Cast your mind back to the hazy days of 2013. In that year the Game Boy Advance SP was celebrating its 10th anniversary, we contemplated the squareness of the Nintendo 2DS, A Link Between Worlds brought us back to the glory days of Zelda. All of this, weirdly, took place in 'The Year of Luigi'.
This official year-long event (actually lasting for 13 months, if we're being really picky) was nominally about celebrating the 30th anniversary of everyone's favourite player two since his debut in 1983's Mario Bros. with a host of Luigi or Luigi-adjacent games and content launching across the year. This fun little marketing stunt had a distinct whiff of whimsy, which helped divert attention from a relatively sparse calendar as Wii U stumbled out of the gate and Nintendo ran into issues transitioning to the HD era that left some sizeable gaps on the schedule.
There was merch a-plenty as Nintendo went all-out with the marketing. We got our hands on exclusive titles like Luigi's Mansion 2, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and Dr. Luigi, and had a green-capped-spin on classic titles with expansions including 'Luigi Bros.' (unlocked upon completing Super Mario 3D World) and New Super Luigi U for New Super Mario Bros. U, later released as a title all of its own.
And let's not forget the celebration's exclusive consoles! Remember that Luigi-themed 3DS XL covered in little green silhouettes and the North American Dream Team model? Man, Nintendo really went all out on console designs back in the day (then again, with those tasty Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Switch models coming out last year, who are we to complain?)
This isn't to mention the green wash that worked its way across all of Nintendo's marketing during the period, with themed Club Nintendo rewards (giant coins anyone?) and changes to the site's banner making it appear that the company had finally bonked off its red plumber mascot in favour of a younger model.
With a whole decade passing since this Luigi bonanza, we can't help but wonder which figurehead deserves to have the light shined on them this time around. The Year of Luigi was one thing, but surely it's time for another famous Nintendo face to take centre stage.
True, we suppose that Luigi could slip into the role again — it is now 40 years since his debut, after all — but where's the fun in that? If we were to go down the anniversary root, 2023 sees the 35th anniversary of Metroid (okay, in Europe, but still!), so perhaps this year could see the Big-N tackling all things Samus and finally bringing Metroid Prime 4, the long-awaited Trilogy remaster, or — and perhaps this is even more out-there than those! — a Metroid Dread sequel our way. Or, you know, some Samus-style costumes in Xenoblade 3 DLC or something.
What about everyone's favourite airborne team of animal pilots as Star Fox celebrates the big three-O this year, too. Might Nintendo go all-in on the driving games for a celebration of Mario Kart Wii and Double Dash (which turn 15 and 20 this year respectively)?
Then again, who says that the celebration necessarily needs to be all about the big anniversaries? You throw a dart at an ever-flicking yearly calendar and you are bound to find a connection to some Nintendo powerhouse. Could this be, as painfully obvious as it is, 'The Year of Mario' with even more merch accompanying his upcoming movie and theme park? Or maybe 'The Year of Link' could define the company's releases, allowing Tears of the Kingdom to make an even bigger splash (maybe even 'The Year of Zelda' is a shout here — there are rumours that she will soon be playable, after all).
Why not push this bad boy even further? The people are really crying out for 'The Year of Tingle', right? Mmm, just picture that exclusive Switch design...
All this is to say that we feel like we are due another all-out Nintendo-themed 'The Year of [blank]', but who should take the top spot? We have outlined some obvious choices as well as some fan favourites who rarely get the spotlight in the following poll.
Give us your answer below and then take to the comments to let us know why you think this character should be 2023's top dog (or bear, or fox, or squid, or...)