he had a role in helping to shape and bring to bear. So he's someone who I, again, I consider a friend and have spent quite a bit of time on.

He himself has helped me as I've gone on my journey after Nintendo. I often get asked, "How did you get the @reggie handle?" And he was a help as I contacted folks at Twitter to try and get that handle. So he's a good friend and someone I put on my personal board of advisors to float ideas on.

ERIC: Well, when you search your two names on YouTube, you get a clip called "The Dorito Pope and Regginator Rivalry." It starts off with a clip of I think you beating him at Wii Sports, and then there's a bunch of clips of him asking you challenging questions about Nintendo's business at these various industry events.

Has there ever been a point in this decade-plus of knowing him where it has felt like a rivalry, where it has felt more contentious or was that always, like we were saying earlier, just a function of him being a journalist?

REGGIE: I don't believe there's a rivalry. And even when you talk about being contentious, again, his job is to ask the tough questions. I remember this was during the launch of Wii U. Wii sold over a hundred million units globally and had some iconic software associated with the platform, Wii Sports being one of the best-known.

We were launching Wii U, and again, being a journalist, he was challenging some of the content that we were bringing to bear. And there's a great clip of me telling Geoff, "Play the games. You're being negative. You have all of these perspectives, play the game. Play the game!"

So that became another meme out there: Me telling Geoff that he just needs to play our games before having a point of view. So it really is a relationship based on respect. It's based on each of us doing our jobs.

Now he's asked me every year to be on the show he produces, The Game Awards, to present various categories and to be part of that show. So it really is a deep relationship based on respect, not a rivalry.

ERIC: The Game Awards is streamed online. It's both an awards show for games and it's also a place where a lot of new titles get announced. It's sort of also a marketing thing for a lot of game studios.

What is it like working with Geoff behind the scenes, both on Game Awards or on the skits you mentioned for Nintendo Direct? What is that collaboration process like?

REGGIE: Geoff is incredibly creative himself, and comes up with unique and novel ideas. But he's also incredibly connected. We did a skit — must have been 2015, where myself, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata were puppets. Muppets. This was done by the Jim Henson company and our characters transformed into characters for a Star Fox game: Very innovative. My puppet reprises a number of memes…

[clip from video]

SATORU IWATA: [knocks on door] Reggie? Are you ready for the digital event?

[door opens]

REGGIE: [doing push-ups] Nintendo 62 … Nintendo 63 … Nintendo 64! My puppet body is ready!

So, Geoff not only helped conceptualize the concept, but introduced us to the Jim Henson company. Mr. Miyamoto loves puppetry, so he was very excited to do this little skit.

That's just a small example of Geoff 's creativity and his connections that helped so many of these moments come to life.

ERIC: Well, that was Geoff Keighley, who is on Twitter @geoffkeighley.

If you have a favorite YouTube video that Reggie or Geoff has been in, I'd love to watch it. Tweet us @followfridaypod or send an email to

And a reminder to everyone listening that our supporters on Patreon have access to a fifth bonus follow from Reggie. To unlock it, go to

Reggie, thank you so much for sharing these follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure that listeners know how to find you online and that they know where to find your book. Where do you want them to follow you?

REGGIE: Follow me @Reggie on Twitter. You can also find my website, That also has all of my latest activity.

In terms of the book, the book is available in all formats at all retailers. And just as a note, I narrated the audiobook, which was a lot of fun to do. So if you love hearing my voice, pick up the audiobook and you'll hear me tell the story of Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo.

And in the audiobook, there's over an hour of bonus content of me with Geoff Keighley. So you'll get an added bonus in listening to this podcast and getting a little bit of background on Geoff and hearing more of Geoff and Reggie's stories.

ERIC: I think if they've made it to this far in the podcast, they like your voice just fine. Well, you can follow me on Twitter @HeyHeyESJ and don't forget to follow or subscribe to Follow Friday in your podcast app.

While you wait for next week's episode, scroll back in the Follow Friday feed because I think there a bunch of interviews there you would like. For example, you can hear me talking to Kara Swisher from Sway, Amanda Aronczyk from Planet Money, and Gavin Purcell, who is the host of Way Too Interested and Jimmy Fallon's former producer!

Follow Friday is a production of Our theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie, our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan, and our social media producer is Sydney Grodin. Special thanks to our Big Fri Patreon backers Jon and Justin.

That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson reminding you to talk about people behind their backs. And when you do, say something nice.

I'll see you next Friday.

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