Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Top 20 Favourite Video Games Of All Time: #16

Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Party Game$!
(Nintendo, 2003; GameCube)

Wario has long been one of my favourite video game characters, probably second only to Sonic the Hedgehog. As I alluded to in an earlier post, Wario Land II was my first introduction to the jewel hunter. When I got my Game Boy Color, there was a fantastic game magazine called Planet Game Boy. PGB was made by the same team as the crew behind N64 Magazine. I didn't get an N64 until years later, but N64 Magazine was a must-buy magazine for me. I could quite probably wax lyrical about N64 and PGB- and maybe I will in a later blog- but for now, I'll just say that PGB gave Wario Land II five stars out of five, meaning it was worth a look in the GBC's early days.

What I got was a fantastic game that earned my loyalty as a Wario fan for all time. I don't want to spoil what's ahead on this list too much, but I will say you can expect me to go into more detail in a later entry in this series.

In 2003, Nintendo released Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! (one of the few times you'll see me use an American title instead of a European one, Minigame Mania is a misnomer given the games in the Wario Ware series are explicitly stated to be microgames, not minigames) on the Game Boy Advance. This is a weird one as Nintendo could probably have made a whole new franchise from the Wario Ware series but, somehow, it works as part of the Wario series.

The idea is simple: Wario is greedy and wants all the money he can get. To this end, he founds his own video games company, Wario Ware, Inc., which he plans to use to make his millions. However, Wario is also incredibly lazy and can only be bothered to make games that last about five seconds. He also enlists several of his friends to do the same and these microgames, as it happens, become a smash hit. Each of the Wario Ware games use a certain gimmick. The second one uses a gyroscope, the third one uses the DS' touch screen, the fourth uses the Wii Remote, the fifth uses the DSi's camera and the sixth lets you make your own games. The first one- well...actually, there are sort of two first ones. The version I'm inducting here is a remake of the original. But more of that momentarily.

Anyway, the gimmick in the original game is that the microgames only require you to use the A button and/or D-pad to win them. You're given a simple instruction (like "Dodge!" or "Shoot!") and have to use the five seconds to ascertain what the game objective is and then win. Each stage throws anywhere between 10 and 20 of these microgames at you, plus various speed and difficulty increases and a longer boss stage (Orbulon's microgames require extra thinking and are twice as long). Simple. And, as it happens, very addictive. Wario Ware: Mega Microgame$ won all sorts of video game design awards and its simplicity lets anyone play it. After you've beaten all the character's stages, you'll want to keep replaying to unlock all the microgames, then to get the high-scores and unlock all the bonus games.

Mega Party Game$ is much the same story. As I said above, it's a remake of the original GBA game and, thus, features all the original microgames. This time, however, there are all kinds of awesome multiplayer games to play. There are loads of play modes to unlock, be it simple winner-stays-on games, space shooting games or games where the losers must balance on increasingly unstable piles of turtles (yes, turtles- the Wario Ware games are well known for their madcap insanity) until eventually only one player is still standing.

The Wario Ware series is a laugh riot on your own, with homages to Nintendo games, nonsense games and a host of recurring gags (there is always a game that revolves around nose picking) that will have you laughing long and hard. With a group of friends, though, there is no more enjoyable game to play. This is one party you simply must attend.


2badguys said...

I know they're good games but how the hell did a Wario Ware game beat SoR?

Sam said...

Ah, this is a great game. Never owned it myself but one of my uni flatmates did. The "Listen to the Doctor" section is probably my favourite.