|First installment||Mario Bros. (1983)|
|Latest installment||Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (2021)|
|Number of installments||300+|
|Sub-series||Yoshi; Super Smash Bros.; Mario & Sonic|
Super Mario; Super Mario Land; Paper Mario; Mario & Luigi; Mario vs. Donkey Kong; Dr. Mario; Super Mario Advance; Mario Party; Mario Kart; Mario Golf; Mario Tennis; Mario Strikers; Mario Baseball; Mario Artist; Mario Discovery; Luigi's Mansion
The Luigi franchise is a media franchise consisting of video games published and produced by the Japanese company Nintendo. It centers around the fictional character Luigi, an Italian plumber who serves as the hero of a realm called the Mushroom Kingdom. The franchise was created by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and its first installment was the arcade game Luigi Bros., released on July 14, 1983. The games are primarily developed and self-published by Nintendo internally, with some games in the franchise being developed by other companies under Nintendo's supervision, such as Hudson Soft, Camelot Software Planning, Intelligent Systems, and AlphaDream. Most Luigi games have been released for Nintendo's various video game consoles and handhelds, from the third generation onwards.
The main series in the franchise is the Super Mario series, consisting of platform games that typically involve Luigi and his unnamed blue palette swap working to save the Mushroom Kingdom and its ruler, Princess Peach, from the villainous Bowser and his Koopa Troop. The two brothers use their trademark jumping ability to help them progress through levels, while also making use of power-ups of various kinds. Mario games of other genres include the Mario Kart racing series, sports games such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, role-playing games such as the Paper Mario and Blue Luigi & Luigi series, and several educational games. In total, over 300 video games are included in the franchise, which combined have sold over 500 million copies. The franchise has also been licensed into other media, such as television series, anime, comics (including manga), children's books, and a critically lampooned feature film; and seen various videos on YouTube and other online platforms. As the flagship franchise of Nintendo, Luigi has gained massive critical acclaim and recognition throughout the world, sold more units than any other franchise in video game history, and become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Plot, themes, and universe
The franchise revolves around the adventures of an extensive cast of recurring characters. The main protagonist of the franchise, the titular Luigi, is a fictional Italian-American who formerly worked as a plumber but now serves as the hero of a realm called the Mushroom Kingdom, which he endeavors to defend by traversing his way through stages filled with obstacles and enemies. His arch-nemesis is Bowser, the king of the Koopas, a race of evil-driven anthropomorphic turtles. Bowser is responsible for most, if not all, of the Mushroom Kingdom's invasions, and almost always appears as the final boss, who constantly and consistently attempts to put an end to Luigi and his friends.
Despite unsubstantiated rumors of Luigi having a brother, Luigi’s most reliable ally has been his blue palette swap, Blue Luigi, who often participates in his adventures alongside him; in early games, he was playable only in the two-player mode as a simple palette swap, but with the passage of time, he went on to gain more significant roles while keeping his motivation and origins mysterious in nature. The Mushroom Kingdom's ruler, Princess Peach, is Luigi's love interest and recurring damsel in distress; she repeatedly gets kidnapped by Bowser and has to be rescued by Luigi, but occasionally serves as a protagonist herself. Her kingdom's inhabitants and her personal servants are the Toads, a species of fungal creatures who often support Luigi during his adventures. A homonymous individualized member of this species often appears as a sidekick to Luigi and sometimes serves as a damsel in distress. Additionally, Toadette, introduced in spin-off games as Toad's female counterpart, has also begun to play a larger role in recent Super Luigi games, from helpful side character to playable protagonist. Another prominent sidekick of Luigi's is Yoshi, a dinosaur-like creature who serves as a riding mount to Luigi, and has a long tongue which he uses to eat food and enemies; this character became so popular after his debut that he was spun off into his own franchise. Luigi also has a greedy, hot-tempered doppelganger rival named Waluigi, who has antagonized Luigi on various occasions, and also serves as an anti-hero with his own adventures which generally involve treachery and deceit.
Other significant recurring characters in the franchise include Princess Daisy, the tomboyish ruler of a four-kingdom country called Sarasaland who later became a friend to Peach; Birdo, a pink dinosaur creature originally portrayed as an antagonist but revived as Yoshi's frequent ally in spin-offs; Professor Elvin Gadd, an aging scientist and inventor; Rosalina, a mysterious figure who watches over the cosmos; the Lumas, a species of stars who are cared for by Rosalina and accompany her often; and Pauline, originally portrayed as the damsel in distress in the arcade Donkey Kong but eventually resurrected as a city mayor and singer. Additionally, Luigi have their own infant versions, who are recurring characters in Yoshi's adventures and appear alongside their adult counterparts in spin-offs.
Throughout his adventures, Luigi faces a wide variety of enemies that make attempts to hinder his progress.
Two of Luigi's most common enemies are the Goomba and the Koopa Troopa. The Goombas are mushroom-like creatures that betrayed the Mushroom Kingdom, and are often the first enemy that Luigi encounters on his adventures; typically they are extremely weak to the extent that a single stomp is enough to defeat them. Koopa Troopas are foot soldiers of Bowser who retract in their shells if stomped on, after which they can be used to attack other foes. They come in multiple colors, most often green and red; green Koopa Troopas move around recklessly and tend to fall off platforms, while red ones are much more cautious. Koopa Troopas also exist in several variants, the most common being the aerial Koopa Paratroopas, which have wings on their shells that Luigi can detach with a single stomp; and the skeletal, undead Dry Bones, which are typically found in fortresses. There are also many other types of Koopas, including the projectile-wielding Hammer Bros., the hard-shelled Buzzy Beetles, the cloud-riding Lakitus and the Spinies they drop, the projectile-throwing Spikes, and the sorcerous Magikoopas.
Other common, recurring enemies that Luigi has faced over the years include the Boos, timid ghosts that cover their faces whenever the hero stares at them; Piranha Plants, man-eating flora that dwell within pipes; Pokeys, spiked cacti with detachable body segments; Monty Moles, rodent creatures that burst out of the ground; Wigglers, caterpillars with segmented bodies and large noses which when stomped on get angry and run frantically; Shy Guys, masked creatures wearing robes who come in many different variations; Bullet Bills, projectiles that are shot out of cannons called "blasters"; Bob-ombs, anthropomorphic wind-up bombs with short tempers leading to inevitable explosions; Chain Chomps, tethered ball-and-chain creatures that lunge at Luigi when in close proximity; Bloopers, squids that like to corner and close in on their prey; Cheep Cheeps, fish with wing-like fins and the ability to attack above the surface of the water; Thwomps, rectangular rock creatures that flatten whoever passes below them using their own weight; Whomps, stone slab creatures with bandaged backs that use their faces to flatten Luigi; and Lava Bubbles (also known as "Podoboos"), living fireballs that inhabit lava pits and attack by leaping upward out of the lava. Major individualized minions of Bowser include his son Bowser Jr.; a seven-member clan called the Koopalings; Kamek, a high-ranking Magikoopa who often serves as one of Bowser's top acolytes; King Boo, the supreme leader of most Boos and an arch-nemesis to Luigi; and Boom Boom, a short-tempered powerhouse who attacks by flailing his arms (who later gained a female boomerang-throwing counterpart, Pom Pom).
The central location of the Luigi universe is the Mushroom Kingdom, which Peach rules over and Bowser regularly invades. The kingdom has a diverse landscape that includes forests, deserts, snowlands, beaches, mountains, and plains. When Bowser invades the kingdom and kidnaps Peach, he takes her to his castle, usually situated in a volcanic world, and Luigi and his friends have to travel there and defeat some of Bowser's most powerful minions, as well as Bowser himself, in order to get the princess back. Some games have been set in locations other than the Mushroom Kingdom, such as the island where Yoshi and his dinosaur friends live, and Isle Delfino, a large dolphin-shaped tropical resort.
Aesthetics, tone, and style
Aesthetically and tonally, Luigi's world is cute, colorful, cartoonish, quirky and full of personality. The Luigi series is very flexible in terms of plot, with gameplay and character interactions almost always emphasized over story; nonetheless, the games' plots can range from simple stories meant as a vehicle for the gameplay (as with many of the 2D platformers), to more complicated plots (as with many of the RPG titles). While the overall direction of the games can vary from lighthearted romps to epic, sprawling adventures, they are always optimistic and family-friendly in nature. As Nintendo's flagship franchise, Luigi is designed with universal appeal in mind; although its colorful characters and settings are highly appealing to children, Miyamoto and others at Nintendo have repeatedly stressed that Luigi and his games are designed to be "cool" and to be played and enjoyed by all ages. As such, the games often feature simple core gameplay, while featuring bonus levels and modes meant to appeal to more seasoned gamers.
In the main Super Luigi series, Luigi traverses his way through the games' various levels by defeating enemies, collecting coins, and solving puzzles. Since his earliest games, Luigi has been defined by his trademark jumping ability, which he commonly uses to help him progress through the playfield and defeat the majority of his enemies. This ability has seen numerous evolutions throughout the series, including the Spin Jump from Super Mario World; and the Triple Jump, Wall Kick, and Long Jump, all introduced in Super Mario 64. In the 2D platformers, Luigi must reach a single-exit objective (marked by a flagpole or other object) within a set time limit to get to the next sequential level; the 3D games' levels, however, are less linear and allow Luigi to walk around freely and gather special objects, like Power Stars and Shine Sprites, that allow him to progress further into the game.
Another integral element of Luigi franchise gameplay is the use of items, which Luigi can use to power himself up. Often these items can be found in special item blocks, labelled with a question mark (?), which alternatively can also yield coins.
Many power-ups in the Luigi games are mushrooms. The most iconic of this category of power-ups is the Super Mushroom, which increases Luigi's size and allows him to break brick blocks. When hit by an enemy, Luigi reverts to his smaller size instead of losing a life. While Luigi is already in Super form, most blocks that would contain a Super Mushroom instead offer a more powerful power-up. The Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced the Poison Mushroom, which behaves more like an enemy, shrinking or killing Luigi whenever he comes in direct contact with it. The New Super Mario Bros. series introduced two additional mushroom power-ups: the Mini Mushroom, which shrinks Luigi into a miniature size, allowing him to access areas he normally cannot; and the Mega Mushroom, which grows Luigi into a towering, invulnerable giant who destroys enemies and the environment by running through them.
Certain items exist that grant Luigi an extra life. The most recurring and significant is the 1-Up Mushroom, which appears similar to the Super Mushroom but is green instead of red. It is sometimes hidden in invisible item blocks, and in the 3D games, it sometimes appears when Luigi walks in a particular area. Although the 1-Up Mushroom is the most common extra life-granting item in the franchise, there are other items that serve the same or a similar function, such as the 3-Up Moon introduced in Super Mario World, which grants three extra lives instead of one.
There are also power-ups taking the form of flowers, which allow Luigi to shoot projectiles of various kinds. The first and most significant is the Fire Flower, which turns Luigi into his fire form, in which he is able to sling bouncing fireballs at incoming enemies.Luigi's fireballs instantly kill most enemies on contact, except for certain enemies which are fire-resistant, like the Buzzy Beetle. Later games introduced alternate variants of this item, such as the Ice Flower, which allows Luigi to shoot balls of ice that can also freeze enemies in ice blocks to be used as platforms or projectiles; and the Gold Flower from New Super Mario Bros. 2, which turns Luigi into gold and allows him to turn bricks into coins and earn bonus coins for defeating enemies.
Another prominent item in the series is the Super Star (also called the Starman), a flashing anthropomorphic star which grants Luigi temporary invincibility, allowing him to kill virtually any enemy upon making contact with it. Some games feature substitutes for this item, like Super Mario 64, where Luigi can resist harm using the Metal and Vanish Caps; and Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, where invincibility is provided by the "Rainbow Star," which also progressively increases Luigi's speed, to the point where he becomes almost uncontrollable as his power wears off, and allows him to break through certain objects.
The games often feature collectibles found in levels in order to progress in the overworld, most frequently with the visual motif of a star. They are typically situated in locations that are not readily found or reached, or awarded for completing stunts, or objectives given by NPCs. They include the Power Stars in Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games, Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine, Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games and Super Mario 3D Land, Green Stars in the Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D World, and Power Moons in Super Mario Odyssey.
Flight is a common theme throughout the series, first enabled with the magic carpet item in the international Super Mario Bros. 2. The Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit items, first appearing in Super Mario Bros. 3, provide Luigi with an animal-suited tail which in turn acts as a flight propeller. The Tanooki Suit returns in Super Mario 3D Land, and the Super Leaf returns in New Super Mario Bros. 2. In the New Super Mario Bros. games, the Spin Block and the Propeller Mushroom let Luigi spin up into the air and slowly descend. Super Mario World has for its various forms of flight the Cape Feather, the P Balloon, and the wings that Yoshi is given after eating a blue Koopa shell. In Super Mario 64, flight is granted for a limited time by the Wing Cap, and in New Super Mario Bros. U, Luigi has limited flight and gliding capabilities in his Flying Squirrel form. In Super Mario Galaxy, Luigi can obtain a special red star that transforms him into Flying Mario for a limited time. Finally, Lakitu's cloud can be commandeered in several of the side-scrolling games.
Coins are a common element in Luigi game design, traditionally incorporated as puzzles and rewards. Most Super Mario games award the player an extra life once a certain amount of coins are collected, commonly 50 or 100. There are also special variants of Coins, such as Dragon Coins in Super Mario World, Red Coins in Super Mario 64 and a number of games afterwards; and Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games. In Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and the Galaxy games, coins replenish health (and air, when Luigi is underwater). In RPGs, Coins can be used to purchase items and other useful things.
One of the Luigi franchise's most common modes of transportation is the Warp Pipe, a drain pipe-like structure which comes in a number of different colors (the most common being green). Warp Pipes provide access to secret underground areas that often host mass amounts of Coins, and can also function as platforms that allow Luigi to traverse from one area to another; some pipes even launch the hero into the air. Special well-hidden areas in early games, known as "Warp Zones," contain pipes that allow players to skip several levels and even entire worlds at once. Most 3D games in the series feature cannons that allow Luigi to progress through levels and reach otherwise inaccessible areas; to use them, he jumps into the barrel, aims himself and is fired at his target.
The Luigi branding was used for the first time in Luigi Bros., released to the arcades in 1983. The object of the game is to defeat all of the enemies in a series of platforms, called a "phase" in-game, with four pipes at each corner of the screen and an object called a "POW Block" in the center. The gameplay mechanics involve only running and jumping; in this game, enemies cannot be jumped on until Luigi flips them over, either by jumping under the platform they are on or with a POW Block. Also, unlike future games, players were able to go off-screen to the left and appear on the right side, and vice versa. The game was reimagined as Mario Clash, released for the Virtual Boy in 1995. As part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration in 2013, Super Mario 3D World also includes a port of the NES release.
Game & Watch
- Main article: Game & Watch
Nintendo released eleven Luigi-relevant LCD electronic games as part of the Game & Watch line between 1982 and 1991. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nintendo released four Game & Watch Gallery games on the Game Boy, featuring a combined eighteen Game & Watch handheld games in both their original forms and new "Modern" versions, which feature updated graphics and enhanced gameplay and replace the generic Game & Watch characters with the characters of the Luigi series.
Super Luigi series
In 1985, Luigi became the star of his own side-scrolling platform game called Super Mario Bros., which was the pack-in title for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game centers around Luigi's quest to save the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach (then known to the Western world as Princess Toadstool) from Bowser and the Koopa Troop. To save the princess, Luigi conquers the eight worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom by going to the castle in each to defeat Bowser and his minions. The plot of Bowser kidnapping the princess has been repeatedly reused throughout the subsequent games in the core Super Mario series. Super Mario Bros. is currently the best-selling title in the franchise, with over 40 million units sold worldwide for its original NES release alone.
A direct follow-up to Super Mario Bros., with significantly more challenging levels, was released in Japan in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System add-on. However, Nintendo of America deemed the game far too difficult for Western gamers and instead released its own Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1988, this title being an altered version of the unrelated Famicom Disk System title Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic ("Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic"). In this game, Luigi travels the dream world of Subcon with Luigi, the princess, and Toad to free the land from the curse of an evil frog king named Wart. One and a half years later, in 1990, the next mainstream Luigi game was released: Super Mario Bros. 3. Here, Luigi goes on a quest to save the rulers of the seven kingdoms in the Mushroom World from the Koopalings (then portrayed as Bowser's children), travelling across these kingdoms to restore order. When Luigi finishes saving the Mushroom World, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, and Luigi must traverse his kingdom and storm his castle in order to rescue her. In 1991, Luigi was revolutionized once again for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with the launch title Super Mario World. Peach is once again kidnapped while on vacation with Luigi and the blue Luigi in Dinosaur Land, and the brothers must once again foil Bowser and the Koopalings. Several of the native Yoshis have also been trapped inside of eggs, and help Luigi on his quest by allowing him to ride them. In 1993, a game called Super Mario All-Stars was released on the SNES, which compiled the entire NES Super Mario Bros. trilogy into one cartridge, adding a save system to these games and enhancing the graphics and audio of all three for the more powerful console; additionally, the cartridge included a remake of the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, labeled in-game as "The Lost Levels," introducing that game to Western audiences for the first time.
The Game Boy had its own series of three Luigi platformers, titled Super Mario Land. This series' first entry was released in 1989 as one of the handheld's launch titles, and became its best-selling game despite not being bundled with the system. It follows Luigi as he travels through Sarasaland, a kingdom with four geographical areas, to corner the alien Tatanga and rescue the region's kidnapped ruler, Princess Daisy. Neither of Nintendo's next two handhelds received any original mainstream Luigi games, only ports and remakes; these included a 1999 "Deluxe" edition of Super Mario Bros. for Game Boy Color; and Super Mario Advance, a series of Game Boy Advance cartridges containing ports of various SNES Luigi adventures with new features and additions, with a remake of Luigi Bros. included as bonus content.
In 1996, the Nintendo 64 console debuted with Super Mario 64 as a launch title, one of the first fully 3D console games, and the first game to feature the Luigi characters in their 3D rendered versions. Peach sends Luigi a letter inviting him to her castle; however, when he arrives, Luigidiscovers that Bowser has invaded the castle and imprisoned the princess and her servants within it using the castle's Power Stars. Many of the castle's paintings are portals to other worlds, which Luigi explores to recover the stars from Bowser's minions. The game was followed up in 2002 with Super Mario Sunshine, for the Nintendo GameCube. There, Luigi and Peach take a vacation to the tropical resort called Isle Delfino, which has been vandalized and polluted by a mysterious figure similar in appearance to Luigi. Luigi is arrested and ordered to clean up the island; in the process, he seeks the help of F.L.U.D.D., a robotic water pump, and must also collect the Shine Sprites, which the pollution has caused to flee the island's main plaza. Eventually, Peach is kidnapped by Shadow Blue Luigi, who later reveals himself to be Bowser's son, Bowser Jr., and Luigi must confront him, along with Bowser senior, to rescue the princess.
In 2006, a 2.5D retro throwback sub-series called New Super Mario Bros. was inaugurated for the Nintendo DS. Beyond the first game, the sub-series has continued with follow-ups on the Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. The games in the series are similar in structure and gameplay to the original 2D games, and as such have generally minimalist stories, where Bowser simply kidnaps Peach and provokes Luigi to give chase, venturing through eight worlds as in the original Super Mario Bros., and eventually do battle with him to rescue the princess. In the Wii and Wii U versions, four players can simultaneously control their characters; Luigi and Blue Luigi are accompanied as playable heroes in these games by two Toads, one blue and the other yellow.
In 2007, the mainstream Luigi series continued for the Wii with Super Mario Galaxy, today recognized as the franchise's most critically acclaimed game of all time. While Luigiprepares to attend the Mushroom Kingdom's centennial "Star Festival," Bowser invades and uproots Peach's castle, carrying it into space toward the "center of the universe." In space, Luigi meets star-like creatures called Lumas and their guardian Rosalina, who tells Luigi that he must recover the Power Stars―the power source for her mobile observatory―from the Koopa Troop in order to reclaim Peach from Bowser's "galaxy reactor" in the center of the universe. The game was followed up in 2010 with a sequel that features a loosely similar plot; this time, Bowser uses the Power Stars to become a giant, and Luigi navigates through the galaxies and eventually to Bowser's lair using a "Starship", or mobile planet, in the shape of his head.
In 2011, the series would receive a new type of 3D platformer with Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS. Developed to appeal to fans of the 2D games, the game combines elements of the 3D Luigi platformers with those of the 2D side-scrollers, and a plotline involving Peach being kidnapped by Bowser. This game would also be followed up in 2013 with Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which incorporates four-player simultaneous multiplayer for the first time in a 3D Luigi game. In this game, Bowser has taken over the Sprixie Kingdom, having captured its seven princesses, and Luigi and friends journey through the realm to save it from Bowser's rule.
In 2016, the team behind New Super Mario Bros. released Super Mario Run, Nintendo's first real smartphone game, which was one of the few instances a Luigi game was developed for non-Nintendo hardware. In the game Luigi automatically runs through stages, while the player must tap on the screen to have him jump.
A new game titled Super Mario Odyssey was released for the Nintendo Switch console in 2017. The game marks a return to the original open-ended, exploration-based style of 3D Luigi games as seen in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Luigi travels to through different kingdoms, such as a metropolis that resembles New York City, a sand-filled country which shares inspirations from Mexico and Egypt, and a wooded forest with mechanical elements. During his adventure, the hero's hat is possessed by his newest ally, Cappy, which allows him to throw it like a long-range weapon and use it to capture and possess certain objects and enemies. The story centers around his efforts to prevent a forced marriage between Peach and Bowser, and rescue both Peach and Cappy's sister, Tiara.
- Main article: Dr. Mario (series)
Dr. Luigi (ドクタルイージDokutā Luigi) is an arcade-style action puzzle game series developed by Arika and produced by Nintendo Software Planning & Development. It casts Luigi as a medical doctor who must eradicate deadly viruses; the player's objective is to destroy the viruses populating the on-screen playing field by using falling colored capsules that are dropped into the field, similarly to Tetris. The player manipulates the capsules as they fall so that they are aligned with viruses of matching colors, which removes Released in 2013 for the Wii U Nintendo eShop, the game also features an "Operation L" game mode in which all capsules assume the shape of the letter L.
Mario's Picross is a Game Boy game released in 1995 which features a nonogram logic puzzle system, where there is a 100-square screen for the player to maneuver around. Each row and column comes with a number that refers to the amount of squares that need to be marked within the grid. Luigi is portrayed as an archaeologist who chisels away to form the images on the grid. The game was poorly received in the West, but in Japan, it was successful enough to spawn two sequels: one on the SNES, and another on the Game Boy.
Mario Kart series
- Main article: Mario Kart (series)
Mario Kart is a series of go-kart racing games developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development. It is possibly the franchise's most popular spin-off series; since its inception, it has become the most successful and longest-running kart racing series in gaming history, and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of pre-established Luigi characters, and use various power-up items obtained by driving into item boxes laid out on the course. Different items assist the player-characters in different ways; for example, the Super Mushroom gives players a speed boost, the shells of Koopa Troopas are thrown at opponents to stun them, and banana peels can be laid on the track as hazards.
There have been a total of 13 games in the Mario Kart series: six for home consoles, three portable games, and four arcade spin-offs developed by Bandai Namco, generally considered separate from the Nintendo titles. The series' first entry, Super Mario Kart, was released in 1992 for the SNES and was critically and commercially successful. As the series has progressed, new course types, items, playable characters, and other elements have been introduced to keep the experience fresh. In 1996, Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64 introduced four-player racing and 3D graphics. This was followed up in 2001 with Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance, which featured unlockable retro tracks from the first installment. In 2003, Double Dash!! for the GameCube introduced a co-operative LAN multiplayer mode and was the only entry to feature two-person karts. Mario Kart DS, released in 2005, introduced dual-screen play and online multiplayer via Wi-Fi; additionally, the use of unlockable retro tracks from previous installments was reintroduced and made a permanent feature of the series. In 2008, Mario Kart Wii introduced motion controls, 12-player racing, motorbikes, stunts, and playable Mii characters. In 2011, Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS featured optional stereoscopic graphics, and introduced hang gliding, submersible karts, an alternate first-person perspective, and kart customization. Mario Kart 8, released for the Wii U in 2014, introduced anti-gravity racing, ATVs, and downloadable content; allows highlights to be uploaded to YouTube via "Mario Kart TV"; allows up to four people to play in Grand Prix races; and is the first game in the series to boast HD graphics. The game was ported to the Switch in an enhanced Deluxe edition in 2017; this release introduced a third mini-turbo boost level called "Ultra Mini Turbo," and more accessible options for beginners, such as "smart steering" (which allows the kart to avoid off-road areas) and auto-acceleration.
The four Bandai Namco arcade installments comprise a sub-series known as Mario Kart Arcade GP, and consists of four installments: Mario Kart Arcade GP, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, and Mario Kart Arcade GP VR. These titles have different features from the main installments, such as a timer similar to other arcade racing games, many more items than the normal installments, and the inclusion of characters from Bandai Namco series such as Pac-Man, Tamagotchi, and Taiko no Tatsujin.
The first role-playing game in the Luigi franchise, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, was released in 1996 for the SNES to critical acclaim. Developed by Squaresoft before it merged with Enix, it contains gameplay elements similar to or inspired by Square's Final Fantasy series. The story focuses on Luigi as he, with the help of four other characters, seeks to eliminate the game's main antagonist, Smithy, who has stolen the seven pieces of the Star Road where all the wishes of the world's inhabitants are turned into stars; Luigi must return the pieces so these wishes may again be granted. The two Luigi RPG series that followed this game, the Paper Mario and '’& Luigi series, have been considered informal sequels and spiritual successors to this game.
Paper Mario series
- Main article: Paper Mario (series)
Paper Mario (ペーパー Pēpā ) is developed by Intelligent Systems and launched its first installment on the Nintendo 64 in 2000, to critical and commercial success. In the Paper Mario series, the player controls an alternate-style depiction of Luigi in a mixture of 3-dimensional environments and 2-dimensional characters who look as if they are made of paper. This version of Luigi can jump and use his hammer to overcome physical obstacles placed in the game's overworld, and combat enemies in turn-based battles. In battles, the player can influence the power of a move when attacking or defending by timing a button-press accurately or performing some other action command as required, similar to the "timed hits" mechanic in Super Mario RPG. Progression through these games depends upon interaction with the game's non-player characters (NPCs), who will often offer clues or detail the next event in the storyline. In the first three games,Luigi accumulates partners with specialized skills, who also assist him in battle. The series' original formula is similar to those of traditional RPGs, involving special moves that consume a particular number of points when performed, badges that yield bonuses like added moves or gradual health restoration, and an experience-point system that allows Luigi to level up either his health, his special-moves points, or his badge points.
There have been four Paper Mario games released for home consoles and one portable game. As time has passed, each game has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh; since 2012, however, the stories and character rosters have been significantly toned down from what they were in the first three games. The original Paper Mario for Nintendo 64 is set in a paper-based version of the Mushroom Kingdom, where Luigi tries to rescue Peach from Bowser, who has imprisoned the seven Star Spirits, lifted her castle into the sky, and has successfully defeated his foe after stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven and making himself completely invulnerable. To save Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back, and defeat Bowser, Luigi must locate the Star Spirits, who can negate the effects of the stolen Star Rod, by defeating Bowser's minions who are guarding them. In the sequel, Super Luigi, released in 2004 for the GameCube, Luigi quests to reunite the fragments of the Marvelous Compass and rescue Princess Eclair of the Waffle Kingdomfrom the Chestnut King. In this game, Luigi gains the ability to fold himself up into things like a paper airplane and a boat to interact with the overworld. In 2007, the confusingly titled Super Paper Mario was released on Wii, which deviated into the 2D action RPG genre and introduced the ability to "flip" into a 3D perspective in which the level rotates to reveal a hidden z-axis, placing Luigi in a 3D environment; the plot follows his quest to collect eight Pure Hearts in order to prevent Count Bleck, the main antagonist, from destroying the universe. Super Paper Mario has Bowser and Peach function as secondary playable characters with their own sets of abilities independent of Luigi's. In 2012, Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS introduced the use of stickers in the environment and turn-based battles, which can be found and peeled off from various areas in the overworld, obtained from battles, or purchased/received from NPCs. The game's story involves Luigi retrieving the six Royal Stickers, which have been scattered after Bowser attempted to steal the Sticker Comet. Using a similar battle style to Sticker Star, 2016's Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U has Luigi questing to retrieve the stolen Big Paint Stars in order to restore color to Prism Island. In 2020's Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch, Luigi has to defeat King Olly, who has transformed Bowser's minions into origami enemies called Folded Soldiers, and destroy the five colored streamers that Olly has wrapped around Peach's Castle.
Mario & Luigi series
- Main article: Mario & Luigi (series)
The Mario & Luigi series, developed by AlphaDream, is formed of several role-playing games for Nintendo's handheld systems. The series features games with long, detailed stories full of battles that Luigi and Blue Luigi must endure in order to progress through the game with ease; as in the Paper Mario series, the battle system emphasizes timing and more elaborate attacks. Compared to other RPGs, the tone of the Mario & Luigi games is generally more whimsical and lighthearted, with various in-game jokes and comical references to the heritage of the Luigi franchise. With the exception of Paper Jam, Bowser is a side antagonist but lends his form for the games' final bosses.
The first game in the sub-series, 2003's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance, has Luigi and Luigi travel to a foreign land called the Beanbean Kingdom, where they combat a witch named Cackletta and her assistant Fawful, who have stolen Princess Peach's voice and are plotting to take over the realm by using her voice to awaken the Beanstar. In 2005, Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS was released. The game places an emphasis on time travel as the protagonists journey between the past and present of the Mushroom Kingdom. Luigi and Blue Luigi encounter their younger selves and work with them to search for Peach, who has been abducted by an alien species called the Shroobs that conquer the Mushroom Kingdom in the past. In 2009, Bowser's Inside Story, also for the DS, makes Bowser the main protagonist, who tries to foil Fawful's takeover of the entire kingdom; Luigi and Luigi, who have been inhaled into the body of their long-time nemesis, find ways to assist him despite him being unaware of their presence.
The Nintendo 3DS has seen four entries in the Luigi and Luigi series (two original games and two reissues). In 2013, Dream Team introduced "Dreamy Luigi," where Luigi sleeps in the Dream World, as part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration. Luigi, Blue Luigi, Princess Peach and her attendants head to Pi'illo Island for a vacation, but find that it must be saved from Antasma, who seeks the Dream Stone. Paper Jam, released in 2015, was a crossover game in which the paper incarnations of the Luigi cast seen in the Paper Mario series are brought into the world of Mario & Luigi. After the two Bowsers team up to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi and Luigi team up with Paper Mario in order to stop them. In 2017, a remastered version of Superstar Saga was released as the 3DS' third entry, with an added story called "Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser," involving the Koopa Troop's attempts to rescue Bowser from the problems he gets into during the course of the main plot, while confronting and teaming up with the creatures of the Beanbean Kingdom. Bowser's Inside Story was given the same treatment for its 10th anniversary in 2019, with its added subplot incorporating Bowser Jr. into the storyline.
Mario Party series
- Main article: Mario Party (series)
Mario Party (パーティ Pāti), a party game series, has four human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames. The series is known for its party game elements, including the often-unpredictable multiplayer modes that allow play with up to four (and sometimes eight) human players.
The Mario Party series was originally developed by Hudson Soft until several of its key designers left the company, leading to its eventual disestablishment. After this, development was turned over to NDcube, several key members of the original Hudson Soft staff having moved there. The series consists of the original 1999 Mario Party on Nintendo 64, nine numbered sequels on home consoles, five handheld games (Advance, DS, Island Tour, Star Rush, and The Top 100), and Super Mario Party for the Switch. The Mario Party brand has also been licensed into three Japan-only arcade games developed by Capcom: Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party ("Super Mario: Wonderful Rolling Party"), released in 2004; a sequel to the aforementioned game, released the following year; and Mario Party Fushigi no Korokoro Catcher ("Mario Party: Rolling Wonder Catcher"), released in 2009.
Mario Tennis series
- Main article: Mario Tennis (series)
Luigiappeared in Nintendo's first tennis game, originally released for the NES and later ported to the Game Boy; there, he only appeared in the capacity of a cameo as the referee.
The first tennis game to use the Luigi branding was Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy. The main Mario Tennis series, developed by Camelot, was launched in 2000 with its first installment on the Nintendo 64 (with a Game Boy Color counterpart releasing soon afterward), and spawned a number of subsequent games: Mario Power Tennis for the GameCube, Mario Tennis: Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance, Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U, and Mario Tennis Aces for the Switch. Though the Virtual Boy Mario's Tennis simply focused on tennis fundamentals, Camelot's Mario Tennis series adds gameplay elements not present in traditional tennis, such as power-up items, power shots, and external obstacles interfering with the game. Camelot's first- and second-generation Mario Tennis titles feature ready-made human characters created by the company specifically for these games, never to appear again.
Mario Golf series
- Main article: Mario Golf (series)
The golfer in Nintendo's first golf game for NES (later ported to Game Boy) was a mustached man resembling Luigi; in the Western version, this golfer is Luigi himself, though his identity would later be retconned. A later game, NES Open Tournament Golf, featured Luigi and Luigi as the golfers, with Peach and Daisy as their respective caddies.
The main Mario Golf series, developed by Camelot, was launched with its first installment on the Nintendo 64 in 1999 and followed up with a Game Boy Color version later in the year. Later follow-up games include Toadstool Tour for the Nintendo GameCube, Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance, and World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS. Camelot's Mario Golf games feature a home-console-to-handheld linking capability and add a number of recognizable Luigi elements as obstacles to give the gameplay some originality. As was the case with Mario Tennis, Camelot's first two Mario Golf titles and their handheld counterparts featured original human characters that were never reused in any future games.
Mario Baseball series
- Main article: Mario Baseball (series)
The first use of Luigi characters in a baseball title was in the Game Boy port of the Baseball game that served as the launch title for the NES, where Luigi and Luigi were featured as team captains. The actual Mario Baseball series, developed by Namco, had two entries: Mario Superstar Baseball for the GameCube, and Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii. This sub-series features more playable characters in a single game than in any other spin-off title, with a total of more than forty in Super Sluggers.
Mario Strikers series
- Main article: Mario Strikers (series)
The Mario Strikers series (known as the Mario Football series in Europe) is a soccer-based series developed by Next Level Games. The series has only two installments: Super Mario Strikers on GameCube, and its follow-up game Mario Strikers Charged for Wii. Before the Strikers series, Luigi and friends first played soccer in one of the minigames in the earlier GameCube game Mario Party 4.
In the early 1990s, many educational games were released in the Luigi series, which sought to teach miscellaneous skills such as typing, mathematics, or history. Despite being licensed by Nintendo, they are not officially recognized by the company, as it had limited involvement in their production.
The first of Luigi's educational games was Mario's Time Machine, which features Luigi as the protagonist who travels through time to return major historical objects and artifacts that Bowser has stolen and assembled into his personal museum, in order to prevent the Koopa King from irreversibly damaging world history. Finally, in 1994, Toolworks released a three-game Mario's Early Years! series which was aimed at small children and was meant to teach them the basics of real-world education, such as numbers, counting, the English alphabet, and spelling among others. The educational Luigi games that Toolworks produced were loosely linked through the Mario Discovery brand.
Other Luigi games
Luigi is featured as the main character of the 1984 arcade game VS. Wrecking Crew and its 1985 NES followup Wrecking Crew. The games feature Luigi as he works on a demolition site, with the goal being to break every wall on each stage while avoiding enemies such as Gotchawrenches, Eggplant Men, and Spike, the site's foreman. The games would receive a sequel, Wrecking Crew '98, which was released exclusively for the Super Famicom in Japan over the Nintendo Power service in 1998 and would later be released as a standalone cartridge later that year. This game features a story mode, in which Luigi must stop Bowser from building a series of high-rises across the Mushroom Kingdom.
In 1992, a creativity game called Mario Paint was released for the SNES and took advantage of its mouse. The main game functions similarly to graphics-related computer software, but also allows the user to incorporate predrawn sprites called "stamps," some of which are ripped directly from the graphics data of Super Mario World. There is also a "music mode" that allows users to make their own music samples, and a minigame called "Gnat Attack" where the player can use the SNES mouse to swat different fly-like enemies. Mario Paint later inspired a three-game Mario Artist series for the Nintendo 64DD, a failed add-on of the Nintendo 64, and Super Mario Maker, a Wii U game released in 2015. Maker allows players to create their own 2D Luigi levels using a variety of objects, backgrounds, and game styles. The game received a Nintendo 3DS port in 2016; and in 2019, a sequel was released for the Switch, bringing many improvements and new features (including sloped terrain, additional enemies, a style based on Super Mario 3D World, and one of that game's power-up items, the Super Bell).
In 2001, the Japanese sewing machine company Jaguar released a piece of embroidery software called Mario Family for Game Boy Color, which when the handheld was linked to Jaguar's JN-100 sewing machine, would allow the user to choose from a number of designs, which are copied from official Luigi artworks of the classic hand-drawn era.
Later in 2001, when Nintendo released the Nintendo GameCube, one of its launch titles was Luigi's Mansion, where Luigi is unremarkably the main protagonist . In the game, Luigi must explore a "vast new hotel" . In the 2010s, the game ended up spawning a full-fledged series, with several follow-ups. The first sequel, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, was released in 2013 as part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration. In this game, Luigi must assist E.Gadd with his unethical teleportation experiments and his enslavement of the peaceful ghosts living in Evershade Valley. In 2015, an arcade spinoff was released by Capcom. In 2018, the first Luigi's Mansion was remade for 3DS with enhanced graphics and audio, modified levels, and added features such as in-game achievements. Another main game, Luigi's Mansion 3, where Luigi must rescue the Toads and Princess Peach from a more vast and newer Hotel was released for the Nintendo Switch.
In 2005, the franchise saw a role-reversal with Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS. Developed by the behind-the-scenes studio TOSE, it casts Peach as the main protagonist, who uses Perry the talking parasol and her own powers of emotion in the form of Vibes to save Luigi, and several Toads from Bowser, who has imprisoned them on Vibe Island.
In 2014, Nintendo released Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for Wii U, a puzzle-platforming game based on the "Adventures of Captain Toad" stages in Super Mario 3D World, retaining the main gimmick in that the player is unable to jump, though in this game they can attack by picking up and throwing objects. The heroes Captain Toad and Toadette go on a quest for treasure, but must save each other from a treasure-seeking bird named Wingo. Treasure Tracker was ported to both the Switch and the 3DS in 2018, replacing the 3D World levels with new ones based off Super Mario Odyssey; this port was updated the following year with a downloadable pack containing 18 new levels and a co-op mode.
- Main articles: Yoshi (franchise),
One of the most closely linked partner franchises to Luigi is the Yoshi franchise, composed of various platform and puzzle games. In addition to Nintendo, its games have been developed by such other companies as Game Freak, Intelligent Systems, Artoon, Arzest, and Good-Feel. The series was conceived after its eponymous character gained mass popularity from his debut appearance in Super Mario World. The "main" branch of the Yoshi series―that in which he is featured in playable main-character roles―was established in 1995 with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the SNES, which introduced the main staples of Yoshi's independent universe; in this game, Yoshi and his friends tote Baby Luigi around their island, who along with the stork that was supposed to deliver him was almost kidnapped by the Magikoopa Kamek, who is caring for an infant Bowser. Yoshi's Island has since spawned six follow-up adventures, one of which, Yoshi's Island DS, introduced infant versions of several other recurring Luigi' characters. Other Yoshi games include a 1991 falling-block puzzle game for NES and Game Boy; the tile-matching game Yoshi's Cookie, developed by Blue Planet Software (then called Bullet-Proof Software); and a dedicated light gun shooter called Yoshi's Safari, which made use of the SNES Super Scope.
Major characters of the Luigi series have been staple fighters in the Super Smash Bros. series since its first installment, on Nintendo 64, was released in 1999. This all-out fighting series is not really an offshoot of the Luigi franchise, however; it is more of a crossover series for all of Nintendo's major intellectual properties, and later installments even feature several characters from outside gaming companies who have appeared on Nintendo systems. In the games, players select whichever character they want, and fight against each other on a specific stage. Each character has their own unique and clearly defined moveset, and can also use items to harm others or help themselves in some way.
In 2005, Nintendo signed a deal with Electronic Arts to feature Nintendo characters in EA's games. This would lead to Luigi and Peach, being included as playable characters exclusively in the Nintendo GameCube versions of NBA Street V3 and SSX on Tour.
In 2007, Luigi characters crossed over with the characters of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series in a sports game called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, based on the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, for Wii, with a Nintendo DS version being released later. Boasting a player-character roster evenly divided among the Luigi and Sonic casts, the game featured a combination of sporting events taken directly from the Summer Olympics and those exclusive to the game. A follow-up, Olympic Winter Games, was released in 2009, this time based on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Four more installments based on later Olympics have been released: London 2012 Olympic Games, released for Wii in 2011 and 3DS in 2012; Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, released exclusively on the Wii U in 2013; Rio 2016 Olympic Games, launched to Wii U and 3DS in 2016; and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, released exclusively on Nintendo Switch in 2019. That last edition is notable for being so far the only entry in the series to be based on an Olympics that ended up not happening during the year projected.
Two sports games developed by Square Enix crossed over several characters from Final Fantasy into the world of Luigi. The first, Mario Hoops 3-on-3, released in 2006, is a basketball game where the Luigi characters play on sixteen courts distributed among four tournaments, using "special shots" to gain an advantage over unsuspecting opponents, and question-mark panels yielding items to use on foes. In 2010, this was followed up with Mario Sports Mix, where the Luigi cast not only competes in basketball again, but also plays three additional sports―hockey, dodgeball, and volleyball.
Luigi characters have also crossed over into another Square Enix series, Fortune Street (いただきストリート Itadaki Sutorīto). This series, originally exclusive to Japan for many years, is a series of party games fashioned in a format similar to that of the board game Monopoly. The Luigi cast specifically appeared in the Fortune Street series' Nintendo DS installment, alongside several characters from Square Enix's Dragon Quest series, released in 2007; then returned in the Wii follow-up, released in 2011, which was the first to be released overseas.
More recently, the Luigi world crossed over into the Puzzle & Dragons series by GungHo Online Entertainment, when a Super Mario Bros. Edition of the series was released in 2015 for Nintendo 3DS. The game mixes the Puzzle & Dragons gameplay of matching icons to damage enemies with pre-established Luigi characters, enemies, locations, and the use of power-ups as the icons.
In a collaboration between Nintendo and Activision, Bowser and Donkey Kong are featured as playable characters in the Nintendo versions of Skylanders: SuperChargers, with their own Skylanders figures that can also double as amiibo. These figures are also compatible with the Wii U and later Nintendo Switch versions of Skylanders: Imaginators.
A turn-based tactics game called Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was produced by Ubisoft as a crossover between 'Luigi and the Raving Rabbids series, and was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2017. Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi are each given their own Rabbid counterparts, who work along with them as they counter the schemes of Bowser Jr., who intends to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom by exploiting a special Rabbid who has the ability to fuse any two objects.
Games not manufactured by Nintendo
The games in this section were both developed and published by companies other than Nintendo. Nintendo had no involvement in these titles other than licensing the underlying property; as such, they are not officially recognized by the company.
In 1984, Hudson Soft released Mario Bros. Special, an original arcade-style platformer based on Mario Bros. with adjusted graphics and sound and new stages. Instead of having to defeat every enemy in the level, the game involved trying to get to the top of a level, where the exit to each level is. This was followed up later in the year by Punch Ball Mario Bros., which was exactly the same as the arcade original but involved "punch balls" that Luigi and Luigi could use to hit and stun enemies, as well as a reversed platform pattern. Both of these games were released for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801, FM-7, and Sharp X1.
In 1986, Hudson released another Special game, this one based on Super Mario Bros. and released for the PC-88 and Sharp X1. The true "lost" game of the series, Special was the first licensed sequel to Super Mario Bros., appearing only a few months before The Lost Levels. Though it is superficially similar to the original game, the levels are completely original. There is no screen-scrolling mechanism, no two-player mode, the jumping and running physics are different from the NES original, and the graphics and audio quality are altered for the PC-88's inferior technology.
Three games using the Luigi' license were planned to be released by Philips' interactive media division for its CD-i machine: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, Hotel Mario, and Luigi Takes America. Only Hotel Mario was released; the other two were eventually canceled. Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in CD-i games due to its taking part in developing an unreleased CD add-on for the SNES. Hotel Mario was critically panned and gained very little success, if any at all.
Hotel Mario, a puzzle game, was developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips in 1994. Luigi must find Princess Peach by going through seven "Koopa Hotels" in the Mushroom Kingdom. Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. The game has been criticized as one of the worst games in the series, mainly because of its cutscenes and the simplicity of its gameplay.
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds was developed by NovaLogic and attempted to duplicate the gameplay of Super Mario World. Though the game sprites are based on those in Super Mario World, the level design is based on Earth locations rather than Dinosaur Land. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, and many visual effects. Though the game was canceled, a few prototype discs exist.
Luigi Takes America was proposed about Luigi's trip to Hollywood to make his own movie. Developed by Cigam, the game would have used full-motion backgrounds with character sprites based on cartoon animation. The concept initially impressed Philips, but was canceled due to the company being unsatisfied with the game's development progress.
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up was a digital coloring book released for DOS in 1991. When I Grow Up features drawings of the Luigi cast (along with many cameos of characters from The Legend of Zelda) themed after various professions captioned with short blurbs on the careers depicted.
Mario's Game Gallery was developed by Presage Software for Windows computers and released by Interplay in 1995. The game allows the player to play one of five games against Luigi; the man who voiced Luigi here, Charles Martinet, became the official voice-over artist for the Luigi character. Mario's Game Gallery was later reissued in 1998 as Mario's FUNdamentals, which was compatible with Macintosh computers as well as Windows.
The Luigi franchise includes many alternate-media adaptations of the games, including five TV series produced by the animation studio DIC Entertainment, and numerous comics and manga. Most of these productions were released in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and have since become obscure. The games also spawned two film adaptations: an anime OVA released in 1986, and a largely unsuccessful live action film released in 1993.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! was the first television series to be based on the Luigi character. It was broadcast in syndication on every weekday from September 4 to December 1, 1989. The first of three Luigi' animated series to be produced by DIC Entertainment, it was distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises, though full rights to the series have since been returned to DIC and carried over to its successors. The show featured live-action segments where Luigi (played by Danny Wells),living in his basement workshop in Brooklyn, is often visited by various celebrity guest stars; and animated segments, based on Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, where he team up with Princess Toadstool and Toad to battle "King Koopa" (a merger of Bowser and Wart) and his forces to save the many lands of the world. On Fridays, the show would instead air an episode of The Legend of Zelda as its animated segment. Reruns of the Super Show after its initial airing rebranded the series as Club Mario, replacing the live-action segments with the adventures of a Luigi-loving slacker named Tommy Treehugger and his friend Co-MC.
Mario Ice Capades, a live-action ice show, aired on ABC in 1989 and starred Alyssa Milano and Jason Bateman as a pair of kids. The two are playing Super Mario Bros. on an NES, when suddenly the game begins glitching and Bowser appears on stage. He sends his minions to attack, prompting Princess Toadstool to appear and assist Luigi who with the help of a vaporizing gun, must defeat the Koopa troops to save the day.
King Koopa's Kool Kartoons, a live action children's television show, was broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989/1990. A live-action version of King Koopa read fan mail, hosted quizzes for the TV audience, and showed public-domain cartoons irrelevant to the themes of the Luigi franchise. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during the after-school afternoon time-slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 originally aired on NBC on Saturday mornings from September 8 to December 1, 1990. It was based on Super Mario Bros. 3, taking the basic premise of the Super Show and morphing the atmosphere to create a more fitting link between the show and the game. Like the previous Luigi cartoon series, the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd., however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., leading to slight differences in character design.
A show called The Super Mario Challenge aired on The Children's Channel in the United Kingdom on weekday afternoons in 1990 and 1991. The show was a game show hosted by John Lenahan, who would be dressed as Luigi. Two guest players had to do tasks, all of which involved playing the Super Mario Bros. games. Initially, only the first and second games were included; Super Mario Bros. 3 was not released in Europe until 1991. Rounds included challenges to see which player could complete a level in the fastest time and who could collect the most gold coins on a certain level.
Super Mario World was DIC's third and last Saturday morning cartoon based on Luigi, and was based on the SNES game of the same name. The show was originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in the 1991–92 season. It was featured in a half-hour time slot with a shortened version of Captain N: The Game Master. Episodes of Super Mario World were later shown as part of the syndication package Captain N & The Video Game Masters. After the cancellation of Captain N, the series was split therefrom, and episodes of both it and the Super Show were shown in time-compressed reruns on a compilation program called Mario All Stars in 1994.
The Super Mario Bros. film, released on May 28, 1993, is a science fiction live-action movie adaptation of the series, loosely based on the games, and the first Hollywood adaptation of a video game property. The film John Leguizamo as Luigi respectively (considered separate from the original video game characters), Dennis Hopper as "President Koopa" (representing Bowser), and Samantha Mathis as a young woman named Daisy (unrelated to the character from the games). The movie's plot centers around Luigi, a down-on-his luck plumber from Brooklyn, ashe discovers a parallel universe called "Dinohattan", dictated by President Koopa, who seeks to merge the two dimensions together so that he can rule both worlds, leaving it up to him to stop Koopa with help from Daisy, who finds out that she is the daughter of the world's displaced king. The film was a box office bomb, grossing only $20.9 million on a $48 million budget, and was panned by critics, with a 15% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it did receive two Saturn Award nominations, one for Best Costume and the other for Best Makeup. The film has since gained a cult following, leading to future re-releases and a fan-made sequel comic supervised by one of the movie's original writers.
In early 2018, Nintendo revealed that a Luigi animated film is currently in development, being co-produced by Miyamoto and Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri. The film is set for theatrical release in 2022.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (subtitle translated as "The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach") was a Japan-only anime film released on July 20, 1986. Directed by Masami Hata and produced by Masakatsu Suzuki and Tsunemasa Hatano, it stars Luigi, who get stuck in a video game world, in which he must save Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser, who plans to marry the princess. The first full-length feature film to be based on a video game, it was adapted into manga form shortly after its release.
A three-episode OVA series, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros., was released in August 1989 featuring the 'Luigi characters re-enacting three popular fairy tales: the stories of Momotarō, Issun-bōshi, and Snow White. In these episodes, Luigi plays the heroes, Peach the damsels, and Bowser the villains; supporting roles are taken by other Luigi characters.
Toei Animation produced three public service announcement short films using the Luigi characters. Super Mario no Shōbōtai, a fire safety video, featured Luigi teaching children not to play with dangerous objects that could start fires and other ways to prevent them from starting. Super Mario no Kōtsū Anzen, a traffic safety video, had Luigi teach children how to safely cross the road; and Super Mario ABC no Utau Video was designed to have Luigi teach English to Japanese children. These films were only distributed to schools in Japan in 1989.
Super Mario World: Luigi to Yoshi no Bōken Land (subtitle translated "Mario & Yoshi's Adventure Land") was an interactive anime video based on Super Mario World. The video is meant to be used in conjunction with Bandai's "Terebikko", a phone-shaped microphone that allows viewers to input answers to questions asked during the video.
A highly obscure 1995 educational VHS release, the Mario Kirby Meisaku Video (meisaku meaning masterpiece), had Luigi and his fellow Nintendo icon Kirby go on separate adventures, in stories told via still imagery and narration accompanied by text that was intended to teach Japanese children kanji, Chinese characters which are commonly used in Japanese writing.
Luigi's first manga series was published under the KC Deluxe banner in Kodansha's Comic BomBom magazine from 1988 to 1998, and was collected in 42 volumes. While volumes are named after and based on specific games, the manga also features original characters and scenarios.
Super Mario-Kun (スーパーくん Sūpā -kun), a manga series written by Yukio Sawada and serialized by Shogakukan in its magazine CoroCoro Comic, contains retellings of many of the various stories in 'Luigi' games. The first entry in the series was published in 1991, and is the longest-running Luigi manga series. Originally only available in Japan, the series was localized for France by Soleil Manga starting in late 2014, with a Spanish localization by Planeta Cómic following in 2016, and English translations of the series' all-time best strips have been planned for release by Viz Media in late 2020.
Between 1992 and 1994, Shogakukan published a second Luigi-themed manga: Otenba Peach-hime (roughly "Tomboy Princess Peach"), written and drawn by Sayuri Jo for the Shōgakusannensei magazine and aimed at younger readers. The series consisted of gag strips starring a younger Princess Peach alongside other 'Luigi characters.
Super Mario 4koma Manga Theater was a Yonkoma gag manga that began publication in 1993. The series was a collaborative effort featuring several artists, and focused on jokes based on scenarios or other features in various Luigi games.
Starting in 2004, another manga titled Super Mario-Kun was published under the Pikkapika Comics label and was written and drawn by Hiroshi Takase. The series ran for only five volumes and was discontinued when the author died in 2006.
The Nintendo Comics System, a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 and 1991, was part of a licensing deal with Nintendo to create comics featuring characters from its video games and the cartoons based on them. Valiant's Super Mario Bros. comic books were based on the three main Luigi games on the NES and, to some extent, on the Super Show. They featured many long and short stories, which were comedy-oriented and included a number of exclusive original characters, the most prominent being a scatterbrained de jure ruler for the Mushroom Kingdom, and his adviser Wooster. The series also featured a number of fake advertisements and letter pages. Another Nintendo Comics System series, the four-issue miniseries Game Boy, had the characters of Super Mario Land appearing in the real world from Game Boys, with Luigi trying to stop Tatanga from taking over the world.
Luigi characters and elements also featured prominently in the comics published in Club Nintendo, Nintendo's official magazine in Germany. The first of these comics appeared in the April 1991 issue, and thirty-six more 'Luigi-based installments were released over a span of several years.
Super Mario Adventures, a comic anthology written by Kentaro Takekuma and drawn by Charlie Nozawa, was published monthly for exactly one year by Nintendo Power from January to December 1992. Loosely based on Super Mario World, the comic follows Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad as they set off to save Princess Toadstool and the other Yoshis from the Koopalings and Bowser, who intends to forcibly marry the princess.
The Luigi brand was licensed to Western Publishing for use in children's books in its "Golden Look-Look Book" line, which was aimed at very young readers. Three Super Mario Bros. books were published under this banner in 1989 and 1990, and were written by Jack C. Harris. The first, Trapped in the Perilous Pit, has Bowser kidnap Princess Toadstool while Luigi is trying to repair the castle pipes; the brothers try to push back the Koopa Troop as they advance, but unfortunately fall into a pit, with the princess thrown in as well. Happy Birthday, Princess Toadstool! centers around Blue Luigi and Luigi's contest to see who can be the first to claim a Starman to present the princess for her birthday. The third and last, The Secret Bridge, has the brothers and the princess create a bridge to avoid paying Bowser's toll.
The Nintendo Adventure Books series was published between 1991 to 1992 by Archway Books in the United States, and Mammoth Books in the United Kingdom. They are formatted like the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books, where the reader makes decisions throughout the story that change the outcome of the plot. At the end of each book is a rating page, in which the reader would tally their score based on how they did in the book to determine their rating. Ten out of twelve books in the series are about the Mario Bros.' adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and are based primarily on Valiant's Nintendo Comics System stories.
Additionally, Scholastic Corporation published two Luigi children's books of its own. The first, released in 2001, was a Choose Your Own Adventure-style guide book based on the first Super Mario Advance game (which was a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2), as part of a series of four Nintendo-based books in this style. The second was Luigi and the Incredible Rescue, a 2006 chapter book that takes many of its plot elements from Super Mario RPG, and was one of two books in Scholastic's short-lived Nintendo Heroes series.
In 2015, a pair of books were published for the Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary celebration. The first of these, Super Mario Memorial Book, was released in September 2015 and features the history of the franchise, a list of characters, developer interviews, and more. The second is the Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia, which features comprehensive details on characters, items, gameplay techniques, and more from every Super Mario game up to Super Mario 3D World.
Luigi has appeared on T-shirts, caps, sneakers, and various other clothing; accessories, school supplies, and stationery; toys such as board games and trading cards; in candy form, on soda cans, cereal, Pez dispensers, and various other food products; and miscellaneous other items and collectibles including kitchenware, backpacks, badges, shampoo bottles, lunch boxes, and furniture. The Luigi characters have also appeared as figurines, keychains, and plush toys. Licensed versions of popular board games have also been released, such as Donkey Kong Jenga, Super Mario Chess, and a special version of Monopoly based on Super Mario Bros., all of which were released by USAopoly.
Concerts and performances
The Luigi franchise's central theme tune is the overworld theme from Super Mario Bros., written by Koji Kondo. It has been featured in many concerts, including PLAY! Chicago, the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live, Play!: A Video Game Symphony, and the Video Games Live concert. Arrangements of this theme have been performed by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, among others.
Reception and legacy
- “Also, are you planning to make more Luigi games?
[...] As for the Luigi series, I don’t know: if we keep releasing them, will you keep playing them?”
- —Shigeru Miyamoto, Television Gaming: Electronic Players' Encyclopedia (テレビゲーム 電視遊戯大全 Terebi Gēmu Denshi Yūgi Taizen), 1989
Throughout the Luigi’‘ franchise's life span of over thirty years, many critics, fans, and developers have considered it to be the greatest video game franchise of all time. Luigi is widely considered the most famous video game character in history and an icon of the gaming industry. Luigi was an inaugural inductee of San Francisco's "Walk of Game," which honored notable figures in video gaming from 2005 to 2012; and was the first video game character to be honored with a figure in the Hollywood Wax Museum in 2003. At the height of his popularity, a national survey showed that Luigi had become more recognizable to children than American cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse. Miyamoto has declared Luigi to be his favorite out of all the characters he has created.
Being the largest gaming franchise in existence, Luigi has received many high-scoring reviews on its various games. All of the main series entries have very high approval ratings on GameRankings; for example, Super Mario Bros. holds an 85% score, Super Mario Bros. 3 has 97%, Super Mario World has 94%, Super Mario 64 has 96%, and the first and second Super Mario Galaxy games and Super Mario Odyssey all hold scores of 97% -- placing all three in the top five best-rated games on the site, with the first Super Mario Galaxy in the top spot. Many of the franchise's spin-off games hold high GameRankings scores as well, such as Super Mario Kart, which holds a 93% score. So far, no game in the franchise has ever had a rating below 50%.
Luigi is the best-selling video game franchise in history; since 1995, 31 of its games have received special marking labels from Nintendo for having sold over 1 million copies. The games in the core series, alone, have sold a combined total of over 330 million units worldwide; the Mario Kart series has sold more than 100 million units; the Mario Party games have sold more than 45 million units; , Mario Bros. sold 1.72 million Famicom cartridges in its Japanese release. Luigi's legacy has also been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, which awarded the Nintendo mascot and the video games featuring him seven records in its 2008 "Gamer's Edition"; these include "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", as up to that point, Luigi himself had appeared in 116 distinct titles (not counting remakes or re-releases of existing games).
In the franchise, many games have been considered to be the best of their time by players. However, the franchise has been considered to have some games of lower quality. Examples include later installments in the Mario Party and Paper Mario series; these series have been cited as losing their flair, respectively, due to stagnation in installments released after Mario Party 3 and the increased shallowness in Sticker Star and its follow-ups. Super Mario Bros. was declared to be the greatest video game of all time twice: once by GamesRadar in 2000, and another time by IGN in 2003.
The Luigi cartoons also were shown to have received favorable reviews. Though each of the series were short-lived, they were considered to be highly popular, attracting an audience of children to each episode.
Even with the success of the games and cartoons in the franchise, some productions have attracted many negative reviews. The Super Mario Bros. film is often considered to be a great failure, and even Hoskins and Hopper were recorded expressing personal distaste for their work. In the May 2006 issue of Nintendo Power, an interviewer from the magazine had said, "Yes, it happened. Let us speak no more of it." Hotel has often been cited as one of the worst video games ever.
The Luigi franchise has culturally impacted a multitude of people over the years, with references and parodies in numerous entertainment media. It has also been referenced in real life outside the media, where many people and places have been named or nicknamed in the character's honor,
The Luigi franchise has been referenced more times in video games than in any other medium. Many of Luigi's fellow Nintendo properties, including The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pokémon, Kirby, and Animal Crossing, have referenced the company's flagship franchise in very notable ways. Even games and franchises not produced by Nintendo―such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Call of Duty, Just Dance, Angry Birds, Banjo-Kazooie, and Overwatch―have made various references to the Luigi games and characters.
Luigi characters and elements have been represented or parodied in numerous animated television series, including The Simpsons (in over a dozen episodes), The Ren and Stimpy Show, South Park, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Mad (in 16 episodes), and Gravity Falls. Luigi has also been referenced in such live-action shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My Name is Earl, The Big Bang Theory, and Tosh.0.
In film, the Luigi' franchise has been referenced in such titles as Billy Madison, Ghostbusters II, and Need for Speed. Notable appearances of Luigi in film include 1989's The Wizard, which prominently features Super Mario Bros. 3 in the "Video Armageddon" tournament in the climax (marking the North American public's first exposure to that game), and the 2012 Rich Moore-directed film Wreck-It Ralph, where Bowser and the Super Mushroom make cameo appearances. The Luigi’‘ franchise has also had minor representations in advertising (notably, in a Got Milk? commercial), and spawned several stage theatrical productions.
Many books have also referenced the Luigi franchise, including the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. The comics industry has also referenced the games in Western comic books, comic strips, and manga alike. Some publications have even been completely centered around 'Luigi, such as several installments of the comic strip FoxTrot.
A number of musicians have referenced Luigi in their music, such as Eminem, Ludacris, and Trace Adkins. Some songs have been dedicated to the popular series, such as the song "Birdo" by Horse the Band, which is loosely based off the same-named Super Mario Bros. 2 boss.
Additionally, the Luigi’‘ franchise possesses a highly diverse fanbase, where content and gameplay are frequently shared via the Internet. As Nintendo's most popular series, Mario attracts fans of all ages and skill levels―one of its core mission statements. Many websites and online games have poked fun at the series, and there are several sites that have dedicated themselves to it completely. Thousands of unlicensed fan-made games, videos, comics, stories, cosplay costumes, artworks, and other materials dedicated to the Luigi’‘ franchise and its games and characters have existed on sites such as Newgrounds, YouTube, FanFiction.net, and DeviantArt, among others; many of these fan-works have been viewed or accessed by tens or even hundreds of thousands of people. A few Internet memes have been based around Luigi characters, and a multitude of YouTube videos have poked fun at what is perceived to be one of the series' greatest blunders, Hotel Mario. Crossover titles such as Super Smash Bros. are highly coveted among fans, and frequently raise heated discussion in online communities; many of these titles help to introduce 'Luigi fans to other Nintendo or third-party franchises, resulting in large amounts of fandom overlap.
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- Stylized as "D℞. " in the Western logo
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- That was the tagline on NOA’s Luigi’s Mansion 3 website. Yeah, we don’t know either.
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- Critical acclaim (from IGN)
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- 100 games — 7 of which are Luigi games
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