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Feature: Looking Back on the Year of Luigi

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

What a year...

It's had a good run, but the Year of Luigi ends today, 18th March. It's been a year of highs and flutter jump-enabled slightly better highs, with green taking over the Nintendo universe and the unappreciated Bro getting the recognition he deserves. Cruel meme generators may accuse Luigi of overseeing a bad year for Nintendo as a business, but we say it's the opposite — he led the rescue mission, ensuring damage control and smiling gaming faces with his humorous terror, clumsy mannerisms and awesome platforming athleticism. He bailed Mario out in this Year of Luigi, and we'd better not forget it.

Yet it's now coming to an end, so we thought we'd look back and pick out some of Luigi's shining moments over the past year.


There was no better way to begin the Year of Luigi than with the long-awaited sequel to the GameCube launch title. After years of waiting the Green One finally returned to his starring role; we declared it was "nothing less than an absolute triumph for Nintendo" in awarding it 9/10 in our review. Lovely visuals, charming gameplay and the man himself made it one of the best 3DS games of 2013.

Originally a DLC expansion for New Super Mario Bros. U, this took the template of the Wii U launch title and shook it up with shorter, more challenging levels. With Nabbit included as an indestructible character — aside from falling down pits — and Luigi showing off an impressive flutter jump, this was a fun lesson in athleticism from the other brother; we were fans in our review.

Considering it had a relatively quiet launch, AlphaDream's lengthy RPG has pleasingly performed rather well in stores. Quite right too, as in our view it's fantastic, with humorous writing, innovative pixel-based 3D visuals and an excess of charm. Luigi was truly the star in this game, with the alternate dream world focused on him and most of the plot's focus revolving around his propensity for sleep. Bowser, Mario, Peach et al were also as charming as ever, but Luigi took the lead.

So Luigi's not just an athletic platformer, but has been hard at work earning his doctorate. Tired of seeing Mario showing off his fancy MD certificate, Luigi knuckled down, hit the books and became a doctor himself at the end of 2013. He took Mario's ideas for medicinal treatment and took them in bold new directions with new modes. Take that, Mario — we gave this a recommendation in our review.

Stealing Mario's Thunder

Luigi starred in the fantastic Wii U platformer in three ways. For one he was our go-to character, with a higher jump and an invaluable flutter that not only looked awesome, but gave valuable air-time in trickier levels. Second, there were plenty of Luigi sprites hidden throughout the game — these were simply a fun touch, as some blocks or triggers would make an 8-bit Luigi pixel briefly visible. Finally, there was Luigi Bros., a new version of the NES arcade port of Mario Bros. with a pleasing green palette swap. Mario's name was on the cover, but Luigi got plenty of attention in what was arguably 2013's finest game.

Luigi Everywhere!

Nintendo did a great deal to spread awareness of Luigi throughout the year. On top of the four main 'Luigi' games and his prominence in Super Mario 3D World, the green mascot was the subject of some big-scale marketing and terrific giveaways. Below are some of the highlights.

Mario & Luigi 3DS XL and Luigi Special Edition 3DS XL

Nintendo continues its run of producing more 3DS variation than we can shake a stick at, particularly in Japan. The West didn't entirely miss out on the festivities, however, with the Nintendo UK store offering the previously Japan-only Luigi 3DS XL (pictured above) in its territory. Nintendo of America joined in with a silver Mario & Luigi: Dream Team system bundle as well as a blue Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon offering — the latter didn't have a special hardware design, however. There may be a few portables out in the wild permanently celebrating the Green One.

Year of Luigi Given a Home on Miiverse

With Miiverse now available on Wii U, 3DS and web browsers, it's only natural that it's used to promote Nintendo's games and promotions. There was a Year of Luigi community — sadly to be closed — which provided gamers an ideal place to chat about their hero, post illustrations and celebrate the success of the underdog.

Club Nintendo Gets in on the Act

Club Nintendo did its bit to promote Luigi in multiple regions, all tempting promotions to separate us from our Stars and Coins. On the latter theme there was a rather fancy commemorative coin with an accompanying pouch — not legal tender, unfortunately. There's also been a lovely Luigi's Mansion diorama, which is pricey but is no doubt looking rad on a number of shelves right at this moment.

The Chicago L Train Became the Luigi Train

Nintendo of America took the chance, while promoting New Super Luigi U, to rename the usefully called L Train in Chicago. An entire train was decked out in green internally and externally, and the mascot himself — or someone over-heating in a costume of the man himself — went for a ride and mingled with weary commuters. Some Luigi sunshine for those that took the L that day.

Making the Headlines

An Awesome 'Leaked' Luigi 2DS was Fan-Made

The launch of the 2DS in October 2013 certainly raised eyebrows, but for hardware collectors it simply broadened their horizons. There were "leaked" images of a Luigi-themed 2DS, though we cautiously slapped a "Rumour" tag on it, and it turned out to be the impressive work of well-known hardware modder Matthew Wiggins, who created the system for himself and shared with friends — one of whom then sparked the rumours. The fact it looked brilliant just makes us sad it's not available in stores.

Luigi Actor Danny Wells Passed Away, Aged 72

In sad news for those that followed The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Luigi actor Danny Wells — real name Jack Westelman — passed away. He enjoyed a hugely varied career in film, television and voice acting, but in the eyes of some Nintendo fans will forever be Luigi.

Features Produced Just for Luigi

We make no secret of the fact that some of the Nintendo Life team believe Luigi to be the true Nintendo hero. Over the year we produced some features to celebrate his rise to prominence, a selection of which are below for you to peruse once again.

Also, we were quite chuffed with our April Fools — New Luigi Code to Provide a Fresh Take on Virtual Console Classics

Random Awesomeness

We're saving this section for just one fantastic moment. In a skit released after a 'Luigi Direct', Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto play around with a Poltergust from Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Not many companies would have its President and development figurehead in such a video, but that typifies why we love Nintendo.

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Well done Luigi, you did well. Share your favourite memories of his year below, while we can't help but wonder what the next will bring.

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User Comments (53)



Jimmy_G_Buckets said:

I didn't know the L train turned Luigi in Chicago. Maybe we will see that in the Wiiu version of Watch_Dogs. Touchy subject I know but that would be pretty sweet though.



AJWolfTill said:

I wonder why it ended today of all days, Nintendo doesn't seem to be doing anything today? Could we be witnessing a direct tomorrow with a new theme?



NintyMan said:

It's been a fun time, no doubt about it, and it's too bad that the last day has come upon us so quickly and quietly. However, this definitely doesn't mean that Luigi will be shrinking back, as there's Super Luigi Bros. for NES Remix 2 to look forward too.



LunaticPandora said:

He should've got more in terms of his own, unique games. A game we already knew about before his special year started, DLC, a new M&L adventure, an overpriced puzzler almost identical to the Wii one, and personally I really don't think SM3DW should count as Luigi in a Mario platformer is expected these days.



Lance168 said:

Who else thinks Diddy Kong will have his own year for his 20th anniversary?



HarryK said:

I really like Luigi, but I'm kind of glad his year is over.

Stuff like this is nice when Nintendo is doing fine, like in the first years of Wii's life. But the Wii U needed attention so desperately, and I always had the feeling that Nintendo was using too much energy/resources (and Nintendo Direct "screentime") on Luigi stuff, when they really had more important things to do. So for the same reason "Year of Yoshi" is the last thing I want right now. Sorry :-/

They really should go BIG and declare the "Year of Nintendo" for 2014. With Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. and their reimagined partnerships/licencing models with other companies, this could have an impact that will last. Bring back the "Big N" times!



MeddlingIdiot said:

Ah, that skit! Certainly a ND highlight for me last year. I loved the Year of Luigi but all good things must come to an end, especially ones that have an expiry in their name.



Shworange said:

Yea really. I assumed they had one more surprise release. I guess although the year of Luigi really ended with Dr Luigi, they just tacked an arbitrary calendar date to confuse and annoy.



DESS-M-8 said:

Is anybody else curiously excited that Nintendo have not revealed anything on the eshop update for this week yet? Luigi year ends today, eshop update coming after and potential nintendo direct also



DoomTurtle said:

I need to know about Luigi Bros. in Mario 3D World. Is it an unlockable, part of a stage, or just an option on the menu? I haven't gotten into it yet, I'm still finishing up all the green stars in Mario Galaxy 2. But I did play it once with a couple friends and don't recall being able to select it.



SneakyStyle said:

Now finally WiiU's time to shine will come in, Year of Smashbros and MK8!!!!! That is all i've been waiting for the whole time i've had this WiiU. Can't wait~ Year of Luigi to me just felt like something to try distract us while they tried to finish the REAL games that should have been ready on release of WiiU.



KevTastic84 said:

@Artwark 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of Mario Bros. Luigi's first appearance. So 2015 being the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. We could see the year of Bowser, or Princess, Or Toad.



Discipledoctor said:

Well, I certainly had some good times with Luigi things this year, so I'm kind of sad to see it off, even though Luigi has one last hoorah coming in the form of the Luigi game in NES Remix 2. Still though, good job Luigi. It's been a good year.

Now, a month ago I predicted a Direct for today with one last Luigi surprise and then a look ahead to the next year. Please prove me right Nintendo!



allav866 said:

Aren't you guys forgetting something? Didn't John Leguizamo record a speech for a special screening of Super Mario Bros.: The Movie during the Year of Luigi? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it does deserve a mention here.



StephenYap3 said:

It was amazing to have Mario & Luigi: Dream Team in this year. Not only did was it the best Year of Luigi game I played, but it finally brought my faith back to life after how fatally disappointed I was with the DS Mario RPGs, and this is coming from a man who loves the heck out of Mario RPGs out of any RPG series.



FJOJR said:

I hope Nintendo will try harder to market something like this next time. Outside of Nintendo fans and those who rode the train in Chicago, the year of Luigi did not exist. Let the new licensing initiatives begin.



Xilef said:

When Nintendo said they were doing year if Luigi i didn't expecr it to be this big. It has been alot of fun!



Dark-Link73 said:

I'm so disappointed in Nintendo. They have celebrated a few characters anniversary but they haven't celebrated their flagship character, Mario. Check this out:

2013: Year of Luigi.
2012: Year of Kirby.
2011: Year of LoZelda. (series as a whole)
2010: Year of Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo NEVER celebrated the year of Mario. In 2010 Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. not Mario himself. In order to celebrate Mario Nintendo would have to celebrate his anniversary instead of Luigi's since they were both officially introduced as Mario and Luigi in 1983; OR, if you want to make the argument that Mario started with Donkey Kong, Nintendo would've had to have celebrated Mario's anniversary on 2006 (25th) or 2011 (30th), but in this case it doesn't really work because Mario wasn't Mario back then, it was "Jumpman".

Either way you see it, Nintendo's main mascot has been neglected. They're like the kid who's born around a day our two before Christmas but their birthday is never celebrated on the exact day because of the holiday.



LetsGoRetro said:

Leave it to Luigi to have the year that many are considering to be the one that is "dooming" the company. I dont think Nintendo is ever going to not exist, but this year was the definitive proof they're not the company they once were. Since NLand waa both a minigame comp and developed before the systems release, lets look at this:

In about a year and a half, Nintendo has developed 2, I repeat, 2, titles internally with the power potential to be big deals. Sm3dworld and pikmin3, and honestly, only nintendo lovers expected pikmin to have a chance at being big. The rest were minigame comps and rehashed wii fit, sports crap. In the next year, the only big title we know about to b definitely coming out is mario kart. Smash is far off and yarn yoshi and hyrule warriors, 2 more games that wont do much as yet another 2d platformer and an akward side game, have enough to be assumed theyre concepts thrown together to appease the wii u faithful, are almost definitely 2015 releases. So in 2 and a half YEARS, the only 2 really big games will have been mario kart and 3d mario.

How in the world can we sit there and watch this and not determined that nintendos magic is gone? Theyre hardly releasing any console games, when they do it's 90 percent minigame comps and wii fluff, and when they do have a halfway hit, it's 1 of their 3 home console stalwarts. Whats the next big one? Oh, the 3rd home console reliable, Smash. Sorry, the 4th is zelda, the only other big project we know from them, coming probably 2016.

Nothing new. The w101 was platinum, not nintendo. This company is doing nothing to have made our wii u purchases any more than a joke. Low output, nothing new. Nes, snes were times nintendo revolutionized the artform and attracted everyone else who did, too. N64 gen they lost ssomesupport but continued making tons of great games and still has titles like body harvest, jet force gemini, space station silicon valley, turok dinosaur hunter, goldeneye n perfect dark, etc made for them.

I ab so lutely hate the wii u gen. It is so pitiful.

Ugh, end of rant.



UnseatingKDawg said:

Definitely a good year. I will honestly say that them honoring Luigi has made me appreciate the character much more than before. I like him better than Mario now.



Banker-Style said:

A great year for a great charcter who always lives in his brothers shadow, hopefully more Luigi games will come soon.



sleepinglion said:

I like how Nintendo seemed to do everything BUT release the original Luigi's Mansion as the 1st ever Gamecube VC title. THAT would have been nice.



Giygas_95 said:


I only played Luigi in Super Mario 3D World. Well at least until I had to use the other characters to 100% the game.

As my final celebration for the year of Luigi, I got a retro Luigi case for my 3DS XL! Wish I had done it before that time my 3DS fell out of my pocket onto asphalt and cracked a piece of the hinge off. Luckily, the damage still seems to be superficial. I also wish I could have gotten a hold of the Luigi coin.

I'm gonna miss all the Luigi themed games and memorabilia...

Speaking of which, I STILL haven't finished New Super Luigi U. I need to get on that...



Luna-Harmony said:

that was odd the man how played luigi died on year of luigi out of the years i used to watch on sky tv when i was a kid back in the days.



LordFamicom said:

I got a Luigi coin back when Nintendo had those E3 demos at Best Buy. I told the Nintendo employee that It was my birthday and gave one to me. Thank you Luigi for a great year!



TwilightOniAngel said:

damn im going to miss year of luigi it was great, i never thought nintendo will actually make his year so special i thought they will just announce it and there thats it nothing to do there.



DreamyViridi said:

You had a great year, Luigi. The 'Year of Luigi' may be over but don't forget that you'll always have your fans!



K-Gamer said:

Thanks to this guy and Next Level, I am getting a 3ds. Luigis Mansion is one of my favorite franchises. It not a Zelda or Mario to me but its up there.



Luigi21 said:

It wasn't a bad year for Luigi. I'm just sad I'm not a UK resident because I can't enter to win the Luigi sendoff competition.



sinalefa said:

I got all Luigi games except for Dr. Luigi. Yet the only one I have played is Dark Moon.

And is everyone forgetting about Globox cosplaying as Luigi in Rayman Legends?

R.I.P. Danny Wells and it was a great Year of Luigi.



enderboy221 said:

I absolutely loved the year of Luigi. I enjoyed every Luigi game that was released, and was really happy to see the man in green get in the spotlight. Thanks Nintendo and Luigi for a good year!



FriedSquid said:

Don't forget those 'Finding Luigi' parkour videos! Luigi's had a great year, and I wonder if we will see anymore dedicated years.



2Sang said:

Definitely an interesting year. Dr. luigi and luigi's dlc both came from nowhere. I think it's time to give a smaller franchise character a chance at having their own year, though. Maybe even just a year of Smash Bros. to give the whole roster a chance to shine.



ericwithcheese2 said:

I'm sad the year has come to an end. It was a great year, and I was/am so happy Nintendo put the spotlight on Luigi. After all he has done for gaming, he certainly deserved it.

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