For decades, has stayed on top of the gaming industry by producing some of the most loveable characters around, and it has learned which characters it can reuse to ensure consumers will continue to spend their money on Nintendo products. However, there are some characters that Nintendo continues to suppress despite the obvious fanbases surrounding them. While there are plenty of beloved characters that lie in Nintendo purgatory, there are a few who remain relevant that Nintendo might be hoping gamers forget about.
While Nintendo has been around since the late 1800s, it didn't start developing video games until the 1970s. It wouldn't be until 1981 that Nintendo would find its stride after developing the game. From there, Nintendo would develop numerous iconic video game franchises including The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, and the company's golden child Super Mario. These big-name characters have been Nintendo's A-listers for decades, with new characters joining their ranks very rarely.
However, there are certain characters that should be standing alongside Mario, Link, and Samus as Nintendo celebrities. These characters could even settle for B- or C-tier characters, but Nintendo continues to suppress their presence despite their loyal fanbases. Characters such as Waluigi, Geno, and Chibi-Robo are easily some of the most beloved Nintendo characters, but it's almost as if Nintendo doesn't want them to succeed.
Geno, a fan-favorite character from the original on the Nintendo 64, is a prime example of a character that Nintendo has tried to erase for years but hasn't succeeded due to his popularity online. This is most evident when looking at his appearances outside of his original game and how Nintendo altered future iterations of these games to remove Geno's presence. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga featured Geno as the host of the Star Stache Smash arcade machine. However, when the game was remade as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, Geno was replaced by generic dialogue boxes. This could have been due to licensing issues with Square Enix, but Nintendo and Square Enix's relationship seems cordial enough to allow the same cameo twice. And, despite fans' cries for Geno to make a worthwhile , Nintendo only produced a measly Mii Gunner costume. They couldn't bother to make him a deluxe outfit nor an official amiibo.
Chibi-Robo could rightfully be considered a dead franchise, but that hasn't stopped the small housekeeping robot from becoming an underdog hero in the gaming community. However, Nintendo played a vital role in the death of Chibi-Robo. The last game in the series was Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash, which completely changed up the usual adventure formula and, unfortunately, was a commercial failure. A representative from Nintendo stated that if Zip Lash didn't perform well, it may be the final game in the franchise (via ). That would be similar to if Nintendo released a Pokémon Pinball game and expected it to sell as well as a mainline Pokémon game. Nintendo had to have known Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash wouldn't perform as well as previous titles, but still left the fate of the series in its hands.
It would be nearly impossible for Nintendo to kill off Waluigi at this point, but that isn't stopping it from suppressing Waluigi's stage presence. This was most notable during the recent Nintendo Direct where Waluigi was featured for all of a second during the hour-long showcase. Nintendo didn't celebrate Waluigi's 20th anniversary in any capacity in 2020, and it continues to favor Wario over his partner in crime. Even Wario was featured as a costume in the Animal Crossing: New Horizon's crossover, but Waluigi was nowhere to be found.
Seeing these characters be treated so poorly by their parent company is upsetting, to say the least. These are characters who have amassed their own cult followings, ones that desperately want to see them given the spotlight in some capacity. But for some reason, Nintendo acts as if it wants gamers to forget they exist. Instead of giving people what they want, Nintendo continues to favor its A-list characters. Maybe one day Nintendo will give Waluigi the solo title he deserves, or maybe he will be their next victim.
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