News Article

Feature: Luigi's Mansion 10th Anniversary

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

No longer the other brother

It may not be grabbing the headlines at the moment, but a notable anniversary has just passed: September 14th was the 10th anniversary of the release of Luigi’s Mansion in Japan. With the sequel due to arrive on 3DS in 2012, Downloads Editor Corbie Dillard and writer Jacob Crites have taken up the challenge of exploring Luigi’s ghosts of past and future.

The ghosts of Luigi’s past – Jacob Crites

Games don't get better or worse with age. We age; gamers age. When you hear someone say that a game, or a facet of a game has 'aged poorly,' like the camera system in Super Mario 64 for example, what that person really means is that their expectations, tolerances and tastes have changed. The same goes for when people say that a game has ‘aged well’. Games aren't wine. Our cartridges and discs don't slowly tweak and refine their gameplay mechanics to perfection as they collect dust on the shelf.

So the next time you hear somebody say “Man, I didn't care for Luigi's Mansion when it came out but it's sure gotten better with age!” you can politely tell them that they're an idiot. Luigi's Mansion has always been an awesome game. But when it first came out, its reception was lukewarm at best, and practically nobody was begging for a sequel. So what changed? What turned what many saw as a lacklustre launch title into a beloved cult-classic with a dedicated fan-base?

We changed. Our expectations changed; and the reason why most people's expectations were unmet when the game initially launched is quite simple: it was a Nintendo launch title that didn't have the words Super Mario in the title. Luigi's Mansion wasn't a Mario game. In fact, it was almost the antithesis to a Mario game: where Mario games are fast, bright and colourful, Luigi's Mansion was slow, dark and ambient. While Mario swiftly and confidently leaps through the air with highly-tuned precision, Luigi shuffled around nervously and clumsily, not to mention he couldn't even jump thanks to the huge vacuum cleaner strapped to his back. Mario and Luigi may be brothers, but gameplay-wise, Luigi's Mansion's closest relative was The Legend of Zelda, and that's really only because the game has you collecting a lot of keys. The truth is that Mansion didn't play like anything that had come before.

In some regards that's to be expected, given that it was a launch title of a brand-new console. Luigi's Mansion is often written off as a tech demo, and that's not entirely untrue - it was, in fact, a demonstration of what the GameCube and its respective controller were capable of. But what separates Mansion from the usual tech-demo-itis is that it tied together all of these technological showcases in a cohesive and often charming, heart-warming way. Luigi's flashlight wasn't just a step forward in lighting effects - it was integral to the gameplay experience, and made exploration a blast. The Poltergust 3000 wasn't just a great way to show off an impressive physics engine or the benefits of pressure-sensitive triggers and duel-analogue control - it was a fun and imaginative way to interact with the game world. Seeing Luigi get flattened like a piece of paper by a door, or seeing his fear-stricken face stretch to hilarious proportions when confronted with a ghost wasn't just an example of the impressive character animations the GameCube could render - it was, to quote our review, a means of transforming Luigi from “Mario's bland pallet-swap into a hilarious and lovable individual with a distinct personality.”

The incredible attention to detail and amount of interactivity available in a fairly confined space is still impressive, even if the tech behind it no longer is. Being able to interact with every tablecloth, cup and cupboard with the vacuum cleaner encourages thorough exploration of this unique world, and the creepy, ill-lit and claustrophobic art-direction makes the Mansion amongst the most unique locations in Nintendo's already-impressive catalogue. Simply put, seeing such an unabashedly cartoonish character reacting to such an unabashedly disturbing environment is still hilarious and compelling.

The reason why so many now look back on this game with such admiration is because they now go into it with the pre-existing consensus that it’s ‘not-so-great’. Luigi's Mansion no longer has to kick off a generation of console gaming; it merely has to entertain us. Not to mention, we're in a time now where genuinely inspired, creative gameplay is more widely sought-after and appreciated. The last generation of consoles, especially the early years when Luigi's Mansion first launched, was more about refinement than anything else. Better graphics, a more versatile controller and more impressive technology were grabbing attention. However, other than the implementation of dual-analogue controls for first person shooters and some rudimentary online gameplay, truly groundbreaking innovation was limited, and not always financially successful. It seemed that gamers didn't want Super Mario Sunshine. They wanted Super Mario 64 with next-generation graphics. By the same token plenty of gamers didn't want Luigi's Mansion. They wanted...well, Super Mario 64 with next-generation graphics. The recent Retro Renaissance brought on by games like Mega Man 9 and Cave Story has taught gamers to look back on older games with a keener eye. Luigi's Mansion can now be appreciated, perhaps not as ground-breaking, but simply as an incredibly charming and genuinely unique game.

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User Comments (60)



KeeperBvK said:

I had ALWAYS been wanting a sequel ever since its release and I liked it a lot more than the epitome of mediocrity that is Super Mario Sunshine.



19Robb92 said:

I love Luigi. It's great that he has his own game now. Can't wait for Luigi's Mansion 2.



Portista said:

I love the music, and Luigi, but I'm not that excited about Luigi's Mansion 2.



Tasuki said:

I have never played this game before is it really as good as everyone says it is?



Shokuboo said:

I didn't play to the first but i'm waiting forward the second opus on the 3DS. It seems to me pretty funny.



Ristar42 said:

I have a US copy I'm intending to play on the Wii, I did play it on Gamecube but never finished the game. Doesnt seem like ten years ago, but then my first games console was Atari 2600...



Link79 said:

I always liked Luigi's mansion.
Even when it was brand new.
It was one of the first Gamecube games I bought. Upon loading up the game for the first time I was amazed at what I saw. The graphics made my jaw hit the floor in disbelief. The lightning crashed through the windows and lit up the whole room. It was awesome! I was bummed it was over so soon but what a blast!



Wiiner1 said:

@jkgatling same here
This game was great. I remember when I thought shining the light on the ghost killed it so I was in the same room for ages trying to kill the same ghost. Good times.



Milkman-123 said:

i ALWAYS loved luigi's mansion, even when i was somewhere around 5 years old and my parents had given it to me as a christmas present. i played it more than anyone in the house (because i threw a fit whenever they wouldnt let me play), but there came a day when nobody would let me play the game when i was 6, as i thought i was too old for crying. so i was really mad that nobody would let me play. i decided to break the cd. but only until i was 7, did i realize how un that game was. when i was 10, i remembered what fun i had playing that game, so i searched a walkthrough, just for the wonderful nostalgia<3<3. but now im 11. ive had6 wonderful years to play, but only used 2 of those years. i bought a 3ds, for the 3d gaming and graphics, and life was good. but then i saw that nintendo announced luigi's mansion 2! i practically sh*t my pants while crying tears of joy when i had read the news inline and downloaded the e3 trailer off of eshop. yupp. my family has a nature for luigi's mansion, espesially me. this game is gonna be a day 1 buy for me, or an a preorder.



Nintonic said:

"So the next time you hear somebody say “Man, I didn't care for Luigi's Mansion when it came out but it's sure gotten better with age!” you can politely tell them that they're an idiot."

Glady :3



Collinhall said:

Although it was more of a tech demo then anything, it was great for a thrills and frills adventure to show of the GC, and though I love Sunshine a great deal more, Luigi's Mansion will always a great game <3



TKOWL said:

This was indeed a good game, a great game to show off some of the then-new GCN's fanciest features. Very glad it's getting a sequel.



Pokefanmum82 said:

i'm buying this game because it looks like fun to play and i like luigi. never played the first one.



NintyMan said:

Earlier this summer I played Luigi's Mansion just to remember good memories, and I found that the gameplay is still fun. While the game is short, it's very sweet. Come November 18th when it'll be ten years after its North American release, I'll be playing it once again with fondness.

From the recent Japanese trailer from TGS, it looks like Luigi's Mansion 2 will hold up well to its original. I've said it before and will say it again, but I wasn't surprised when the game was annouced because Nintendo had always wanted to make a sequel, specifically Miyamoto and Konno. The original game had 3D capabilities, but they couldn't integrate it into the final product, so it was no wonder that Luigi's Mansion 2 was a perfect fit for the 3DS. If the game sells well enough, Nintendo might even try it on the Wii U. For now, though, let's appreciate how far Luigi has come.



JaredJ said:

I wanted a wii version of Luigis Mansion. I thought the controls would be perfect. I'm surprised Luigis Mansion wasn't re-releases as a new play control title.



Blue_Yoshi said:

What turned ppl off of Luigi's Mansion 1 is that the game was too easy. You could literally beat it in 3 hours. The original concept however was much darker and scarier and stressing. Luigi had to save Mario within 24 hours of gametime. The game over screen looked mad creepy too. That concept moved over to Pikmin and proved to be a huge turn off but they fixed that in Pikmin 2.



mrbenzedrene said:

I recall being about ten and getting my GameCube on Christmas morning, along with Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros.: Melee and Luigi's Mansion. Of the three, this is the one that sticks with me the most today. Even back then, I loved the contrast between the moody, atmospheric style and Luigi's comic hi-jinx. Could not be more excited for the sequel.



RevolutionTech said:

I actually just played this game for the first time about two months before E3 2011. I wouldn't consider it a must-play, but I definitely recommend it; it's not the best game I've ever played by any means, but it is certainly unique and something to be appreciated. (You can imagine my excitement when the sequel was announced only two months later. It was really perfect timing for me xD)



JimLad said:

Man, I didn't care for Luigi's Mansion when it came out but it's sure gotten better with age!



yoyogamer said:

September 14 was also the 2 year anniversary of Mario and Luigi 3. And September 13 was the 26th of Super Mario Bros. Seems like september is the month of the green plumber!



Nintex said:

long live the luigi! great game i bought it with my gamecube and SWRS2 on launch oh so many years ago. a decade already? damn im getn old



OverlordMao said:

I finally got this game recently (6 months ago) since I never had the chance to play it, and I really like it.
I need to finish it though, I've been busy.

P.S. Fantastic article. Very well-written and engaging



warioswoods said:

The original game is in my queue of horror games to replay between now and Halloween. Unlike all other horror-ish games, though, this one is adorable, and makes me feel like a child watching Halloween specials again.

I'm tired of the gore and zombie nonsense having taken over all things horror-related. I don't see why we can't have more "spooky" and atmospheric games and less of the extreme. We need Luigi's Mansion 2 more than ever.



Stine said:

I got the original not too long ago. I should go back and finish it soon. And I'm sure the sequel will be awesome. :3



millarrp said:

I'm looking forward to this. I thought that Luigi's Mansion was a well done game and I'm glad that Nintendo is giving this great idea a 2nd chance.



ueI said:

I bought this game within a year of the gamecube's launch and I thought it was pretty good. Even before I bought it, it was obvious to me that this wouldn't be anything like Super Mario 64. It's nice not to have been burdened with unrealistic expectations.



Punny said:

Happy 10th, Luigi's Mansion! I used to think that this game was underappreciated, but now I have realized that it has quite a strong fanbase. I am proud to be a part of said fanbase. Bring on Luigi's Mansion 2!



Doma said:

A unique game, but kinda boring and repetitive from what i remember. 2 looks like more of the same so i might skip it. I'm wondering though.. since the first game used dual-analog, will this get support from the upcoming add-on?



Scissors said:

Loved the original, them announcing the sequel was the highlight of E3 for me.



MaikoRULES said:

Luigi's always been my favorite. ever since Superstar Saga (so not that long ). discovered this game after that so of course it just solidified my love for him



nano43 said:

When this game came out I really wanted it but we never ended up getting a Game Cube. So after awhile of owning a Wii i decided to finally get it. I love this game! I beat it 5 times in a week and i still love it! Can't wait for Luigi's mansion 2!



BenAV said:

I loved this game back on the Gamecube and I can't wait for Luigi's Mansion 2. Day one purchase for me.



timp29 said:

If I see this Luigi's Mansion on the gamecube in the second hand shops, I'm buying it.



bboy2970 said:

A great game indeed. I love the game's atmosphere and the gameplay was very fresh and fun at the time. Definitely a Cube classic. I absolutely can't wait for LM2!



Ren said:

I'm interested in the 3ds sequel but wasn't super into the original. Yeah, it was very fun but a little on the short side. It was actually more dissapointing that they didn't just make a sequel earlier that was a tad longer or deeper, because it was good but just kind of tailored as a launch seller, and not much else. I loved the vacuum mechanic, so I can't wait for the new one.



warioswoods said:

I long for the days when Mario and Luigi took off on separate adventures, each sporting his own unique and nifty magical backpack.

I miss the Gamecube.



SuperSonic said:

I love Luigi's Mansion. I just don't get tired of it. I doubted I'd get Luigi's Mansion 2 cuz of a shortage of money from preordering Special Edition Skyward Sword, Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus, and Sonic Generations. But 2012's enough time...-...need...luigi......along with....REVELATIONS!!!



Kage_88 said:

Man, I can't believe it's been 10 years already...

I still remember when I first played Luigi's Mansion. My twin brother was in hospital due to his heart (we were stuck there for two months, overall), and of course, the Gamecube was (finally!) released during our stay. Well, lady luck was on our side for once, as my brother was granted a 'wish' by the hospital. He chose a Gamecube with Luigi's Mansion and Smash Bros. Melee.

We really didn't expect to receive Melee (as it was still two weeks from release) - but hey presto! - there it was, inside a box along with the console, a memory card, and Luigi's Mansion. On top of that, we also received a translucent aqua N64 and a new TV for our house - which was the cherry on the purple, cube-shaped cake.

Afterwards, stories about the hospital began to emerge. It was said that late at night, you could hear the voice of an Italian man, warbling the words "Maarriioooo!!!" between shrieks of terror...



NeoShinobi said:

Ahh Luigi's Mansion. Lots of nostalgia with this one.

It's been years since I last played it, but I still remember being kinda creeped out by certain parts of the mansion. This game had some very unique atmosphere.



Traxx said:

"So the next time you hear somebody say “Man, I didn't care for Luigi's Mansion when it came out but it's sure gotten better with age!” you can politely tell them that they're an idiot."

What an offensive statement against people that (now) like the game - sense? Never experienced you avoided a game for years, didn't quite understand it, but got into it years later? Really?!

And more important: What are people still disliking the game for it's short lenght, none existent difficulty and nevertheless boring, repetitive gameplay ?



JettiBlue said:

Good article and good take on where the games stood and now stands.
Luigi's Mansion was a day one purchase for me and loved it for all the reasons. Very excited about the sequel!



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

The gamecube was the first home console that I purchased new, but I didn't get Luigi's Mansion until much later when a local store was liquidating it's gamecube stock. I was pleasantly surprised at how different it was to any other game, let alone any other nintendo game.



Thwiidscube said:

Oh my god! I bought Luigi's Mansion yesterday at GameStop! I didn't even realize it was the game's anniversary!

And I can't wait for #2!



Ski_Deuce said:

Games can age poorly. Some games are on par with the expectations, limitations, imagination, etc. of their time, and their strengths whither as the genres they fall under are improved. Some things aren't as good when better things come around.



capitalism said:

It was my first game on Gamecube and ever since I've been waiting for a sequel. A truly unique and unforgetable game. Crazy to think it's been 10 years though!

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