First Appearance

Luigi (ルイージ, Ruīji?) is a video game character created by Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. He is the younger brother of Nintendo's official mascot, Mario. Luigi first appeared in the arcade game Mario Bros., where he was featured as a main character alongside Mario. Since his debut, Luigi has appeared in many games in the Mario series, most often accompanying Mario as a central protagonist, but has also starred as the main character in Mario Is Missing! and Luigi's Mansion. In most games of the main series where a two-player mode is available, Luigi fills the role of the second player's character, but he has also appeared occasionally as a playable character in a single-player game, either as part of a secret revealed in-game or an unlockable.

While Luigi was originally created as a character identical to Mario except for being colored green instead of red, his rise in prominence in the Mario series lead to the adoption of a personality and style of his own. He is normally depicted as cowardly, but when he does get the courage to step up, he can be tough and overcome his fears. His voice is performed by Charles Martinet, the same actor who provides the voice for Mario, Wario, Waluigi and other characters in the Mario franchise.

Concept and CreationEdit

The events leading to Luigi's creation began in 1981, during the development of Donkey Kong, where the famous Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto had created Mario (then known as "Jumpman") hoping that he would be able to recast the character in a variety of different roles in future games. Miyamoto had been inspired by the game Joust to create a game with a simultaneous two-player mode, which lead to his development of the game Mario Bros. in 1983, with Luigi filling the role of Mario's brother as the second playable character. In accordance with Nintendo's marketing policy of naming and promoting individual characters, the new character was given the name Luigi, which was inspired by a pizza parlor near Nintendo of America's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, called "Mario & Luigi's".While Mario was originally portrayed as a carpenter in Donkey Kong, the duo of Mario and Luigi in Mario Bros. were styled as Italian plumbers. Software constraints of the time (similar to those that gave Mario his distinctive look in Donkey Kong) meant Luigi's first appearance was restricted to a simple palette swap of Mario designed to represent the second player. Graphically and in terms of gameplay, the characters were completely identical, except for their color schemes.

After the success of Mario Bros., Luigi was introduced to a wider audience in 1985 with the release of the console game Super Mario Bros. Once again he would function as a second-player palette swap of Mario, this time appearing with matching white hat and overalls and a green shirt and shoes to contrast with Mario's red cap and overalls and brown shirt and shoes. With the release of Super Mario Bros. 2 (known as The Lost Levels outside Japan), Luigi became more distinguished from Mario. In that title, Luigi was a better jumper than Mario; he jumped higher and fell more slowly, though with less accuracy and also had less traction when walking. In 1988, a version of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, with the graphics altered to represent characters from the Mario franchise, was released in the United States as Super Mario Bros. 2, after the Japanese sequel was deemed to be too difficult for American audiences. In this version, the character of "Mama" was redesigned as Luigi in his new taller, thinner look, marking the introduction of the new design to English-speaking audiences. Super Mario Bros. 2 was largely spearheaded by the Nintendo of America division, and as such, the Japanese headquarters was not immediately influenced by this change in Luigi's look. Thus, in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988-Japan; 1990-US), and in Super Mario World (original Super NES version) (1990-Japan; 1991-US) Luigi was once again a palette swap of Mario with green clothing. From the 1992 game Super Mario Kart onwards, Luigi's newly distinguished appearance and color scheme were adopted by Nintendo.


Luigi's ability in Mario Golf is vastly different to Mario's ability. Luigi hits with considerably less power but with more control than Mario. In the Nintendo 64 version, his shots curve to the left, while Mario's shots curve to the right. In the GameCube version (Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour), Mario's shots go straight and high, while Luigi's shots continue to curve to the left and go lower. Luigi's abilities resemble Wario's abilities in the Mario Golf series more than he does Mario's abilities. Luigi is also the first character able to be unlocked in the Nintendo 64 version, whereas Mario is one of the last characters.

Luigi's speed and agility differ in many games. While he is often depicted as being slower and less agile than Mario in many games, in Super Mario 64 DS he is slower than Mario but as fast as Yoshi, and is the most agile of all the characters, and in Luigi's Mansion, if you examine the treadmill in the gym, Luigi comments, "I've always been a good runner...". While the earlier incarnations of Luigi usually featured a character of comparable strength with better jumping but lacking in overall control, Luigi is now usually attributed with superior speed, jumping, and overall maneuverability, but with hindered strength and other physical disadvantages such as being too light to perform a task, as seen most prominently in Super Mario 64 DS.

In New Super Mario Bros., Luigi, along with Mario, gets three new abilities. The first is the blue Koopa shell. This power-up transforms him into Shell Luigi. When running fast enough, he curls into the shell. He can also duck into the shell, allowing enemies to pass by without harming him. The shell also increases maneuverability underwater. The second is the Mini Mushroom. Its effect is the opposite of the Super Mushroom, in that it shrinks Luigi to half-size. This allows him to jump higher and slow his falls. He can also run on water. The third is the Mega Mushroom. This power-up allows Luigi to crush things like enemies, pipes, even the end-of-level flag. He also gains the ability to do a wall-kick like Mario.

In Super Paper Mario, Luigi has the highest jump ability of all the characters, similar to how he was in Super Mario Bros. 2. His abilities include an extreme jump that shoots him off the screen, enabling him to reach high areas that the other three playable characters (Mario, Bowser and Peach) could never otherwise reach, also delivering a devastating uppercut to any enemy above him. However, as is the case in The Lost Levels, Luigi has lower traction than the other playable characters. He also has a mysterious connection to the dark powers of the Chaos Heart, which Dimentio manipulates to his advantage.

In Super Mario 64 DS, after obtaining the power flower, Luigi is able to turn into Vanish Luigi. In this form he is practically invisible and can walk through certain enemies and obstacles (similar to Vanish Mario in Super Mario 64). This would seem to further the meek and timid personality of Luigi portrayed in several games, such as the Mario & Luigi series.

In Super Mario Galaxy he appears to have followed the Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels template, being a better jumper with lower traction and stability, as well as having superior speed. Apart from this trait, his in game abilities are the same. One difference is his animation, portrayed as being more frantic, and his triple jump, where he kicks his legs for extra height as in Super Mario Bros. 2, as opposed to Mario's somersaults.

In every game of the Super Smash Bros. series, Luigi is an unlockable character. An alternate form of Luigi, Metal Luigi, appears in the Adventure Mode of Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, can use a "negative zone" to attack enemies, which is composed of dark energy formed as a result of spending his life in his brother's shadow.

Mario SeriesEdit

Luigi's first appearance was in the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros. as the character controlled by the second player. He retained this role in Wrecking Crew (dressed in pink and red instead of the normal green and blue), and in subsequent releases of the console based Mario Bros. series; Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario Bros. 3, as well as Super Mario World. The American version of Super Mario Bros. 2 marked the first occasion where Luigi was available as a primary character, a role he would rarely be given in later releases. Luigi appears in Super Mario Galaxy, in which he helps Mario after being rescued from the Ghostly Galaxy by collecting three power stars, except Luigi has to be rescued from the galaxies he found them in. He becomes a playable character (whose moves and attributes are slightly different from Mario's) after all 120 stars have been found and every purple coin collected, though Mario will be absent, resulting in two Luigis.

From the mid-1990s onward, Luigi's appearances became increasingly restricted to multiplayer-themed spin-offs of the Mario franchise. The first of these was Mario Kart and its subsequent releases, which were followed by games such as Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and more recently in the Mario Party series. Aside from his prominence in multiplayer spin-offs, Luigi has appeared in a starring role in two games; first in 1991 educational game Mario is Missing!, then in 2001, in Luigi's Mansion for Nintendo GameCube. In each of these games, he is called upon to act as the hero, because Mario, the main protagonist of the franchise, is the one in need of help. Luigi's solo appearances were also notable for their departure from the platforming-based gameplay of almost all games he had featured in previously. His latest appearances have been in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii. He has also appeared in Mario Super Sluggers and Mario Kart Double Dash!!.