Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a Game About Climate Crisis

I’m a latecomer to the Luigi’s Mansion franchise. My GameCube launch title was Rogue Squadron, and I downloaded Dark Moon right after a bad breakup but only ended up playing it for about an hour on my beat-up 2DS. So, upon playing a couple of hours of Luigi’s Mansion 3, I was surprised to discover that it is not simply a game about hunting ghosts. No, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is also one of the great parables of climate crisis of our time.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s bullshit. But stay with me.

Let’s start with the basics. Luigi and friends are invited to stay at a luxurious hotel. Everything seems fine, except that — whoops — it turns out that the hotel is run by a ghost. All of Luigi’s friends have been captured by King Boo, and he himself narrowly escapes the same fate. The once-beautiful hotel is now trashed and despoiled.

Meeting up with his old friend Professor E. Gadd, Luigi sets out to rescue Mario and company. He is afraid of nearly everything. But at this point, he has also had it with this shit. He doesn’t simply suck up the ghosts with his vacuum. No, he slams the unliving shit out of them. Seriously, this is maybe the most aggressive I’ve ever seen a Mario character act outside of that one soccer game where everyone was trying to murder each other.

In Luigi’s quest, he discovers gold seemingly everywhere in the decrepit hotel. Money is piled up on shelves, in washing machines, under sinks. E. Gadd urges Luigi to take it, admitting that even if Luigi isn’t interested in the wealth he is. He further points out that the ghosts have no use for it, being dead. But what was the money doing in the hotel anyway? It must have belonged to one or more of the ghosts in life, who died hoarding it rather than redistribute it amongst the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom.

More Luigi’s Mansion 3:

See where this is going? Luigi is a millennial. He’s stuck in an environment vastly different from what he was promised, with the odds seemingly against his surviving — much less thriving. Even so, his fear has not pushed him into despair. Luigi stands up and starts doing the work that needs to be done. Is it a coincidence that his weapon of choice in the series is a vacuum? I think not. The Poltergust G-00 represents the act of cleaning and restoration. In using it to defeat the ghosts haunting the hotel, Luigi is attempting to deal with the legacy that has been left to him.

Speaking of the Poltergust, Luigi is accompanied in Luigi’s Mansion 3 by Gooigi. This amorphous clone, born of ghostly fluids and caffeine, can do many things Luigi cannot. Gooigi is for convenience’s sake referred to as male, but can he truly be said to such given his origins and bodily composition? Gooigi is a zoomer — younger than Luigi, indifferent to social roles, but with much less health (because of vaping?).

And who is the foe whom Gooigi and Luigi struggle against? King Boo. BOO. BOO-mer. Do I have to spell it out?

A frightened, yet emboldened character fights for a livable world, accompanied by a meme-addled, yet capable companion. In the process, they do their best to get by, picking up money wherever they can. The rich overcome their own mortality by accumulating wealth, in the process actively creating the plight of everyone else. This is Luigi’s Mansion 3.

Nintendo declared the Year of Luigi too soon. Yes, in 2013 they released a number of games starring him, including Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. But in 2019, more than ever, Luigi is truly a icon for our time.