It all began Christmas day 1989. Gently nestled under the tree was the ultimate object of my desire, a NES Power Set. I immediately knew what it was, even under the guise of the cheerful Santa wrapping paper. I shredded those smiling Santa's with reckless abandon. Needless to say, not too many of my other toys got much attention that faithful day.
After getting dear old dad to set the beast up, I popped in the famous multi-cart and got to work. Here was the game all my 1st grade buddies had been raving about, Super Frickin' Mario Bros. I sat there and played for hours on end, memorized. Suddenly, my younger sister approached, wanting to play with me. I begrudgingly agreed. What happened next changed my life forever.
I started a two-player game, and after several minutes of playing my turn, Mario finally bit the dust in a failed pit vaulting attempt. And then suddenly the screen changed over to a reveal a little green Mario. Green was my favorite color! Cool! But wait, his name was not Mario too? I thought they were the Mario brothers? Who is this Luigi guy (I pronounced it Loo-gy until my parents corrected me), I wondered. I quickly stopped caring and my mind quickly moved back to the fact that he was green, which was way better than red. And thus little Luigi instantly became my favorite video game character.
So yes, my reasons for liking the other Italian plumber were a bit shallow at first, but my feelings for the dude grew as time trudged on. Along came Super Mario Bros 2, and my man Luigi was no longer just an alternate palette color, he was his own man. He dwarfed Mario with his lanky stature, and damn that guy could jump! His stubby legs flailing in the air looked slightly gay, but I didn't care, I was just happy he had separated himself from that loser brother of his.
Then Mario 3 hit the scene. Much to my dismay Luigi had been reverted back to his palette swapping ways. What madness was this? I was unable to control my anger and I sucked Mario into the duel game every chance I got to steal that little bitches cards and POW his fat red ass. While this helped to subdue the pain, I silently awaited the next game in the series, hoping Nintendo would do the right thing and return my Mr. Green Jeans to glory. Little did I know that I was setting myself up for a childhood of disappointment.
Super Mario World came and went, and I was excited to see Luigi with some sprites of his own. But he was still missing special jumping power and was severely downplayed in the story. Stupid Yoshi stole the limelight, and poor Luigi was relegated to the background yet again. But then some hope appeared on the horizon, a game featuring Luigi as the main player. I was excited and eagerly awaited Luigi's jump to the big time. To bad that game was Mario is Missing.
Wow, what a bad game. Not only did it fail to feature Luigi in the title yet again, but it deceived many a poor child. This was not some kick-ass platformer featuring Luigi, but a half-assed educational game with the Super Mario World sprites pasted in. Deep down I knew I had been betrayed but I still tried to love the game. But how could I when Paris looked exactly the same as New York and Italy? What utter bullshit, I didn't want to learn, I wanted to kick Koopa butt.
My dreams had been shattered and I stopped holding out hope for my little green friend. The years went on and Luigi got shafted time and time again. My childhood had passed me by, and I had almost forgotten about the lanky little plumber, when the latest issue of Nintendo Power fell into my hands. Holy shit, Nintendo was launching it's new system, the Gamecube, not with Mario but with my main man Luigi! It was too good to be true! And it was.
Stupid me for thinking Nintendo would right there past wrongs. Luigi's Mansion, while a solid game, smeared the image of Luigi. Much to my dismay, Luigi had become a giant pussy. The guy was scared of his own freakin' shadow for petes sake. How freaking lame was that. And Nintendo carried on that theme throughout their games. Even in Mario Galaxy, you had to rescue poor scared Luigi, who gets stuck in a tree among other places. I was about to turn my back on him forever when I came to startling realization. I loved Luigi just the way he was.
After much pondering I discovered that the reason why I held Luigi in such high esteem (after the initial green color thing) was the fact that he was such a tragic figure, and that was something I could truly relate to. I did a lot of good things in my life but I was never recognized as the hero either. Also, being a young videogame nerd, I too was given the shaft many a time, and like Luigi, it took forever to get my Princess Daisy (wicked corny, I know). Subconsciously I had always known this, but it took a long time to finally admit to myself that I had always wanted him to fail.
My Mr. Green Jeans has helped me through some rough days, and for me, he will always be my favorite. Keep on plumbing little guy, and I will too. read