Wario is such a Marmite character. For those of you outside the UK who are unaware of this much used term, Marmite is a spread for your toast made out of yeast extract. Personally I think it’s bloody vile, but I know many people who can’t get enough of it – and that is why Wario is Marmite.
Ask your average Nintendo fan what they think of him and you’ll get one of two reactions: he’s brilliant; a satirical take on Mario, forceful and cheekily mean. He’s a pointless waste of data, a cheap knock-off to extend the series yet further, milking an already thinly spread franchise.
Personally, I fall into the second group. I was never a fan of Wario as a character, thinking that his inclusion in the whole Mario story was a bit desperate. What was meant to be (I reckon) a knowing comic nod for longterm fans of the series feels, to me, just dull. However, there’s one thing that Nintendo have done well with him: the WarioWare
Back in 2003 I was living in Australia, temping in an office and catching the odd shift at a local video games store. It was a pretty good life, and getting to play new games on release was great, especially as I had so little disposable income. GBA games were often just thrown on the shelf and ignored until one day when a guy came in asking for a copy of WarioWare Inc: Mega Microgames
. He bought it there and then, so I asked him if I could give it a go. It was damn near perfect; and such a simple premise – tackle a huge range of minigames, each one five seconds long (apart from the boss levels) and try to keep going for as long as possible.
Initially the inclusion of Wario put me off, but this guy’s fervour convinced me to give the game a shot. I realised it was a great concept and ended up blowing a massive chunk of my wages on a copy for myself. Just remember, games in Australia are really expensive – it cost me about $80 (that's ￡48 in today's money, but a hell of a lot more back then). I think I ate beans on toast for a fortnight to pay for that. It proved to be well worth it though, if only because the range of games in that first WarioWare
was incredible. If you’ve not played the homages to Nintendo’s history from working your way through 9-Volt’s section, you really need to rectify that, they’re brilliant.
Since 2003, Nintendo has realised that it's on to a pretty good thing and has done what it does best: flogged the horse until it’s dead, then done it some more. We’ve had a GameCube version (which was admittedly great with it’s four-player antics). There was the decent but limited WarioWare Twisted
– never released in Europe, unfortunately – where the cartridge had a tilt-switch requiring you to move the handheld to complete games.
The DS launched in Japan with the Touched
edition, and there’s also been a Wii iteration, Smooth Moves
. Sadly, as each new version of the game has been released, the franchise has felt more and more diluted. Will D.I.Y.
, the latest WarioWare
game buck the trend and restore it to former glory? Here's my answer.