March 18th marked the end of the Year of Luigi, which began in February of 2013 and marked the 30th anniversary of Luigi’s debut in Mario Bros.
30 years, let that sink in.
There are a lot of mixed feelings about the Year of Luigi. Some people loved the idea of Luigi taking the spotlight after years of playing the sidekick role. But many felt that it was more of a marketing ploy and that Luigi didn’t take the center stage enough to justify even calling it the Year of Luigi.
Personally, I think the idea of focusing on one classic Nintendo character for a year is awesome– even if Mario still remained in the spotlight more. And I look forward to see who Nintendo features next (Yoshi, fingers crossed).
Different countries experienced the Year of Luigi in different ways. Since I live in the U.S., I’m going to chronicle this story based on my experience of what was released in my homeland. Here’s a look back at the biggest releases of the Year of Luigi:
March 24: Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon
Perhaps Luigi’s only real solo venture for the Year of Luigi was this sequel to the 2001 Gamecube release, Luigi’s Mansion. In Dark Moon, Luigi battles ghouly entities Ghostbusters-style through various missions in the game’s five haunted mansions.
The original Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first Nintendo games that was developed in 3D, which might be why the follow-up was produced on the 3DS instead of the Wii U.
June 20: New Super Luigi U
When I finished New Super Mario Bros U, I still wanted more. So I ordered New Super Luigi U as soon as it was announced. Fortunately, it was almost exactly what I was looking for. It’s never really explained in the game’s plot why Luigi takes the title role or what happened to Mario. But it included all the elements of its predecessor that made the original a modern classic.
IGN’s consensus: New Super Luigi U’s smaller levels, restrictive time limit, and floaty physics work well as a challenge mode add-on to an already terrific game. But as fun as it often is, this still feels more like an addendum to NSMBU – a remix, rather than something new that stands on its own.
July: Club Nintendo Year of Luigi poster
In 2013, platinum Club Nintendo members were given a choice for the annual rewards for earning 600 points: a three-poster set or The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask original soundtrack. The three-poster set features Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and a Luigi poster to celebrate Year of Luigi.
The poster features an 8-bit Luigi from Super Mario Bros. with a green-shaded background of some of the franchise’s original power ups. And while I choose the Majora’s Mark soundtrack, the poster set is an awesome addition to any retro gamer’s game room.
August 11: Mario & Luigi Dream Team and special edition 3DS XL
Many called foul on Nintendo calling Dream Team a Year of Luigi release, since it’s the fourth installment of games that only co-star Luigi as a playable character. This may seem like the case until you realize that much of the game takes place in Luigi’s dreams. While the game received poorer ratings compared to other games in the series, it remains a fun showcase of Luigi’s wacky personality.
Four months after Dream Team’s release, Nintendo released a special edition Mario and Luigi 3DS XL console that came bundled with Dream Team. Usually, the U.S. gets shorted on special edition consoles. But Nintendo has been on the top of their game these past few years, releasing new collectors edition 3DS XL consoles. The Mario and Luigi-themed console went on sale over Cyber Monday for $199.99.
November 22: Hidden Luigi sightings in Super Mario 3D World
Following in the footsteps of Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World features tons of hidden Year of Luigi Easter Eggs. Super Mario 3D World is probably my favorite game on the Wii U so far. Super Mario 3D World is a blast to play with friends and includes probably the most hidden and unlockable items and levels of any game in the Mario franchise. Being able to find hidden Year of Luigi references (often 8-bit Luigi decals in the background) just adds another awesome reason to explore each level.
GameXplain did a great job of showing some of the hidden Luigis in both Super Luigi U and New Super Mario 3D World.
December: Club Nintendo Luigi’s Mansion diorama
Club Nintendo, a service by Nintendo that allows you to earn points for game purchases then redeem the points for game downloads and accessories, released one of their biggest rewards to date last December with the Luigi’s Mansion figurine. The figurine came with a big price– 1,500 points, which is the amount of points you’d earn from registering about 30 qualifying games or ten game consoles. There were only 5,000 made, so they were gone fast. Those who were unable to reserve their Luigi’s Mansion figurine should expect to fork up about $100 for one, if they get it on eBay.
YouTuber lithium017 did a great unboxing video of the figurine.
December 31: Dr Luigi
‘Not too much to talk about on this one. Luigi takes over the Dr Mario puzzle franchise for more of the same fast-paced puzzle action. The game adds a new “Operation L” mode that adds a new set of challenges to a very old formula (the original Dr Mario for the NES and Game Boy was released in 1990). It was released on the Nintendo eShop on Wii U. Unfortunately, it was never released on a physical disc.
April 25: NES Remix 2
Included in NES Remix 2 is a port of the original Super Mario Bros., with some changes– Luigi is the playable character instead of Mario. The entire game’s levels are mirrored (i.e. the player moves through levels from right to left). The game was based upon a challenge featuring Luigi going through World 1-2 backwards in the original NES Remix. This marked the first and only Year of Luigi game of 2014, and the final Year of Luigi game to date.
Feature photo caption: The give away pin at StreetPass San Diego // Ewen Roberts. All other pictures courtesy of Nintendo.