2003 Gaming Awards, Part 13

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$!
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 05/21/2003

It’s getting harder and harder to put in a new game and legitimately feel like you are playing something entirely new, but that’s exactly what happened when Wario Ware first hit the Gameboy Advance. Now a franchise in its own right, Wario Ware was a totally new direction for Wario, who had previously starred primarily in platformers. Unlike a party game which relied on multiplayer madness to carry the simplicity, Wario Ware microsized minigames to 5-10 second bursts, relying on simple and fast gameplay and a frenetic pace to keep the gamer enthralled. The minigames vary from simple stick figures to snippets of Nintendo franchises like Zelda or F-Zero, and while never overly hard, were almost universally fun to play.

Tom Pandich
There once was a time where something like Wario Ware would be considered revolutionary. It seems so distance though considering every DS game and its mother these days has some mini games in it. What Wario Ware did was change handheld gaming for the better. There were games with mini games before Wario Ware, but the original Wario Ware combined them in ways we really had never seen before.

First off, my favorite part of this game was the inclusion of Dr. “Wario”, Fly Swatter, and Sheriff. Those three games alone almost make Wario Ware worth the price of admission for the old school gamer. I played the crap out of Mario Paint back in the day and Fly Swatter was the second coolest part of the game (the music editor obviously being the first coolest part). Beyond that, the hillarious riff by Nintendo on people who constantly are ripping off Nintendo games with flash iterations are dead on in the palette swaps for Dr. Wario and Sheriff. I never picked up Dr. Mario back on the NES and ignored the various other iterations on the SNES and N64, but I made up for lost time by logging hours upon hours just on the Wario Ware version of Dr. Mario. Looking at the third classic game included here, Sheriff is just pure fun. It doesn’t have a whole lot of depth to it, but neither does the rest of the games you play in Wario Ware. They’re simply a blast. Remember, these are just the bonuses to Wario Ware, not the actual game itself.

The other great thing about Wario Ware: Mega Microgames is that it takes the most entertaining character in the Nintendo universe, Wario, and finally gives him some space to show off some personality. The Wario Land games were fun, but they weren’t all that different from every other Nintendo platformer. Furthermore, Wario himself was always an under-realized character. He was always tossed into generic platformer A or made an appearance in Mario “whatever”. Wario really got a distinct personality that seperated him from the rest of the Mario characters with Wario Wares. This was Wario’s Donkey Kong Country.

As for the game itself, what’s not to like about it? Wario Wares is one of the genuinely funny video games ever made. The games have personality. The characters are unique, and their sub-stories are cute. There’s a ton of challenge to them when they start getting tossed at you left and right. There is really nothing bad to say about this game. If I was on staff at the time, I would have picked it as my Game of the Year over Disgaea simply because it was lodged in my GBA for literally a year. I rarely 100% a game and with Wario Ware I did it twice (my brother lost my original copy). It’s simply one of the five best games on the GBA ever. You owe it to yourself to have this in your collection.