Back in January, no one saw it coming. Such an event would have been looked upon with sheer confusion and embarrassment, yet he still proved victorious. Even if it was by luck, his fans remained loyal to the end. It was a triumphant day for our hero. At that moment, a month before it became official, one thing was clear: The Year of Luigi had begun.
Luigi has almost always been a fan-favorite, but 2013 couldn’t have been better for him. With Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon’s release on March 24, the hype alone made sure Luigi’s popularity peaked in a way that hadn’t been seen since November 2001 when the original Luigi’s Mansion came out. This was the game that truly transformed Luigi from handsome palette swap into the complex character he is today. That same anticipation also had the power to secure Luigi’s victory in “Super Mario Survivor 4: Favorite Mario Kart Wii Characters,” but before we get to the rest of The Year of Luigi, just how does the Mushroom Dynamite fare on the racetrack?
Well, in the Mario Kart series, one of Luigi’s popular catchphrases is, “I’m-a Luigi, number one!” He actually does have great status and is a powerful force for a Middleweight known especially for his traction.
In addition to his exceptional talent for an All-rounder, another detail racers like about Luigi is how his personality shines through even when driving his karts. When he wins, he’s both excited and surprised, like the player controlling him at times. Luigi also cries when he loses and when he’s hurt. These emotions not only make the player empathize with him in his own unique way, but are also responsible for some of the best voice acting in the series and at the very least a lot of laughs. Overall, Luigi’s a racer who can both strive on the track and make you smile. What more could you ask for in a racing game
The Super Smash Brothers poll showed that the normally timid Luigi fought his way straight to the top, placing second only to the infinitely powerful copying Kirby. He has exceptionally developed jumping powers and powerful moves like his Forward Smash and the Super Jump Punch and for those who like his traits, there’s always the Sissy Slap, his humorous and sometimes almost uniquely dangerous taunts, and that his “Fanfare” crowd only consists of two or three people.
Back to 2013, when Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was released, it received almost universal acclaim by reviewers and award givers alike, continues to be best-seller, and transformed the franchise’s status from cult classic to instant classic. In fact, many critics mentioned how this 3DS masterpiece is the way to properly begin the Year of Luigi by delivering the charm only Luigi can.
Other games of 2013 include New Super Luigi U, the first Super Mario game to include only Luigi, along with Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, in which Luigi plays a much larger role, and Mario Party: Island Tour. Super Mario 3D World, which is looking to be one of the best games of all time, even contains a bonus game, a version of the original Mario Bros. game called Luigi Bros. Not only does it pay homage to Luigi’s first appearance, but there are also two Luigi’s, one with his current appearance and one of him back in the NES days, now known as Fire Luigi.
Even the December 31st has something! Luigi’s first appearance in the sub-series, Dr. Luigi. He has also been finally announced in Super Smash Bros. for WiiU and 3DS!
Luigi has been quite the subliminal focus at Nintendo related events, catalogs, and system bundles. There’s a digital card and physical yearbook ready for fans to read right now, and let’s not forget Chicago’s “L Train” brightly adorned with pictures of Luigi and his colors! Luigi even has an official Nintendo-licensed viral video going for him in the form of “Finding Luigi: Legend of Parkour” which has proven quite popular and became the first Nintendo character (Along with Mario of course) to have a Wii remote with his colors.
The Year of Luigi is undeniably the most love Nintendo has ever given to a promotion and individual character hands down, but, as we all know, sometimes, even in seemingly perfect times, tragedy has no mercy. While most events were out of Nintendo’s happy-go-lucky realm, the death of Jack Westelman (also known as Danny Wells), who played and voiced Luigi in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, in November saddened fans to their core, but the joys he and his character shared continue to be in our hearts, always.
Some wonder what will happen to Luigi after the 2014 Ball Drop. Despite the initial sadness, his appeal will be kept. Does our love affair with the color green itself suddenly cease after St. Patrick’s? No. Did people just stop loving Mario, Kirby, Zelda, and Metroid after their 20th anniversaries? Again, that would be wrong. If anything, The Year of Luigi opens a window and lets the beautiful aroma of his flowers that he spent his entire career carefully growing reach, and therefore appeal to, a larger audience. Fans who already can’t get enough of Nintendo’s dreamy, comical, poster boy can rejoice and embrace their love and those who are unaware can begin to fully understand and admire the character. In addition, Luigi is ready to shine in games like Mario Kart 8 and Mario Golf: World Tour, Super Smash Bros., and a whole lot more, considering it has been confirmed that products and activities featuring Luigi will continue into the next year.
Even with the next year upon us, Luigi is still a clear fan-favorite who’s destined to be influential and continue to gain new fans for each new generation to come. Happy Year of Luigi and many more years, Luigi!