Nintendo marches to the beat of its own drum. Many of us use phrases like that to reference its unusual business practices or marketing plans, but it also refers to something more essential to Nintendo’s identity: its endearing charm as a company. Whether that’s through honest and unintentionally funny demonstrations of its latest hardware, time dedicated to gags, or even the personality its presenters display, the company can connect with its fans like few others. Compared to the rigid professionalism of rival platform holders, Nintendo’s endearing E3 memories can be a breath of fresh air that reminds us of how jovial gaming can be. With that in mind, here are just five of the most endearing E3 moments from Nintendo.
Motion control mishaps
Legend of Zelda fans had already experienced motion controls thanks to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but the prospect of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was an entirely different beast. As the game was fully designed around the feature, players would need to be sold on this radical departure from the norm as efficiently as possible. A pre-recorded video demonstration for the controls would’ve been the logical move on Nintendo’s part, but that would also be too impersonal and unfulfilling for a company that prides itself on its friendly image.
Instead, Shigeru Miyamoto gave Nintendo’s E3 audience a live demonstration of Skyward Sword, and it was an honest look at the inconsistencies of the technology. What makes this an endearing E3 memory for Nintendo was that, despite knowing the risks, it likely knew how essential it was for fans to see Miyamoto playing the game in front of them. It’s a testament to the open relationship Nintendo strives to build with its player base.
When Nintendo stopped doing live conferences in favor of digital-only presentations, it initially disappointed fans. Perhaps that’s why Nintendo decided to prove that digital showcases had the potential to do things that E3 events could not. At E3 2015, Nintendo implemented the most elaborate gag the company has possibly ever done. Puppet versions of Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Reggie Fils-Aimé hosted Nintendo’s E3 show and periodically appeared between trailers to add comedy to the proceedings.
Can you imagine Sony or Microsoft pulling off a similar stunt? Quite frankly, it’s absurd, hilarious, and the perfect example of an endearing E3 moment that only Nintendo could come up with. After all, why present a show with regular suited businessmen when puppets can inject far more levity and charisma to the event? From lines like “My puppet body is ready” to seeing the trio dance to music from Super Mario, the entire event was a surreal but wholesome reminder of what makes Nintendo so different from its peers.
“My body is ready.”
Reggie Fils-Aimé is a beloved Nintendo figure due to how attached fans became to his friendly and comedic persona. Almost every Nintendo fan knows the “My body is ready” quote, but for the uninitiated, E3 2007 saw the introduction of the latest Wii accessory, the Wii Balance Board. We know that Nintendo loves to demonstrate its hardware in-person, so what better way to sell fans on the Wii Balance Board than by having the president use it himself? Just before stepping onto the device, Reggie uttered the phrase, “My body is ready,” and history was made.
While funny and a little awkward at the time, it’s the aftermath of this phrase that makes it special to this day. Reggie and others have leaned into the resulting meme and capitalized on it further with references, and the man would partake in more shenanigans in future shows. In a way, the “My body is ready” phrase has since turned into a representation of the earnest relationship Nintendo wants to build with its players.
Bowser meets Bowser
Reggie Fils-Aimé’s surprise retirement was a hard pill to swallow for Nintendo fans, but there was a silver lining. Doug Bowser’s appointment to president of Nintendo of America brought with it the hilarious coincidence of having the man share his surname with the company’s greatest villain. Of course, Nintendo seized the opportunity. During E3 2019, Nintendo opened its Direct with an introduction from Doug Bowser, only to be interrupted by his Super Mario counterpart. It was a humorous skit involving both Doug Bowser and Yoshiaki Koizumi having to usher away the villain by clearing up the misunderstanding. As a disappointed Bowser stomps off-camera, Koizumi even asks the new president if he has any relation to the infamous Mario nemesis.
Nintendo absolutely had to make a gag out of the extraordinary coincidence of its president’s surname, and he played along perfectly. In doing so, Doug Bowser sent out an important message that the departure of Reggie Fils-Aimé wouldn’t affect the silliness and fun at the heart of the company. Nintendo established that Doug Bowser stood for its values, and whether it’s through his more humorous social media posts or fan interactions since that E3, Nintendo of America seems to be in good hands.
“Who’s your daddy?”
In E3 events of the past, there was more of a potential language barrier between Nintendo and its audience. Having a spokesperson relay Nintendo’s messages to an E3 crowd would’ve been the way to go, but just like with its hardware showcases, the company prefers a personal touch. Late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata took it upon himself to present Nintendo’s E3 2005 conference to the best of his English-speaking ability. However, instead of simply giving way to another host or announcing a new game, he took the time to trash-talk fellow Nintendo legend Reggie Fils-Aimé.
Iwata claiming to have handily beaten Reggie at Super Smash Bros. Melee the previous night, and he was both bragging about his skills and establishing the friendly relationship he had with his colleague. He concluded the trash talk by asking Reggie, “Who’s your daddy?” Aside from being funny and unexpected, the situation made Iwata a relatable and endearing E3 personality for Nintendo fans.
What are some of your most endearing Nintendo E3 moments?