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 younger brother of Nintendo's mascot Mario, and appears in many games throughout the Mario series, frequently 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 two occasions: first in the 1991 educational game Mario is Missing and later in Luigi's Mansion for the Gamecube in 2001. In both 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.
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 slightly thinner than his brother. Although as kindhearted as Mario, Luigi is portrayed as timid and sometimes cowardly, especially in the presence of ghosts or when forced to do tasks that seemingly are impossible for him to accomplish.
The events leading to Luigi's creation began in 1982, during the development of Donkey Kong, where the Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto had created Mario (then known as "Jumpman") hoping that he would be able to recast the character in a variety of different roles in future games. Miyamoto had been inspired by the game Joust to create a game with a simultaneous two-player mode, which led to his development of the game Mario Bros. in 1983, with Luigi filling the role of Mario's brother as the second playable character. While Mario was originally portrayed as a carpenter in Donkey Kong, the duo of Mario and Luigi in Mario Bros. were styled as Italian plumbers by Miyamoto, on the suggestion of a colleague. Software constraints of the time - similar to those that gave Mario his distinctive look in Donkey Kong - meant Luigi's first appearance was restricted to a simple palette swap of Mario designed to represent the second player. Graphically and in terms of gameplay, the characters were completely identical, except for their color schemes; the green color scheme adopted for Luigi would remain one of his defining physical characteristics in subsequent releases.
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Official Site: Nintendo
Links: Wikipedia: Luigi IGN Profile: Luigi Nintendo: Luigi's Mansion