By Harold Goldberg
Yesterday at the DreamYard Project’s Bx Start game center, New York Videogame Critics Circle Board member Reggie Fils-Aimé spoke about his five keys to success to students from five Bronx schools. The former Nintendo of America president enthralled the students with meaningful stories garnered from his years at many corporate entities, including Procter and Gamble, Viacom and Nintendo.
Students and educators alike hung on Reggie’s every word. He talked about facing and defeating racism within corporate culture as a young man and stated that students can take charge of their own path to success. “It’s up to you,” he said. “It’s not up to someone else.”
While all of his five points rang true, perhaps the most salient – and difficult to do – is ‘facing your fears.’ Early on in his career, Reggie said that he had a great fear of public speaking. But over time, he was able to defeat fear to the point that he could go on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon before millions of people to introduce Nintendo’s Switch – and have fun with it at the same time. He stated that he still is in touch with Jimmy Fallon today.
During the question and answer portion, students talked about how hard it is to face your fear, and Reggie commiserated. But it can be done. I added, “We’re all still scared – even though we’re adults.” We just have learned a little better to deal with the fears since we have faced many of them before.
Reggie also spoke about checking out a CS:GO esports tournament, and when a few students said they are interested in being esports pros, Reggie suggested that they should make sure they can compete at an elite level before committing to the constant hard work that goes into esports practice and pre-competition preparation.
After the presentation and questions were finished, Reggie took photos with students and spoke to many of them individually. As day turned into night, one thing was clear. Our young people will remember Reggie’s words for many years to come. As a young nonprofit, the New York Videogame Critics Circle is committed to giving back to underserved communities, and with Reggie on our board of directors, that effort has become so much stronger.
Journalist/author Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle and the New York Game Awards.