Finally, the game of The Day is…

#1: Luigi’s Mansion

I’ve discussed previously my affinity for this game, and I kind of feel like I might have undersold its sequel on the way to getting here for wanting to make sure I had enough to go on about (as so much carries over), but here it is.

Incidentally, I was hoping to do a livestream of the game this year, but technical issues prevented me from being able to do so.

Anyway, what I love about this game is the spooky haunted mansion atmosphere and all the interactive detail that went into it. From dust and cobwebs adorning the long disused furniture to the rather Canadian-looking Bills that fly about alongside the Coins and jewels, everything has a very real atmosphere to it — not necessarily in appearance, as it does retain a cartoon style (albeit a rather detailed one), but in believability.

And that’s what really kind of sells Luigi’s Mansion to me, in a way: there’s just something believable about this large mansion, with all its many rooms, most of which seem to have been designed for specific residents or purposes, such as the mother’s bedroom (where she continues putting on her makeup in front of a mirror) to a gym, a kitchen, and more. Unlike the sequel, it’s a very large, interconnected house that you don’t have to leave and revisit for separate missions, but one enormous venture to find Luigi’s brother.

Of course, part of what I love about it is the exploration: finding what’s behind the next door, how one room relates to another, and so on. Truth be told, I’ve always felt that if I were to have a mansion built, I’d want it made with all sorts of secret rooms and things for me to find. I’ve literally had dreams about such places.

A large part of the game’s atmosphere comes from Luigi himself. Most of the time, there is no music, leaving an eerie silence in its stead; however, Luigi breaks it himself with his constant (and sometimes nervous) humming of the game’s title theme. Likewise, Luigi has a dedicated button for calling out for his brother, ranging from a bolder “MARIO!” to the much more timid “M-M-M-M-Mario?” as his life meter decreases.

Many of the ghosts are full of character, too. Sure, there are your more generic Boos and common ghosts, but the portraits of who are presumably the mansion’s former occupants, from the mother, father, and baby to the dancing couple, the wandering butler, and one of my personal favorites, Biff Atlas, the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Duke Nukem-esque body builder who spends all his time in the gym and has to be beaten with his own punching bag to expose the heart at his core that Luigi must suck up with the Poltergust 3000.

Speaking of which, Luigi’s Mansion has contributed a fair bit to Mario lore, from Professor E. Gadd to King Boo, and the aforementioned Poltergust itself. References and appearances have been made by each in various titles released since, ranging from Super Smash Bros. to Mario Kart to Mario Party, the role playing games, sports titles, and more.

All in all, Luigi’s Mansion is one of my favorite games (even though, believe it or not, I’ve never gotten to finish it — long-ish story, see here), and as I’ve said before, I’m not so much a fan of blood and gore as I am the creepy and spooky elements of the Halloween season, so its tone and atmosphere combined with that signature Nintendo care and polish fits the bill perfectly for me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this countdown; maybe I’ll do something like it again next year? We’ll have to see. In the meantime, if you want to reread or missed any of my entries, you can find everything under the Halloween tag.

And a huge thanks and shout-out to Matt from one of my favorite sites year-round, Dinosaur Dracula! Were it not for his infectious love of this holiday, I might never have been inspired to do this countdown. I may not have been able to put together my own Halloween Mood Table, but at least I put together a hopefully-decent list.

Oh, and if you’ve still got a few hours left in your Halloween by the time you read this — or even if you don’t — be sure to head on over there for all sorts of great retro and modern commercials, newspaper clippings, themed-foods, toys, and more!

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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