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The Year of Luigi is Almost Over. So Who's Next?

Now that Luigi's time in the limelight is winding down, who should Nintendo pimp out in 2014?

Article by Jeremy Parish, .

Nintendo declared 2013 the Year of Luigi, and by and large they did a pretty good job of putting Mario's forgotten brother front-and-center (barring their inexplicable failure to mark the 30th anniversary of the character's debut). Not only did Luigi play a major role in several games, sharp-eyed characters can spot him in a number of unlikely places in other titles.

But now 2014 looms large, and the Year of Luigi will soon draw to a close. This leads us to wonder: Who's next? The Mario pantheon is loaded with characters who play second fiddle to the leading man, so why stop at simply celebrating Luigi? We can think of plenty of other Mario regulars (and not-so-regulars) equally deserving of some time in the sun. Here are our picks -- who are yours?

Waluigi

Maybe this is too obvious, Waluigi being the creepy weird evil-ish counterpart to Luigi. On the other hand, maybe not, since (1) Waluigi is a terrible character and (2) Nintendo has never really acknowledged him outside of spin-off games. Where Wario has received the occasional nod in core Mario games (including being made playable in Super Mario 64 DS), Waluigi will forever dwell in the minor leagues of Mario sports and racing titles. But hey, isn't there a Mario Kart due next year? Along with some other Mario spin-offs....?

Princess Peach

Now that Shigeru Miyamoto has deigned to let EAD Tokyo make Princess Peach playable in the same space as Mario and Luigi for the first time in 25 years (Super Princess Peach and its questionable mood-based powers not really counting), perhaps it's time to reconsider her highness' place in the Mushroom Kingdom pantheon. Why should she always be the victim? She's perfectly capable of holding her own in Mario spin-offs, and the Paper Mario games inevitably feature her subverting her role as a hostage; seeing that bleed into the core Mario titles would bring Nintendo very much in line with the current video game culture interest in seeing better and more respectful roles for female protagonists. I mean, why can't Peach kidnap Bowser everyone once in a while?

The Goomba

And hey, if Peach really did go on a Koopa-King-abduction spree, we could finally put the spotlight on the most beleaguered character in the whole of Mario: The humble Goomba. From the opening moments of Super Mario Bros., the Goomba has only been there as a minor impediment, a little thing for you to step on, to chain turtle shells together for 1UPs, to slow you down as you advance toward your goal. But no more! Let the Goomba have his day in the sun, venturing forth to rescue Bowser from Peach's vile clutches. Over the years, we've seen all sorts of Goomba variants (including Tanuki Goombas and, in Super Mario 3D World, Cat Goombas) -- so clearly Goombas have the potential to be as adventuresome as Mario himself. We just need an occasion for them to rise to, apparently.

Princess Daisy

On the other hand, you could make the case that Princess Peace already receives plenty of time in the spotlight. What about the other princess, Daisy? Sure, she could have been a one-and-done replacement for Peach in the original Super Mario Land, but she keeps popping up throughout the series. Daisy at this point is probably best known for her role in Super Mario Kart, where her schtick consists of announcing her name with the whining, skull-splitting intensity of a dental drill. Why not make 2014 the Year of Hi I'm Daisy?

Blue Toad

With Super Mario 3D World, Blue Toad seems to have taken the final step in officially being recognized as his own distinct entity -- a separate character from the usual red-spotted Toads you see throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. He's accompanied Mario through Super Mario Bros. 2, the four-player New Super Mario Bros. games, and now this latest odyssey. Perhaps it's time to shift the spotlight to this stalwart (if screechy) little guy and explore his rich inner life.

Yellow Toad

Or maybe we should consider Yellow Toad, the unloved fourth player character from the recent New Super Mario Bros. games -- and the only one not to make the jump to Super Mario 3D World. Nah, just kidding. Nobody loves Yellow Toad.

Bowser

No character save Mario appears as frequently in the Mario games as Bowser -- no, not even Luigi. And yet, what do we really know about Bowser? Do we know what drives him? What motivates him? What compels him to kidnap princesses time and again? The actual parentage of the Koopalings and Bowser Jr.? Where he gets the money to build massive castles encrusted with his own image? What it was like to die and be brought back to life through black magic? Whether he's a turtle, a dinosaur, or a dragon? So many questions linger about this mysterious foe, and you've never once thought to stop and simply ask en route to punting him into the lava yet again. Maybe Bowser wouldn't be so ornery if we simply extended a hand of compassion to him.

Wart

Then again, perhaps Nintendo would do well to revisit a forgotten foe and really thrust him into the limelight. Wart, the villain of Super Mario Bros. 2, was for many NES-owning Americans the first Mario bad guy they did proper battle with... and yet he's been totally absent outside of remakes of that one game, and a cameo in a Zelda game. Even Super Mario Land's Tatanga got more screen time than that. Rather than reprise the "year of" concept to capitalize on a character who already had a major role in his own game in the works, why not use it for true good and bring forgotten characters back to light? Just about every single element of Super Mario Bros. 2 has put in an appearance in subsequent Mario games. And even dream-based frogs with a profound hatred of vegetables need love.

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Comments 18

  • Avatar for jeremycarrier12 #1 jeremycarrier12 3 years ago
    Forget all these Mario sidekicks, what about Donkey Kong? 2014 is the 20th Anniversary of DKC, he's got Tropical Freeze from Retro Studios coming up, he's in the new Smash and MK. Who knows what else is in the pipeline. DK Coconut Blaster FPS game. DK Football League with the Kongs vs the Kremlings. Donkey Kong Savvy Styles where you get new ties. Make it happen, Iwata!
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #2 Godots17thCup 3 years ago
    Every year should be The Year of Wario.

    I, uh, don't have anything else to add. Just stating a fact.Edited November 2013 by Godots17thCup
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  • Avatar for Wellman #3 Wellman 3 years ago
    Honestly, I want to say Toad deserves a year of celebration but 2014 is the year of the horse... Yoshi is the closest thing Nintendo has to one of those not in Animal Crossing.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #4 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    With the growing attention on feminism in gaming, there is really only one obvious answer: Princess Peach. There's no downside, having more games that focus on her as the star will be great for PR and gamers will love it. She's just as iconic and loved a character as Samus in my view, so why not capitalize on that?
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #5 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    Waluigi. Accept no substitutes.
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #6 Shadowfire 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 So long as it doesn't turn into Super Princess Peach all over again, sure. A shame because the game was fun, but oh so offensive.

    Though I'd rather some more love for Samus, personally. Or maybe a reveal of the Zelda game for Wii U actually starring Zelda. Oh man, the hate and vitriol would be delicious.
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  • Avatar for Merus #7 Merus 3 years ago
    It's high time Samus got some love.
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  • Avatar for The-Fool #8 The-Fool 3 years ago
    No no no, you don't understand. Princess Peach is not the perfect and innocent Damsel in Distress that we believe her to be.

    Oh no.

    Nor is Bowser a maniacal Princess Stealing... uh... thing.

    Bowser, is the savior of the Mushroom Kingdom. By 'princess-napping' Peach, Bowser is in fact keeping her destructive power locked away.

    Ever wondered why there are more enemies and dangers closer to Bowser's Castle?

    It's not to keep Mario out, it is to keep Peach in!

    Without Bowser's selfless service, the Mushroom Kingdom would be nothing but scorched, unlivable land.

    So... I'm for Bowser.
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  • Avatar for PsychicPumpkin #9 PsychicPumpkin 3 years ago
    Obviously there should be A Year of Tingle. The most loved/hated character in Zelda games.Mario characters don't need all the attention.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #10 Thusian 3 years ago
    I'm beginning to imagine a Nintendo Zodiac, so the Year of Luigi would come back around. They really need to nail that down.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #11 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    Does it have to be a Mario franchise character? I'm guessing it'll be Year of Tingle
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #12 Captain-Gonru 3 years ago
    I'm with those that want to go elsewhere for a "Year of" candidate. Someone mentioned the 20th for DKC, which would be fine. Are there any other milestone dates next year?
    Mildly off topic, but what about a Mario RTS? The Gamepad or 3DS touch screen (and second screen) would be handy. I'm seeing Goomba generators, hordes of Koopa Troopas, and Bowser kid super-units.
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  • Avatar for docexe #13 docexe 3 years ago
    @Wellman Err... What about Epona?
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  • Avatar for Zero-Crescent #14 Zero-Crescent 3 years ago
    Year of Ayumi Tachibana!
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  • Avatar for abuele #15 abuele 3 years ago
    God brought an end to the year of Luigi, but the devil will raise again as the year of Lakitu.
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  • Avatar for mariomush #16 mariomush 3 years ago
    @Captain Gonru The 25th anniversary of the Mother, or as we know as in America, Earthbound series. It is the 20th anniversary of Mother 2/Earthbound as well but from the first game, Mother 1/Earthbound Zero, it is the 25th anniversary. Besides this and the DKC series, I can't think of any other major celebration this year for any Nintendo franchises or characters
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  • Avatar for ericdalhoff63 #17 ericdalhoff63 2 years ago
    It could be either Waluigi(Waluigi Time!), Peach(she did appear in Super Princess Peach), or Daisy(That tomboy deserves a spotlight). I'm strongly leaning toward Waluigi. He's Luigi's rival, and he should definitely have a main role!^^
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  • Avatar for kevinlivas36 #18 kevinlivas36 A year ago
    How about making 2017 the year of either Toad or Koopa Troopa
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