Games are always pushing the boundaries of storytelling, and although the industry has stumbled along and struggled to meld stories with gameplay at times, recent games like The Last of Us, Thomas Was Alone and even The Vanishing of Ethan Carter have shown that games can convey interesting stories on both a small and large scale. The problem is, none of these games have managed to invent a character as good as Waluigi, Luigi’s evil doppelgänger. So lazily put together and horrifying is Waluigi, that he transcends being a bad character, and becomes a good, nay, the greatest character the medium has ever seen. Such is his terribleness, he’s like the Troll 2 or The Room of videogame characters – a terrifying yet glorious abomination. Now you’re going to view a list of reasons to back up the previous statement (and headline), because this is a website about games and apparently gamers hate paragraphs.
10 – He was created to give Wario a tennis partner
Most characters are created to enhance stories, to give narratives new directions, to reveal new aspects of existing characters etc. Not so with Waluigi, who was cynically created to give friendless Wario a tennis partner a la Mario and Luigi. Amidst this peak of creativity over at Nintendo, Warupichi (literally War Peach) was considered also, but apparently two such lazy, evil doppelgänger designs was one too many.
9 – He is an evil plumber
The notion that a plumber could be evil is only slightly more ridiculous than the idea that one could be somehow heroic. Somebody who fixes plumbing is at least Lawful Good, but someone who makes them worse is just a dick. Now let’s not split hairs, Mushroom Kingdom isn’t exactly supposed to evoke a sense of realism, but I think it’s fascinating to imagine that Waluigi and Wario are really just worse plumbers than Mario and Luigi, and their resulting inferiority complex (and probable appearance on Rogue Traders) has turned them towards a life of crime.
8 – He’s really just misunderstood
Long time Mario series voice actor Charles Martinet views self-pity as “the cornerstone of Waluigi’s character”, and believes that Waluigi is evil because he believes bad things always happen to him and not to others. I’m inclined to agree. Just read this harrowing account of bully Luigi victimizing poor Waluigi:
Wario and Waluigi lurk on the sidelines of the court, and seem upset that they were not invited. The two interrupt the final match between Mario and Luigi, and Waluigi states that they want to play. Luigi declines and mocks Waluigi, which upsets Waluigi.
Who is the real villain here? Waluigi, or the elitist green plumber who degrades others because they’re a little different?
7 – He’s really ugly
Waluigi really is horrifying to look at. As a rather angular, strange looking human myself, I view Waluigi as a sort of virtual kindred spirit – someone who gets me. I’m always calling for more diversity in game characters, and Waluigi serves as a reminder that ugly people can still be powerful and successful. Just look at that chin. Horrendous.
6 – His hat has a backwards “L” on it
So lazy is Waluigi’s design, Nintendo decided to follow their Wario/Mario design logic all the way. Wario’s “W” is a mirror of Mario’s “M”, but his name also works on another level in the English Language – he’s like Mario, but he loves war. Waluigi’s name doesn’t work even half as well. Though it means “Bad Luigi” in Japanese, in English it sounds like the noise one makes when projectile vomiting. In terms of hats, Nintendo decided to go with a mirrored version of Luigi’s “L” for Waluigi, which looks stupid and actually resembles the Greek letter Gamma.
5 – He is the cheapest thing you can buy in “Ninendo Monopoly”
Poor Waluigi can’t even win at cynical marketing-based crossovers. In Nintendo Monopoly, Waluigi and Wario appear on the brown strip of properties representing Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road respectively. Waluigi costs a mere $60.
4 – A kid wrote an “Ode To Waluigi” and it won a national poetry prize
Sam Daly, aged 9, was one of nine winners of the Canadian Children’s Book Week 2012 writing contest after writing an “Ode to Waluigi“. Featuring fantastic lines like “Why art thou not in Super Smash Bros. Brawl”, and “Why dost thou not have thy own video fame?”, this is probably the greatest poem anyone has ever written about games.
3 – If you pick him, your friends will think you are really cool and different
Roster based Mario titles makes for great party games, and as such are often played by people who aren’t particularly well versed in Mario “lore”. Most will pick cute characters like Toad or Yoshi, then bask in amazement as you power into them atop your Waluigi Offroader.
“Woah, who’s that?” they will cry.
“Oh that? That’s Waluigi. He’s pretty cool.”
Seriously, though, I’d love it if Nintendo had the stats on which characters players pick when presented with a large roster of colourful characters. I’d wager that Mario is actually one of the least picked characters, at least for certain age groups. He’s sort of like the red Power Ranger – when you’re ten, he’s awesome, but as you grow up you need something more exotic in your life. Something along the lines of Birdo or Waluigi.
2 – No one knows if he is Wario’s brother or not
There’s an awful lot of speculation as to Waluigi’s relationship to Wario, as well as their relationship to Mario and Luigi. Mario and Luigi are of course brothers, but details surrounding the purple plumbers’ relationship are foggy and scarce. The European Mario Kart DS site calls Waluigi “Wario’s weird sibling”, while one of the Trivia notes of the DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games states that Waluigi and Wario are actually cousins. Related or not, this sort of character confusion is exactly what makes Nintendo’s character design baffling and charming, and just another reason why Waluigi is so wonderful/terrible.
1 – He can swim through the air
In Mario Power Tennis, Waluigi’s special attack involves him manipulating the very atoms that make up Mushroom Kingdom to change air into water. From Super Mario Wiki:
Waluigi puts his hands in his ears then turns his half of the course into a swimming pool and does a lanky breaststroke across the course to fetch the off-course ball. When hit, the rebounded ball turns into a lob; the lob increases in height the further away Waluigi was before he initiated this move.
Your guess is as good as mine.