WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$ – Second Opinion

Wario is, as Thom said, primarily seen as a parody of our greedy "taker" society. His game could also be interpreted as something that pokes fun at the short attention spans of the modern generation, or maybe a dig at the emulation scene: 200 cheap, short little experiences to choose from—an almost bewilderingly huge number of games to be able invest any serious commitment into. The way the microgames are in a constant state of acceleration until they spiral into an uncontrollable state could be a more ominous reflection of our modern way of life as well. Yet beyond this mocking, intentionally cheap and campy experience is a concise (though admittedly incomplete) cross-section of some of both the classic and the forgotten moments in Nintendo's videogame history, and a throwback to those beloved twitch-games of yore.

WarioWare is without a doubt a twitch-game, despite its pretences of having intellectual and cognitive challenges like matching shapes, marking a certain page in a book or choosing the logical word to complete a sentence. Thom described the process of learning each microgame, but once this process has been achieved and "Memorization" is firmly in place to recollect the actions for each game, the remaining thing that the player must continue to hone are no longer mental, but physical.

There generally comes a point in each microgame where they begin to move at such a high speed that Memorization becomes supplanted by yet another skill: Dexterity. Once this point in the progression is reached, the challenge becomes not only to interpret the microgame's title correctly by recalling it, but to have the necessary degree of motor skill and reflexes to react to the speed. Skills must be honed in order to do this, and single microgames must be practiced and mastered individually. In this regard, Thom's analogy of exercise is perfect.

A few games before WarioWare have professed to be "all-in-one" titles. Haven: Call Of The King is a fairly recent example of a game that tried to allow players to combine the skills they learned through playing many genres into a single gaming experience. While I'm not implying that WarioWare succeeds where Haven didn't, or that it even set out to achieve this goal in the first place, I will say that WarioWare is definitely a game for experienced gamers. Anyone new to videogames who was presented with WarioWare first would likely run away screaming and take up table-tennis as a pastime instead. As seasoned gamers, we may forget that at some point we had to learn how to navigate Link through a door, or that pressing A would cause our player to jump, or that pressing and holding A would cause our vehicle to accelerate. In its simplicity, WarioWare serves as a reminder of this process.

Perhaps a symptom of the selfish and impatient society that spawned me is that I want to nitpick the fact that out of 200 microgames there was a bit of repetition. The same boxing bosses (borrowed from the Nintendo's Punch-Out!!) are used three times. There is also more than one microgame that involves simply mashing the A button as fast as possible, either to break something down (eating it) or build something up (constructing a clay figurine). The moving bar gauge appears three times in different guises, and there are several different objects to cut by moving the D-pad left and right as well. Still, I'd have to be as greedy as Wario himself if I put too much weight (pun intended) on this gripe.

WarioWare has a number of great unlockables and it's possible to get medals in each of the 200 microgames by achieving a certain minimum score in each. It shows how far we've come that we could still expect more and more out of a game with our fairly recently inspired ideas of what "replay value" should entail. Just like in the older, simpler days, the goal in WarioWare once everything has been unlocked remains to get a new high score for bragging rights. However, unlike the days of the original Nintendo, WarioWare actually saves the high score when the system is turned off. Rating: 8.5/10