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Know Your Role: The Greatness of Waluigi

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Between E3 and the rest of the Bitmob writing prompts you haven't forgetten about the Know Your Role writing challenge, did you? This is your chance to examine one of your favorite video game heroes, villains, or side characters.  You can read the rules here, and if you need more inspiration read this tale about the greatest Mario character of the last decade.  The challenge is due by June 30th at midnight PST.


 

Waluigi is probably the most cynical Mario character ever created – his only role seems to be as an avatar for sports and party games. Ever since his debut in 2000's Mario Tennis, Waluigi has been one of the most-ridiculed characters of all time due to his lack of importance.

He is also one of the best Nintendo characters in years.

Simple Design

On paper Waluigi is uninspired: If Mario has Wario as a rival, then why can’t Luigi have one too?  And while Wario is a chubby exaggeration of Mario, Waluigi is a lanky version of the brother. However, Waluigi is still unique in his series.

Most Mario characters are pudgy creatures with inflated heads and stubs for legs. With his wire frame and long limbs Waluigi is a genetic freak, and it helps him stand out from the B-listers, grunts, and baby characters who made it into recent Mario games. In fact, Waluigi actually looks more like an athlete than anyone else. He is the Michael Phelps of the Mushroom Kingdom, except Phelps doesn't have a cool moustache.     

Skill and Deceit

“Everyone is cheating! Next time I cheat! Heh Heh Heh!”

Waluigi, Mario Kart Wii

Most of Waluigi’s character bios label him a cheater, and in cutscenes like in Mario Power Tennis he conspires with Wario to cause trouble. Despite that, in sports games Waluigi has high technical stats like defense in tennis and soccer, or pitching in baseball. In early Mario Kart games Waluigi is a middle-weight character with good all-around stats. Other games follow the same pattern – Waluigi has high skill stats, but is good at everything else as well. He cheats, even though he doesn't have to. 

Why? Since Waluigi never appears outside of multiplayer games he doesn’t have the trademarks attacks his adversaries have. His own skills have varied from swimming in the air to generating thorns from the ground, and nothing stuck. Maybe it doesn't matter – maybe Waluigi considers himself the best pure athlete in the Mushroom Kingdom, and only resorts to Dick-Dastardly tricks because everyone else is using fireballs and blue turtle shells.    

A Bipolar Heel

Waluigi crotch chopI get a suspicion that Nintendo developers have more fun designing Waluigi than they do with other characters. While other characters have a few yips, grunts, and hand waves, Waluigi seems to have an actual personality.

Waluigi is bipolar. When he wins, Waluigi dances, basks in his own glory, and mocks his opponents.  The best example is in Mario Strikers Charged, where Waluigi does crotch chops straight out of professional wrestling.  He has two animations doing the chops – one where Waluigi and his teammates do the chops all out ("WA! LU! WEE! GEE! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!") and another where he does the pose but stops and waves his finger. Sorry fans – you don't get to see the chops this time.     

When Waluigi fails, he’s miserable. Sometimes he’ll storm around and attack the cameraman like in Strikers. Other times he mopes around, shrinks to the ground, and accuses others of cheating. Waluigi’s voice actor, Charles Martinet, said in an interview that Waluigi's mental state is self-pity, which fits such a sad creature.  

Mushroom Kingdom's Kobra Kai

After countless defeats Bowser is a pushover. Wario is more a goofy eccentric than a villain. Both will stop their schemes for a round of go-karts.

But Waluigi never rests. While Mario is saving the princess, Waluigi is home training. He has no life outside of karts, balls, parties, and tournaments. The time when Mario plays to relax is the time when Waluigi plays to win. Waluigi doesn't need his own game – he is the ultimate hardcore gamer, and what better foil could there be for casual multiplayer games? 


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