Wario, as seen in the WarioWare series
|Genres||Platform game, minigame compilation|
The Wario (ワリオ) franchise comprises various video games created by Nintendo, starring the character Wario. The franchise began with Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, the first game to feature Wario as a playable character, and gained many further installments. The Wario series includes mostly platforming video games and minigame compilations, but also includes other genres. It is a spin-off of the Mario series.
Wario Land series
Wario Land games
In Wario Land, Wario has a castle in Kitchen Island, and often journeys to find treasure. Its gameplay consists of platforming through levels, tossing enemies, breaking blocks and using other abilities.
Wario Land characters
- Wario (ワリオ) was designed as an antagonist to Mario, and first appeared in the 1992 handheld video game Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins as the main villain and final boss. Since that time, Wario has developed into the protagonist and antihero of his own video game franchise spanning both handheld and console markets, in addition to his numerous appearances in spin-offs of the Mario series. He is voiced by Charles Martinet, who also voices the Mario, Luigi, and Waluigi characters. Wario and Waluigi seem to have been named with respect to the Japanese word warui [悪い], meaning "bad" or "evil". Therefore, Wario is a "warui Mario," and Waluigi is a "warui Luigi".
- Captain Syrup (キャプテン・シロップ Kyaputen Shiroppu ) is the main antagonist of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 and Wario Land II. She is the leader of a legion of seafaring thieves known as the Brown Sugar Pirates. She is a technological genius and inventor, constantly building mechanized apparatuses to assist her in attacking whatever target she chooses. The Pirates' base of operations is Kitchen Island, a gigantic coved island in the middle of the ocean, and their main mode of transportation is the S.S. Teacup, a massive pirate ship. She acts as Wario's ally in Wario Land: Shake It! to have him do all of the work for her, however she betrays him in the end and steals his treasure.
- Rudy the Clown is the main antagonist of Wario Land 3. Rudy lures Wario into the music box world, claiming that he is the god of the world. He convinces Wario to help break the seal that was placed upon him by the other creatures of the world, with the promise of keeping any treasure Wario finds. After the seal is broken, Rudy reveals himself and attacks Wario. Wario defeats him, and the curse on the other inhabitants is broken. Rudy returns in the video game Dr. Mario 64, where he and Mad Scienstein concoct a plan to steal the Megavitamins from Dr. Mario because he has a cold, and wants the power to cure any illness.
- Golden Diva is the main antagonist of Wario Land 4. She is responsible for taking over the pyramid that was originally ruled by Princess Shokora whom she placed a curse upon turning her into a black cat. Wario decides to explore the pyramid after reading about its legend in an article. She is not encountered until later in the game when the player gains access to the innermost chamber of the pyramid where various treasures are being kept.
WarioWare (also Wario Ware), known in Japan as Made in Wario (メイド イン ワリオ Meido in Wario ), is a series of games featuring the Nintendo character Wario. The franchise was established in 2003 with the release of Mega Microgame$! for the Game Boy Advance. While the first two games were developed by Nintendo R&D1, subsequent games have been co-developed by Intelligent Systems.
The distinctive feature of all WarioWare games is that they are collections of short, simple games ("microgames") presented in quick succession. Each of these microgames lasts about three to five seconds and must be completed, or else a life will be lost. For example, there is a microgame where the player must zap a spaceship; in another, Wario must collect coins in a Pac-Man-like maze. The numerous microgames are linked together randomly and steadily increase in speed and difficulty as the player progresses. On each level, players are allowed four losses only. Boss games appear frequently; the player must complete these to regain a lost life (with a maximum of four). Boss stages are considerably longer and more complex than other stages. WarioWare is based on the mini games from Mario Artist: Polygon Studio for the Nintendo 64DD.
Game & Wario, released in 2013, has been described as a 'spiritual successor' to the WarioWare series.
Microgames are simple video games created by the fictional company WarioWare, Inc.. Nintendo's line of WarioWare games each feature these microgames, which are generally less than 5 seconds long. Microgames are even simpler and shorter than the minigames found in other games such as the Mario Party series. Gameplay in all WarioWare games is distinct from most other games, as they involve the player or players trying to beat the microgames as soon as possible. Most games present instructions in the form of a verb and quickly drop the player into the situation where they must perform said verb. The extremely stripped-down gameplay has intrigued some game researchers, who have used WarioWare both as a case study in understanding the relationship between rules and play in videogames, and as a target domain for investigating automated game design.
All microgames are strung together in a random order within different "stages", each hosted by a different character. First the player is presented with a quick one or two word instruction such as "Eat!" or "Rub!". Then, the microgame will appear and the player will have to complete the game according the instruction.
Microgames usually have only one task to complete. For example, in one microgame the player is told to "Enter!" and is presented with a scene from The Legend of Zelda. The player must use the directional buttons to move Link to a cave entrance before the time runs out. In another game, the player is told to "Avoid!" and must drive a car, avoiding oncoming traffic.
Microgames come in three main types, classified by the condition required to clear them:
- "Accomplish" Microgames, where the player must do something within a limited amount of time. The Legend of Zelda example above is an Accomplish microgame, since Link must be guided to the cave before the timer runs out. A sound bite, signifying completion of the microgame, will usually be played before the timer runs out if the task is accomplished (and may continue through the return to the score screen).
- "Survival" Microgames, where the player must prevent something from happening until the timer runs out. The traffic example is a Survival microgame, where the car must avoid being hit until the timer runs out. The sound bite will play after the score screen returns.
- Boss Minigames, which always occur at a set point in a channel, are usually more challenging, have no time limit (as described below), and give chances back upon successful clearing. They are also required to be passed to pass a channel for the first time. The sound bite will usually play after the task is fulfilled, and then the score screen will return. On repeated plays, if the player has less than four lives, one will be restored.
In addition to these main classifications, there are several deviations from the normal microgames:
- IQ-genre microgames, which last twice as long to fit their brain-stretching contents.
- Multiplayer microgames, found in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! and WarioWare: Smooth Moves, are not beat-based, and are used to determine who goes first in a multiplayer game, or to settle a tie. The "Wobbly Bobbly" multiplayer game features multiplayer microgames most commonly, as one is played at the start of each round.
- Certain microgames require a complete lack of input to complete. Examples include a microgame in Twisted! that instructs "Don't move!" to keep eggs balanced upright, or a Microphone microgame in Touched! instructing the player to "Shhhhhhhhh!" as several Fronks cross a tight rope.
The unit of time for all microgames is beats. In Mega Microgames! and Twisted!, a standard microgame is 8 beats, while microgames in the IQ genre (hosted by Orbulon) last 16 beats; Fronk's microgames in Twisted! only last 4 beats. In most games, the BPM will start out relatively slow and will increase as the player completes microgames. Though Nintendo and game retailers suggest that the microgames last five seconds, at the slowest speed of 140 BPM, only the IQ microgames could possibly reach this length.
In WarioWare: Touched!, the 8-beat standard has been dropped for all microgames, so many last longer than 8 beats. This may be a difficulty curve for those unaccustomed to the Nintendo DS's touch-screen interface. To retain pace, the microgames will automatically end if cleared before a four-beat measure is met.
To show the time left to complete a microgame, a small "bomb" appears at the bottom of the screen. The fuse and a countdown timer show the amount of time left to complete the microgame. When time runs out, the bomb explodes and in most cases, the player loses a life. The fuse burns faster when the BPM increases.
Some microgames are intrinsically harder than others, and an increased BPM (increased speed) will make any microgame more difficult to complete than the same microgame at a slower BPM. This is usually reflected in the microgames' "clear scores"—the score one must reach while playing a microgame in the practice modes to obtain credit for "clearing" it (Smooth Moves lacks this feature, however, as do the exclusive multiplayer microgames from Mega Party Game$!).
Each microgame is also featured in three difficulty levels: Blue, Yellow and Red. Blue presents the given task in an easier way, while Red presents it in a much harder way. Not all modes of all WarioWare games actually show a color to denote the current level, but most modes start with Blue games, progressing to Yellow upon a "Level Up" (usually achieved after passing a boss microgame), then to Red in similar fashion. Once Red is reached, sequential "Level Up"s will typically be replaced by "Speed Up"s (an increase in BPM).
Using the above The Legend of Zelda microgame as an example, the Blue version of this microgame usually places Link very close to the cave entrance that he must enter. The Yellow version places the entrance further away and places an enemy that blocks Link, and the Red version places the entrance yet further, and has a second enemy that shoots at Link from a lake.
There are two major types of character in the WarioWare series. The first are the WarioWare developers, who both create and host the microgames. Each one has a unique theme or twist, depending on the game. For instance, Mona's games in Twisted! were focused around small spins, while in Touched! her games involved small lines drawn with the stylus. The second group of characters often show up within the introduction cut scenes — the most notable being Fronk, who is the default character for "weird" games and pops up in the most unlikely of places.
- 9-Volt (ナインボルト Nainboruto ) is a young Nintendo fanatic, owning everything ever made by Nintendo. 9-Volt's microgames are all based on Nintendo games.
- 18-Volt (エイティーンボルト Eitīnboruto ) is 9-Volt's best friend, and also a fan of video games. He is large, but despite his size, he goes to Diamond Elementary School, as does 9-Volt. His other defining trait is the boom box he always carries; his loud music gets him into trouble on his first day of school, although he soon finds an admirer in 9-Volt.
- Ashley (アシュリー Ashurī ) is a witch in training, who lives in a mansion in Diamond City with a little demon named Red. She has long black hair and two long ponytails and she's very emotionless and rarely smiles. She is largely uninterested in activities unrelated to improving her witchcraft; such tasks are typically relegated to Red.
- Dribble (ドリブル Doriburu ) and Spitz (スピッツ Supittsu ) are two developers who speak with Bronx accents. They also work as cabbies, and their cab, which was designed by Dr. Crygor, has the ability to go anywhere. Dribble is a large anthropomorphic bulldog with red hair. He is large, burly, and seems gruff, but he is actually quite calm and friendly. Spitz is a yellow anthropomorphic cat. He is always squinting and wears goggles. Their levels generally involve picking up a weird customer and forgetting to ask for the fare.
- Dr. Crygor (Dr.クライゴア Dokutā Kuraigoa ) is a quirky scientist whose inventions include his cryogenic suit, Mike, the karaoke robot that would "solve all his cleaning needs", and the Kelerometer diet machine. He is 103 years old, and the grandfather of Penny Crygor. In WarioWare: Touched, he accidentally gets caught in his latest invention and is younger and more fit, with red accents to his costume, as well as a full helmet. These changes remain for part of WarioWare: Smooth Moves.
- The Fronk (しゃぎぃ Shagī ) are a strange, blocky, yellow species of creatures. They appear constantly throughout all the WarioWare games, both in microgames and cutscenes. 9-Volt apparently even keeps one of them as a pet, calling it "Shag". In addition to several varieties of yellow Pixies, there are also red and blue varieties; their faces vary individually from each other.
- Jimmy T. (ジミーT. Jimī Tī ) is a man with a large blue afro wig, who is a disco dancing fanatic to the point that he will sometimes dance involuntarily, claiming that 'the rhythm makes him do it'. Jimmy is always seen frequenting hot Diamond City night spots, particularly Club Sugar. His family, which also dances with him includes Papa T. and Mama T., and his brother and sister, James T. and Jamie T. He also has a doppelganger named Jimmy P. whose hair is a different colour to his. Their levels often involve remixing the games from previous stages.
- Kat (カット Katto ) and Ana (アナ) are kindergarten-aged ninja twins. Kat has pink hair with a single ponytail, while Ana has orange hair with two ponytails. Ana is timid, while Kat is more headstrong and overall the dominant sister, though she cares for Ana deeply. The two live in an old-fashioned Japanese-style house in a forest. The two are descended from the Iga ninja clan, and attend Mystical Ninja Elementary. They have four pets: Don the Sparrow, Shadow the Dog, Shuriken the Falcon, and Nunchuck the Monkey. Kat & Ana make a cameo appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as Assist Trophy characters and regular trophies. It should also be noted that combining their names results in the word "Katana", one of Kat & Ana's catchphrases.
- Mike (マイク Maiku ) is a karaoke robot made by Dr. Crygor. Despite being a robot built for karaoke, the slightly mad doctor programs him to be a cleaning robot. Eventually, he overrides his cleaning program with his karaoke program by blowing on a pile of dust.
- Mona (モナ) is a high school student with a different part-time job in each game. Mona is quite adventurous and culturally savvy. She always seems to be late to wherever she is going, and often speeds on her scooter to make up for lost time, and uses the assistance of her animal companions to stop anyone trying to slow her down. Her former occupations include working at a gelato shop, pizza delivery girl on Mona Pizza, bassist, cheerleader, and a temple explorer. Also, Mona has a crush on Wario.
- Orbulon (オービュロン Ōbyuron ) is an intelligent alien that has difficulty with the English language. He has an IQ of 300, and he is 2003 years old. Orbulon first wishes to conquer Earth, but after crash-landing on the planet, he settles into life on Earth and ends his mission of conquest.
- Penny Crygor (ペニー・クライゴア Penī Kuraigoa ) is the granddaughter of Dr. Crygor and dreams of becoming a great scientist. She also has a hidden desire to become a singer. She is seen in the game to have a part time job as a cake baker/decorator. Penny sees her grandfather as an excellent scientist, though she also recognizes his eccentric nature.
- Pyoro (ピョロ) is a character that has his own game in almost every WarioWare title, each one varying in style. The original Pyoro game is Wario's inspiration to found WarioWare, Inc.. Pyoro resembles a round red bird with a white belly and short wings, and a very stretchy tongue. Pyoro 2 (from the GBA version) is the only game where Pyoro is yellow with a tail. Pyoro also appears as a title character in Bird & Beans, the DSi re-release.
- Young Cricket (ヤングクリケット Yangu Kuriketto ) is first introduced in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. He has flowing black hair with white streaks and a blue outfit. He practices martial arts and trains with his master, Master Mantis, and the two of them travel all over looking for new forms.
- 5-Volt (ファイブワット Faibuwatto ) is 9-Volt's mother and makes a few appearances in the WarioWare games. She is never fully seen until Game & Wario, and is a human like her son. 5-Volt lives along with her son and presumably his pet Fronk in a house in Diamond City. She makes her first appearance in WarioWare: Twisted!, where she shouts at 9-Volt to go to bed since he was playing with 18-Volt all day. 5-Volt is seen only from behind, and from the knees down. After 9-Volt has gone to bed, he still furtively plays with his Game Boy Advance SP under the bedspread, but his mother catches him when she opens his room's door a second time. 5-Volt's silhouette is seen in the doorway. 5-Volt is seen again in WarioWare: Touched!, as a silhouette in the Game Over screen of 9-Volt and 18-Volt's stage. She watches her son and his friend eating.
- 4.1 and 4.2 are Mona's two wolf-like pets who made their first appearance in WarioWare: Touched!. 4.1 and 4.2 only appear during Mona's story. When Vanessa sic's The Dinosaurs in their hawk-like plane on Mona when she travels to the Hawt House, they steal Art from Mona's van. Pizza Joe comes in, along with her three other animals to reclaim him. Unfortunately, Mona's animals fail miserably. Joe then distracts The Dinosaurs long enough for 4.1 and 4.2 to come in and use their soccer ball launcher on the The Dinosaurs plane. Sadly even they were unable to save Art from the Dinosaurs. 4.1 and 4.2 have not been seen since
- Bridget the Baker is the owner of the Sweet Spot Bakery that Wario visits in the game, WarioWare: Touched!. After the dentist Dr. Payne told Wario to stay away from all sweets, (since he got a cavity from eating too many sweets) he left the Dental Clinic and picked up the scent from the bakery. Ignoring what the dentist said, Wario asked Bridget the Baker to give him 10 pies. After a few bites Wario got another cavity and the pain sent him all the way to the Dental Clinic. While he flew away, Bridget bid him goodbye with a friendly "Thank you, come again."
- Sal Out
- "Jimmy's folks" includes Papa T., Mama T., Jamie T., James T. and Jimmy P.
- "Fronk's Folks" include Blue Fronk, a Fronk with Glasses and a Surgical mask; Red Fronk, a Fronk with Glasses; Fronk's Mother, a Fronk from the microgame "Hop to the Top" in WarioWare: Twisted!; and Fronk's Monkey, a monkey from the microgame "Hop to the Top" in WarioWare: Twisted!.
Wario has starred in puzzle games such as Mario & Wario and Wario's Woods (the latter of which he was featured as the main antagonist while Toad took the role as the main hero), as well as crossing over into the Bomberman universe with Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!.
Appearances in other games
Wario is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, his default outfit being his motorcyclist outfit as seen in the WarioWare games, although he can also wear his classic overalls. He can transform into Wario-Man after obtaining a Smash Ball. His motorcycle is used as one of his special attacks. Kat and Ana also make appearances as an Assist Trophy. Many stickers also represent WarioWare, Inc. — in addition to all of the above appearing as stickers and trophies, there are stickers of other WarioWare characters. Also, there is a WarioWare stage, named WarioWare Inc., with several different microgames that run in the background, one of which features Jimmy T. Completing the tasks set by the games awards power-ups like invincibility or growth. This stage also features Ashley's Song, Mike's Theme and Mona Pizza's Song as background music. All three are featured in Japanese and English.
- Chaim Gingold (2005). "What WarioWare can teach us about Game Design". Game Studies 5 (1).
- Mark J. Nelson and Michael Mateas (2007). "Towards Automated Game Design" (pdf). AI*IA 2007: Artificial Intelligence and Human-Oriented Computing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4733. Springer. pp. 626–637.
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