The game that put mini games in the spotlight!
What made it great then? WarioWare launched for the GBA in 2003. For those unaware, it sends the player through a series of micro games that take 3-10 seconds to complete. If the player succeeds, they move on to the next challenge, but if the player fails four times, they are sent to the game over screen. Series of games are are arranged semi-thematically around Wario and his Diamond city friends, with each character counting as their own level. It’s an incredibly simple and fun game. The games range from bits of NES games to trying pick a nose. It may be the funniest game for the GBA, not for its brilliant writing but for the feeling of surprise when the player is given an unusual challenge and only five seconds to complete it. The player doesn’t have time to digest the experience until they have already completed it, then they realize they lost because they couldn’t twirl pasta fast enough.
What makes it great now? WarioWare is a game that can never really go bad. There’s no reason that someone playing it for the first time this year would have a different experience than someone in 2003. The controls are basic and only require a D-pad and two buttons. The visuals are stylized in a way that shouldn’t be hard to revisit in the era of HD. The art is simplistic and cartoony and should easily translate if ported. The games aren’t really set to a particular time period so far as I can tell, and hold a timeless potty humor quality.
Why should it be remembered? WarioWare is where Nintendo made Wario jump the shark. While this may sound like a negative, Wario fits really well into the realm of the absurd and tacky. It was in WarioWare that his transition was made from villain/anti-hero to a video-game profiteering weirdo.