Close your eyes. Think of the Super Mario Brothers video games. Now open your eyes, and tell me the first thing that came into your mind. Okay, maybe the second thing. Third thing? Let's just jump to say, the thirtieth thing you thought of. Yes—exactly! It's Luigi's purple-clad nemesis and lackey to Wario, Waluigi! Waluigi gets a bad wrap, he's the sidekick of a bizarro villain, who to this day takes a back seat to Bowser. Waluigi's history is not for the faint of heart: his creation and appearances throughout the Mario series feel sometimes almost as if they happened by accident. Waluigi frequently feels like a background character, one who is called up when a hole needs plugging, or the roster is short one character.
But the deeper you go with Waluigi, the more you realize he's just misunderstood. In fact, Waluigi has had a greater impact on the Mario games than one might initially think. Not only that, but he's actually a pretty likable guy. Without question, after reading, you'll agree: there's a little bit of Waluigi in all of us. Don't get me wrong, not a lot. But a little. Thankfully, not a lot. He's kind of a loser. Just saying.
Here are 15 facts you didn't know about Waluigi! Anything we missed? Let us know by dropping a comment!
Waluigi's first appearance was in Mario Tennis 64, released in 2000 for, obviously, the Nintendo 64. Interestingly enough, Waluigi was created more or less out of necessity. Mario already had a built in doubles partner in his brother Luigi, while arch nemesis Wario was left out in the cold when it came to two on two. But necessity is the mother of invention, and thus, Waluigi was born and first introduced to the Mario universe. Imagine the inferiority complex this guy must deal with. His buddy Wario has been mixing it up with the Mario Brothers since 1992, but he can't pick up the phone and get Waluigi in on it until he needs someone to play tennis with? I know one yellow and purple jerk who's not getting a birthday party invitation this year.
Waluigi's name is actually a portmanteau of the name Luigi (duh) and the Japanese adjective warui, quite literally translating to "bad Luigi." This was particularly illuminating for someone like me, who spent his childhood thinking Waluigi's name came from trying to scare someone and then say the name Luigi (waaaahh! Luigi!). Don't judge me. I was a child (and I didn't speak Japanese). So as if it wasn't clear enough from his appearance that Waluigi is a sort of "bizarro world" Luigi, his name implies literally just that.
On a certain level, you have to kind of feel for Waluigi. He constantly has to come to terms with the fact that his entire existence is centered around being a foil for Luigi. Even his name wouldn't exist if it hadn't been ripped off from that green-clad do-gooder. He should take up a hobby. Just not tennis, go-kart racing, or golf. He might run into someone he knows.
Waluigi is voiced by Charles Martinet, a name well-known to any fan of the Super Mario series. In addition to voicing Waluigi, Martinet also voices Mario, Luigi, Wario, Donkey Kong, Baby Mario, and, of course, Paarthurnax from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Now, I know what you're thinking. Why does Waluigi have to share a voice actor with the same guy who does Paarthurnax? And, of course, I agree with you. It's ridiculous. First of all, the characters are far too close. One is a lanky knock off of a Super Mario Brother, and the other is an aging dragon who lives at the top of a mountain and apparently, committed unforgivable sins against humanity during the Merethic Era. Secondly, does this guy really have to voice EVERY beloved character in video game history? Give somebody else Paarthurnax, for Pete's sake! That reminds me, I need to pick up my Paarthurnax themed party decorations, Paarthurnax goody bags, and pin the tail on the Paarthurnax set for my kid's birthday this weekend. I should write that down. Oh, sorry, Waluigi. Right. Moving on.
Since his debut, fans have been clamoring for a game in which Waluigi appears as not only as a main or tertiary villain, but as the game's featured protagonist (not unlike Mario is Missing or Luigi's Mansion for Luigi). Sadly, one hasn't yet been made, although that hasn't stopped fans of Purple Captain Lanky (new nickname? no?) from making their own Waluigi titles. Founder of the Mario Fan Games Galaxy website, Thunder Dragon, created a platformer called Psycho Waluigi (as far as I know, Christian Bale is not in the game). The game is described on the site as follows:
Look out, Professor X. Although my personal favorite Waluigi fan made game would have to be a hacked rom of The Ocarina of Time that replaces Link with Waluigi. Finally, the Zelda series has the hero it needs.
This is getting depressing, right? There is no universally agreed upon origin for Waluigi. He's like the Joker of the Mario series (not the Suicide Squad Joker, though. I'll call that right now). We encounter a baby Wario In Yoshi's Island DS, meaning that regardless of where Wario came from, he at least had a childhood. Truthfully, gamers don't even know if Waluigi is even related to Wario. From Waluigi's Super Smash Brothers Melee Trophy screen:
First of all, it's general knowledge he's the same age as Luigi? News to me! How is that general knowledge? Maybe in The Mushroom Kingdom everybody walks around talking about it, but here on Earth, that's not exactly common knowledge. And secondly, this guy follows Wario's every beck and call, and we don't even know if they're related? Weird stuff, man.
Okay, stay with me here. I know it looks like an upside down L. And technically, it is. But there may be more than meets the eye here. From Gameranx's Chris Carter:
"...[it] isn't just an upside-down "L", it's the upper case version of the Greek letter Gamma. In the realm of probability theory, gamma distribution commonly deals with mapping out the chance of certain events happening at certain intervals. Usually these theories deal with maximum entropy (otherwise known as a measure of uncertainty, or volatility) — a mantra that Waluigi essentially lives his life by."
This is some next level stuff right here. If this is correct, it could mean Waluigi is more than just a guy who looks like and hates Luigi, he's actually some kind of agent of chaos. And while it's easy to dismiss, think about this: while the first letter in both their names is W, unlike his counterpart Wario, Waluigi chooses to wear an upside down L on his hat instead. L is literally the third letter in his name, and yet, it's the letter he chooses for his hat. Makes you think.
As if Waluigi wasn't already enough of an outsider, it turns out he wasn't even created by a Nintendo employee. As we already discussed, Waluigi was created out of necessity to provide a tennis partner for Wario after Yoshi refused to do so (this is very probably not at all a fact, but it's really funny to think about Yoshi adamantly refusing to play tennis with Wario). Thus, Camelot employee Fumihide Aoki created Waluigi. Since Aoki is not actual a Nintendo employee, Waluigi has the interesting significance of being the only Super Mario series character he can take credit for. Looking at his list of created characters, it almost feels like Aoki is a band that only had one number one hit. And it was actually a number ten hit. Maybe 15.
Beyond the surface level, portmanteau significance of Waluigi's name, there's actually even more hidden meaning if one looks a little closer. Waluigi's name is also an anagram for the Japanese word "ijiwaru," which means cross-tempered, or an ill-natured person. I mean, what is this guy supposed to do. Even if you try and rearrange the letters in his name to give him a new one, you still land on him being a crabby jerk. Poor Waluigi, if only we knew why he was so frustrated — maybe he just needs the love of a rabid fanbase. We can make that a reality! Alright Nintendo fans, now it's on you if Waluigi is still a jerk in his next appearance.
Now we're getting to the good stuff. Apparently, ever since it was directly called out in the Mario Party 4 guide, it's been widely accepted as canon that Waluigi has a big crush on Daisy. And why not? She is a beautiful woman who is about his height. Makes sense to me. Everybody knows Mario and Peach have a thing going on, but Luigi's relationship with Daisy is a lot vaguer. Honestly, Waluigi is just seeing a beautiful, single woman, and putting himself out there. He's not getting any younger.
If you want to find it, there's a fair amount of fan fiction out there about Waluigi and Daisy finally getting together. I don't want to steal anyone's work, so I figured I'd write some of my own:
"I love you, Daisy." Waluigi said, his heart pounding. "This is weird for me," Daisy replied, slowly walking out of the room.
Not bad right? That's going on my Tumblr for sure.
Despite still not being the central hero in a game of his own, Waluigi has certainly made his presence felt, appearing in countless Mario universe games, including various Mario Party titles, Mario Golf, and Super Smash Bros. games. Fans were notably upset when Waluigi was inexplicably left out of Mario Kart 7, and for a while were scared he was being phased out of the series. Fortunately, it came out that Waluigi had only been omitted due to time constraints, and he returned in the franchise's next installment, Mario Kart 8.
Additionally, while Waluigi does not have his own game, he does appear as the featured and central villain in two titles: Mario Party 3 and Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even created by a Nintendo employee.
Finally, Waluigi catches a break! In Mario Party 3, a game that heavily features Waluigi to begin with, gamers can unlock Waluigi's Island, an entire island and board dedicated to the Purple Prankster himself (that one's actually really good!). Honestly, this makes me so happy. So many things in Waluigi's life just haven't broken his way, but somewhere along the line, he was fortunate enough to purchase and put his name on his very own island. I mean, I assume he purchased it. I doubt he'd come into possession of it via nefarious means. Wait a second. According to Mariowiki.com:
So he stole it from Luigi. So what. Finders, keepers, baby.
Waluigi has definitely split the room in terms of critical response. GamePro offered a positive response, saying "Waluigi is definitely one of GamePro's favorite under-appreciated Nintendo characters." On the other hand, Waluigi has also dealt with his fair share of critical blowback. Kotaku featured him on their list of the 15 Most Annoying Video Game Characters, and GameDaily listed him as a video game character they wish they could kill (but can't). That's right, because nothing, and I mean nothing, can kill the Waluigi. To this day, fans are split on Waluigi: a villain created by an outsider who never got the same sort of adulation as Bowser or Wario. At least he has his own island to retreat to (take that, critics).
This one may seem obvious, but it bears mentioning. While Waluigi doesn't like any of the good guys in the Mario universe, he holds a special dislike for Luigi. And why wouldn't he: if Waluigi and Luigi are the same age, that means, for all we know, Luigi's the one who's been ripping off Waluigi's look all this time! Luigi is a bum, and Waluigi's the only one around who's man enough to stand up to him.
From his first appearance in Mario Tennis, Waluigi makes a point of singling out Luigi. "Luigi not afraid," Luigi says, shrugging at his rival dismissively. Waluigi stomps across to Luigi and gets right in his face. It actually looks like the two might come to blows, until Mario breaks it up. Mario and Luigi are lucky Bowser shows up, or Wario and Waluigi really might have thrown down. From that moment, the rivalry is on, and it's only gotten stronger ever since.
While Waluigi is slim, tall, and lankier than most junior high schoolers, there's actually a deceptive amount of power in that slinky frame. Most of Waluigi's strength comes from his legs, something gamers have seen over and over again in a variety of Mario games. In Mario Party 3, Waluigi actually takes down super-baddie Bowser with just one swift kick. That alone should tell you there's some serious horsepower in those limbs. Stomping his enemies is one of Waluigi's signature moves in Super Smash Brothers, and his dropkick in Super Mario Strikers is almost always a certain goal. Maybe Waluigi's first solo game should be one where he takes up Taekwondo? Or kickboxing. This is one guy you don't want to put you in a figure four leg lock.
You know, if there's one thing this list makes clear, it's that things haven't always worked out for Waluigi. He's something of the bastard child of the Super Mario universe, created by a non-employee and with no clear backstory. But does Waluigi let that get him down? Heck no. And how do I know? Because the guy can throw down and dance with the best of them. Just look at his celebrating in Mario Golf. It begs the question, is Waluigi actually an homage to Michael Jackson? Or is Michael Jackson just doing Waluigi's act? It's fitting that Waluigi is the central villain in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, because there's not a single other Mario character who can hang with him on the dance floor. No, not even Iggy. Yeah, I said it. Waluigi for life, man.