Sunday, 31 March 2013


You know... I never realised just how cute those little red polka dots look on top!
- Luigi
I even like the box design this time.
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is out soon, and I am (almost) seriously considering buying a Nintendo 3DS simply in order to play it. Yes, I really am that enthusiastic. I've always been a Luigi fan - he's my Ninty favourite by a long way - and, of the two games in which he's taken the lead role, Luigi's Mansion is far and away the better, both on account of the fact that it's a good, addictive, spooky game in its own right and Mario Is Missing! sucks balls.

I know Mansion has its haters, a lot of the reviews being mixed and the game being criticised for its short length, but nevertheless, it opened new ground for Luigi, gave him a theme to focus on (in most subsequent games, Super Mario Galaxy for example, he's usually found in a haunted house), and was very playable, which was good. However, there was something else in the game... something more noticeable.

I wasn't the only person to spot it. On a forum I used to haunt (I won't say which, but my user icon was a Magikarp for a while, so you can sort of guess what the theme of the forum was), one of the regulars pointed out that Luigi might be gay. I looked at the clues that she pointed out, and was suddenly overwhelmed by them... I saw subtle hints everywhere! I pointed this out to a close friend who's now hosting a video gaming webseries, and he started picking them out, as well. So... the big question...

Is Luigi gay?

Yeah, sure he couldn't be gay, could he?
Let's look at the purported evidence first. His brother, Mario, rescues Princess Peach on a regular, and almost daily, basis (the exception being Super Princess Peach, a game referring to Luigi as "the green man?" in which she kicks serious arse). Throughout the Super Mario Bros. series (and its spiritual successors, the New Super Mario Bros. games), Luigi is usually player two, aiding and abetting Mario in his quests. He's never been so "romantically" linked to Peach as Mario - although I always thought of Mario/Peach as more of a platonic thing - and was usually regarded a bit of a second-stringer (something that's poked fun of, later, in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, wherein he embarks on a side quest of ridiculous proportions).

It's been noted that Luigi doesn't really have an equivalent. Princess Daisy has been put forward as a potential romantic partner for Luigi, but I don't think so somehow. Although her trophy in Super Smash Bros. Mêlée mentions rumours of her as "Luigi's answer to Mario's Peach," it places a lot more emphasis on her being a tomboy in comparison to Peach, which is a much more important part of her character. Additionally, Luigi didn't even appear in Super Mario Land, the game in which she made her first appearance.
This dress looks kind of comfortable... Nah, I'll stick with my duds!
- Luigi
But it's not the lack of girlfriend that makes me think he's gay. It's a combination of the stuff he says and how he acts. His voice is the first clue - it's much higher-pitched and more, well, camp, than his brother's. He shrieks, rather than yells, stutters when he's scared, and generally sounds a lot more effeminate than Mario - Mansion is a good game for this, as pressing button A will have him call out Mario's name, usually with increasing pitch and tone. His quotes - although they're few - point towards a more feminine side and an eye for the aesthetic and, although this isn't a trait limited to homosexual men, stereotypically it does tend to be.

Then there's the way he physically acts. Originally he was just a palette swap of Mario, but since Super Mario Bros. 2 he's has his own characteristics - in addition to being taller and thinner. His jumps, while a lot higher than any other character, are frenetic and seem uncontrollable - in SMB2 he kicks his legs in a "fiddly" fashion (thanks to Robinson for the adjective there), and in Super Mario Galaxy - another game in which he plays a minor role, but a good one - his triple jump involves flailing limbs, as opposed to Mario's, which is a mid-air flip. His Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a crazy dance with weird exotic music, causing everyone else to fall asleep, whereas his taunts all do look slightly ridiculous. He's not a muscleman, but he isn't weak either - yet he does have a tendency for stringy, bendy and exaggerated movements.
Too faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast!
- Luigi
You've never seen gay until you've seen Rainbow Luigi.
And finally, there's the way he reacts to things. Luigi doesn't like being out of control. He's terrified when his kart goes too fast in any of the Mario Kart series (I always played as Luigi, of course). Throw a star at him in Galaxy and he almost overbalances, grab a star to make him invincible and he turns into a living, breathing symbol of gay pride everywhere. He totally freaks out in Mansion when fighting with the ghosts (suck up a Portrait Ghost with the Poltergust and he'll close his eyes and pull!), frenetically waving his hat around when it gets set on fire. And lead him to victory in any of the games and he will be nothing short off flamboyantly gleeful, his Mario Kart Wii tag being one of my favourites: "Yay for me - Luigi!"

It's true that there are some more openly homosexual characters out there in Nintendo canon. Birdo is a transsexual (she's presented as a girl now, but in the earlier days, Nintendo cards - given out with Frosties - actually read, "this batty bird thinks he is a girl!"... verbatim), something they could have made more of a deal about. Chrono Trigger for the SNES featured a transgender villain named Flea.  Bully contains gay content, a number of recent FPSs have hinted at it, and let's not forget the slew of South Park games featuring Big Gay Al. But I think Luigi deserves special attention. He's a main character. Maybe he's gay - maybe he isn't. But he acts in an openly camp way, and what with the option to hump tables in Mansion (seriously, go up to a table and press B, it's hilarious), I think that, whoever or whatever Luigi is, he's enjoying life when he can... and doing it with a healthy amount of joie de vivre.

Luigi, I salute you. Now please excuse me while I go and buy a 3DS.


Sati said...

Curiouser and curiouser, said Sati. A Luigi's Mansion fan and a former Pokémon-forum member, as well as a Japanese speaker and one of the, I dunno, twelve people on the planet who remember Point Romance novels? I've been lurking on your blog for a few months now, and you get more intriguing every day, ILB.

As far as the gay-Luigi thing...ehh. I didn't really see any signs until you mentioned it, but then I am so lacking in the gaydar area that I was the only person in English class not to realise that my buddy Ash was gay - even when he constantly complimented my clothes and touched my skin and hair and raved about how soft and shiny it was, I thought he was just being flirty. (No, I'm not the biggest egotist in the world - just oblivious.) So anyway, I'm not the right person to judge something like that.

To me seems more effeminate than gay, though - something that runs in plenty of straight men, perhaps not as much as in gay men, but certainly quite often. (And good thing too, since I like boys who pluck their eyebrows and wear eyeliner and nail polish, lol.)

He's a pretty big badass in Mario 64 DS, too. Goofy and clumsy, but still the best character to play with IMO. The spin jump can't be beat.

Innocent Loverboy said...

Intriguing, eh? I had no idea I was so deep - just have a good memory, and a skill with words which makes me sound more interesting than I probably actually am. Still, I'm pleased to keep you interested.

As for Super Mario 64 DS... I don't like it. I'll agree with you that Luigi's the best character to play as (I was incredibly annoyed that you started with Yoshi, that was a bit of a dumb move); the game was juat something I didn't get on with, though.

I loved the original when I played it - such a rich, complex game with plenty to do and see - but I don't think it's aged particularly well (as opposed to, say Super Mario World, with some of the best replay value ever!). Porting it to the DS would have been a bit ridiculous, so a remake with extra levels &c. is something of a good idea... but I don't think they pulled it off particularly well. Which is a shame.

Mind you, I'm not overly keen on remakes. Some of them are OK, if they're a carbon copy of the original for a system you actually own (I have most of the Ninty consoles, minus a VB, 3DS and a Wii U, although I'll get them somehow), but sometimes the producers add "new" stuff that doesn't really add much to the game. There's a remake of Superfrog coming up that I really hope isn't going to be a terrible disappointment.

Anyway, I'll crack on with what I was doing now. In the words of the Mario Bros... "Here we go!"