If you’ve inured yourself in the world of online gaming fandom, you will already know that Nintendo‘s mysterious renegade Waluigi has built up a strange cult appreciation over the past 18 years of his odd existence. Ostensibly a bizarro clone of Mario‘s hapless and bumbling brother Luigi, Waluigi pops up in the occasional game and has literally never had his backstory explained. Who is he? What are his motives, his dreams? Nobody knows. Perhaps nobody has the strength of will to process that forbidden knowledge.

This beautiful postmodern analysis of Waluigi from The Empty Page perhaps goes some ways to explaining Waluigi’s demented appeal:

Waluigi is the ultimate example of the individual shaped by the signifier. Waluigi is a man seen only in mirror images; lost in a hall of mirrors he is a reflection of a reflection of a reflection. You start with Mario – the wholesome all Italian plumbing superman, you reflect him to create Luigi – the same thing but slightly less. You invert Mario to create Wario – Mario turned septic and libertarian – then you reflect the inversion in the reflection: you create a being who can only exist in reference to others. Waluigi is the true nowhere man, without the other characters he reflects, inverts and parodies he has no reason to exist. Waluigi’s identity only comes from what and who he isn’t – without a wider frame of reference he is nothing. He is not his own man. In a world where our identities are shaped by our warped relationships to brands and commerce we are all Waluigi.

So, keeping in mind Waluigi’s energetic fanbase, it was a sad spectacle to see that Nintendo’s full announcement for the hotly anticipated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was utterly bereft of the purple pervert.

Well, not entirely bereft. Though literally every other Nintendo character who has ever appeared in a Super Smash Bros. game is playable, Waluigi is not – he appears merely as an Assist Trophy, which is basically a kind of stage hazard/power-up. So he’s in there; he’s just completely unplayable. It is an act of profound disrespect towards a character who has been repeatedly disrespected for nearly two decades.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that the audience are ready to revolt over this profound horror:

It’s a dark day, ladies and gentlemen. To Nintendo, we say this: it is not too late. Bring our lusty, crude icon back into the game. Make him playable. You can change this.

Image: Nintendo