Luigi is the Jackie Chan of games and you should just accept it

Luigi is the Jackie Chan of games and you should just accept it


I spent some time with Luigi’s Mansion 3. It’s got a beautifully detailed world and tight gameplay, But its Luigi’s expressive animations
that stood out to me the most. and it’s those animations that prove
what I’ve been saying all along Luigi is the Jackie Chan of video games. I’m sorry for doing another one of these videos
where I come out and say “This Thing is exactly like This Thing!” But I’ll stop doing it when I stop being right. And I know the next thing you’re going to say is: “Why isn’t ~Mario~ the Jackie Chan of video games?” “He has a penchant for wall jumps,
he’s got a prominent nose,” “he loves doing stunts.” And yes, Mario does all of those things. But he lacks the defining quality ofJackie Chan’s Action Ethos: The intersection of effort and vulnerability The idea that, yes, your hero can do things,
and they can be really impressive things. But they should take visible effort, and they
shouldn’t always go the way the hero plans. So the first half of this formula is effort. Jackie conveys effort make making sure
that his characters are competent and, you know, they can do cool stuff, but they’re not superhuman. He’s really careful to limit the amount of wirework or camera trickery that goes into his stunts. He’s doing incredible things,
but in a way that, you know, Still accounts for gravity and the
limitations of the human body but, like, the Jackie Chan human body. Not this human body. You know what I’m saying. You can always tell that he’s actually doing it,
and that its actually really fucking hard. And it doesn’t look like this. [he won’t be winning any ‘fencing’ competitions hahaha] We see game animators trying to
convey visible effort all the time and Monster Hunter is a really good example of this. where the hunters carry around these massive impossibly, stupidly huge weapons, but they still sort of treat them like they have weight. They’re not just flailing them around life wiffle ball bats. the hunters strain and they brace and they
use all of their skill and their strength just to get these weapons up into attack position. Again, it’s not just about doing something cool It’s about doing something cool
that looks like it was really hard. And for Luigi, everything is difficult. Even just dragging a trash can across this courtyard, You can see him leaning back and using every muscle
in his delicious, sausage-like body to just inch it along, bit by bit. So the other element here is vulnerability and these are the moments where we remember yes, bad stuff can happen to our heroes Jackie’s heroes get the shit kicked out of them because Jackie thinks that we care more about heroes when it actually seems like they’re in peril. In games, we see vulnerability in a
lot of hit react animations. The animations that play when
your character takes damage, and they stagger or go flying. But some games go further,
like Uncharted and The Last of Us that uses animation blending to make the characters flinch as bullets pass by without taking control away from the player. It’s a cool additional layer they use there to keep selling the idea of vulnerability Without the character actually getting hurt My favorite bit of vulnerability in Luigi’s Mansion 3 is what happens when Luigi gets spooked by a ghost. He just completely freezes l ike a baby gazelle in the jaws of a lion This is what you do when it’s like 2AM and your terrible cat knocks over a
glass of water in the other room But you are completely convinced that it’s the hand eyeball guy from Pan’s Labyrinth finally coming to finish you off so you just sit perfectly still,
and you listen for the creak of your doorknob. Luigi is like that. But the cool thing is, you still have some control If you use the flashlight controls, he’ll, you know, shine the light around while trying to remain perfectly still because he just shit his overalls. It’s a really cool example of using animation to sell the character without taking control away from the player Now before we move on, I do want to point out that obviously this isn’t the only right way to do things and sometimes you want to go for the complete opposite effect. For a character like Bayonetta, the whole point is that she’s able to do incredible things with little or no effort, and for a character like Kratos The core of his identity is that his moments of vulnerability are just brief hindrances to his forward momentum. and with Mario it’s important that no matter what he’s up against, no matter what the odds, even if he’s in a full of lava and living skeletons, He just leaps forward with a smile on his face, and a victorious fist in the air. No effort. No vulnerability. A complete sociopath. But, because Nintendo has established that Luigi is a coward, he’s free to be a different kind of hero. For Luigi, everything takes effort, and everything has a palpable cost. And this is the core of that Jackie Chan action philosphy It’s not just effort ~or~ vulnerability, it’s the constant interplay of the two. This is why one of Jackie’s favorite gags is that thing where he punches somebody and it hurts ~his~ fist. You can see this in so many of Luigi’s animations. Even his attack animations will have these little moments of vulnerability baked right in. [BEEP BEEP] But before we talk about those we gotta make a pit stop…. …at the Gooigi Garage! Here are the Gooigi Garage’s top five Gooigi Goodies. Number one: Gooigi is a friend. He gives a little thumbs up before he goes back into his backpack prison. Number two: Gooigi doesn’t fear death
He is death. He has his own idle animations that are a lot less nervous than Luigi’s and he walks with confidence. Number three: Gooigi is wobbly There’s a satisfying little wiggle when you stop moving, and he jiggles into place. Number four: Gooigi is wet. You can tell by his little damp footprints and number 5:
GOOIGI CAN NOT BE SUCKED He teeters temptingly towards the vacuum, but he won’t go in. Okay, so back to that intersection of effort and vulnerability. When luigi is vacuuming up a ghost, he scrambles and panics He’s literally trying to keep his hat on as he’s getting dragged around. He’s technically draining their health bar but he’s struggling the whole time. When Luigi sucks up a loaf of bread, or a watermelon or whatever and shoots it back out, it’ll shatter its target but he is subject to the laws of physics, so he’ll also stumble backwards. Action, reaction. When he uses his blast ability, you this huge shock wave come out of his body but you also see him tugged into the air by his own backpack, and he flails his legs Like the Toronto Raptors on rollerblades which is the best gif online. And look what happens when Luigi startles a ghost with his flashbulb: It scares him too To anybody who’s ever fired a pistol or tried to take a picture of somebodies dog on the subway without realizing the flash was still on This is some real shit. Even the slam, his most powerful maneuver isn’t executed from a place of stoic confidence. It doesn’t look like an offensive maneuver. It looks like what I do when I have a bug on me. We see effort in his straining face and body and we see vulnerability as he slams the ghost into the ground and goes stumbling after them. Thes animations are a real treat because the animators at Next Level games are incredibly talented but also because they’re working with a hero who isn’t traditionally heroic. Luigi isn’t burdened with being cheery and resolute. We can see him humiliated. We can see him dump a bucket of water on his own head or get smacked around by a rude ghost. He’s panicked, he’s pathetic, he’s vulnerable,
but most of all he’s a hero. and now, to finally prove my point, here are some Jackie Chan fight scenes where I made it sound like Luigi it was doing the fighting


100 thoughts on “Luigi is the Jackie Chan of games and you should just accept it

  1. Pat, you continue to make the best, mildly bizarre, but well reasoned arguments for video game comprehension and appreciation.

  2. When your teacher tells you to write an argumentative essay about something you feel strongly about, this is something I would type up.

  3. Wow, unlike unraveled this taught me stuff and was pretty deep

    Don't think I don't like unraveled, I love it, it's just neat learning from polygon

  4. i swear to god the luigi jackie chan fight scene gives me the exact same emotion it feels to watch luigi's combos in smash

  5. Okay but PAT when Luigi freezes and can barely move the flashlight around he's trying not to look directly at anything scary

    He's doing the big boy version of covering his eyes and peeking through his fingers and you NEED to think about this

  6. Hell yeah, Miracles! One of my fave sleeper Jackie Chan movies. The finale in the rope factory is still one of my favourite sequences of his (even is the music is a bit too cartoony).

    Dragons Forever is my all-time fave, though. If you're reading this and you haven't seen that movie, find a way to see that movie.

  7. It reminded me of Every Frame is a Painting video about Jackie Chan. Good video – the sociopath bit was my favorite and I like the thinking about details

  8. Thank you for some more hot takes I didn't know I needed nor did I know I would agree with. You are indeed correct again Pat Gill

  9. Okay question if the toronto mascot is like luigi why isnt he also like Jackie is chan? Or was that your point…

  10. actually, the crazy corkscrew from legend of drunken master is totally in smash bros luigi's moveset. hmm.

  11. This is art and I love it. These are the only creators I wish were on the patreon model. I would absolutely throw down some polybucks to get more Patrick Magic® in my life.

  12. Luigi is not only the Jackie Chan of games by way of Jackie Chan characters, but also by way of how the movie industry treats Jackie Chan and his work. Both have been taken for granted by their respective industry for the amount of effort they dedicate. Hollywood has been grinding Jackie Chan’s proverbial shoe for much of his career, boxing him out of many awards that he deserves. In this essay, I will-

  13. any1 else in the comments play the violin and can no longer concentrate on what he's saying after they start playing bach a minor

  14. DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR THESE. The truck nuts/Anthem video was a great mix of weird premise that is well supported. And so is this one. Go for it!

  15. Why not reuse brian's knowledge of the Geneva convention and list all of the war crimes on metal gear solid

  16. Im so glad my friends introduced me to polygon so I can hear a grown man refer to Luigi as delicious and sausage like

  17. Let me get it out of the way SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIZA

  18. okay but full stop, despite how funny these videos are, they're also really interesting and genuine analyses and critique about what makes these games effective (or not effective, cough, anthem), and for that, patrick, i salute you. you truly are america's wisest gamer.

  19. you told me what was happening in the outro and I stil lost it at the pure accuracy of the luigi – jackie chan conversion. fuckin incredible. a++++

  20. y’all are out here using the brandenburg concerto in a polygon vid,,,,i’m a simple music hoe lmao how am i supposed to focus on two wonderful things happening at the same time

  21. Luigi's defining personality trait is he is coward
    Mario's defining personality trait is that he loves food.
    This is why he saves Peach: it was actually the promise of cake.

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