It's a sad and unfortunate fact that Luigi has always played second fiddle to Mario. This devoted plumber has seen his fair share of scrutiny over the years and although he's received praise (and his own year) recently, it still hasn't been enough accolade to propel him past his brother. The plain and simple truth is that Luigi will always stand within Mario's shadow, but the "green machine" is actually quite an interesting character.
Aside from successfully launching his own adventure in Luigi's Mansion, Luigi has been busy co-starring in the latest and greatest Super Mario Bros. releases. He's successfully cemented himself in Mushroom Kingdom lore and no matter how second-rate he may seem, he'll always be a prominent part of the franchise.
Of course, there are those of us out there that have come to adore Luigi. For some, he represents an all too familiar family scenario in which younger individuals end up envying their older siblings. We're sure that a lot of you were forced to play as Luigi when the NES first released and we're sure a lot of you were constantly handed the second controller to play on.
This list is for all you second players out there. We know so much about Mario and so little about his charming and unique counterpart. Here are 15 curious facts about Super Mario Bros. green wonder.
15 Luigi's Mansion Wasn't His Starring Debut
Luigi has always lived in the shadow of his popular brother, but in 2011 he finally saw the center stage. At least, that's what everyone thinks. As amazing as Luigi's Mansion was, it wasn't the first time we'd seen Luigi in a starring role. Back in 1993, Nintendo released an educational game titled Mario is Missing!, which featured the green-shirted brother as the main protagonist.
This particular release wasn't met with much enthusiasm. Critics and gamers alike trashed Mario is Missing! for its boring gameplay and lack of difficulty. Players would finally get the opportunity to play as Luigi but the fun factor would suffer as a result. There was no fear of defeat, no sense of urgency, and Luigi was incapable of taking damage. It's important to note that this game was ported to MS-DOS, MAC, SNES, and NES as an educational title but that doesn't excuse the lack of entertainment value.
The storyline itself is rather comical, albeit a bit drab, and most of the sprites you encounter appear to be re-used characters from Super Mario World. This certainly wasn't the debut Nintendo intended for Luigi, so it's probably best that most gamers view Luigi's Mansion as his first big solo release.
14 Discovered Identity In Super Mario Bros. 2
Luigi was already an established character before the release of Super Mario Bros. 2, but he didn't really gain an identity until this title dropped in 1988. This quirky Super Mario Bros. release has always been a bit of a black sheep and it certainly looks odd compared to its predecessors. In fact, this title was originally branded as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before being re-branded as the unique cult classic.
This release would benefit Luigi most of all. Prior to Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi was a simple palette swap of Mario. He would "find himself" during this adventure, gaining his own unique sprite and character design. Luigi was now taller, leaner, and could jump higher than his portly brother. These visuals would become an iconic staple in Luigi's character development.
13 A Kitsune, Not A Raccoon
Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced players to the Super Leaf. This powerful item could transform Mario and Luigi, giving them a puffy raccoon tail and pointed raccoon ears. It also granted the user flight and unlocked a tail-whipping attack that could defeat enemies and shatter blocks. The 1988 release also featured a rare item called the Tanooki Suit, which clad the heroes in a costume of fur. This suit unlocked the same powers as the Super Leaf while also allowing the user to transform into a statue.
There have been a few updated variants of these items strewn throughout the franchise, but the Super Leaf in Super Mario 3D Land comes with one unique benefit for Luigi. Mario will still grow raccoon ears and a raccoon tail if he manages to grab this powerup but Luigi will transform into the visually different Kitsune Luigi (sometimes known as Fox Luigi).
This lighter colored suit closely resembles a fox and was crafted as an homage to the mythological Japanese Kitsune. These intelligent creatures are said to have magical abilities, can sometimes shape-shift into human form, and are occasionally depicted with multiple tails (signifying age and wisdom).
12 Color Scheme Was Forced
It's easy to identify the Mario Bros. by their differentiated color schemes. They both sport those fancy blue overalls, but their shirts are distinctly different. Mario is clad in red, while Luigi is covered in green. This doesn't seem like a big deal and at first glance, it appears that Shigeru Miyamoto simply plucked two random colors from the spectrum. Oddly enough, the choice wasn't that clear cut.
Mario and Luigi made their debut in the 1983 arcade classic, Mario Bros. It wasn't until two years later we would see the popular sidescroller that everyone knows and loves. The original release was incredibly limited in terms of memory and structure. The concept was simple, pitting players against Shellcreepers, Fighter Flies, Slipices, and Sidesteppers. In order to create a "second player," developers were forced to create a carbon copy of Mario. The limited resources wouldn't allow for an entirely new character.
The color scheme was the same way. Since Mario shared his iconic red color with the Sidesteppers, it seemed only fitting that Luigi featured the illustrious green found on the back of each Shellcreeper.
11 True Wish Is To Be An Amazing Plumber
Many of us have wild aspirations and secret life wishes. If given the chance to wish on a falling star, one might ask for fame, fortune, or special talents. Some of us even strive to make the world a better place, saving our wishes for things like world peace or an end to world hunger. If you asked Luigi what he would wish for, his answer might surprise you. Luigi simply aspires to be a great plumber.
While questing through Super Mario RPG, players will encounter a fantastical location called Star Hill. This beautifully sentimental place acts like a holding tank for all the star-based wishes that individuals make. Once these wishes are formed, they fall down to Earth. There are many stars here that you can peruse, but one golden glow holds a very endearing message.
Hidden among the shining yellow is a wish from Luigi, that simply states, "I wanna be a great plumber like my brother Mario."
10 Was A Plumber For Castle Dracula
Nintendo loves to pay homage to both past and future releases. We've seen many easter eggs scattered throughout various Nintendo franchises, but one particular hidden gem comes at quite a shock. It seems that a timid and cowardly Luigi finds himself plumbing in a rather spooky place.
There is a section in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow -- Mirror of Fate that has players traveling deep into the bowels of Dracula's castle. There are a few skeleton knights scattered throughout the area and some of them have peculiar notes attached to their bones. One alarming note reads as follows:
"The terrible state of the pipes down here would perturb even my brother Mario. Some parts have rusted terribly, while others are covered with fungus due to the high humidity. Not all the mushrooms look good to eat either. Who knows what might happen if I eat one?"
It's certainly morbid to think that you haphazardly stumbled across Luigi's corpse.
9 His Name is A Pun
As they attempted to break in the expanding arcade game scene, Nintendo of America saw a few financial struggles. In fact, at one point during the development of Donkey Kong, they received a visit from their not-so-happy landlord who demanded the company pay their rent (which was late at the time). The landlord's first name was Mario and the crew jokingly began calling their plumber character by the same moniker.
The name eventually stuck and as development began on Mario Bros., developers were left scratching their heads at what to call Mario's brother. The group eventually decided on Luigi and although many assume that this was to closely resemble the Italian roots of his brother (and an adoration for a local pizza place) his name actually has a funny hidden meaning.
The Japanese word "ruiji" translates to "similarity" in English. This play on words is just another clever way to poke fun at Luigi being a direct palette swap of Mario.
8 Voice Actor Had Capgras Delusion
Luigi has had a variety of voice actors over the years, but one particular individual stands out. In 1990, NBC played host to an animated Mario Bros. cartoon titled, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. The DIC Entertainment production was the successor to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and featured an updated cast of voice actors and animations. Tony Rosato provided the voice of Luigi but the actor actually suffered from a debilitating mental health issue.
Capgras Delusion causes victims to believe that their loved ones have been replaced with body doubles or duplicates. Mr. Rosato believed that this had happened to his wife and daughter, causing his wife to seek separation for fear that his deteriorating mental health would affect their daughter. Tony Rosato spent two years in jail and two years in a psychiatric facility after being charged with criminal harassment (of his wife) in 2005.
Thankfully, after receiving treatment and medication for his condition, Mr. Rosato was able to resume a happy and healthy life with his family. Unfortunately, the world lost this beloved actor and comedian earlier this year after he suffered a heart attack.
7 Seen A Shy Guy's Face
No, we aren't talking about the Shy Guy Ghosts from Luigi's Mansion. Those particular baddies had odd colored masks and beady spectral eyes. Luigi has seen the face of a living Shy Guy. In fact, he's the only one in the entire Mario universe that has had the honor of seeing one of these maskless minions.
This iconic cutscene takes place in the 2004 backhand hit, Mario Power Tennis. During the Shy Guy victory ceremony, one of the shrouded waddler's trips on stage and faceplants in front of the lanky plumber. Its iconic mask goes flying and Luigi stares in horror at the vision before him. From the way he cowers, it doesn't appear that Shy Guy has a very pleasing visage. Could it be that these little minions look like their spooky counterparts from Luigi's Mansion?
Whatever it is, gamers were not allowed to see it. In fact, some went as far as to emulate the game and use a "free camera" trick to try and spot the face. Sadly, there was nothing to show for it but an untextured black void.
6 Luigi Is Mario's Fraternal Twin
Many gamers can attest that Mario and Luigi are brothers, but may not know much beyond that. There is much argument over who the older brother is and the exact origins of the Mario Bros. In Yoshi's Island, Mario and Luigi are both seen arriving by a stork, at the same time, on the same day. However, many speculate that Mario is the older brother and that Luigi has been his younger counterpart for a little over 30 years now.
Thankfully, the beloved Satoru Iwata helped shed a little light on this debacle back in 2013 during a Nintendo Direct announcement about the Year of Luigi. In the video, Mr. Iwata refers to Luigi as Mario's twin brother, suggesting the two are much closer in age than we first assumed. Although it is generally assumed that twins look identical, it is possible for two siblings to be twins and look different from one another. In fact, it's actually quite common. Fraternal twins, as they are called, make up approximately two-thirds of all twin births.
That being said, there are still many passages of Mario lore that refer to Luigi as the younger brother. Although, in this case, younger could mean "by a few minutes."
5 Has Approximately 30 Nicknames
This one is a bit eye opening because we don't mean general nicknames that are tossed around the internet or buried in memes (Weegee actually originated from Super Mario Adventures). Luigi has amassed quite a few nicknames, from various NPCs and characters, throughout his adventures. In fact, "Green Mario" has managed to inspire approximately 30 different nicknames across a variety of titles.
Some of the more popular monikers include; Plunger Puss (Mario Is Missing!), Mr. Eyeballs (Mario Power Tennis), Mr. Lime-Green (Luigi's Mansion), The Other Guy (Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga), The Eternal Understudy (Super Smash Bros.), and King of Second Bananas (Super Smash Bros. Brawl). The list goes on and on.
It will be interesting to see what else NPCs throw towards Mr. Lean n' Green (Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga) in future franchise titles.
4 Full Name Is Luigi Mario
This particular rumor has haunted the gaming world ever since the Super Mario Bros. movie released back in 1993. There is a particular scene in that movie in which the two characters were required to have last names. Up until this point, Nintendo of America had not actually assigned the plumbers a surname, they were simply known as Mario and Luigi. To remedy this, the writers simply added Mario as a suitable last name, which made sense considering everyone called them the "Mario Bros."
Fans had always wondered if this was actually canon or simply a movie prop. In an interview with Game Informer, Shigeru Miyamoto dispelled the rumors and reassured the public that the two brothers were simply Mario and Luigi. However, a Japanese article that was posted a few days later suggests that Mario's last name really is Mario. If this is true (and the article claims a credible source), that would make his twin Luigi Mario.
3 A Pose Caused Mild Controversy
Nintendo has had a lot of fun (and success) porting different Mario-based sports releases over the years. The Mushroom Kingdom has been host to an array of games, including Tennis, Baseball, Soccer, Golf, and even the Olympics. One particular sports release put Luigi in hot water over a purportedly offensive gesture.
In the 2003 title Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Luigi makes a particular L-shaped hand gesture to celebrate a good shot. This seems innocent enough but it actually managed to cause a mild (and short-lived) controversy. Some individuals took offense to the gesture because they felt that it closely resembled the American Sign Language word for "lesbian." This isn't the case.
Luigi's gesture uses the wrong hand and is in the wrong position to be suggestive of anything. It's safe to assume that this particular "L" stands for Luigi.
2 He's Smart Enough To Build A Robot
Okay, so he isn't exactly tinkering away in his workshop each day, but that doesn't mean Luigi isn't capable when given the right motivation. In the 2007 release, Super Paper Mario, Luigi finds himself hypnotized by a benevolent force. This hypnosis causes Luigi to assume a new identity as the sinister Mr. L (or Green Thunder). As the antagonist for this release, Luigi is forced to battle against his brother, attempting to stop Mario from succeeding in his quest.
The transformation brings us some hilarious voice lines and a sense that Luigi is making subtle jabs towards his dissatisfaction with being second best to Mario. We also see him flex his brain muscle, using his unlocked potential to build a giant robotic head he calls "Brobot." Luigi may not be considered the bravest, strongest, or smartest of the two brothers, but he certainly proved that he can achieve great things under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, these circumstances require the influence of some heavy hypnosis.
1 He Can Destroy Opponents Without Moving
It appears that Luigi is such a skilled and talented fighter that he can best every level 9 CPU in Super Smash Bros. Melee by doing absolutely nothing. This one seems a bit silly but it's actually true. We were a bit skeptical as to the validity of this claim but the YouTuber responsible has a nifty Q&A within the video description box to help dispell any doubts.
We don't mean he runs away from his challenger or bests them through tactical movement, we mean he literally doesn't move a muscle in each and every fight. This video from YouTube User Omega Tyrant is a hilarious and unexpected journey through 9:49 worth of unfortunate pitfalls and self-defeats. The premise is that, given the right parameters, Luigi is capable of standing still and winning against any possible level 9 opponent.
A lot of work went into discovering which levels were best suited for CPU failure and the end result is undeniable proof that Luigi is every bit as valuable as Mario.