In the first post for this newsletter, I promised to write about music, movies, books, video games, and Waluigi. You may have thought that I was joking. If you truly know me, then you knew that I absolutely meant that I had plans to write about Waluigi. If you truly know me, then you know how unhealthily obsessed I am with this meme-inducing, purple abomination. Most of the time, people think I’m merely joking about him, that the only reason I’m talking about Waluigi is because his existence is a meme in and of itself. Sometimes, that’s valid. But other times, I’m expressing my deep, earnest fondness of this celestial, godawful video game character.
Perhaps I should start with one reason I love Waluigi, and that is because he is purple. Purple has always been my favorite color, despite the fact that I almost exclusively wear black. I loved purple before I was even introduced to Nintendo games. So when I saw that Waluigi was the purple version of Mario, I was stupefyingly ecstatic. It felt like this character were made with me in mind because I am the only person whose favorite color is purple. I am what advertisers call the target audience.
For those of you wondering, “Grant, why do you feel this irrepressible urge to write about Waluigi right now? What’s the news peg here?” Well, mom, I figured now would be an auspicious time because Waluigi turned 20 this past week. He made his debut as Wario’s tennis parter in the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Tennis, and it felt like the time was right. I also realized that I am this young lad’s elder of three years, which frankly makes me feel so far behind in life. Waluigi has starred in countless games whereas I can barely cook my own meals. But to put into perspective how truly enamored I am with this gentleman, I dressed up as him for Halloween last year and enjoyed myself way too much. Yes, that’s a real mustache. It’s called commitment.
For my Waluigi-loving friend’s Christmas present last year, I made a remix of “Waluigi Pinball” from Mario Kart DS, and I eventually uploaded it to SoundCloud because why not? That’s when something unexpectedly grand happened: Waluigi himself LIKED my track. It is definitely Waluigi and not a random person who created an account under his name. The screenshot below is now my prideful cover photo on Twitter.
Maybe this weirdo also resonates with me to such a significant degree because of how sidelined he is. Think about this. Wario is the inverse of Mario. Flip that “M” upside down, and you have the avaricious garlic-lover. Now take Luigi. Flip that “L” upside down, AND add that “Wa” prefix, and you have Waluigi. He is therefore the product of two inverse realities. His existence is wholly defined by the existences of others, perpetually stripping him of any sense of autonomy or agency. He will perennially be cast into shadow, left with only a quixotic aspiration of becoming his own person. It’s truly sad when you think about it. Waluigi lives a derivative mirror-existence, and he always will.
Or will he?
Because of his alienation from the popular lunch table in the Mario games, fans have heralded him as the unsung hero. He represents all that is the underdog. Despite requests for him to become a playable fighter in the incredibly popular Super Smash Bros. series, he remains an Assist Trophy, a pure microcosm of what Nintendo has treated him as since birth: a sidekick. This hasn’t stopped fans from clamoring for his own game, though.
You have to admit that a Waluigi-centric game would be astounding. It is so intrinsically absurd that you have to love it. It is so insultingly appalling that it’s inspirational. This twisted, despicable purple man could be a star if Nintendo listened to its fans. Both Luigi and Wario have their own series now, so it’s about time Waluigi secured his own spotlight. Luigi’s hunting ghosts. Wario’s stealing gold. Maybe Waluigi could be the protagonist in some Nintendofied stealth game comparable to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. We have the Nintendo horror game (Luigi’s Mansion), the Nintendo shooter (Splatoon), the Nintendo fighting game (Super Smash Bros.), and the Nintendo life-simulator (Animal Crossing), but do we have a Nintendo stealth game? No, and there’s clearly a void yet to be filled.
Waluigi is a recognizably sneaky fellow. His lanky build and overall discomfiting demeanor are perfect for such an idea. He could slither around corners, stealing whatever-it-is he’s supposed to be stealing to progress through the game (I don’t know; I haven’t really thought this through yet). A mainline series for this hideous creature is long overdue, so I’m requesting specifically that Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser open his mind as well as his heart. I’m earnestly begging for a Waluigi game.