What are the components of a perfect WarioWare microgame?

This is one of the great mysteries of the video game world. Close your eyes, imagine WarioWare, and whatever comes to mind (I mean, besides wondering why Nintendo won’t just give us a remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, of course, because this answer would be too obvious).

What is a microgame in the WarioWare franchise? I mean, yeah, we know what they are: multi-second activities that usually involve minimal button presses and quick reflexes in order to complete the weird task being asked of the player. But what makes the most effective microgames? With literally thousands of creations by the Nintendo team over the past two decades, they’ve had plenty of hits and misses (I think we’ve had enough stuffed our noses already, even Wario would agree).

What are the components of a perfect microgame? Composing a microgame makes us want more, no matter how many hours we’ve spent repetitively in the series. The ideal experience involves a number of factors, although all of these factors are condensed into the amount of time it takes us to yawn or pass gas.

Source: Nintendo.

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This is my favorite component of a great microgame. Because the franchise is so goofy, the graphics are all over the map. From the streamlined beta lookalikes to the superimposed real human hands, the WarioWare The franchise has no filters when it comes to the technological capabilities that microgames will represent.

The best graphic styles are those in which I know a fair amount of thought has been put into choosing the artwork. Bright colors and expressive shapes are always stunning, like that goofy boss microgame level in WarioWare: Gather Together in which the player controls a figure with rubbery elasticity attempting to climb to the top of the stage.

Source: Author.

There should always be intent and purpose in what is portrayed during the microgame. It wouldn’t make sense for the game above to use realistic HD figures and models, because that sucks in the excitement and fun! Everything should fit and feel right. There should also be contrasting graphical styles between games. It’s shocking and surprising when you go from simple to complicated in one quick transition, and that’s when it’s so great to see Nintendo at its most experimental.

Ingenuity

The WarioWare The franchise has always been used as a test subject for Nintendo’s newest and wackiest tech experiments. Who could ever forget to hook the Wii Remote to your hips for “The Big Cheese” pose in WarioWare: smooth movements? Or frantically tapping the touchscreen to whip a horse’s ass and win a DS race?

It almost seemed like Nintendo knew they sometimes tried to overdo it with these control schemes over the years and would make microgames their own little personal playground to see what worked and what didn’t.

Much like with the graphical examples above, ingenuity in microgames is best put to good use. This is best seen in many of Nintendo’s retro samples of yesteryear reimagined in the series. Play a spherical version of Super Mario Bros. or literally pulling the master sword out of its cloak is invigorating and inviting. It’s the meatiest concept this franchise has put forth and I can’t get enough of it.

Simplicity

This one is a bit of a cheat category. All microgames are simple due to their short duration and the quick tasks that are required of the player. Still, the best microgames are concise. They’re the ones who take the most mundane daily task and extrapolate it into a Wario-style exercise. Crack an egg, brush your teeth, throw a Koopa shell at another Mario enemy, etc.

That’s why the first game in the series, WarioWare, Inc. Mega Microgame$, is still one of the best entries in the franchise. With only a few possible button presses on the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo was forced to distill all of its best ideas into razor-sharp microgaming execution. Later installments were a bit heavy in trying to incorporate new technologies and brash ideas.

Intelligent

I like when these games make you think a bit before pressing a button or touching the screen. Tiny puzzles that require you to move the correct block, identify a figure or character, or quickly calculate something are such a breath of fresh air compared to other microgames that are numb and mindless.

Source: Author.

Nintendo has also had a fetish for brain games throughout its history, but the WarioWare franchise is the only series that encourages quick thinking and problem solving in a fun way that makes you forget you’re using your noodle. Few people want to be told that they are productive when playing video games. If you can get the audience to do some mental gymnastics instead of forcing it down their throat, fun and efficiency can ensue! For these reasons, Orbulon generally offers one of the best microgame packages in the series.

Humor

Wario is Nintendo’s funniest character. It’s not just the fart jokes and other crude humor, but his maverick style and fearlessness that have us shaking our heads and laughing out loud. He wants money and food, and this type of gluttony is unfortunately something we all pursue in our own way, sometimes because society forces us to.

Source: Author.

The microgames feature all of Wario’s gags and satires. Picking your nose, farting, pulling shirts over your stomach, taking shorts off your legs, etc. If it has to do with human anatomy or bodily functions, it’s probably appeared in one microgame or another over the years.

The best humor used in games comes when there’s more than just action going on. There should be layers to the joke, like in the image above. Instead of providing pants, Wario will give the man a sheet to conceal his unmentionables. The force behind the prank being a swinging fan is a third layer to laughter. Very well executed and an example of pot humor well done.

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What do you think constitutes a perfect microgame? Tell me in the comments section below and thanks for reading.

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