Waluigi: Unwrapping the Enigma
Chris Carter attempts to unwrap the enigma of Waluigi, one of Nintendo’s most mysterious characters.
History is full of misunderstood fellows. Often times we're not presented with the entire picture, leaving us to make baseless assumptions on someone's entire life story.
In the video game realm, there is perhaps no single character that is more misunderstood than Waluigi. Is he inherently evil? Does he just go along with his alleged brother Wario for fear of reprisal? Did Luigi do something terrible to him in the past to evoke his erratic behavior?
We'll explore all of these concepts and more, as we delve into the twisted, complicated, mind of Luigi's doppelgänger.
So without further ado, IT'S WALUIGI TIME!
For the uninitiated, Waluigi is the lanky, mustache twirling polar opposite of Mario's famous brother Luigi. He's often seen as a manipulative and crass individual that shares many characteristics of a classic caped silent-era movie villain.
In order to understand Waluigi, it's important to look at his first appearance, and how it set the tone for his character in the years to come. In the year 2000, Waluigi would debut for the first time ever in Mario Tennis as a competitor — our world wasn't ready, and neither was the Mushroom Kingdom.
Right off the bat, we get some insight into the relationship between Waluigi and the rest of the cast, as the game's intro makes it clear that Luigi and Waluigi loathe each other's existence.
I would suggest that the crux of Waluigi's personal problems lie with something much deeper than a mere jovial quarrel: a case of unrequited love. It is often hinted that Waluigi has a crush on Princess Daisy. In many Mario sports titles, it is consistently shown that Waluigi and Daisy have a high compatibility toward each other in a pair, and share many of the same emotional and physical characteristics.
Waluigi may have been brought into this world with inherent, inescapable bad luck as a result of his bizzaro birth, but in spite of his nature, he is still capable of passion (or as he would probably say, "WALUIGI LOVE TOO!"). While Daisy usually doesn't return any of his advances in favor of consistently flirting with Luigi, it's possible that he simply lacks the confidence to seal the deal.
But what was the buildup that led to this particularly volatile eruption between Waluigi and Luigi? Because of a certain Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy, we have a bit more information. According to the official trophy description, "Waluigi reportedly spent a lot of time training for his debut in Mario Tennis by honing his ability to antagonize the Mario brothers."
It's clear that Waliugi is a dedicated soul, and blames everyone for his misfortune and the failure of his harebrained schemes. He works hard every day to thwart his rival, yet hardly ever succeeds — on top of his situation with Daisy, he has quite a bit of stress in his life. Wouldn't you be tempted towards a life of light-hearted dastardliness?
To further drive home the implication of mental decay, Waluigi often exhibits forms of self-pity, similar to Rodney Dangerfield and his "no respect!" routine. Whether or not he means to do it on purpose as a deflective shield is unknown, but he's often seen lambasting other competitors as "cheaters" to justify his loss, while downplaying his own abilities in the process.
The real shame with regarding this state of mind is that despite this self inflicted ego wound, he's actually quite formidable. Waluigi is shown harnessing unique powers that hardly no other core Mario characters can replicate. In Mario Power Tennis, he is able to swim through the air and defy gravity — he would later display this talent in other titles. In his sports titles, he's often show displaying a high capacity for physical prowess. It's even revealed in Mario Party 3 that he may own his own island — certainly a symbol of insecurity.
This egotistical uncertainty leads me to my next point — how was this lanky individual even created? Unlike Wario, who is seen in baby form in Yoshi's Island DS, Waluigi's infant persona is never identified, or even referenced outside of fan games. It's quite possible that Waluigi was created by some ethereal spiritual force, either as a test for the Mario brothers, or out of pure enjoyment of Snidely Whiplash archetypes (in the same vein as mythological trickster Gods, like Loki and Monkey)?
Many speculative origin stories have been created for Waluigi by various fans, some relating to Mario's own foil, Wario. Do Wario and Waluigi come from another dimension? Were they created by a supreme being as polar opposites to the Mario brothers? 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 point in time.
Many gamers are also quick to identify Waluigi as Luigi's "doppelgänger," which in today's vernacular usually equates to "body double". Historically however, the term doppelgänger quite literally means "double walker" and has a much darker etymology.
In historical folklore, doppelgängers symbolized ill omens, or sometimes even imminent death. Simply put, if you saw your mystical double, you had better get your affairs in order. Given this implication, I can only imagine how Mario must have felt the first time he laid eyes on Wario in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.
But why stop there? There's even more potential emotional data that can be extrapolated from the most unlikely of sources: his hat. Although it could just be a coincidence, the symbol on his headgear isn't just an upside-down "L", it's the upper case version of the Greek letter Gamma.
In the realm of probability theory, gamma distribution commonly deals with mapping out the chance of certain events happening at certain intervals. Usually these theories deal with maximum entropy (otherwise known as a measure of uncertainty, or volatility) — a mantra that Waluigi essentially lives his life by.
While our misunderstood friend is clearly capable of holding his own in a full fledged game, Nintendo sadly has yet to produce a proper Waluigi entry. Outside of his debut in Mario Tennis, Waluigi has appeared in Mario Party, Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Baseball, DDR: Mario Mix Mario Strikers, Mario Hoops, Mario and Sonic, Mario Sports Mix, and the Super Smash Bros. series. He is also featured in his own unofficial fan game titled Psycho Waluigi.
So is there something more to him than meets the eye, or am I just reading too far into things? As Waluigi famously said in Mario Party 3, "If you've got something to say to me, then step right up!"