Luigi Is Better Than Mario

Luigi Is Better Than Mario

Yes, Luigi is smarter than Mario. He's also braver, has a cooler girlfriend, and probably even smells better.

Yesterday, the Supper Mario Broth Nintendo blog tweeted an image from the Mario Party instruction booklet that suggests Luigi is smarter than his brother, Mario. Unlike most of the obscure facts and pictures Supper Mario Broth publishes, this factoid comes as a surprise to no one.

It's clear Luigi's smarter than Mario. He's also more personable than Mario, a better jumper than Mario, and – if you ask me – handsomer than Mario.

I'm not suggesting Luigi should take up the mantle of Nintendo's mascot, though. For one thing, he'd hate having the spotlight on him like that (Luigi's a shy guy). For another thing, Nintendo doesn't obsess with Luigi's image the way it obsesses with Mario's, so the lanky brother is actually allowed to be a scattered emotional wreck that people can relate to on some level.

Now, I like Mario. He's the personification of his games: He's strong, he's eager to take you exploring, and man, is he ever dependable. But he rarely deviates from his destiny. He's like a doll that walks in a designated direction as soon as its master hits the "ON" switch.

1 "Like" on this story = 1 prayer that Mike will get his Waluigi / Luigi dating simulator or whatever he has in mind.

Mario's occasionally offers us a glimpse of his humanity when he cheers on Luigi in the Mario + Luigi games. That's another reason to love Luigi, then: He breathes life into Mario, who otherwise tends to act like an action figure.

I'll also argue that Luigi is more courageous than Mario. Ask yourself: What is courage? Is it simply the ability to act fearlessly, like Mario? I don't think so. Sure, when Mario hears the call to battle, he never hesitates to fling himself feet-first at Bowser even though he knows he's going to get burnt, clawed, squished, and die a dozen other Nintendo deaths. That's not courage, though. That's a toxoplasmosis infection.

Real courage is standing up to your worst fears to save someone you love, or to yank the world back from the brink of destruction. Luigi lives in a state of perpetual terror, but he keeps himself together when people are counting on him. Whether that means picking up his trusty Poltergust or choreographing fancy battle moves alongside Mario, Luigi works twice as hard as his brother to keep the world safe from Bowser and his ilk. His knees may knock together, his teeth may chatter, and his heart may constantly be on the verge of leaping out of this throat and running down the street, but none of that matters. Luigi gets stuff done.

...I don't have anything snarky to say. This is too sweet.

Let's have a run-down of the additional reasons Luigi is the best Mario Bro:

  • His fursona is a Kitsune instead of a Tanooki -- In Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, Mario assumes his classic Tanooki (tanuki) form when he grabs the leaf power-up. Luigi, however, has a new powered-up form all to himself: He becomes a kitsune, a fox spirit that often scraps with the raccoon-like tanuki in Japanese lore (the rivalry between Tom Nook and Crazy Red in the Animal Crossing games isn't just about counterfeit paintings). What's cooler? An ethereal fox who serves as a messenger for divine spirits, or a fat raccoon who's perpetually drunk on sake and has painfully huge testicles? You shouldn't even have to think about this.
  • Princess Daisy is his main squeeze -- I don't have anything against Mario's gal Princess Peach, but as someone who prefers hitting things with ski-poles and tennis racquets to wearing pink dresses, I have a soft spot for Daisy. I know I'd ask her to be my Mario universe girlfriend (if Mayor Pauline wasn't available. How could you let her go, Mario?).
  • Luigi is a hero to those of us who grew up with older siblings -- It's a privilege to be raised in a family of game-lovers. On the other hand, when you're on the bottom of the totem pole age-wise, things can get rough. At worst, your older sibling(s) may force you to recite "I'm a stupid stinky doo-doo head" before they'll let you have a turn at the Nintendo (not that I'm speaking from experience, ha ha! …Ha). At best, you wind up being Player 2. That's not so bad when Luigi is in the hizzouse, however. You get to spend time together and share the pain of being a younger sibling without exchanging a single word.
Hi, we're all Daisy.

Sometimes it's just nice to take it easy and travel down the road your older sibling smooths out for you. You may not gain the popularity, and attention of your well-recognized kin, but that's OK. You get to live life a little more slowly, a little more cautiously.

That's the Luigi Way. It's the best way.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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