Luigi (Japanese: ルイージ Hepburn: Ruīji?, ) (English /luːˈiːdʒi/; Italian: ) is a fictional character featured in video games and related media released by Nintendo. Created by prominent game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Luigi is portrayed as the slightly younger but taller fraternal twin brother of Nintendo’s mascot Mario, and appears in many games throughout the Mario franchise, often as a sidekick to his brother.
Luigi first appeared in the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros. as the character controlled by the second player, and retained this role in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and other titles. The first game where he was available as a primary character was Super Mario Bros. 2. In more recent appearances, Luigi’s role became increasingly restricted to spinoffs such as the Mario Party and Mario Kart series, though he has been featured in a starring role on three occasions: first in the 1991 educational game Mario Is Missing!, in Luigi’s Mansion for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001, and in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the 3DS. In all three of these games, he is called upon to act as the hero because Mario, the usual hero within the franchise, is in need of rescue. Luigi has also appeared in every episode of the three DiC TV series based on the NES and Super NES games.
Originally developed as a palette swap of Mario with a green color scheme instead of red, Luigi has since developed a personality and style of his own. As his role in the Mario series progressed, Luigi evolved into a physically distinct character, taller and thinner than his brother. Nintendo called the period of March 2013 to March 2014 “The Year of Luigi” to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the character’s existence. Correspondingly, games released in 2013 emphasised Luigi, such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Dr. Luigi, and the level pack New Super Luigi U for New Super Mario Bros U. An unlockable Luigi-themed version of Mario Bros. titled Luigi Bros. was also included with Super Mario 3D World.