The Year of Luigi was a celebration of the 30th year since Luigi's first appearance in a game. It was a bonanza of Luigi themed games, downloads, media and merchandise.
The year officially started in February 2013 and was initially announced on a Nintendo Direct broadcast by Reggie-Fils Aime, it was assumed by many that the year would've concluded at the end of 2013 however on the 18th of December Satoru Iwata confirmed that the Year of Luigi would actually run until the 18th of February 2014.
Despite the Year coinciding with a very poor financial year for Nintendo with weak Wii U sales globally, many believe that the Year of Luigi and the fun that it bought actually helped to mitigate this a little. The Year undoubtedly resulted in a huge popularity boost for the green and previously understated bro with special communities opening up on Miiverse, key Nintendo staff changing their Miiverse profiles to be blue and green, as well as a surge of Luigi usernames and communities across social media.
Shigeru Miyamoto announced at the last minute on Feb 18th that the year would run for a further month; until March 18th, 2014. This means the Year of Luigi ran for a total of around 397 days.
In this Year we've seen Luigi's platforming madskillz, his medical prowess, hell we've even seen him fight against bad guys while his asleep as well as the staple screams of terror, and looks of dismay we've come to expect when Luigi is called in to investigate paranormal activities.
Nintendo achieved something from this venture, I have never seen so many Luigi fans / comments / Luigi based profile pictures and usernames in my life - no longer is Luigi simply the guy who player two gets but he has now grown enough in popularity and stature to stand proudly next to any gaming character, even the mighty Super Mario! and Princess Daisy is very proud of him for a job well done, we're sure.
So lets have a look back, through fond eyes at what we had in the year of Luigi, from the beginning to end.
It was Luigi's turn to take the lead role in a number of titles this year, including starring roles in three main-series titles (if you include New Super Luigi U as a game in its own right) and three smaller games.
- March 2013 - Luigi's Mansion 2 - Dark Moon for Nintendo 3DS saw Luigi embark on a mission to find all the pieces of the Dark Moon which had been shattered into six pieces by King Boo. This game was an excellent start to Luigi's year with an excellent reception from most critics including a score of 9.3 from IGN and 4.5 out of 5 from GameXplain.
- June 2013 - New Super Luigi U for Wii U - The Luigi remix of New Super Mario Bros U, featuring harder levels and the physics of Luigi as a character, with his more clumsy feel yet higher jumps. Like Luigi's Mansion 2, this game was pretty well received, however those who knocked it all had the same thing to say more-or-less - despite the adjusted time limits, physics, level setups it just felt too much like a "version" of New Super Mario Bros U, rather than a title in it's own right - true to an extent, but a bad thing? not necessarily. The games scored a respectable 77 on Metacritic, and 75.92% on GameRankings whilst recieving a 7.3 out of 10 from IGN.
- July/August 2013 - Mario & Luigi: Dream Team for Nintendo 3DS, known in the UK & Europe as Dream Team Bros - The setting for this game is that Mario, Luigi, Peach and the Toad's have been invited to Pi'illo Island by a mystery visitor named Broggy who delivered the message on behalf of Dr. Snoozemore, they took a Blimp to Pi'illo Island, and whilst on the way Luigi fell asleep and dreamed of Mario fighting a sinister looking guy named Antasma, and as rather lengthy RPG adventure ensued with Luigi largely at the helm. Rated 4.5 out of 5 by GameXplain and 8 out of 10 by both GamesSpot and IGN.
- November 2013 - Luigi Bros - Remember Mario Bros the arcade classic? well, its that, but with less Mario, and more Luigi. This game is unlocked by having a saved slot in use on Super Luigi U and then could be loaded from Super Mario 3D World's menu.
- January 2014 - Dr. Luigi - The original Dr. Mario gets a HD makeover, and there is a new doctor in the house, Dr. Luigi. Again, I must emphasise, neither of these men have an actual doctorate, and should not be trusted to treat any serious medical conditions. This game is available as a digital download and was released 31st December 2013 in the U.S and 15th of Jan in Australia, Europe and Japan.
- April 2014 - Super Luigi Bros -officially outside the scope of the Year of Luigi; Super Luigi Bros, a Luigi remix of Super Mario Bros was also included in the second retro NES compilation package - NES Remix 2.
Merchandise & Promos
The Year of Luigi was a paradise for collectors too, there was an abundance of Luigi themed commemorative merchandise, from the best place to get collectors gear - Nintendo themselves.
Lots of Club Nintendo Rewards featuring Luigi, and all differing from region to region meant that merchandise sales on international eBay sites were rife - people from the U.S and Canada snapping up the Club Nintendo rewards that Europeans and Japanese chose to sell, and vice-versa.
There were also region specific competitions, and promo giveaways which varied across the board, heres our list of some of the stuff you could get your hands on:-
Chicago's L Train received a makeover to raise awareness of the Year of Luigi and New Super Luigi Bros U
- Club Nintendo Japan featured a Year of Luigi Sound collection which included music from various Luigi themed including the original Gamecube Luigi's Mansion and the 3DS's Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, there were thirty songs on the disc in total and they cost 400 star points, however if you had registered any of the games mentioned in the above list featuring Luigi, you could get it for only 200 points - seems like a good deal to me.
- Dr. Luigi cleaning cloths from Club Nintendo - I'm not sure how well they'd stand up against alien viruses from above, but if you need to dust off your screens they might be pretty useful.
- Luigi Pen & Notepad set from Club Nintendo
- Special edition Luigi Nintendo 3DS Case from Club Nintendo
- Club Nintendo Europe released a very limited edition Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon diorama, which was literally available for a day or two before they were all gone, then in February 2014 they made a brief appearance back on Club Nintendo Europe, again in very limited numbers.
- Are you from Canada or the U.S? If you purchased New Super Luigi U on digital download, maybe you won one of 980 special limited edition Luigi Pin Badges?
- Last but by no means least, the Special Luigi Edition 3DS XL which came with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team loaded nicely onto a 4GB SD card.
If my bank manager would only allow me to collect it all!
Misc Luigi Themed Stuff / Trivia
- Games from the Year of Luigi were featured when Nintendo toured major U.S cities putting up booths with playable games in the Summer of 2013
- Super Mario 3D World, despite not STARRING Luigi as such, had lots of hidden 8-Bit Luigi's throughout the game, from the highest most obscure points of levels, to popping out of multi coin blocks or even peering through those Sprixie House Windows - 8-Bit Luigi, he doesn't sleep, he waits.
- New Super Luigi U also featured random appearances of 8-Bit Luigi
- In October 2013 a "leaked" special Luigi edition Nintendo 2DS turned out to be an unofficial product produced by a fan who happens to be an epic hardware modder named Matthew Wiggins who created a custom Nintendo 2DS design featuring Luigi simply, because he could! Plus its cool to know that your system is the only one of its kind in the world!
Danny Wells passes away
December 2013 also bared some sad news, particularly amongst fans of the Super Mario Bros Super Show when Danny Wells, the Canadian actor who played Luigi in the Super Mario Bros Super Show's live action sketches sadly passed away at 72 years old. R.I.P Danny.
One of our favourite live action sketches featuring Danny Wells & Capt. Lou Albano.
Shigeru Miyamoto gives Year of Luigi a personal farewell
A couple of days after the Year of Luigi ended (20th of March 2014 to be precise) Shigeru Miyamoto had the following comments to make on Miiverse.
Hi everyone, thanks so much for your warm comments for Luigi!
We selected a few of the comments and placed them on our website. Just select the internet browser icon or the link at the end of this post to go to the page and have a look!
Well, ahem...now, without further ado...
I hereby declare the Year of Luigi closed!
Thank you all so very much for your kind support over the course of the year!
Even though the Year of Luigi has come to a close, I hope you will continue to cheer on Luigi. Thank you!
Mr. Miyamoto also revealed a special corner of the official Nintendo Japan website dedicated to some of the highlights of the Luigi love received in 2013-2014.
It's been a fun year, on the whole the green bro's games did well, there was a lot of positive marketing and promos from Nintendo the likes of which we haven't seen for a while, and Luigi got his own megafanbase - to me thats a sign it didn't do too badly. I wonder what character will get there own year next?
I would think it'll have to be a really oldskool character (it took Luigi 30 years to get his own year afterall) - have a vote in our poll and let us know who you'd like to have their own year!
What was your favourite bit of the Year of Luigi? did you pick up any Luigi themed gear this year? let us know what your favourite bit was in the comments below.