Wario Ware, Inc: Mega Microgame$! - GBA

Also known as: Made in Wario', 'Made in Wario', 'Wario Ware, Inc: Mega Microgame$!

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Viewed: 2D Combination Genre:
Various: Party Game
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (US/GB)
Released: 23 May 2003 (GB)
27 May 2003 (US)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
No Accessories: No Accessories


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Taking the concept of the mini-game to a whole new level, Wario Ware introduces us to the 'micro-game', which, as you may have guessed, is a very short and lighting-fast, er, mini-game. The game sees you blaze through a seemingly-endless supply of them, each lasting merely a number of seconds and each as mind-bogglingly frantic as the previous one. There are over 200 of these micro-games, ranging from retro classics and sports games to sci-fi shooters and bizarre stuff like toothbrush simulators. You have four lives - fail in one of the games four times and you're out.

Although basically just a compendium of games, Wario Ware does have a central storyline that kind of holds everything together. As the story goes, Wario's less-than-angelic lust for financial security has gotten the better of him - this time he's seeking riches in the video game industry. Apparently to cut development costs, Wario has got all his friends to put together loads of these 'micro-games'.

How that translates to the gameplay is that the game is split up into stages, each one featuring one of the main characters, who in turn features his or her own sub-plot. For example, Jimmy the groovy disco dancer is strutting his stuff on the dance floor when his phone rings - up pops his phone screen and it's from here that you embark on his particular set of games. In a similar fashion, schoolboy character 9-Volt's stage comes courtesy of an original Game Boy interface, packed full of games based on retro classics, such as Mario, Zelda and Metroid.

The 'micro-games' themselves really are some of the most weird, bizarre, amusing, and entertaining examples of gaming we've ever come across. Activities like jumping a ski ramp, saving a goal, steering a car, and shooting aliens are all in abundance, usually involving little more than pressing the button at the right time. But so are other ideas, so brilliantly Japanese in design, such as picking a nose, shaking hands with a dog, and catching a beer as it slides along a bar.

Wario Ware's strengths are in its simplicity and design. In this age of high budgets and cautious licences, it seems that sometimes we forget why we got into video games in the first place - for fun. This game serves as a gentle reminder.