When WarioWare was first released in early 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, no one knew that it grow into one of Nintendo’s biggest hits of the past few years. With the Wii coming out later this year, a new outlet for the WarioWare series can take flight, with the help of the Wii-mote. But what exactly is this smash hit and why is it so successful?
The game is a simple array of, what Nintendo calls, Microgames. A Microgame is essentially a very short 5-15 second game that makes the player quickly solve the puzzle before the time runs out. These games vary from big Nintendo hits of the past (like Legend of Zelda and Mario) and even random games of varying skill (like having to catch a ball or counting the number of frogs that pass by the screen).
The game stars Wario, the anti-Mario in the Super Mario canon. Wario is a greedy and manipulative person, so creating his own business with the express purpose of gaining all the profits was the perfect storyline behind WarioWare Inc. In the game, Wario hires people to WarioWare Inc., and has all these people create small Microgames based on their varying styles.
There is Jimmy T., a disco freak who specializes in random Microgames, as well as a blend of past Microgames you’ve already played with other characters. 9-volt, a Nintendo enthusiast, who likes anything Nintendo, and proves it within his Microgames. Kat and Ana, two ninjas who specialize in nature style games. Dribble and Spitz, drivers of a taxicab service, who specialize in Science Fiction type games. Mona, a young working woman who give you strange style games.
Orbulon, an alien who crash lands on Earth, while attempting to take it over, gives you some “super intelligent” games to play. Dr. Crygor, a mad scientist who gives you reality based games, using actual photographs and a puzzle to maneuver around them. And, of course, Wario, who starts the game with beginner games and builds up to his final stage, where anything goes in the games he sends at you.
The games plays on a level based system, where each character is a different level you must complete. Each level consists on these Microgames and the way you complete a level is by beating 10-25 Microgames and a boss Microgame. Each level gives you four “lives”, which allow you to lose 4 Microgames before declaring Game Over. A boss Microgame has no time limit, but is more difficult than a regular Microgame, and usually falls in the same category as the character issuing it. Jimmy T. is the only character in the game who issues the same boss Microgame, but the difficulty of the game increases with each incarnation of his levels.
The game also has an interesting replay value, which includes all the Microgames being unlocked. The games consists of over 200 Microgames, so unlocking them all by replaying each level is an added challenge to the game. Also, the game gives you extra mini-games, like jump rope and skateboard, to give you more games to beat. The mini-games also incorporate a high score system, so you can go back and keep beating your score.
What makes the game so appealing is its simplicity. The game runs at a very fast pace, which makes your reflexes work overtime. Each game flies by really fast, that button mashing is not an option in the game. No two puzzle are alike and they are really simple to grasp.
With the success of the first WarioWare, a sequel for the Gamecube was released in late 2003/early 2004. WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Games was basically a port of its Game Boy predecessor. There were few changes to the format, which include an added Multiplayer, which allowed 1-4 players to play. New Gamecube exclusive Microgames were added as well, mostly for the Multiplayer format.
WarioWare was certainly not over by then. In late 2004/early 2005, WarioWare: Twisted! was released for the Game Boy Advance. This version of the game incorporated a gyro sensor that allowed the player to tilt the system itself to play the game. This opened the door for new Microgames to be played and once again an instant success.
In 2005, WarioWare: Touched! was introduced. Once again, a new idea behind the Microgames: games that incorporated the touch screen of the Nintendo DS. New games were added to allow players to touch the screen to complete a Microgame, as well as Microphone games, which incorporated the built in microphone on the system itself.
The latest addition to the series will be released weeks after the Wii is released. WarioWare: Smooth Moves! was announced at E3, with yet another way to play Microgames: the Wii-mote being used in many different ways. The Wii-mote, a controller for the Wii shaped like a remote and picks up on the way it is moved towards the screen, will allow players to play Microgames such as pumping an air pump, steering a car down the road, making a person run in the game, or even as a sword to cut certain objects.
Whatever the appeal behind the phenomenon of WarioWare, it sure is not going to die down anytime soon. As long as new platforms come out to continue the fast paced Microgames, player will continue to eat up the simplicity of the games within the game.