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Monday Mysteries: Who is Waluigi?
If history is written by the winners, then it is most certainly not told by its losers. The annals of gaming are laden with the tales of the fallen, the forgotten, and the hopelessly misunderstood. These are the outcasts who forever dwell in the plight of their obscurity. That is, until the day they are finally heard.
Perhaps there’s no sorrier chap in the Mushroom Kingdom than poor Waluigi. A man as mysterious as he is repugnant Waluigi can be characterized as the gangly, mustache twirling nemesis of Mario’s now equally famous brother- Luigi. Crass, maniacal, and just a tad imbecilic, he shares in the cartoonish sociopathy typical of the black hatted villain straight off of a spaghetti western. For all his incessant ego, what true soul lies behind that ghastly pointed face?
To understand the man under the reversed L cap, we can begin with the appearance that would define his persona for some time to come. In the year 2000, Waluigi burst onto the scene of Mario Tennis as a competitor few were ready for and fewer would forget. To start we may view the behavior that would define Waluigi with his peers that of a madman bent on loathing the shorter, greener, pluckier version of himself. Yes, the plumber that would put the “Luigi” in Waluigi would be come the yin to his yang, the light to his dark, and no one can have that. The years to come would be full of tragedy and snapped golf clubs for the forlorn man in purple pants. Hate would embody his very being, but to what end?
There is one explanation to Waluigi’s madness: that of unrequited love. It’s often hinted throughout Nintendo’s source material that Waluigi’s crush on Princess Daisy knows no bounds. Many a Mario sports title has suggested that Waluigi and Daisy have a high compatibility towards each other and share many of the same emotional and physical traits. In spite of his seemingly inhumanly trollish nature, Waluigi is still capable of such human urges as passion. Though Daisy may frequently deny his advances in favor of flirting with Luigi, it’s possible that he simply lacks the courage (or smarts) to seal the deal with the tomboy princess.
Could this potential lovers’ triangle be the boiling point that led to such a feud between Waluigi and Luigi? Perhaps. Waluigi is clearly an impatient man, blaming anyone and everyone for his misfortune and the failure of his mad schemes. He works hard every day to destroy his rival only to suffer crippling defeat. In the words of another little green man, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate? It leads to suffering, a whole lot of it to boot.
It’s this vicious cycle that conditions a more disturbing psychology behind Waluigi’s crazed face. It’s evidenced in Mario Power Tennis that Waluigi willfully subjects to physical as well as emotional abuse. Forced to fraternize with such low-life partners as Mario’s own arch-rival of Wario, his squatter “friend” often stretches Waluigi out on a rack perhaps to increase or even maintain his height in some masochistic fashion at Waluigi’s own discretion. That’s not to mention the sight of his treadmill exercise via chain-chomp. Sunken eyes and a manic gaze don’t bode well as a result of this self-destructive behavior. These may not be suicidal, however, so much as an unhealthy appetite to internalized anxiety.
Waluigi’s additionally no stranger to projecting his woes onto others. Whether he does so as a deflective shield for his cowardice is unbeknownst to us but we can often see him bemoaning his competitors as “cheaters” to justify his loss, while downplaying his own abilities in the process. It’s a shame when considering Waluigi’s own unique talents such as in Mario Power Tennis, where he’s able to defy gravity itself and swim through the air to hit a high ball. It’s further revealed in Mario Party 3 that he may own his own island: an idol to his insecurities.
This kind of egotistical uncertainty begs us to ask how this odd individual was even created. Unlike Wario, who is shown in baby form in Yoshi’s Island DS, Waluigi’s infant self is never presented, or even referenced beyond the fan material such as that shown above. Do Wario and Waluigi hail from another dimension? It’s quite possible that Wario was separated at birth, brought into Mario’s world as an infant, and Waluigi followed suit at a later time. It’s also possible that Waluigi was created by some supernatural force as malevolent as himself, either as a test for the Mario brothers, or out of the sadistic pleasures that bore him. Then again, Waluigi’s very age is unconfirmed. Could he be older than the rest, so old that he could be Mario and Luigi’s own, tortured father? It could explain the origin of Luigi’s own childhood trauma.
The devil is the details as the old adage goes, and the greatest one may lie in Waluigi’s entymology. A portmanteau of the Japanese words Warui and Ruīji, Waluigi’s very name translates to “bad” and “Luigi,” or “bad Luigi” if you preferred. In addition, his name is an anagram to the Japanese word Ijiwaru, which can mean “ill-tempered” or “cruel” Gamers are further identify Waluigi as Luigi’s “doppelgänger,” translating into “body double” in the modern vernacular. Historically, the term doppelgänger literally meant “double walker.” Folklore dictates that doppelgängers symbolized ill omens, or even impending death. Simply put, if you saw your mystical double, you had better prepare yourself. Given this implication, can we begin to imagine how Mario must have felt the first time he eyed Wario in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins?
We could stop there and call it a day concerning Waluigi’s symbolism, but there’s far more than can be derived from one simple thing: his hat. Or more particularly, the upside down L emblazoned on it. A play on the dark mirror of Luigi’s own L, Waluigi’s own emblem nevertheless resembles the upper case version of the Greek letter Gamma. According to probability theory, gamma distribution is commonly associated with mapping out the chance of certain events happening at certain intervals. Usually these theories deal with maximum entropy or a measure of uncertainty, or volatility a mantra that Waluigi essentially lives his life by. Thus, Waluigi himself is caricature of chaos, the Kratos of the Nintendo world destined to wreak his terrible, comical death on the Mushroom Kingdom. Or something like that.
Needless to say, such intrigue and misfortune should only demand more of Waluigi’s story. As the year of his archenemy comes to a close, we can only begin to see his dastardly fingers run over his thin mustache in though. Could the year of 2014 at last be his to win? The odds may never be in Waluigi’s favor, but he proves that stranger things have happened.
What do you make of such wild, untamed theories? Share your thoughts with us. It’s Waluigi time!
Last, but not least, we here at the Nintendo section will be holding a contest at the end of the month of March. When the time comes, all you need to do is let us know what your favorite game story is and why in the comments of our articles. You could win a free game code for DoubleFine’s “The Cave” on PS3! Stay tuned for that and more at Leviathyn!