He's been out of the spotlight for a while, but one of the new characters introduced to the Super Mario universe during the Nintendo GameCube era, Professor Elvin Gadd, has returned to the stage as the Mushroom Kingdom's resident inventor, researcher, and all around curious genius. Introduced in 2001's Luigi's Mansion as the inventor of the Poltergust 3000, he's back in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. Whenever the professor sends Luigi out into the field to do some ghostbusting, he provides our hero with a special communicator and mapping device pieced together from some familiar hardware. Luigi carried a customized Game Boy Color in Luigi's Mansion, but in Dark Moon he's equipped with a classic 2004-era silver Nintendo DS. Why a regular DS and not a DSi or 3DS? Why hasn't Gadd kept up with the latest releases? Dark Moon developers Yoshihiko Ikebata and Ryuichi Nakada explain over at IGN:
IGN: I couldn’t help but notice that Luigi uses a device that looks remarkably similar to an original DS. Does that mean the game’s been in development since the original DS, or is that just a throwback to the last generation of portables?
Ikebata: Well, it’s not because we were in development for that long! [laughs] Really it’s more of an E. Gadd thing. E. Gadd is as much a tinkerer as he is an inventor. He likes to repurpose other materials and find new ways to use them. We thought that the DS was a great device that E. Gadd would take and repurpose to do something else. That’s why we had that in the game this time.
It's oddly charming that Gadd is a retro gaming enthusiast. The professor is one of those characters that seemed to be primed for a major role in Mario titles, but he dropped off the radar almost just as suddenly as he appeared. He played a minor background role in Super Mario Sunshine as the inventor of both Mario's FLUDD water pack and Bowser Jr.'s magic paintbrush, then turned up in the first two Mario & Luigi RPG titles as the inventor of various items that aid the brothers in their adventures. Perhaps it's best that he's used sparingly, as that keeps his appearances special and more memorable. And who knows? Perhaps when we see him again in Luigi's Mansion 3 someday in the far future, he'll hand Luigi a specially modified Wii U GamePad.