If you have been reading Nintendojo’s Backlog Summer, you’ll know that I’m currently in Wario’s world. That’s right, I’m planning on finishing all four of Wario’s Game Boy platforming adventures in the coming weeks. Most of these games I’m playing for the first time and filling in this gap I have had in Nintendo handheld history. As of this writing, I’m getting toward the end of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3— and I’m quite enjoying myself. However, this game is 21 years old. Where is Wario Land these days? It’s pretty much gone.
The last proper Wario Land platformer was Wario Land: Shake It!, which released in fall 2008 for Wii. Seven years ago isn’t that long, right? I mean, that’s nothing compared to the last time we had a console Star Fox or F-Zero game. Still, it’s a substantial break for a series that is at its core an offshoot of the Mario games, Nintendo’s bread and butter.
What exactly has Wario been up to in the meantime? Microgames and spin-offs, baby! Aside from appearing in every Mario Party and sports game, Wario has had a handful of his own games.
First up was WarioWare: Snapped! from 2009. It released alongside the Nintendo DSi hardware to show off the camera. It’s a pretty terrible game that just doesn’t work due to the DSi’s poor camera quality. After that was the far more entertaining WarioWare D.I.Y. on Nintendo DS in 2010 that allowed everybody to make their own microgames. Now, I never got into the microgame maker all that much, but there was some pretty robust content in D.I.Y.. It’s a shame that so much content is now inaccessible with the shutdown of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection…
Wario took another break and his latest title ended up being Game & Wario in 2013 for Wii U, which is not quite a full-blooded WarioWare game. As you can see from the game releases alone, recently Wario’s adventuring escapades have obviously been thrown to the wayside in favor of the WarioWare style games. Now, I greatly enjoy the WarioWare games (Twisted! is flippin’ excellent). But where are the great Wario platformers anymore?
Wario may have put his adventuring days behind him. The story of the WarioWare games has Wario as the CEO of his own gaming company. Presumably, Wario chose to become an entrepreneur after settling down from his treasure gathering days. Why does Wario need to make money from video games, anyways? Hasn’t he gathered enough treasure to own a small country by now? Wario never seemed like the type to settle down and become a businessman. The fact that Wario no longer goes on quests is also reinforced by Wario’s portrayal in the latest two Super Smash Bros. games. The goofy glutton’s default outfit is his WarioWare getup, with his traditional overalls being relegated to secondary costume.
Wario Land: Shake It! is a fine game. However, is that where we want to leave Wario Land forever? Will he ever go on another adventure? I don’t know the answer to that question for now. I personally hope another game in the style of Wario World comes out sometime. That was another neat take on the Wario formula that could use some expanding.
Like Super Mario, I think Wario Land is a series that can keep evolving with additional games. We don’t have to put it bed forever. In fact, even Mario actually languished for a while with the New Super Mario Bros. games keeping the same formula for game after game. The handheld quadrilogy of Wario Land titles still remain highly respected and kept adding new gameplay ideas with each entry. Even if a new Wario game comes out that introduces little innovation, I think we can allow it given the gap that will be over seven years.
But we can only wonder what’s next for our portly hero. Will he keep pumping out the microgames? Will he have another 3D adventure? Will he be kicked to the curb so Waluigi can finally get the franchise he deserves? Will his lust for greed mean that he takes on the world of micro-transactions with a mobile game? With any luck, Wario could be strapping on his overalls in the future for a Wario Land 5 and beyond.