Combined images from Flickr User: JD Hancock

Community Post: A Big Red Shadow

Combined images from Flickr User: JD Hancock
Combined images from Flickr User: JD Hancock

We all know and love Mario, he is arguably the most popular video game character of all time and appeals to adults and children alike. But while Mario enjoys our adulation, his lanky green brother takes a side role. Why is it that Luigi has always been ‘Mario’s brother’ or ‘player 2’? Why is he confined to his brother’s shadow?

Well first of all we can point to the fact that Luigi is (put simply) just another Mario model. When the lead designer Miyamoto was designing ‘Jumpman’ who later became Mario, the colour palette swap from red to green birthed the early version of Luigi. Thus Luigi is a similair but not quite the full article copy of Mario, a second rate edition of Mario.

Also, Mario came onto the scene first, naturally making him the superior plumber. Mario first appears in Donkey Kong in 1981 and then two years later Luigi arrives in the original Mario Bros. in 1983. However Luigi is just a player 2 option until Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1988 when he receives a primary character role. Just the fact that Mario is the older and more experienced brother with more adventures under his belt means Luigi is reserved as more of a side-kick role.

Third and finally, Luigi never has a goal to work towards in a majority of the series’ titles. Mario is in a constant struggle to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser a.k.a King Koopa. Mario’s love interest gives him a edge that Luigi just doesn’t have, again reinforcing the problem that he is just in it for the ride alongside Mario. This could be rectified by introducing another dimension to Luigi’s character or a recurring goal for him and only him.

But all is not doom and gloom for my favourite underdog. corresponding with the 30th anniversary of Luigi’s first appearance, 2013 was ‘The Year of Luigi’ with a trio of games dedicated to Luigi. I will try to ignore the fact that the plots of these games mostly revolve around the fact that Mario is in danger and Luigi has to help out, I still hope for a day in which Luigi is left to his own devices for once.

So, my question is this: who do you prefer? Mario or Luigi? Or even Wario or Waluigi? Thanks for taking the time out to read my post and I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Have a great day gamers!

Cain Jones

5 thoughts on “Community Post: A Big Red Shadow”

  1. Interesting post. I prefer Luigi, actually. I feel sorry for him, really, when he has superior jumping abilities to his older sibling, and yet he gets far less glory. And even if people think he’s a coward, it certainly takes guts to hunt ghosts in abandoned mansions. (Yet I like Wario better than Waluigi. Waluigi freaks me out.)

  2. That’s a good point, he certainly has talents that Mario doesn’t due to the fact that Mario is supposed to be an all rounder. As for Waluigi, I’m with you on that. he is certainly an acquired taste.

  3. I honestly prefer Luigi, because I identify with him more as a character and visually an avatar (I too am a little taller than your average Joe). I’ll always have a soft spot for the underdog.

    Unless of course we’re talking discussing the Mario movie from the 90’s, in which John Leguizamo played Luigi…ha

    1. Being about average height, it’s not Luigi’s lankiness that I identify with, but I absolutely agree with you about having a soft spot for the underdog. And Luigi is a prototypical underdog if I ever saw one!

      I’m sorry to say it but I was born in the 90’s, so I have not seen the Mario movie. But having googled it I think I know what you mean.

      By the way thanks for the responses, good to hear I’m not the only person that prefers Luigi to Mario!

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