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Waluigi Woes

Or "Why Waluigi Won't Win One Award"

    A big shockwave hit the Mario world recently. The biggest shockwave since people heard Luigi wasn't in SM64. On April 12th, 2000, Camelot Software and Nintendo of America released the first info. on Mario Tennis 64. Along with it, they revealed the existence of a new character in the Mario universe, Waluigi.

    New characters have been part of Mario games for years. As early as 1986, SMB2 introduced Toad and Princess Toadstool as playable characters. Throughout the years, major characters like Yoshi and Wario have been introduced, and even spun off into their own series. Yet none of them have inspired the severe ammount of attention (mostly bad) in the Mario community that Waluigi has. This is especially true when you consider that the game Waluigi's in hasn't even come out yet. So what is so different about Waluigi, and why is he quickly becomnig the newcomer everyone loves (or loves to hate)

    First, we must examine what we know so far about the thin, purple clad alter-ego. According to Nintendo's web site, Waluigi is Wario's little brother. He is exactly Luigi's age (whatever that may be), and extremely jealous of Luigi's success. Waluigi is more cowardly than Wario, which explains why he's waited until now to reveal himself. Finally, the site says that "Just like Mario is Wario's hated rival, Waluigi despises Luigi more than anything in the world."

    So why has Waluigi inspired so much hate? The first reason is probably his name. Wario was an acceptable name, arrived at by taking the M in Mario and flipping it upside down. This clearly respresented Wario's alter-ego status and played off of Waru (the Japanese word for evil) nicely. Waluigi just sounds bad. Chalk it up to too many syllables or it's difficult pronunciation or whatever, most will agree it's not that great a name. Plus Waluigi's cap has an upside-down L on it (Which looks like a backwards 7), most likely to mimic Wario's upside-down M. This make's almost no sense, and adds to the stupidity, in my opinion.

    The second big problem with Waluigi is his lack of originality. Yoshi was pretty original, being a big green transportation device that could eat things, and Wario was also original at the time. However, it's very obvious that Waluigi is just a blatant copy of Wario... except that he's Luigi's alter ego. Gamer's hate mindless clones, and Waluigi seems about as mindless as you can get.

    With both of these problems going against him, is there any hope for Waluigi to be accepted the way Yoshi and Wario have? I think there is, but a few things need to happen first. Above all, a name change for the U.S. release would be a big help. Some other Italian name like Guesseppi (sp?) perhaps, or maybe even an American name, just not Waluigi (not Wuigi either, for that matter). Second, something needs to be done to set Waluigi apart from Wario. Wario's main character flaw is his greed, which makes him such an endearing character. Waluigi needs such a character flaw, but a different one from Wario, to set him apart. His aforementioned cowardice, perhaps. This characteristic could even be brought out in a dedicated game down the line (I see a two player, GBA adventure co-starring Wario). With these changes in place Waluigi could deserve a place in our hearts as a great new addition to the Mario universe.

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