Howard Phillips was, for a time in the 80s, America's Game Master, a spokesperson and general Elder One for Nintendo of America. If you were a child of the 80's, more than likely you were at some point dully aware of his existence.

Howard's great mark on the world was Howard and Nester, a random little one-to-two-page comic that was featured in Nintendo Power magazine... well, from the beginning. Every copy of that magazine ever printed, up until a couple years ago, at one point passed through my closet, and as far as i remember Howard and Nester were there from the very first issue, the one featuring Super Mario 2.

Howard and Nester was about Howard Phillips' adventures with a random young person named Nester (Get it?? NESter?? It's a PUN!! HA HA!!'re not laughing). The comic was in that great tradition of short anecdotal fables which capture some small portion of the existence of generic archetypes of human figures in order to encapsulate for the reader some great universally applicable moral or lesson to be learned. Except that in Howard and Nester, the encapsulated lesson was always something like "In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, make sure you collect a full 99 scrolls before going to fight the level bosses."

The comic played heavily off outwardly portraying Howard as a complete ditzy goober, a blankly smiling nicely dressed idiot in a bow tie, and Nester as a self-aware, cocky, worldly teenager with spiky red hair. Except that by the end of the comic Nester would have revealed himself to be a complete idiot, and Howard would have parted his grin briefly to let knowledge flow from the vast abyss-like store of wisdom and experience that roared hidden within him, rescuing Nester from his own cluelessness and saving the day.

Everyone who read Nintendo Power saw him mentioned there and in other random places in the magazine, and we all knew he was in some way connected to Nintendo and was an Important Person. But nobody, to this day, is quite sure what, exactly, that his job was.

In 1991 Howard left Nintendo and drifted for a long time. Some say he now works at Microsoft. It is documented that he was in some way involved, seemingly as some kind of project head, with something called "Microsoft Baseball 3D". Other than this, his life and legacy remain shadowy to us mortals.

As for the Howard and Nester comic, it continued for a time, now without Howard and called just "Nester", then was quietly dropped from the magazine.

There is, by the way, no connection between this Howard Phillips and the little statue of id that RainFire speaks of above.