The Year of Luigi is upon us

Nintendo has announced a year-long celebration of everyone’s second favorite plumber.

It has been 30 years since the introduction of Mario and Luigi, the twin brothers with a plumbing problem, in Mario Bros. The original game is an early 2-player co-operative dexterity puzzle, in which the players work together (or sabotage one another to compete for a higher score) to clear out an infestation of strange monsters from a sewer. Since then, Luigi, and his iconic green hat, has played second Banana to his brother in nearly every game featuring Mario. In 2001, Luigi finally got his starring role in the Gamecube game, Luigi’s Mansion, in which Luigi has to rescue his brother from a haunted mansion, but has seen no first billing since then.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original Mario Bros. game, Nintendo has declared 2013 to be The Year of Luigi, as they have several titles planned for the year which feature the sidekick.

First, this year will see the release of the sequel to Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The new game will be released exclusively for the 3DS, so the graphical fidelity will not be improved over the original, but it will feature the glasses-free 3D graphics the console is known for. In addition, the mechanics have seen a few improvements: The game will be more puzzle oriented than the first, requiring Luigi to do more than just walk around searching for and sucking up ghosts with his Poltergust. The strange vacuum-sweeper based weapon will now function sort of like the ‘gravity gun’ from the Half-Life franchise. Luigi will use it to manipulate the environment, carry objects around, and solve the many puzzles in the rooms of the mansion. The flashlight has also been improved with a dark-light detector, which will play into the various puzzles.

The setting is also much larger, consisting of several mansions, each with a distinct boss monster, and a much wider variety of ghosts than the original game. In addition, there will be a special mansion specifically designed for 4-play co-operative play in a variety of different modes.

The second game is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. The sequel to Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. In the first game, the player was tasked with getting the pair of brothers through the dangerous, and slightly disturbing, environment of Bowser’s internal organs. In the new installment, the player will play as Mario, trapped inside Luigi’s dreams. Luigi’s face will be on the lower touch screen, while Mario adventures on the upper 3D screen. Players will have to interact with Luigi’s face in different ways to affect the dream world, and help Mario solve the various puzzles and fights within.

Third, New Super Luigi U will be a DLC pack for New Super Mario Bros. U, which will give players a whole new adventure, with just as many levels as are included in the base game, but redesigned specifically for a single-player experience, and with only Luigi available as a playable character.

Finally, Mario Golf: World Tour will see Mario and Luigi play golf together on the 3DS. Not too much has been revealed about this title, except that it will feature intuitive touch screen controls and levels themed around the various locations in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon will hit shelves on March 24, 2013. Mario and Lugi: Dream Team and Mario Golf: World Tour will come in the Summer, though a specific date is not yet announced for either. New Super Luigi U is only announced to drop sometime this year.