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The Real Reason Nintendo Turned Down Kanye West

Kanye West is on top of the world. He is a famous rapper and fashion designer, and while he has had his controversial moments, he still has plenty of clout within the entertainment industry. Kanye once tried to use that clout to partner up with Nintendo, but he failed, because no matter how big you are, sometimes a company just can't spare the manpower.

Earlier this year, ex-President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime shared a story in his podcast (partial transcripts provided by Nintendo Everything), and he revealed some surprising news: Long before he waved goodbye to Nintendo, Fils-Aime had to wave goodbye to an offer from West.

Fils-Aime set the stage by stating that West visited the Nintendo booth during a past E3 event. Fils-Aime wasn't there to greet him, but Nintendo director and producer Shigeru Miyamoto was. This led to an arranged meeting between Fils-Aime and West. Turns out West had been "experimenting with a piece of video game content," and he wanted Fils-Aime's honest opinion. Actually, he wanted more than just Fils-Aime's reaction: West wanted to collab with Nintendo. But, Fils-Aime had to "politely decline," which was a challenge for him.

As Fils-Aime recalled, Nintendo was swamped with projects at the time. The company didn't have enough room to squeeze in one more, not even for West. But instead of opting for the truth, Fils-Aime told a little half-lie. Fils-Aime said West shouldn't work with Nintendo because the company is "tough," because Nintendo "push[es] for the very best content."

Instead of discouraging West, that statement had the opposite effect. He still accepted Fils-Aime's claim at face value, but he revealed that Nintendo's notoriety for perfectionism was the reason why he wanted to work with the company in the first place. This revelation struck a chord with Fils-Aime — it wasn't big enough for West to ever get a gig with Nintendo, but the meeting still left its mark on Fils-Aime.

According to Fils-Aime, he left the meeting with the impression that West has a lot of passion for video games. One can only wonder what would have happened if Nintendo had an opening. What would that game even be like? Perhaps in some parallel universe, gamers are enjoying the fruits of West's and Nintendo's work, and maybe the two will team up in a future endeavor. Fils-Aime might not work at Nintendo anymore, but that doesn't mean West will have bad luck if he tries again.