One of the biggest and most well-known video game heroes of all time is, of course, Mario. The Italian plumber has appeared in over 200 video games and has saved the Mushroom Kingdom from the clutches of Bowser (along with a slew of other baddies) countless times. He’s overall a pretty cool character, but the truth is that he’s not the best Mario Brother. That title belongs to none other than his younger fraternal twin brother Luigi.
Mario may be presented as the more heroic of the two, but Luigi is far superior. Mario may have originally been named “Jump Man,” but Luigi is actually able to jump higher. Since Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s jump height has been one of the factors that allow him to stand apart from his brother. In platforming video games, that high jump is extremely useful.
Not only can Luigi jump higher, but he can also run faster. As seen in games like Super Mario 64 DS, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Luigi is presented as being speedier than Mario. With time running low to stop Bower’s plans, speed is a necessity.
Luigi also has more personality than his older brother. Mario, as iconic as he is, comes across as sort of a generic, happy-go-lucky hero type. He’s either in a chipper mood or a determined one when things get tough, but that’s it. That’s not much of a personality. Throughout the gaming series, we’ve seen Luigi use a wide range of emotions, from angry to terrified, to excited, and more. He prefers to hang back and relax while his brother does the hero work, but is more than willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Since the release of Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi’s been depicted as a scaredy cat, which opens the door to fun character growth, where Mario doesn’t need any sort of development.
Speaking of Luigi’s Mansion, each game features Luigi facing his fears to rescue Mario. Every time there’s a new Luigi’s Mansion game, Mario gets himself kidnapped and trapped inside of a portrait and Luigi has to save his butt with a vacuum. Even in the 1993 educational game Mario is Missing, Luigi must travel the world to rescue his brother who has been kidnapped by Bowser. Where would Mario be without Luigi looking out for him?
Despite Luigi always being terrified, he’s actually able to fight and defeat ghosts, which is something Mario is literally unable to do. Luigi has taken down hundreds of spooky specters, but Mario can only avoid them and make them unable to move by looking in their direction. It sounds like Mario has more to be afraid of when it comes to ghosts.
Luigi is so cool that the “death stare” he gives other characters as he passes them in Mario Kart 8 was nominated for “The Best Gaming Moment” award. Even when Luigi was brainwashed into being a supervillain known as Mr. L. in Super Paper Mario, he piloted a giant mech and donned an especially awesome uniform.
Nintendo even declared a whole year, 2013, the year of Luigi. The whole year served as a celebration of the character in which he starred in a solid handful of his own games. Mario may be the hero more frequently, but he doesn’t get any such dedications.
When given the option to choose a character, whether it be in Mario Party, Mario Golf, or Mario Kart, Luigi is picked much more frequently than Mario. That’s because there’s so much more to love about the man in green.