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Give Waluigi the solo video game he deserves

Waluigi is not a lead character in any of the 200+ Mario-related Nintendo games.
Illustration: Max Lopez • The Sentry

luigi’s nemesis should have time in the spotlight

The Mario franchise has had a hold on the gaming community for decades. Nintendo has managed to create the most popular video game character in the world; not just figuratively, but literally. Over 507 million Mario games were sold in 2017, blowing the sales of other franchises out of the water. Pokémon sold 294 million, coming in second place, Sonic sold 150 million copies in third place; but it’s still not enough to come close to Mario. There is an entire gang that most of the general population would be able to point out: Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and Toad are amongst the supporting characters. Yet, a problem lies deep within the recognizable nature of these characters.  

Both Mario and Luigi have “rivals.” Wario: rude, disgusting, and a nuisance to Smash Bros. players around the world. Wario has eight games, 11 in total if the WarioWare games are being included. This also does not include the game titles that Wario has appeared in, including Mario Kart and Mario Party. Nintendo has given Wario the same amount of polish that was given to Mario and Luigi. It’s very well known within the gaming community that Wario is Mario’s exact opposite. Now where is all of that for Waluigi? Brian David Gilbert at Polygon did some digging and found that Waluigi appears in 63 Mario titles. Of those 63, Waluigi is playable in 50 of the games. A majority of these are party games such as Mario Party and sports, such as Mario Tennis.  

Unlike Wario, who is nothing more than the beer gut version of Mario, Waluigi has all the right characteristics to be the rival of all rivals. The crooked mustache and royal purple overalls are combined perfectly with the scratchy laugh, which as a result, creates a character design that screams ‘kid-friendly evil rival.’  

So, why on earth is this perfectly crafted rival of gaming’s biggest baby not getting any credit? Nintendo has an opportunity to add more depth into this monster of a franchise. Instead the sweet purple prince is swept under the rug year after year. Waluigi isn’t even playable in Smash Bros. Yet Wario has a slot, Mario has TWO and Luigi has one. Waluigi is the perfect evil edition to the Mario franchise. 

What Nintendo has done here is obviously lazy. The company has given the gaming world a beautiful, but fragile, and hollow shell of a character. In a way, this lack of representation has helped Waluigi’s popularity grow over the years. Since there is next to nothing about Waluigi’s background, a lot is left to the imagination of internet users around the world. Yet, none of it will ever be as satisfying as a canon Waluigi game.  

 At this point, it feels like Nintendo is ignoring gamers everywhere because they simply don’t want to develop Waluigi any further as a character. This is not only unacceptable but disappointing. If Wario can get princess treatment, then Waluigi deserves the same polished finish.  

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