Luigi’s Death Stare Joins the Canon of Classic Memes

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 22 2014 5:28 PM

Luigi’s Death Stare Joins the Canon of Classic Memes

luigi
Luigi peers into your soul.

Image from Nintendo.

Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8 for Wii U is a big hit. Released in May, it has won positive reviews and a big fan base. But the meme that has emerged from the game has nothing to do racing or Mario himself—it’s all about Luigi’s death stare. And Nintendo’s new ad for Mario Kart 8 (below) is definitely milking the craze.

In the promotional footage of Kart 8, when Luigi executes a good move, like bumping another driver or hitting them with a shell, he makes a weirdly evil, even maniacal face. I always thought there was something a little bit sinister about Luigi’s engine room in the original Mario Party, but this confirms it. Maybe he resents being portrayed as Mario’s dopey sidekick in game after game.

luigichipmunk

Gif by Lily Hay Newman.

Advertisement

Whatever the explanation, Luigi’s death stare supports a meme theory I’ve had for awhile now: It's always funny when someone (or an animal) looks back over his shoulder at you. Dramatic chipmunk couldn’t have reached such notoriety without that unintentional physical comedy. Even robots channel it a little bit. All that side eye really shows that Luigi and the chipmunk mean business.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 16 2014 12:05 PM Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:01 PM More Than 3 Million Told the FCC What They Think About Net Neutrality. Why Hasn't Obama?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.