Wario: From Super Mario Land 2 villain to WarioWare king

Wario: From Super Mario Land 2 villain to WarioWare king


On September 10, Wario will return to Switch with WarioWare: Get It Together! , the first episode of the series to arrive on the Nintendo console, with over 200 challenges to be faced even in multiplayer. After having stripped the demo of the new WarioWare published on eShop, we have decided to pass the wait by retracing the tortuous story of its rude, smelly, fat, surly and irreverent protagonist.

Metroid, whose we celebrated the thirty-five years a few weeks ago, it is a radically different saga from (or rather, from those) of Wario; yet they share more things than appearances convey. First of all, they are two characters, and two series, almost completely unrelated to Shigeru Miyamoto. And, as we explained in depth years ago, this is not a trivial detail. The Japanese master has given a lot to Nintendo: in a certain sense it could be said that his DNA and that of the company are largely coincident. Precisely for this reason, the productions that do not have a direct connection with the figure of him often face a tortuous path.

Put simply: they don't have a dedicated team behind them, as does Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda. At the moment both Metroid and Wario are associated with EPD 7, an internal division that needs external assistance to develop their works; not coincidentally Metroid Dread is in the works together with MercurySteam, while WarioWare has been created with Intelligent Systems for years.

The affinities between Wario and Samus Aran don't end there. Both were born within R & D1, the division led - in the 80s and 90s - by Gunpei Yokoi; both were designed by the same person, Hiroji Kiyotake. In the mid-1990s R&D1 was still influential and important enough to get its hands on Miyamoto's brands, and almost by itself - with notable exceptions such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, developed by EAD - carried on the Game Boy's internal software. . It was only natural that he should also be in charge of the Super Mario pocket adaptations.

When planning Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, the directors Kiyotake and Hosokawa had decided to give the series a personal touch; in addition to the power-ups, very different from those of the main saga, in addition to the atypical setting (Mario's island), an antagonist other than Bowser was needed. Wario, in fact.

Wario Land

Wario's very first appearance in Super Mario Land 2 Wario was Mario's rival in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, then. A rival radically different from Bowser: Wario didn't care about power, Wario didn't care (not too much, at least) Princess Peach. Wario cared about money! The treasures, the gold coins, the jewels, the precious stones. He was greedy, grumpy, manifestly rude. All traits present from the beginning that, over time, have even been emphasized (including his passion for garlic). As made clear by the name (the W was, of course, an inverted M) it represented a sort of dark twin - fetid, more than ever - of Mario.

The character was well received and the Kiyotake / Hosokawa couple decided to give him a chance: also to break away from Super Mario, linked more to R & D4 (EAD) than to R & D1, work began on a game that had him as a protagonist. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 was released for the Game Boy in 1994, and was a huge success. It sold half of its predecessor (assuming that predecessor can be defined, having only part of the name in common), but in absolute terms it still remains the greatest success of Wario: it placed more than five million copies. Not bad. He managed to impose his protagonist internationally: the Mushroom Kingdom had a new prestigious character, the only one not generated by Shigeru Miyamoto's team, also by virtue of the excellent quality of the title. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 was a beautiful two-dimensional platformer and moreover very different from Super Mario: being Wario heavier than the plumber, his movements were less dynamic, but his strokes more powerful. It was important to jump, but also to shoulder, throw enemies, to break through with the body.

Wario Land 4: the latest critically acclaimed Wario Land. Given the successful outcome of the operation, the game received two sequels on Game Boy and Game Boy Color: Wario Land II (1998) and Wario Land 3 (2000). Both turned out to be good games, both sold nearly two million copies. By the time the Game Boy Advance was released, more than Super Mario (which, as a platformer, came to the console only with remakes), Wario was now the most anticipated hero on the laptop. And Wario Land 4 (2001) did not disappoint expectations: it is the latest classic of the series, unanimously estimated by critics and audiences (it placed more than two million units). The appearance was rough and refined at the same time, the game full of unusual transformations and with an original trend: it was not only necessary to go through the levels from left to right, but to collect objects inside them and, finally, go through them again "all 'back', with some - often significant - changes to the level design. The game was directed by Hirofumi Matsuoka, another key personality in the evolution of the series (we'll see why soon).

Virtual Boy, GameCube, the latest Wario Land

WarioWare: Get It Together !: the main artwork of the game. Before addressing the birth of WarioWare, it is good to conclude the speech relating to Wario Land. First, after the success of the first Game Boy title, Nintendo tried to expand the series with some spin-offs. We refer to the puzzle game Wario's Woods (for NES and SNES, dated 1994) and a "merger" with Bomberman, Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! (1995, Game Boy). Two titles that were not very successful, and which remain to this day - excluding WarioWare, which was actually born as such - the only spin-offs of the series.

In 1995 R & D1 threw itself with great fanfare on the Virtual Boy project , one of the biggest failures of the company, which marked the future of the entire division (and of Gunpei Yokoi). Very few traces remain of Virtual Boy Wario Land; Interestingly, the greedy Nintendo character shared fate with his development team, who never managed to make an adequate leap into three dimensions.

Wario World: Treasure game artwork for GameCube . The only major attempt to introduce Wario into a world of polygons, not coincidentally, came thanks to Treasure (not R & D1, therefore). Wario World (2003, GameCube) was presented at E3 2002 along with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime: with them he seemed to compose exceptional poker. Needless to remember how illusory it was to put them on the same level: Wario World turned out to be - unfortunately - a mediocre title, a cross between a platformer and a scrolling fighting game, and from then on Nintendo (unfortunately) did not dedicate a Wide-ranging action game ... and high-budget.

Wario Land: The Shake Dimension: A photo of the Nintendo Wii Good-Feel game. To conclude Wario Land's journey, there are two other games to mention. The first is Wario: Master of Disguise (2007) for Nintendo DS: a dull two-dimensional platformer developed by Suzak. The second is Wario Land: The Shake Dimension (2008), a valuable game, especially in appearance, created by Good-Feel for Nintendo Wii (you would like to deepen the history of the software house, here it is). Basically, a new Wario Land platformer hasn't come out for thirteen years: it's time to fix it, but there's not too much reason to be optimistic.


WarioWare: Get It Together !: it will be possible to play multiplayer with only two Joy-Con. We have already written that Hirofumi Matsuoka is a very important man in Wario's story; in fact it was he who directed - immediately after Wario Land 4 - the first WarioWare, namely WarioWare, Inc .: Mega Microgame $! (Game Boy Advance, 2003), also within the former R & D1. He directed it, but he didn't really conceive it; this is because the game was inspired by Sound Bomber, a secondary mode of Mario Artist: Polygon Studio for the Nintendo 64DD. A mode that featured small sequential mini-games, conceived by Koichi Kawamoto, at his first job at Nintendo (currently he is in charge of EPD 4, the casual division of the company). R & D1 took that secondary mode - of a rather unknown game, by the way - and through Matsuoka molded it into a complete title.

The concept of WarioWare, Inc .: Mega Microgame $! it was original; its realization was precise and inspired. As is often the case at Nintendo, the game mechanics were born before the setting; Wario was chosen both to emphasize the origin of the work (R & D1, in fact), and because his personality, stupid and irreverent, was well suited to the Gascon spirit of the game. It was a title that featured quick sequential mini-games; indeed, micro-games. Did a toothpaste appear? It had to be squeezed. A fly? Crushed. A concept as simple as it is creative. The sequence of the micro-games was random, and their intensity and frequency increased over time. It sold a million copies, a success almost replicated by its successor (WarioWare: Twisted!, Released in 2004 on Game Boy Advance) and approached by the home edition of the title (WarioWare, Inc .: Mega Party Games!, GameCube, 2003).

WarioWare: Get It Together !: a quote from Super Mario Land, also developed by R & D1, creator of Wario. The setting and narrative context of the series were also quite hilarious; Wario was not only present in the title, but he was the one who conceived minigames, ordering his friends / acquaintances of the Diamond City to make them (who, predictably, often were not paid ... if not in visibility). Basically, minigames were proposed that were created within the video game.

From Nintendo DS onwards, as we wrote earlier, the saga has been carried out in collaboration with Intelligent Systems - and WarioWare: Get It Together! is no exception. Since its first appearance, WarioWare hasn't skipped any Nintendo consoles. Predictably, due to the spread of platforms and the nature of the saga, it found its greatest success on Nintendo DS (with WarioWare: Touched!, 2004) and Nintendo Wii (WarioWare: Smooth Moves, 2006): both have sold more than two million of copies. The Wii title, in particular, was one of the best at exploiting, and exposing, the potential of motion control.

WarioWare: Get It Together !: a minigame in which you will have to collaborate? A sequel was also released on DS, WarioWare: D.I.Y. (literally "do it yourself", "do it yourself"), which allowed to generate micro-games. A further tribute to the concept created by Mario Artist. Between 2008 and 2009 there were four minor releases on DSiWare and WiiWare, while in 2013 the series arrived on Nintendo Wii U with Game & Wario (with longer games than usual, and fewer in number), and in 2018 on Nintendo 3DS with WarioWare Gold (sort of best of the series); in both cases, it hasn't sold more than 300,000 copies.

In this article we talked a lot about Wario and his games, leaving out all the appearances in Mario Party, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. and all the other spin-offs from Marieschi. Unlike his fellow Waluigi (created by Camelot, head of Mario Golf and Mario Tennis), Wario has been an integral part of the Mushroom Kingdom for twenty-five years (despite not appearing in the main Super Mario saga for years).

WarioWare: Get It Together !: Squeeze the toothpaste, a classic of the series. On September 10, we reiterate it, WarioWare: Get It Together will arrive on Nintendo Switch! , an episode that could redeem the saga from a commercial point of view and whose success will be fundamental for the future of WarioWare ... and its protagonist.

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