Howard Phillips is the creator and former writer of Nintendo Fun Club News and Nintendo Power. In the early nineties, Phillips quit Nintendo of America and joined several companies such as LucasArts, THQ and Microsoft before starting his own business (Howard Phillips Consulting) and becoming the studio director of Chair Entertainment Group, a game developer based in Utah.
In his twenties, Howard Phillips was a boat painter who was hired at Nintendo of America to work in a warehouse. He would eventually climb up to become a game evaluator (referred to as the "Game Master" by Nintendo), testing Japanese developed Nintendo games for their quality and assisting in the game localization process.
While at Nintendo of America, Phillips created Nintendo Fun Club News. At the beginning of each issue (there were only seven) was a column he wrote called "prez says" in which he gave a short introduction. After the seventh issue of the Nintendo Fun Club News, Phillips and his team worked on rebooting the bi-monthly newsletter into a full blown magazine titled Nintendo Power. Nintendo Power, which became a monthly magazine several months after its debut, also featured a column written by Phillips at the end of each issue which he devoted to thanking the readers and explaining the process of creating the issue. In Nintendo Power V2, he explained how Nintendo Power gave him and his team the opportunity to go to Disney Land in California and meet game development all-stars (such as the creators of Rare).
Phillips' input did lead to the disapproval of some Nintendo prototypes. A peripheral known as the Nintendo Knitting Machine, whereby players would having a program to show them how to knit sweaters and other forms of crochet, was not accepted. Howard Phillips recalled that at the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show he was given 30 minutes to give a pitch to Charles Lazurus, the CEO of Toys R' Us, about the knitting machine. A combination of ill preparation and lack of understanding was a factor behind what Howard later admitted as "on of genuinely least enthuiastic presentations". Lazarus, who normally had received Howard Phillips' pitches well, was not impressed with the Nintendo Knitting Machine. Another product that was delayed in being transitioned from the Famicon to the NES was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, which had been known in Japan as Super Mario 2. Phillips (correctly) speculated the game was overly difficult in comparison to the original, and instead recommended remaking Doki Doki Panic, which was reworked into Super Mario USA and finally Super Mario Brother 2. (The Lost Levels would be released for an American audience in 1993).
Howard Phillips became a sort of celebrity to Nintendo Power readers. He would regularly pose with Nintendo products within the pages of the magazine and would almost always appear with his trademark bow tie and clean cut look (the former of which was noted by Nintendo Power competitor Electronic Gaming Monthly, who labeled Phillips the "bow tie monster"). A fictional version of Phillips even starred in a monthly comic in Nintendo Power called Howard & Nester. It was eventually discontinued, but is considered one of the hallmarks of the magazine's early years. Today Nester is remembered more than Howard due to his more comedic role in addition to appearing in several video games either as an important character (Nester's Funky Bowling) or as a cameo (StarTropics).
As of late, Howard Phillips has been working on interactive learning software. He recently revived the "Howard" character (but not Nester) from the "Howard and Nester" strip to be marketed as "Gamemaster Howard's Know it All".