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August 26, 2013

Is Luigi Still Overlooked?

Some guys just can't take a break. Especially in video games. When you are the character representing Player 2 (when there's even a P2 to begin with), of course you're not going to be seen very often. It's pretty sad for the goofball of the Mario series, Mario's brother Luigi. It's his life's story to be option number two, while Mario always takes the number one spot.

2013 is the Year of Luigi, because Luigi appeared for the first time in the arcade game Wrecking Crew, which came out in 1983. It's been thirty years this year. Cool for him, except the poor guy still can't get enough recognition. Always in his brother's shadow, Luigi is really in a pitiful situation.

Despite this year's celebration of the green bro, we have to ask the question... Is Luigi still overlooked? It's kind of hard to tell.

Evolution of the Luigi
You see, Luigi has always been second fiddle in the great Super Mario concert. He has always been known as the second character, the sad Player 2: In Wrecking Crew, Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3 (not SMB2 because he could be selected to play, as were Princess Toadstool - now better known as Peach - and Toad), Super Mario World... After which he was forgotten in platformer games for a while. No traces of him in Super Mario Land and its sequel, Super Mario 64, and in Super Mario Sunshine. Luigi was barely in the RPGs, might it be Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (in which he only has a mention and leads the end credits' parade). He was also barely in the first Paper Mario, though he had an extended storyline in the sequel... a storyline that was an extra, thus not really part of the game.

Hey, Whomp King! You want a piece of the Wild Green
Wonder? ...Come and get it, you walking gravel.
But, when you think about it, Luigi has also had his chances to shine. And not just in the spinoff games, either. Off the top of my head, I can list the four Mario & Luigi games (Superstar Saga, Partners in Time, Bowser's Inside Story and Dream Team, though the last one purposely features Luigi much, much more because it came out this year: The Year of Luigi). I can also list Super Paper Mario, in which Luigi is playable (except you don't unlock him until World 7). There's Super Mario 64 DS, in which Luigi is unlockable (yet so are Mario and Wario). And, of course, both Super Mario Galaxy games, in which you can play as Luigi once you collected all the stars at least once, and must collect them all once more with Mario's brother. That's not all; If you know the trick, you can play as Luigi in New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS, and he can be played also in all the other 2D platformer Super Mario games released on both the Wii and the Wii U.

And who can forget Luigi's Mansion, and the sequel (which also came out this year), Dark Moon? Those two have Luigi trying to save Mario from a horrible fate. Both games involve ghosts, lots of ghosts, and Luigi fighting his biggest fears in order to save his brother. This is an epic moment of awesome for the green-clad hero. Oh, and that's not all, either: A special version of New Super Mario Bos. U was released recently, called New Super Luigi U. Luigi is Player 1 in that game!

Aw, he's scared of the cutte little deadly Subspace critters!

Also, let's not forget that wherever Mario goes, Luigi follows. Luigi has always been a part of Super Smash Bros., ever from the very first game. Let's not forget either all the other medias, such as the Mario cartoons: Luigi is always there too. But those have stopped airing, so they're mentioned here just for the sake of information.

Last but not least, through all those games, Luigi gained a personality. You see, Mario always has to remain a "blank slate" of a hero, a character who can be put in all kinds of situations, no matter what. And that's why Mario didn't gain so much of a personality (let's see, he'd travel galaxies to save Peach, he doesn't hate Bowser enough to forbid him from playing kart with him, he's determined and loves pastas... that's it!), but Luigi... He became the silly one. The coward, sure, but the one who'll still jump into action if he can help. Just don't put him near ghosts as long as he doesn't have a special vacuum with him.

So, is Luigi still overlooked? No, not that much. He still is, a little, because Mario is still the main focus of a lot of games (and Mario's name is in almost all the spinoff games: Mario Party, Mario Kart...), but usually there will be a way to play as Luigi, and that's a good sign. It proves Nintendo cares for the lesser bro. It proves the fans demand more Luigi. Go, second fiddle, and steal the show!