WarioWare, Inc.: Going Under?

Has the WarioWare series lost some of its luster? Anthony has a few ideas for how to reinvigorate the franchise.

By Anthony Pelone. Posted 03/23/2015 09:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Let’s face it: Wario’s game company isn’t nearly the giant it once was. The bite-sized “microgames” that once charmed gamers on Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS were met with shrugs on Wii U and even in DS’s later years. Has the five-second microgame concept run dry, or has it simply been mismanagement on Wario’s part? Just about all his employees quit WarioWare, Inc. in recent games, so it’s probably his fault. If he ever wants to earn some green again, he might find it wise to consult fellow developer Intelligent Systems and work out some series kinks; after all, this is no time for nose picking.

More Micro, Less Mini

The last entry in the series– 2013’s Game & Wario— was the antithesis to WarioWare, and not in a good way. As opposed the series’ regular trove of roughly 200 microgames, the Wii U entry barely amounted to over a dozen. This is already a problem– the whole distinction between WarioWare and something like Wii Play is that the former constantly throws game after game at the player, constantly revving up the speed as the player frantically attempts to keep up. Game & Wario may have retained the series hilarity, but limiting that to a quick n’ dirty minigame collection comes across as such a waste.

It’s worth mentioning the best (not to mention most inspired) minigame of the bunch was the gut-busting Gamer, which ironically was built around the microgame concept. WarioWare has offered unlockable minigames in the past, but the emphasis on microgames is what puts meat on its bones. Innovation is all well and good, but only if you have the quality to match.

Keep Things Simple, But Not Too Simple

One of WarioWare’s greatest strengths is its accessibility, and while WarioWare D.I.Y.’s “make your own microgame” direction was great, the complicated creation feature was more than a little intimidating. While that could be expected for any game maker-esque title, such obtuseness goes against WarioWare’s instant accessibility. Granted, its being propped up by a dream concept could be forgiven for just one entry, but Game & Wario’s brain-dead simplicity was too much even for series standards (for example, one game is literally just bowling for pins based on WarioWare characters).

This raises the question: does WarioWare need change? Perhaps the original formula grew tired at one point, but with several offbeat iterations in a row, returning to the series’ roots could be just what WarioWare needs. I know I already miss character-themed microgame packages, and we’re all familiar with how Nintendo loves pandering to nostalgia.

Emphasize Replayability

WarioWare: Smooth Moves took great advantage of Wii’s motion controls, but I recall being sorely disappointed with the lack of emphasis on high scores. While the character sequences were just fine, no longer could you shoot for new scores in individual microgames. This feature alone provided massive time-sinks in previous titles, and as WarioWare is famed for its addiction, there’s no need to cut down on it.

Of course, Smooth Moves’s possible rush for Wii’s launch may have been the reason, but I’ve always loved how WarioWare’s general meatiness contrasted the five-second time limit of the microgames. The lesson here is to go crazy with the humor and microgame concepts, but make sure the player is provided with enough content to be entertained for weeks and months afterwards.

Keep it to Handhelds

WarioWare has been host to some fun party experiences on home consoles, but at the end of the day, handhelds are its home. I’m not saying this just because the strongest WarioWare titles (Mega MicroGame$!, Touched, and Twisted) have been on handhelds, but they best serve its pick-up-and-play appeal. The series excels at its time-sensitive flexibility– be it on the bus, before class, or even a rainy afternoon, there’s always time for WarioWare in anyone’s day. Come to think of it, where’s the 3DS entry already? The gang at Intelligent Systems could make some hilarious use of the 3D.

Oh, and speaking of handhelds…

Why Not Mobile?

With the recent announcement regarding the Nintendo and DeNA mobile game partnership, Nintendo fans everywhere have been proposing which of the company’s many IPs would fit phone-play best and many, including myself, have nominated WarioWare as the perfect candidate. As mentioned before, the series works best on portable, but how could they go about it? Aside from the universal account system, it’s unknown how exactly Nintendo will approach mobile game development, especially in relation to its dedicated handheld console market.

It’s probable Nintendo will emulate the character packs similar to the older games. While Nintendo has denounced the likelihood of ports (so, for example, Jimmy T.’s GBA selection of sports microgames probably won’t appear on phones), who’s to say mobile won’t get its own unique brand of microgame packs? Nintendo’s vow to provide quality also means we may not get a nose-picking simulator, but why not expand on other popular WarioWare concepts such as the Pyoro minigames? I absolutely loved the Touched iteration, and now that phones have touchscreen capabilities, we could witness a similar version hit the mobile market.

If we think about it, WarioWare’s always been about Wario diving into the latest craze. Maybe the GamePad didn’t light the market on fire, but with everyone being glued to phones these days, it’s only natural the obese nosedigger would cash off on mobile. So long as he remembers what made his special brand of games popular in the first place, he’ll be rolling in dough in no time.

3 Responses to “WarioWare, Inc.: Going Under?”

  • 1549 points
    penduin says...

    WarioWare DIY will be my favorite in the series until and unless they make another to follow in its footsteps. I was very sad when the service (along with its contests and celebrity game designer exhibits) stopped; that was one of few video games whose online activities really meant something to me.

    Perhaps it needed something like Flipnote Studio’s “simple mode” for people who didn’t have much time or didn’t want to think through all the awesome stuff that’s possible to create – a handful of templates with easily-adjusted visuals and parameters or something. But I didn’t find its interface intimidating at all, and I was crushed when the Wii U game wasn’t a DIY continuation.

    The series is probably bound for phones and tablets now, but wouldn’t it be amazing if those apps were fueled by microgames created by gamers? Poke at your greasy slab to play silly WarioWare games, buy the real thing on real Nintendo hardware to also create and remix them.

    …Well, a guy can dream. :^)

  • 849 points
    ejamer says...

    Great article.

    WarioWare DIY was also my favorite in the series by far. It’s a fantastic tool limited only by your own creativity… but like most games that rely on user-generated content, that makes it difficult to pickup and enjoy for casual gamers.

    It would make sense to see the series return to the crazy, micro-game celebration it started off as. While that wouldn’t cater to my interests, it would probably end up being more popular. :)

  • 66 points
    haruhi4 says...

    i love warioware and was too disappointed with game & wario. I hope for another wii u warioware. Me and my brother like to play together. If it released for 3ds, then i would spend… 300,00 reais(100 dollars) on it, so i guess i wold not buy it. Too expensive XD

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