Things are looking up for Nintendo at the moment. The Nintendo Switch has pretty much had the most successful launch anyone could expect, with critical reception and third party support going better for a Nintendo console than they have in a long time. The Switch hasn’t even set off a wave of anti-popularity backlash like the Wii did. The Nintendoomed meme has officially regained its full irony status. It’s as if the last four years never happened. But that’s what I want to talk about, the last four years…
Now some of my more observant readers who can do basic math may be wondering why I said the last four years. After all, Wii U launched in 2012, five years ago. The second it came out, or even the second it was announced, the world turned on Nintendo and their confusing Fisher-Price Wii add-on, right? Not exactly. While the Wii U’s launch certainly wasn’t the explosive success that the Wii and Switch enjoyed, it wasn’t bad either. Wii U sold a decent amount during the 2012 holiday season, and if it had kept on track it wouldn’t have been a huge success, but it would have been a reasonably sized one. Things didn’t go wrong until 2013. On February 14th, 2013 it was revealed that the Wii U had sold only 55,000 units in North America during January 2013. This was a pathetically low amount, and marked the start of disastrous console sales numbers that the Wii U never recovered from and that would cast a dark cloud over Nintendo for years to come.
You know what else happened that exact. Same. Freaking. Day? The Year of Luigi. On February 14th, 2013 Nintendo announced that in honor of Luigi’s 30th anniversary, the year 2013 would be dedicated to the second best green Mario series character (Yoshi being the first, of course). Luigi marked the year that sent Nintendo into a dark age. The Year of Luigi was the year of what can best be described as a curse being inflicted on Nintendo. Luigi is the symbol of every bad thing that happened to Nintendo from 2013 to 2016, and the poor Wii U never recovered from the darkness of that year, that specific day.
Well, is it really fair to blame Luigi for all of that? It’s not like 13 is renowned for being a lucky number. But let’s look at some of Luigi’s other big years. 1983, the year he debuted? The North American video game crash hit in full force. 1993, 10th anniversary? Worst year for SNES in its console war. 2003? For Luigi’s 20th birthday Nintendo fell into third place in a console war for the first time ever. 2008? The year of Wii Music’s E3 and the height of fears that Nintendo had abandoned their fans. In addition to anniversaries, Luigi was the star of Nintendo’s big launch game for the GameCube, the worst selling Nintendo console until he cursed Wii U. When did Nintendo 64’s launch hype wear off and set Nintendo on course for their first console war loss? Early 1997, the same time Luigi made his first appearance on the system in Mario Kart 64.
When we look at the evidence, it’s clear: there is and always was something ominous about Luigi, a kind of darkness inside that is inexplicable and frightening. Luigi’s insecurity, envy, cowardice, what have they been molded into inside the mind of the tall green plumber? Is Luigi the sympathetic, comedic figure he is often portrayed as? Is Mario oppressing Luigi by saving the world at great personal risk as a grand manipulation to make sure his brother never gets the glory? Or is he protecting us, knowing what would happen if Luigi got the glory and power that his twisted heart desires? I haven’t seen the true form of Luigi, I don’t know his real motives, but I… can feel them.
There is a bleak dryness inside and around Luigi. A constant feeling of despair and dissatisfaction that eats away at you, distracts you, makes you unable to fight the darkness overlaying you, your view of the world. Luigi knows he can’t do what Mario does, and it consumes him, he is a being of jealousy and bitterness. But he has other talents, he can do things that heroes like Mario and Yoshi could never do, and would never want to do. He manipulates people, makes them feel sorry for him. Mario risks his life again and again for the sake of others, yet Luigi has a sizable percentage of gamers convinced that he is the victim because he does not receive as much credit as his brother. The fear Luigi demonstrates, it isn’t real, it is a psychological manipulation technique. Luigi puts others on edge, plants seeds of anxiety in them. Luigi makes everyone around him weaker, and less able to counter the darkness he sows.
So what is Luigi truly capable of? What is his ultimate goal? I don’t know, deciphering the shadowy depths of this horrifying mystery is impossible. Maybe Luigi wants everyone to be as miserable as he is, viewing himself as an evangelist for gloom and despair just as the Joker views himself as an ambassador for chaos. Maybe he wants to use vague, creeping fear and hopelessness to do what Bowser’s minions never could and defeat Mario, taking his spot as Nintendo’s brightest star afterwards. Maybe Luigi is an eldritch abomination who adopted the form of a green Mario and its intention is no more coherent than making children hallucinate a show about screaming puppets. Whatever he is and whatever he wants, the curse of Luigi is a danger that we can no longer ignore.
So, what can we do about it? How can we possibly combat the shadow of Luigi that hangs over Nintendo like the Sword of Damocles? I wish I knew. There are things beyond human control, beyond human comprehension. Humanity lives at the mercy of the type of darkness that Luigi exudes. We can only hope that our brush with him doesn’t cause complete madness, that his indecipherable whims don’t call for the total destruction of all that we hold dear. Let’s hope that Mario can keep the darkness within his brother under control, but we’ll never be truly safe. No matter what happens, we are destined to live in the fear of Luigi.
Disclaimer: This article is completely serious and absolutely not a creepypasta style parody written for Halloween. The author really thinks that Luigi is a real life incomprehensible force of negative emotions while still viewing Nintendo as a video game company that makes the games Luigi stars in. He is 100% serious when he blames Luigi for Wii U’s sales failure, the North American video game crash, Wii Music, and Trump being appointed president. This is both serious and not at all related to the author being an only child who rarely encountered Luigi in classic Mario games and just never got why so many people love him so much. Despite this being completely serious, he for some reason wants you to know that he wrote a similar Halloween article in the past accusing Mario of being a sociopathic attempted murderer, so it’s not just him picking on Luigi for the aforementioned reason that has nothing to do with this at all. He will neither confirm nor deny wishing you a happy Halloween or knowing what Halloween is.