I owned Luigi’s Mansion on GameCube when I was slightly smaller than I am now. My younger brother and I would try to get through its spooky, ghost-filled levels together, sharing tips and wasting our parents’ printer ink on 30-page guides off the internet. But really, Luigi’s Mansion owned me.
I’ve never been great with horror, and by “horror” I mean literally anything with the slightest hint of menace. Ocarina of Time used to give me nightmares. I was hopeless in the face of Luigi’s Mansion, filled with jumpscares and menace. My knees knocked together just as Luigi’s did as he explored this big, haunted mansion in search of his brother. I hated it. I loved it.
This morning, I watched the speedrun of Luigi’s Mansion for Awesome Games Done Quick, as played by HDLAX1. The chunky GameCube fonts, the heavy use of purple and green, Professor E. Gadd’s reassuringly annoying voice instructing you where to go—it was like a sweet, nostalgic dream full of dead people.
It’s easy not to be spooked when you’re watching a pro breeze through ghosts like no big deal.
I bought my partner Luigi’s Mansion 2, also known as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, for Christmas last year. He occasionally sends me photos and videos of some moment he’s just seen: a shivering Toad, Luigi humming along to the game’s music, or a joke about Booleans. (Booleans? Get it?) I’m reminded how damn good the animation and humor are in that game, and how incredibly underappreciated it is.
Go play Luigi’s Mansion 2 already.
It’s amazing how one strange game about ghosts and vacuum cleaners has become such a cult hit, and even more amazing that the Year of Luigi is upon is again in 2019. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is out this year, even though we know almost nothing about it except for the fact it will feature Luigi and mansion.
I’m so excited. And scared.