Wario, as seen in Mario Party 8.
|First game||Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)|
|Voiced by (English)||Charles Martinet (1997–present)
Thomas Spindler (1998-2001)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Thomas Spindler (1996-1997)
Chikao Ōtsuka (1997-present)
Wario (ワリオ?) is a fictional character in Nintendo's Mario series who was designed as an antagonist to Mario. He first appeared in the 1992 Game Boy title Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins as the main antagonist and final boss. He was portrayed as an exaggerated version of Mario and his name is a variant of "Mario". Wario was first designed by Hiroji Kiyotake, and is voiced by Charles Martinet, who also voices many other characters in the series.
Since his debut, Wario has become the protagonist and antihero of the Wario Land and WarioWare series, spanning handheld and console markets. In addition to appearances in spin-offs in the Mario series, he appears in cameos for Kirby Super Star Ultra, Densetsu no Stafy 3 and Pilotwings 64. He has also been featured in other media such as the Super Mario Adventures graphic novel. The character has received a largely positive critical reception and has emerged as a well-established mascot for Nintendo.
Concept and creation
A highly potential inspiration for Wario first appeared in the 1985 game Wrecking Crew in the character of Spike, a construction foreman. Although he bears a slight resemblance to Spike, Wario did not debut until 1992. The first named appearance of the character occurred in the game Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. He was designed by game artist Hiroji Kiyotake. Wario's design arose from Super Mario Land's design team's distaste of making a game based around someone else's character. The creation of Wario allowed them a character of their own to "symbolize their situation".
Wario is portrayed as an exaggerated version of Mario; he has huge, muscular arms, a large moustache, and a bellicose cackle. The name "Wario" is a portmanteau of "Mario" with the Japanese adjective warui (悪い?) meaning "bad"; hence, a "bad Mario" (further symbolized by the "W" on his hat, an upside down "M"). Voice actor Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario since 1995, is also the voice for Wario. During the audition for the part, Martinet was told to speak in a mean and gruff-sounding tone. He described voicing Wario as a looser task than voicing Mario, since Mario's speaking manner and personality are more free-flowing, rising from the ground and floating into the air, while one of Wario's cornerstones is self-pity. Starting with Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario experiences rejuvenating effects from garlic in a similar manner as Mario is powered up by mushrooms. Wario often uses bombs, as seen in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario Blast and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. The WarioWare series prominently uses bombs as a visual motif to represent the time limit.
In video games in which Wario makes a cameo appearance, he is often portrayed as a villain. However, the development team for Wario Land: Shake It! stated that he was not really a villain, and they did not consider him one during development. They focused on his behavior, which alternates between good and evil. Etsunobu Ebisu, a producer of The Shake Dimension, considered Wario to be a reckless character, who uses his strength to overwhelm others. Tadanori Tsukawaki, the design director of The Shake Dimension, described Wario as manly, and said he was "so uncool that he ends up being extremely cool". Because of this, he wanted Wario to act macho rather than silly and requested that the art designers emphasize his masculinity. Wario was chosen as the star of the WarioWare series because the developers felt he was the best character for the franchise because he often acted stupid.
Wario Land series
Wario made his first appearance as a villain in the 1992 Game Boy video game Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, in which he captured Mario's castle. He also served as a villain in the 1993 Japan-only puzzle game Mario & Wario, in which he drops a bucket on the head of Mario, Princess Peach, or Yoshi. This was followed by the first game in the Wario Land series, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994), a platform game which marked Wario's first appearance as a protagonist and introduced his first villains, Captain Syrup and her Brown Sugar Pirates. His next adventure, 1995's Virtual Boy Wario Land, plays similarly and incorporates the ability to move in and out of the background. A sequel for the Game Boy title, Wario Land II, was released in 1998; it featured Captain Syrup's return as the antagonist. This game also introduces Wario's invulnerability, allowing him to be burnt or flattened without sustaining damage. In 2000 Wario Land 3 was released to the Game Boy Color as another sequel; it used the same mechanics and concepts of its predecessor. The following year, the sequel Wario Land 4 debuted on the Game Boy Advance, incorporating Wario's ability to become burnt or flattened and reintroducing the ability to become damaged from standard attacks. In 2004, Wario World, the first console Wario platforming title, was released for the Nintendo GameCube; it featured three-dimensional graphics and gameplay and did not incorporate any major elements from previous platforming titles. Wario: Master of Disguise was released for the Nintendo DS in the 2007. The game introduced touch screen control of Wario and incorporated puzzles into the gameplay. The series' most recent release, Wario Land: Shake It!, was released for the Wii in 2008 and reintroduced Captain Syrup. The game uses a hand-drawn animation style, and Wario's design required more than 2,000 frames of animation.
In 2003, the Wario franchise introduced a new series of games, the first of which was WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! for the Game Boy Advance. The game's premise involved Wario's decision to open a game development company to make money, creating short "microgames" instead of full-fledged games. The title's gameplay focused on playing a collection of microgames in quick succession. Mega Microgames! was later remade as WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Games! for the GameCube; it featured the same microgames but lacked a story mode and focused more on multi-player. In 2004, two sequels were released for the game. The first was the Game Boy Advance title WarioWare: Twisted!, which used the cartridge's a tilt sensor to allows microgames to be controlled by tilting the handheld left and right. The second was the Nintendo DS release WarioWare: Touched!, which incorporates the DS's touch screen and microphone in its gameplay. One of the Wii's launch games in 2006 was WarioWare: Smooth Moves, which used the Wii Remote's motion sensing technologies in a variety of ways. The Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi have offered two new releases, 2008's WarioWare: Snapped!, which can be downloaded with the DSiWare service and uses the DSi's built-in front camera in its gameplay, and the 2009 Nintendo DS game WarioWare D.I.Y., which allows players to create microgames. Game & Wario for the Nintendo Wii U was released on June 23, 2013.  Although it does not use the WarioWare name, it incorporates gameplay and characters from the WarioWare series. The game also pays tribute to the original Game & Watch games.
In 1994's Wario's Woods, Wario appears as the main antagonist who wants to take over the forest and is defeated by Toad. That same year, Wario was also in the video game Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!, a remake of a Bomberman title for the Game Boy which incorporated Wario as a playable character. Starting with Mario Kart 64, Wario has appeared in thirty Mario sports games, including the Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Baseball, Mario Strikers, and Mario & Sonic series. Wario has also appeared in all installments of the Mario Party series except Mario Party Advance. Wario is a playable character in two platformers for the Nintendo DS, the remake Super Mario 64 DS (2004) and Yoshi's Island DS (2006), as well as the 2001 puzzle game Dr. Mario 64 and the 2008 fighting game Super Smash Bros. Brawl as well as its 2014 follow-up, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Wario's cameos include aiding protagonist Stafy in the video game Densetsu no Stafy 3 and being present in the scenery of Pilotwings 64. The Super Mario Adventures graphic novel, which is a collection of comics originally serialized in the video gaming magazine Nintendo Power, features Wario in two of the stories. One of the stories focuses on Wario's past, explaining his rivalry with Mario. Wario was also appeared in every Mario Kart game in the series starting with Mario Kart 64 in 1996.
Promotion and reception
Since his appearance in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario has become a well-established mascot for Nintendo, and he has received a largely positive reception. Nintendo Power described Wario as a "pretty uncool dude" which they "cannot help but like." They also listed his mustache as one of the best in Nintendo games. Computer and Video Games found the levity of Wario's games "liberating" compared to big Nintendo franchises such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda. They also mention that, regarding the character, they "empathise more with the hopelessly materialistic Wario than goody brown-shoes Mario. Deep down, we'd all rather chase pounds over princesses." IGN editor Travis Fahs comments that while Wario is not the most likeable character, his strong confidence overshadows his flaws and makes him entertaining. The website later ranked Wario 31st in a list of the "Top 100 Videogame Villains". In the book A Parent's Guide to Nintendo Games: A Comprehensive Look at the Systems and the Games, Craig Wessel described Wario as a "sinister twist" on Mario. In Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares, Volume 1, S. T. Joshi cites Waluigi and Wario as examples of alter egos, and how popular it is to feature such character archetypes.
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