Thursday, September 17, 2015

Video Game History Editorial: Wario, Villain or Asshole

Look at his dumb face.
I made a perler of Wario giving a thumbs up last week. I chose this sprite from Wario Land II, a favorite gameboy game from my childhood and the first game I played that had Wario in it. In WL2 Wario's castle is burgled by some pirates and he goes on a quest to kick their collective butts and reclaim his treasure. He's getting old fashioned video game vengeance. He's the good guy, a crass, dickish good guy. This brings me to the problem I have with Wario. He fits very poorly into the Mario good-bad dichotomy. He is essentially a VINO, Villain In Name Only. He isn't even much of an anti-hero, he's just unlikeable. Most of his modern game appearances are party games and WarioWare. I decided to go through his game history to prove the point that Wario is just an asshole.

Before going game by game, let's briefly discuss Wario's appearance. He's just a chubby elf-like Mario. If he were portrayed in a live-action film, I would suggest Luis Guzman to play him. He's villainous, but generally likable, not frightening. Wario is no boss like Bowser, Ganon, Mother Brain, or even Donkey Kong, he's just a fat guy.

On to the games! (I had to cherry pick and group some since Wario has been in a number of titles.)

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB): Wario started out as the actual boss! He takes over Mario's castle and makes Mario go through some of the more unusual levels on a pretty good gameboy title. In the final boss battle, Mario has to beat Wario 3 times while he's shifts powers. But, in classic Mario fashion, Mario only has to jump on Wario's head three times in each form to beat him. When defeated, Wario runs off like a chump after throwing his shoe at Mario.
Villain Rating: 7
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 10

Wario's Woods: Wario is the villain in a puzzle game, which is the most important character role ever. He takes over some woods and gets beaten by Toad. If you can be defeated by Toad, you don't deserve a bad guy membership card.
Villain Rating: 5
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 10

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3: Wario goes looking for treasure after getting his butt kicked by Mario in SML2. He fights some pirates to steal their gold and gets a castle from a genie in the end. A tale of greed, definitely a more anti-hero role for Wario
Villain Rating: 2 (He's basically just stealing)
Anti-hero: 8
Asshole: 6 (is stealing from pirates that bad?)

Wario Land II: Wario gets his gold stolen from the previously mentioned pirates. He fights them to get it back. Doing odd side quests such as chicken saving.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 5
Asshole: 5

Wario Land 3: Wario goes looking for treasure. Releases a demon clown, and defeats a demon clown.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 6
Asshole: 7

Wario Land 4: Wario goes looking for treasure in a pyramid. He gets trapped in a pyramid. Fights an ancient spirit and frees another.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 4
Asshole: 6

Mario Kart: No story, no villain. He doesn't even get the blue shell more than others. Perhaps Mario is just keeping his enemies close?
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: (Depends on who is playing)

Mario Sports: Watch out, Wario's gonna ruin the golf! Oh, never mind he just wants to hang on the golf course, at the tennis court, or on the baseball diamond.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 0

Mario Party: Who doesn't get invited to these parties? A lot of very nice Toads and other friendly Mario characters. Somehow, Wario finds his way onto the guest list. He's probably a gatecrasher. What. A. Dick.
Villain Rating: 7
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 10

Wario World:  An evil gem awakens in Wario's treasure hoard. Turning his money, you guessed it, into monsters.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 5 (He's just always a dick)

Super Smash Bros.: In 'Brawl' Wario makes his debut in the "Subspace Emissary" as a villainous character collecting collecting trophies of characters while seemingly ignoring actual orders from the evil peeps. He joins the good guys in the end. His smash character is dressed like the WarioWare version and uses such classy moves as farting on his opponents and riding a chopper motorcycle.
Villain Rating: 6
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 10

DDR: Mario Mix: Oh no! you have to out-dance Wario on a ferris wheel. What will you do? Like Wario's Woods, who takes this kind of boss seriously when they can be defeated by stepping on floor mat.
Villain Rating: 3
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 5

WarioWare: Probably some of the better known games where Wario is the lead. Wario is a opportunistic programmer who makes mini games to earn a quick buck.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 0
Asshole: 6

Wario Land: Shake It!: Wario's goes to great lengths to acquire gold coins from a strange world hidden in a globe. He just keeps getting sucked in places after looking for money. No wonder nobody wants to hang out with him.
Villain Rating: 0
Anti-hero: 6
Asshole: 9

As my highly objective and not-random numbers show, Wario is just an asshole in villain's clothing. He is rarely used as an actual antagonist and any time he has his own game, it's about getting screwed over in the pursuit of treasure. He's no hero, he's no villain, he's an unlikable cock.

Greedily yours,
-Peter