Nintendo's most recent Nintendo direct was a lot like their last one, that is to say, both directs made one awesome reveal after another. And while January's Nintendo direct was a wee bit better, Nintendo sent some pretty sweet Valentine's gifts to their fans February 14th.
One of the Wii's very best games, and the best platformer of the last console generation not to star Mario in space, Donkey Kong Country Returns, is returning (again) on the 3DS. No news on what, if any, new features the game will have, but given its emphasis on foregrounds and backgrounds, it seems like an ideal port to showcase Nintendo's 3D handheld.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf will be released in North America in early June. So mark your calenders for June 9th, because that's when your real life ends and your virtual animal life begins all over again.
Mario Golf: World Tour was also announced for 3DS, so if you're one who's been missing Mario's sporting ventures, here you go.
But the best news to come from Nintendo's latest direct was the Luigi-centric reveals. Not only did we get new information on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, but it was also revealed that New Super Mario Bros. U will have DLC "on the scale of a whole new game" all centered around Luigi, dubbed "New Super Luigi U." Best of all was the announcement of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the fourth installment of insanely hilarious RPG series.
All this Weegee news is due to the character's 30th anniversary, and it really says something about how important Luigi has become to the company that even Yoshi didn't get such treatment on his twentieth anniversary a couple years back (poor Yoshi).
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon was already high on my 2013 games radar, and now the equally Luigi-centric Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (in which Mario ventures into Luigi's dreamscape and team's with Luigi's much-braver dream-self) joins those ranks. Both games look not only like titles the 3DS sorely needs, but also seem to be the perfect way for Nintendo to celebrate the man in green.
After Super Mario World, there was a time where Luigi only showed up in spinoff games like Mario Kart and Mario Party. For a while, the main Mario series didn't need him anymore. In Yoshi's Island Luigi's baby-self was kidnapped and needed rescuing, and he was entirely absent in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
But it was in Sunshine's era that Luigi found his own footing. He wasn't needed in Mario's adventures anymore, so instead he got one of his own. Luigi's first solo outing was Luigi's Mansion (what? You say there was one beforehand? I don't know what you're talking about). Luigi's Mansion was a GameCube launch title that not only provided one of the most unique takes on Mario's (and Luigi's) world, but also greatly shaped Luigi into his own character. No longer just "tall, green Mario," Luigi was now the cowardly, comical brother in gaming's most popular tandem. While Mario was jumping into paintings and courageously adventuring to save the princess, Luigi was shaking in his boots, scared out of his wits trying to save his brother so he could get the heck out of that mansion.
Luigi's Mansion, although often overlooked, was a turning point for the Mario series in that it gave Luigi his own identity. An identity that was later put centerstage in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga two years later.
Superstar Saga was the third Mario RPG, but the first where Luigi had a prominent role (in both SMRPG and Paper Mario he was on the sidelines in cameo roles). Much of the game's humor was centered on Luigi's cowardice and "less manly" personality compared to that of Mario's, and his role as second banana in the series was also a source of comedy, with most of the characters (including Bowser) not even remembering Luigi's name.
Both games helped solidify Luigi as his own man, and his newfound individuality helped make him a bigger fan-favorite than ever before, and many now consider him the better Mario brother.
It couldn't be more appropriate that these two games are getting sequels on the 30th anniversary of Luigi's debut. A 2D platformer starring Mario's unusually lanky brother is the icing on the cake.