Luigi Death Stare: The Internet Meme Inspired by a Hostile Glance

Mario Kart 8 Road Rage Set the Internet Ablaze

Luigi Death Stare in Mario Kart 8

The Luigi Death Stare is an internet meme based on the angry expression of one of the playable characters in Mario Kart 8. The meme was inspired by a short video clip from the game in which Luigi glares at an opponent he is passing while the Chamillionaire song "Ridin'" plays.

The Beginning of the Luigi Death Stare 

Mario Kart 8 racers have expressionless faces, but somehow, Luigi's generally dour expression takes on a disturbing malevolence as his head slowly rotates to watch a competitor go by. This was discovered soon after the game's release by a gamer playing with MK8's highlight reel feature, which allows you to replay and share races.

The player uploaded a video to YouTube, "Waluigi vs. Luigi 1," which is a slow-motion clip from the game in which Luigi takes on a look of apparent loathing as he passes Waluigi. When the same video, set to music and titled "Luigi Ridin' Dirty - Death Stare in Mario Kart 8," showed Luigi glaring while Chamillionaire sings, "They see me rollin'/They hatin'/Patrolling/ They tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty," it tickled the internet funny bone, resulting in millions of views for the 24-second clip. The Luigi Death Stare was born. 

The Craze

Within a few days of the release of Mario Kart 8, a LuigiDeathStare forum was created on Reddit, gaining far more subscribers than Reddit's Mario Kart forum. Subscribers contributed links to both straightforward videos and animated gifs from the game, as well as edited takes and weird takeoffs. The meme was so popular that it made the news. This was a surprise to the original "Waluigi vs. Luigi 1" uploader, who notes in the video's description: "Somehow this started a meme. I'm so sorry."

The Mechanics

Luigi is not actually making an angry face. The Death Stare phenomenon is simply a result of the way characters in the game turn their heads and their eyes in order to stare at passing characters they have just attacked or been attacked by. Luigi's expression could probably most accurately be described as one of concentration, but when using the highlight reel feature to play races in slow motion, these neutral expressions and smoothly rotating heads become hostile and arrogant.

Luigi is not the angriest looking racer in MK8that would be Wendy O. Koopa, who keeps a remarkably hostile expression on her face at all times, whether she's passing by or just waiting for the race to begin. Perhaps Luigi became the center of the meme simply because he usually plays an affable and somewhat inept sidekick for Mario. You expect a Koopa to throw you a dirty look, but Luigi's hostility is surprising. He is the mild-mannered character revealing the rage buried deep within. 

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