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While Reggie Fils-Aime holds the current reins of Nintendo of America spokesman, Howard Phillips was the first. Where Reggie transitioned to Nintendo from a well established executive career path, Howard worked for a fledgeling NOA. His start in the company included unloading Game and Watch boxes and Donkey Kong arcade cabinets from the Seattle port authority to a sparsely staffed Washington warehouse, before being tapped to become the human face of a company poised to recover the video game industry from the early 1980s crash.
Phillips served as a direct adviser to Minoru Arakawa, first president and founder of NOA. Howard is the man most responsible for setting the launch lineup of NES games from the available selection of 47 Famicom titles. He set the tone for focus testing Nintendo-developed titles that reached the North American market, and in one example found the original sequel to Super Mario Bros. (The Lost Levels), to be challenging in way that did not offer enough fun. The perception that western gamers were easily frustrated by the difficulty imparted in Japan-designed games, carried through to the Super NES era, long after Phillips' departure from Nintendo.
Howard Phillips long held the title of Game Master at Nintendo. Put simply, he played and knew the sum total of information about every NES game released during his tenure as Nintendo Fun Club president, and as editor of Nintendo Power magazine. Howard established the early "counselor's guides" that game counselors consulted when receiving toll-free (and later toll-per-minute) phone calls from kids and parents alike. Phillips was often interviewed by the media as the Nintendoitis Craze took hold of the nation, and demonstrated techniques such as proper thumb position on the NES pad for Super Mario Brothers games: where the tip of the thumb holds "B", and the first thumb joint flexes to hit "A" when needed.
Phillips began to explore research into neuroscience and memory, applying it to learning methods. He then created a kickstarter for an iOS project called Gamemaster Howard's Know-It-All. The kickstarter was not successful, and comparisons were drawn to Nintendo's Brain Age franchise.
- 1973, International House of Pancakes
- 1978, Great American Food and Beverage University
- 1981, Nintendo of America
- 1991, LucasArts (JVC)
- 1991, THQ
- 1993, Absolute Entertainment
- 1995, Splash Studios LLC
- 1997, Microsoft Game Studios
- 2009 (March), Studio Director for Chair Entertainment Group (Epic)
- 2010, Stealth Mode Startup