As expected, last week’s Nintendo Direct brought us a slew of exciting new game announcements, but perhaps the most surprising of all was its focus on Luigi, Mario’s cowardly younger brother. The green plumber celebrates his 30th anniversary this year, having made his debut in the arcade Mario Bros. back in 1983, and Nintendo has seen fit to mark the occasion by announcing several “Luigi” games for Wii U and 3DS, all of which are slated to hit their respective consoles before the end of the year. This is certainly a far cry from Nintendo’s celebration of Super Mario Bros.’ 25th anniversary, which “commemorated” the event by repackaging a SNES title on a Wii disc (and that’s nothing to say of Metroid’s 25th anniversary, which didn’t even receive a passing acknowledgement from the company). So, what did the staff make of this announcement, and how is 2013 shaping up for Nintendo fans? Read on to find out our thoughts!
The more I think about it, the more “Year of Luigi”, the company’s branding for a string of games that feature Mario’s sidekick brother, is a very fitting title for Nintendo’s next twelve months. 2013 appears to represent, unquestionably, the first time that Nintendo is the underdog once again in a very long time, the company certainly hasn’t looked so fragile since before the explosive launch of the original Nintendo DS. And while things might not be quite as bad as they may seem– Kotaku unexpectedly crowned the 3DS the top games console of the moment last week– Nintendo appears to be painfully aware that things need to change quickly or market doubt will set in even more (because analyst sharks love the smell of blood almost as much as Michael Pachter loves saying douche-tastic stuff 24/7.)
However, Nintendo is one of the few companies that performs even better under pressure than it does while on top. As the Kotaku piece mentions, Nintendo appears to have turned round the fortunes of the 3DS (a console whose early life cycle mirrored Wii U’s) by producing an onslaught of amazing must-have games that will be raining down over the next few months. A new Mario Golf, a new Mario & Luigi, a Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D remake and an avalanche of new downloadable content all announced on a blustery Valentine’s Day? That’s a lot of gaming gems to add to the Wario-esque pile of gems already coming up; Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon all over the next few months. After several years of Nintendo’s refusal to preview games until right before releases at major press events, which quickly turned into a drip feed release mentality, the big guns are being dragged in a bid to show that Nintendo is here to stay in a big way.
Now if Nintendo can turn the recent buzz about upcoming titles into solid calendar releases this year for Wii U as well, it might be able to play a game changer twice and turn their home console from a Luigi into a Mario.
Luigi is is one of my favorite video game characters, if not my favorite (Kirby is my other big favorite). I love that he seems to be getting some love suddenly. In fact, one of the few things that seems to bug me about New Super Mario Bros. U is that I can’t pick to play as Luigi in the story mode unless I need a super guide. So count me among the ones who are excited that there is going to be an add-on feature for the game starring Luigi.
Sadly, I never played Luigi’s Mansion due to the fact that I didn’t have a GameCube (I know!) but that’s alright. I’ll probably pick up Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon if I have the chance.
This was our reaction too when we found out Mel never played Luigi’s Mansion.
All I know for sure is that Nintendo is seriously trying to test me on my money-saving skills with this recent announcement. As a Luigi fangirl, this is going to be hard to resist. Hopefully, I’ll be able to buy it without getting too crazy stupid with my spending.
Mel, you didn’t own a GameCube? For shame! Luigi’s Mansion (not to mention the GameCube in general) was a treasure!
The “Year of Luigi” seems like a nice little tribute to the oft overlooked little brother. I was already sold on Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U. That sounds pretty ambitious. Can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for that one.
I must say, these Nintendo Direct conferences have been really great. While I think Nintendo has a very tough year ahead, the last three conferences have made me feel that Nintendo is really taking the challenge seriously. Yes, it still has an uphill battle, but this is a company that thrives on challenge. And I think we’re seeing them respond to it, on their own terms. I think it’s going to be a very good year to be a Nintendo fan, and I hope people don’t miss out on that. The 3DS has quietly become a must-own system, and I think the Wii U is going to pull off the same thing. Guess we’ll see.
Nintendo is really spoiling us with these Nintendo Directs lately. I still haven’t gotten over the last one when the company decided to tease us with even more great titles that we won’t get to play until later on in the year.
Like Mel, I’m a big Luigi fan, so I was excited to see Nintendo highlight his 30th anniversary with this latest Nintendo Direct (especially after the company bungled its celebration of Super Mario Bros.’ 25th anniversary a couple of years ago). I figured Camelot would be hard at work on a new Mario Golf title following the release of Mario Tennis Open (which I actually quite enjoyed), so it was nice to see World Tour announced during the broadcast. Even nicer was the announcement of a brand new Mario & Luigi game. It never ceases to amaze me how AlphaDream is able to come up with a unique way to utilize the platform’s two screens with each new installment, and this latest idea, with Mario exploring Luigi’s dreams on the top screen while his younger brother dozes off peacefully on the bottom, looks like it will be the most clever gimmick yet.
The biggest surprise of the broadcast, however, was the announcement of New Super Luigi U, an upcoming download for New Super Mario Bros. U that transforms each of the game’s levels into an entirely new one. We already knew that Nintendo would be offering add-on content for the title (the company said as much before the game was even released), but I had expected it to arrive in the form of new Boost Rush courses, much in the way that DLC for New Super Mario Bros. 2 was limited to new Coin Rush levels. Seeing the Big N go all out with what is effectively a second adventure is really exciting and proves that the company is serious about offering worthwhile downloadable content for its games. I really can’t wait to try it out.
Between these new titles, plus previously announced ones like The Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 (which was, once again, conspicuously absent from the broadcast), The Wonderful 101, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, it’s clear that Nintendo fans, whether they own a 3DS or a Wii U (or both!), have a lot to look forward to in 2013.
What did you think of the broadcast? Which of the new Luigi-themed games are you excited for the most? Share your thoughts in the comments section!