This is the first of 12 special features that will look back and highlight some of the best things Nintendo gave us in 2013. It's only natural that we start with the mascot that made 2013 his own.

Luigi Banner

2013, the Year of Luigi. Though, it may incorporate some of 2014, but let's not quibble. Nintendo declared this to be the green one's year and we, here at Nintendo Life, were rather delighted. Poor old Luigi has had many tough years, from being a basic palette swap back in the days of Super Mario Bros., to less ignominious cameos that, nevertheless, emphasized that Mario was Nintendo's star; he often came second.

After years of being a side-kick or popping up in sports games, Luigi had his big break with Luigi's Mansion on the GameCube, but that merely reinforced his reputation as the loveable, down on his luck brother. Though an excellent game in the opinion of many, it failed to wow in the same way as the Nintendo 64's iconic launch title, Super Mario 64, and was ultimately on Nintendo's poorest selling mainstream home console. He'd been given the chance to star, and it backfired.

Luigi Dark Moon

Yet that wasn't Luigi's fault, and though it had taken 12 years he was given a second chance with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS, and Next Level Games played a blinder. One of many top-notch games on the portable this year, it's incredibly charming in both visuals and audio, and shows Luigi in his most comical light. Courageous yet terrified, ghost hunting master yet clumsy — a new generation of gamers may have fallen for him while conquering multiple mansions.

Beyond his personality, one fact also known about Luigi — as has been the case since Super Mario Bros. 2 — is that he's more athletic than his portly brother. Tall and with a terrific leap — with the downside that he has less balance on the run — he starred in New Super Luigi U on Wii U, both as DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U and as a standalone game; the courses were short, intense, and perfectly suited to Luigi's flutter jump. It also worth noting that, for some of the Nintendo Life team, he's the go-to character in the outstanding Super Mario 3D World, as once again he shows athleticism with his jumping that others simply can't match. He's a platforming superstar.

Luigi Frontedit

There's more to Luigi than hunting ghosts and platforming, of course, and another star turn came in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team; though featuring both brothers, it was the green one that arguably took the lead role. As loveable as ever in the overworld, it was the sleeping Luigi and his dreams that gave the quirky RPG its hook, and it was another stand-out game on the system.

Luigi's influence has spread beyond games. Marketing for his appearances have seen him take over the Chicago L train, for example, and we can't help but wonder whether Mario has been green with envy. There's an attractive limited edition Mario & Luigi 3DS XL in North America, and the official Nintendo UK store is exclusive offering a gorgeous Luigi-themed 3DS XL, which was previously released in Japan. Wherever you look this Holiday season on Nintendo systems, there's a good chance you'll catch a glimpse of Luigi.

It's truly been his year; well deserved, too.

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