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Waluigi, the Purple Sheep of Nintendo

Who is this man and what does he want?
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The rivalry of Mario and Wario has become a classic feud in gaming, dating back to Wario’s first official appearance in 1992’s Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on the Game Boy. Wario’s name itself is brilliance as a corruption of Mario: it takes the Japanese word, “wa,” meaning “bad,” and corrupting Mario’s name with it. Further, “W” works as an upside down “M,” suggesting an inversion of Mario’s character. Lastly — oh yes, there are three layers here — putting “War” in the name hints at Wario’s more brash, abrasive nature compared to to Mario (this is more likely a coincidence, but still a pretty neat linguistic side effect). 

Since his introduction, Wario has starred in several games of his own, including the successful WarioWare franchise. Though he may have become less of an antagonist and more a quirky, garlic-eating weirdo over the years, Wario has become a staple of Nintendo’s troupe of characters and co-stars in virtually every Mario spin-off game under the sun.

But what about Waluigi?

Well, this character actually originated from those very Mario spin-off games. First appearing in Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color, Waluigi was created not out of want, but necessity — the game featured a 2vs2 doubles mode, and every character had a natural pairing except for Wario. What character would want to be paired with greasy, greedy Wario?He might steal your wallet while you’re trying to make a serve, you never know. But like the last kid picked in gym, Wario had no teammate, so this was obviously a problem for the game. He’s a big guy, but not big enough to cover the whole court.

Enter Waluigi. Lanky, purple, and with a upside down “L” on his hat to confirm him as Luigi’s foil (not quite as clever as that upside down “M,” is it…), Waluigi filled in for Waluigi’s teammate.

The fan reception of Waluigi has since been mixed. Unlike Wario and the rest of the Mario mainstays, Waluigi was not created by Nintendo — they may have consulted in his design, but he was primarily created by Monolith Soft, the team behind Mario Tennis. Due to this and perhaps other discriminatory reasons, Waluigi has always been the outcast of the Mario group. He’s often among them, but not one of them. He has certainly gained ground, but is still in the dirt. His climb toward legitimacy can be chronicled through his increasing appearance in most of the various Mario spin-off titles, but the fact that he is still not included as a playable in the coveted Super Smash Bros. series shows his true position on the Nintendo totem pole. Fans have since rallied to get him in the game, making his popularity known.

To be fair, there isn’t much to his character to be able to develop him as a nuanced fighter. This could be remedied by giving him his own game. What could potentially work is a co-op adventure starring Wario and Waluigi. Maybe a bank heist game, or a train robbery game? Or perhaps their perilous quest to get some allergy medicine, their noses look like they’ve got some serious congestion going on. Maybe they want treasure all the time so that they can afford proper health care for their allergies? Truly tragic characters, here.

Increasing Waluigi popularity may have us seeing a game of his own in the near future. Ultimately, this title needs to be sold in a way that makes people who usually love Mario & Luigi be interested in putting on the purple overalls of their evil misunderstood twins. Do you think Waluigi deserves to be in Super Smash Bros.? Do you think he deserves his own game? Comment below and let us know!

 

 

Author

Writer by day and werewolf by night, Shane likes to spend time in between (so... dusk?) by drawing, Star Trekking, and listening to Joe Rogan podcasts. His favorite game genres include: Nintendo party games, RPGs, and most things multiplayer. He also has a dog who is funny sometimes.

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