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WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!

メイド イン ワリオ

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
21 March 2003
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! [メイド イン ワリオ] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.94 / 5.0
0.5
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735 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#297 All-time
#13 for 2003
Wario hatches a plan to make easy money by making extremely short games that can be played within seconds with little to no effort, and enlists the help of his friends to compile what is known as "microgames".
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Releases 7
2003 Nintendo  
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JP 4 902370 506457 AGB-AZWJ-JPN
2003 Nintendo  
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XNA 0 45496 73237 0 AGB-AZWE-USA
2011 Nintendo  
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Title
This game is just great. I could wax poetic about a lot of elements here, but obviously the highlight is that incredible art design - it really manages to do everything and almost always do it well. The sound is great, too. Together they make finding a new minigame, no matter how inane, a treat.

It's also just a perfect mobile game - very few other gameboy games get the "pick up and play" feel like Warioware. Makes you wonder why of all their handheld franchises this was the one that ended up occasionally wandering onto home consoles. I guess in a funny sort of way this game of gimmicks, minigames and nostalgia-bait preceded Nintendo itself becoming a studio of gimmicks, minigames and nostalgia-bait, which helped Warioware find its footing whenever they needed to show off new tech. That or really all those things were in Nintendo's blood from the start, which is probably the better answer if we're being honest. (Virtual Boy!)
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uglidoll 2023-05-16T14:35:28Z
2023-05-16T14:35:28Z
4.5
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Title
What is Wario’s relation to Mario, exactly? Is he Mario’s cousin with only a slight familial resemblance? Is he a crazed, deluded fan who dresses similarly to Mario to emulate his likeness out of both worship and a desire to vanquish him? He debuted in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and the grainy, mobile Mario series on the original Gameboy took some creative liberties with Mario’s properties in an attempt to discern it from the mainline series. Besides the setting of Sarasaland and having to rescue another princess that would later become Peach’s designated tennis partner for the end of time, Wario was one of the new villains the game introduced in lieu of not having Bowser at the helm. Nintendo’s intentions for Wario mirrored the same dynamic as Bizzaro Superman: an uglier, uncanny counterpart who also exhibits unsavory, villainous character traits as opposed to their heroic doppelganger. In Wario’s case, he’s greedy, lecherous, hedonistic, oafish, and is about as unhygienic as a New Orleans hobo. Such negative qualities do not apply to Nintendo’s regal mascot Mario, so that’s why Wario exemplifies his “anti-Mario” role so splendidly. There is a concealed advantage to being Mario’s sleazy antithesis, however, and that is that Wario has more freewill to do whatever he pleases. He’s the spare among Mario characters like Prince Harry and Billy Carter before him, a liberating role that Mario cannot fulfill, for he is too busy representing Nintendo’s wholesome brand to do anything out of his comfort zone. Sadly, Luigi can’t even run wild because he is tied too closely to Mario, so only Wario can be granted the freedom because he’s the disreputable wildcard. The Wario Land series was already a subversive take on Mario’s 2D platformers, but Nintendo went one step beyond what Wario was capable of. If Wario Land is the “anti-Mario” game, then WarioWare, Inc. (which is what I will be referring to because the full title is long and difficult to type) is an anti-video game in general.

The premise of WarioWare, Inc. is best experienced first hand in order to fully wrap one’s head around it, but I’ll do my best to detail it succinctly. The player is presented with a litany of “micro games” that the player must complete in a brief window of time represented visually by the shortening fuse of a bomb at the bottom of the screen. A single word exclamation gives the player a cursory bit of context of what to do in the fleeting moments that comes with a microgame. The games are ordered in no particular order in a lightning-fast fashion that gets even faster as the numbers accumulate. If the player loses all four lives, they’ll have to start from square one, and defeating the level’s micro game boss will net a completion. Playing the level again after completing it is an arcade endurance test where superseding the boss battle unlocks another faster tier of the same micro games with additional enhancements that increase their difficulty, and the player will be granted an extra life if they’ve lost one along the way. I’ve often bemoaned games with arcade difficulties on consoles, but that pertains more to games that are unsuited for it like platformers. WarioWare’s blazing onslaught of micro games works perfectly for the incremental arcade format. Some may argue that the game doesn’t give the player enough leeway to complete the microgames due to the hasty window of opportunity the game provides to complete them without failing, and I often struggled with microgames that I hadn’t experienced before. However, the game wouldn’t feel as zany and exhilarating without it. None of the microgames are very punishing or require a steep learning curve to do after initially encountering them, so I can only fault my lack of experience and not the game’s design. That, and most microgames are integrated often as they pop up often enough to practice, and the mechanics usually only require the player to press A with timing and slight D-pad maneuvers.

Then there’s the matter of describing what the micro games consist of. Using the word “random” is an understatement, and likening the five second flashes of the microgames to a fever dream would be a slight cliche. Still, I can’t think of anything else as a more suitable comparison for the tense, baffling rollercoaster ride that is experiencing WarioWare’s content. Many microgames feature pixelated graphics while others exhibit more rudimentary Atari or NES era pixels. Some of the microgames are drawn with crude animation and some are beautiful enough to bestow in an art exhibit. It seems like Nintendo had freelance artists submit anything they could come up with and chose the best ones to feature in the game. As for what the player will experience, let’s do an old fashioned highlight reel. A disembodied hand must wait for his toast to pop from the toaster, and the player must catch it before it hits the ground. A cute girl stares at a nightfall landscape with a lighthouse, or at least she would be cute if she didn’t have a viscous strand of snot the length of my arm hanging out of her nose that the player must suck back up into her nose (you killed my boner, Nintendo). More realistically humanoid versions of Mario and Bowser wrestle and shoot energy balls at each other. An umbrella protects a pixelated cat from rainfall, a blocky, dinky character named Fronk must evade being stomped on, and a barber cuts too much from his customers head to the point where he’s rendered a cueball, and the customer literally fumes red with anger. Accuracy-oriented boss microgames involve timing hammer bashes to a nail, a quick round of Punch-Out, and a minimal RPG duel that reminds me of Earthbound. I will not detail anymore microgames, for I didn’t even scratch the surface with the few I mentioned there are so many. Hilarity ensues at every second in WarioWare from the bewildering mix of the microgame’s content in relation to the split second reaction time needed to pass. Even if I fail a microgame, I’m still entertained by the absurdity. Digging through the levels after completion is optional, but I still wanted to see the full extent of wackiness the game still offered.

WarioWare Inc. is supported by a whole new slew of eclectic characters totally removed from Mario’s universe. How someone as physically and emotionally repugnant as Wario made so many friends is a mystery. Still, every level in WarioWare is themed around one of Wario’s new compatriots and their stories, or a pair of them in the case of Dribble and Spitz and Kat and Ana. Preppy, teenaged Mona is late for work and is caught speeding by the cops. Instead of submitting to their authority, a monkey flings bananas at them from the seat of her moped. The player must stave off the police’s pursuit of Mona by completing the games, with a banana peel toppling over a cop car at every successful completion. Dribble and Spitz run a cab company and escort a man who is a merman hybrid to the shores, and he doesn’t even pay them the fare. Some character’s levels coincide with a more concise microgame theme like Orbulon’s memory matching and fan favorite 9-Volt’s video game themed microgames that involve tasks relating to classic Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda and F-Zero. Wario’s final level is a demanding roulette of the hardest challenges at the swiftest of speeds and all integrate himself in some fashion. I guess narcissism is yet another unsavory characteristic of Warios. WarioWare’s cast are not complicated characters, yet they work well for a game of this nature.

The true nature of WarioWare, Inc. is that it’s a scam. That’s right: Wario crafted this game with his friends for a quick rich scheme, duping all you suckers into buying a game for full price that consists of nothing but crumbs of content. Knowing him, he probably spent the rest of the budget on hookers and blow. It mirrors what the developers did in real life, and it’s probably a comment on how video games became so resplendent and complex in the then recent years (and it’s only gotten more so in time). They delivered a game that contrasts the normal standard of modern gaming experiences with minimal silliness. However, playing WarioWare doesn’t make me feel cheated. Nintendo’s direction in making an “anti-video game” started one of the most refreshing, funny, and surprisingly invigorating series they’ve ever released. Who better to represent digital anarchy and than the unscrupulous Wario? His new biker outfit is a badge of anarchy.
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Erockthestrange 2023-01-02T02:00:57Z
2023-01-02T02:00:57Z
8.0
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A truly incredible feat of game design was performed here in order to make an idea like this work as well as it did, and I'm all for it. The concept of microgames is just really interesting in general and falls very closely in line with my philosophy of this stuff, the idea that not a lot is really needed to be a truly enjoyable experience, it's all about how well-tuned those few elements are and how they work together, after all, this game feels like a constant dopamine rush when half the time you're just timing a single button press. I feel like it's a combination of the visual variety on display, the comedic, offbeat writing, and the incredibly satisfying feedback that is constantly given that end up doing this. It's really interesting playing the game and having a new artstyle flash by your face every 5 seconds or so, since the vast majority of these games are so stylistically distinct, with one moment being Atari graphics and animations and then a mere moment later you could be looking at a pixelated anime scene, it's crazy. It also works in terms of having a certain level of cohesion to it despite all this, though the exact reason why is something that alludes me, which ends up making things feel not only a constantly creative visual marvel, but never feels like purely random nonsense is being thrown at your face either.

Of course this wouldn't work if not for the incredible attention to detail with almost every microgame here to make them as intuitive as possible. I'd argue that there are very few games which the player would not understand what to do on their first pass as long as the speed is on one of the lower settings, which is simply genius, the way that you see a screen with 2 dots, see the word "CONNECT!" appear on screen, and immediately can figure out how to draw between these 2 dots being just one of the many examples. This also makes earlier phases of the game totally exhilarating as the player gets put in a near constant state of discovery and quick thinking in order to make it through, each new challenge almost acting as a bit of a puzzle before the mechanical test even comes into play. While I'll admit that a few of these definitely feel like they're almost attempting to misdirect the player, which can be frustrating when put against so many clever and elegant ideas, but the vast majority of these work perfectly so I can excuse some missteps.

I also appreciate the way this further expands upon Wario's character, now not only having him being an immortal, repulsive man who's obsessed with garlic and money, but now also a game dev who wants to get rich off it, so he pumps out a bunch of 5 second games and just strings them together. Charm like this is why I really do love Nintendo at points, they didn't have to give proper justification for why the player is being thrown into hundreds of microgames, but they did anyway, and did it in a charming and frankly hilarious way. The rest of the cast is also one of the most charming and diverse of any Nintendo game, which continues the trend of Wario properties just going all out with its more surreal elements. You've got a kid who's a DJ and an obsessive gamer, you've got an epic disco guy, you've got a duo of taxi drivers that are also dogs, you've even got an alien and a cyborg scientist, there's just so much personality injected into all of it and I love the way it just adds further flavour to the game.

Overall, on the most basic of levels, Warioware is a game that makes you time a button press or move a tiny bit every 5 seconds and things keep getting faster, but it's everything surrounding these mundane, disconnected actions that end up contributing to something far greater. Every single element of this game further contributes to making those button presses feel as satisfying and fun as humanly possible, and this is why the game works and why this is a particularly impressive game to me. It knows that you don't need an excessive scope to work, it knows that it doesn't even need to take you on a huge journey, it knows that with the right pieces put together, "DODGE!!!!" becomes just as much fun as a huge RPG experience, and I respect that a lot, especially when it actually capitalises on this idea and executes it remarkably, not just leaving it as something merely with potential.
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Kempokid 2021-09-19T08:45:24Z
2021-09-19T08:45:24Z
4.0
1
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Catalog

the_traveler WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! 2024-05-20T02:14:17Z
GBA • XNA
2024-05-20T02:14:17Z
80
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Theboombringer1 メイド イン ワリオ 2024-05-18T23:53:48Z
2024-05-18T23:53:48Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DissonantTimpani WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! 2024-05-15T08:03:26Z
GBA • XNA
2024-05-15T08:03:26Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kyotee メイド イン ワリオ 2024-05-07T03:16:43Z
2024-05-07T03:16:43Z
A-
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Tytygigas メイド イン ワリオ 2024-05-02T19:00:35Z
2024-05-02T19:00:35Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
UntilImSane メイド イン ワリオ 2024-05-01T01:38:49Z
2024-05-01T01:38:49Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bing_bong_barl メイド イン ワリオ 2024-04-30T18:18:43Z
2024-04-30T18:18:43Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Chibu メイド イン ワリオ 2024-04-29T02:39:47Z
2024-04-29T02:39:47Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lampinabox WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! 2024-04-26T07:48:31Z
GBA • XNA
2024-04-26T07:48:31Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
completed
21stCenturyDevil メイド イン ワリオ 2024-04-25T21:17:00Z
2024-04-25T21:17:00Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Azekahh メイド イン ワリオ 2024-04-24T16:22:00Z
2024-04-24T16:22:00Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mrmoptop2 WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! 2024-04-24T02:40:24Z
Wii U
2024-04-24T02:40:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: All Ages
Player modes
1-2 players
Media
1x Cartridge
Multiplayer options
Local
Franchises
Also known as
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!
  • Meido in Wario
  • Made in Wario
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Minigame Mania
  • View all [4] Hide

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  • Previous comments (16) Loading...
  • feargm 2023-03-22 20:52:48.782905+00
    happy 20th
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  • Cody645 2023-05-23 06:39:56.989267+00
    Wario bussin af
    reply
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  • OK_REVENANT 2023-07-10 10:12:54.849258+00
    rare gba game where the shitty visuals and compressed sound add to the experience
    reply
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  • Molten_ 2023-07-14 21:14:50.173127+00
    stone-cold classic
    reply
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  • Azel 2024-01-05 17:49:34.323865+00
    the ultimate portable game, really epitomes a certain kind of design
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  • LuraEternal 2024-01-13 16:51:45.113947+00
    I want to be Orbulon
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  • Letterhead_Colby 2024-01-13 16:57:47.164481+00
    The micro-game interface for Dribble and Spitz's levels are so cool looking
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