If you've ever played video games with an older sibling, then you probably know what it means to be Player 2. So while they got to go first and share their adventures with Mario, you got the distinct pleasure of playing second as everyone's favorite unsung Mario brother, Luigi. Luigi is the younger (sometimes described as fraternal twin) brother of Nintendo's legendary Super Mario series. Along with his brother, Luigi is one of the heroes of Mushrooom Kingdom, traveling through the world and taking on adventures for the sake of the kingdom. But as he is the younger sibling, he is often the lesser of the duo, often times existing in the shadow of Mario. Despite this, Luigi is nearly the same, having the same type of clothing, moves and starting out as a simple plumber. He's even gone on to have a Barbie-esque number of other jobs, ranging from construction worker, ghost hunter, and brainwashed criminal mastermind.
Originally starting out as a mere color swap for Mario “Jumpman,” Luigi was just a means of distinguishing between Player 1 and Player 2. He was identical in shape and form to his older brother and it wasn't until Super Mario Brothers 2 that his creator, the talented and sexy Shigeru Miyamoto, saw to change up his appearance. He made Luigi taller and thinner than Mario and gave him his signature green shirt and blue overalls that he still wears to this day. Over time, this distinction was refined until Luigi became his own separate person from Mario, complete with his own, more filled out mustache and the “L” adorned atop his cap. He was so popular now that he got played by the most handsome actor known to Hollywood in the “Super Mario Brothers” live-action film: John Leguizamo.
Interestingly enough, just as Luigi's appearance changed over time, so did his personality. Throughout the different installments of the Mario games, Luigi is often portrayed as the cowardly, clumsy Mario brother. In this sense, he is frightened by even the least threatening enemy he comes across. But other times he is described as jealous of Mario and all the attention that he is neglected standing next to his shadow. But ultimately, despite his cowardice or his shade of jealousy, Luigi to his heart is a caring, brave hero who lives up to his family name. And when the time comes, he steps up to save the kingdom, the princesses and sometimes even his own brother.
So with this, and the timely coincidence that Nintendo has declared 2013 “The Year of Luigi,” we commemorate Luigi and his stylish green brand of heroism. For he is the patron hero of younger siblings everywhere, reminding us that even though we may play second, we can still be Number 1.
Header Image Source 1, Source 2.