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

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