Table of Contents:
Who is Wario?
Smash 64 and Melee
Wario and Butts: A Retrospective
The Cross Eyed Fighter
Wario Isn’t That Gross!
PushDustIn here. I’m so excited to finally bring you my epic on Wario. Ever since I saw the Brawl reveal trailer, I loved Wario. For me, Wario represents some of the best aspects of the Smash Bros. series, pure silliness and fun. Wario is undoubtedly my favorite character in the Smash Bros. game. Therefore, I wanted to go over the history of the character, references to Wario in all of the Smash games, and an explanation for Wario’s moveset.
The post is extremely long, and very image heavy, so in order to keep everyone invested I decided to break up the posts. The first post will cover the history of Wario, the difference in representation, and Super Smash Bros. 64 and Melee. The second post will go over Wario’s toilet humor, moveset representation in Brawl and the localization choices in Super Smash Bros for 3DS/ Wii U.
After Smash for Wii U/ 3DS DLC is finished, I would like to start a series called, “Project Omega.” Essentially, I would like to compile every single bit of information about various topics within the Smash Bros. series. These posts are a test for that series. I would greatly appreciate feedback on the style and format of this post, and it can help improve future posts. Also, like always please let me know if you feel I missed something, or if something I posted isn’t 100% correct.
Special thanks to Soma, Spin, and the other writers at Source Gaming for providing so much feedback on this article.
If you would like to help out, please consider donating to my patreon. All the funds will go back into making Source Gaming the best place for Smash information on the web. You can also like us on Facebook!
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was developed by the Nintendo R&D 1 team. It was released on October 21st, 1992 in Japan for the Game Boy. It was produced by Gunpei Yokoi, instead of Shigeru Miyamoto (As Miyamoto was assigned to the home console versions of the Mario franchise). Hiroji Kiyotake was the director and graphic designer for Super Mario Land 2, and is considered the primary father of Wario. Hiroji Kiyotake also designed Samus Aran in the original Metroid game. Since Hiroji Kiyotake’s list of works is incomplete in English, I’ve listed them at the end of this article for everyone’s convenience. However, there has been another man — Takehiko Hosokawa who has been involved with all the Wario Land games, and some of the WarioWare games. What kind of input he’s had into Wario is currently unknown.
It is said that because of Nintendo’s R&D 1 team was not happy with developing someone else’s game, they decided to create a character that would symbolize their frustration. That character was Wario. Wario was an instant breakout success, selling enough to warrant numerous sequels across a variety of platforms.
After the success of Super Mario Land 2, the team began to work on Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land. This game started Wario’s own series. Embittered by the events of Super Mario Land 2, Wario sets off to get his own fortune. Later Wario Land games would focus on Wario either reclaiming his lost fortune or looking for new treasure. The games are notable for featuring branching paths and various abilities. In Wario Land 2 and 3, Wario is essentially invincible, but can be affected by a variety of enemies (“reactions”) that can either help or hinder him his progress. For example, eating just once slice of cake will make Wario become very fat, allowing Wario ground pound blocks. Wario Land 4 introduces a heart system, but Wario is still able to take multiple hits. This style continued with Wario World and later Wario Land: Shake It. Wario Land Shake It (July 2008) is currently the last entry in the Wario Land series.
In 2003, the WarioWare series was introduced to the world. In these games, instead of treasure hunting, Wario becomes the C.E.O. of WarioWare Inc. Wario seeks to become rich by releasing a bunch of short, unfinished games, which are played by the player. Yoshi Sakamato stated that Wario was chosen because “he’s always doing stupid things.” Wario’s new design, along with Wario’s friends and employees were created by Ko Takeuchi, who would later work on the Rhythm Heaven series. All mini-games are quick reaction-based games, challenging players to quickly read the prompt, and do the action within 5 seconds or less. In WarioWare, the games are themed after each of the characters. For example, 9-Volt’s minigames are mostly retro throwbacks whereas Wario’s minigames focus on the man himself.
His success isn’t limited to his own series either. Wario has appeared in every Mario Kart (since 64), Mario Tennis, Golf and Fortune Street spin-off games. He was even featured in Mario Kart 64 before Donkey Kong was introduced to the roster. Wario was also made into a playable character in the rerelease of Super Mario 64, on the Nintendo DS. Needless to say, Wario is a fundamental part of the Nintendo’s history and games.
I’ve listed all of Wario’s games at the end of this article.
Note in cases where there is a comparison, the Japanese version is on the left side.
While comparing the marketing campaigns between the United States and Japan, I noticed something different about Wario. There seems to be a divide in how Wario Land games were marketed in the United States and Japan. Starting with the original Super Mario Land 2 commercial for the United States, Wario is attempting to hypnotize the viewer into stopping Mario. He starts off by saying “Obey me– Wario. I am your master. Mario is your enemy,” with the narrator calling him a “wicked imposter.” This really highlights the villain aspect of Wario.
This feels very different from the Japanese version of the commercial for Super Mario Land 2, which instead focuses on saving the six kingdoms. The ending of the commercial also introduces Wario, and uses his voice and personality that is featured in the other Wario commercials in Japan. However, Wario is seen as the butt of a joke (Mario promptly closing the book on him). Also notice that his eyes are cross-eyed. This is something that is actually part of Wario’s design and is never used in American commercials. I did my best to sum up the the two commercials in GIF format, but I highly suggest watching the full commercials.
This trend continues in later commercials, and the differences become only more stark. “It’s me. Wario! I’m great! Wario says in the Japanese version of the Wario Land 1 commercial. He’s hanging onto Tokyo tower, attempting to impress the crowd. At the end of the commercial he is flung away by a winking Mario.
The U.S. commercial for Wario Land 1, on the other hand, once again focuses on the “evilness” of Wario. Following the spirit of the first commercial, Wario is once again attempting to hypnotize the viewer into helping him. His tagline summarizes the commercial well: “Being bad is good and greed is good.”
While these aren’t the same games, the difference is still evident in later Wario Land games. Compare Wario Land Virtual Boy (US) and Wario Land 3 (Japan). Both commercials feature Wario “laughing” at the view. The Japanese version is once again more comical.
For Wario Land 4, the U.S. version focuses on Wario’s greed via shoppers trying to get all the money (US Commercial), while the Japanese version focuses on Wario’s powerups, and once again, Wario is treated like a joke. In the first part of the commercial Wario is yelling, “Where’s the treasure!?” over and over again. For the part where he’s running left, Wario is yelling, “Where’s the exit!?” quite frantically. Overall, it’s very light-hearted and fun, while the American version is very serious and evil.
In general, the U.S. interpretation of Wario focuses mostly Wario’s greed and wickedness. In the Japanese version of promotional materials, the focus is on Wario being the clumsy anti-hero. Most likely, the marketing team at Nintendo of America knew that a ‘stronger’, more ‘evil’ Wario could sell more in the region. The difference between Japan’s and America’s Wario is a localization choice. This is a very similar situation to the difference between Japanese and American Kirby.
Marketing has had a huge impact in how we perceive the character or a game. For example, marketing could be the reason why Earthbound didn’t sell well. This is because the U.S. marketing department decided to make the game seem as weird as possible (“This game stinks!”) in an attempt to sell the game. For additional information on marketing and the choice to even localize or not, I would highly suggest listening to Chris Pranger’s discussion on the Part-Timer Gamer podcast. He also discusses how some markets might be unsuited for certain games (He uses Captain Rainbow as an example).
That is not to say that I haven’t seen some Japanese users complain about the lack of Wario Land representation, or “powerful” Wario representation in Smash. However, it’s simply not on the scale in the West. I believe the reason many fans in the West have such a hard time accepting Wario’s character in the Smash Bros. series is because a lack of understanding of how the character has been portrayed in Japan.
Smash 64 and Melee:
In Smash 64, Wario is not a fighter. However, Mario’s second alt is a direct reference to Wario. For the record, the third color alt is Foreman Spike (From Wrecking Crew), the fourth one is “Famicon Mario Bros.” and the last one is most likely inspired by Luigi (though not directly confirmed on the alt explanation page).
After Super Smash Brothers 64’s release, Sakurai answered fan questions. There he received this curious message from a fan:
Kyouhei:“Wario has a big butt, so he’s perfect for 2 [Sequel to Smash 64].”
Sakurai:“Gahhhh. See, for someone whose brain is the size of a piece of rice like myself, the formula ‘big butt = Smash’ is incomprehensibleeeeeee.” [Japanese]
Before working on Melee, Masahiro Sakurai collected votes on who should be in Smash. This is very similar to the current Smash Ballot. Wario placed third in the poll with Wario almost beating Peach to get 2nd place. In the end, he lost by a single vote. Despite placing third, Sakurai decided not to make Wario a fighter as he didn’t want to over represent the Mario franchise [Quote].
Sakurai stated that he could’ve made Wario into a Mario clone, but he decided against it. Furthermore, Sakurai stated that he would have had to cut either Mewtwo, or Marth and Roy for Wario to make it into the game. Based on Wario’s trophy text in Melee[Quote], and his comments on clones in general, it seems unlikely that Sakurai would have ever made Wario into a clone. The Japanese text slightly expands on a couple of points, but the English localization is more or less accurate. Once again, Mario’s second alt is a reference to Wario. Wario’s obsession with butts and toilet humor was already in full swing as Wario Land 4 was released three months prior to Melee…
Stay tuned as I’ll be going over the history of toilet humor in the Wario Land series, what inspired Wario’s moveset, and his representation in Brawl and Smash for 3DS/ Wii U in the next part.
NOTE: Japanese release dates are used.
Metroid (August, 6th 1986) character design
Kid Icarus (December 19th, 1986) Game design.
Metroid II Return of Samus (January 21st, 1992) Director, Graphic designer
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (October 21st, 1992) Director, graphic designer
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (January 21st, 1994) Director, graphic designer.
Wario Woods (February 19th, 1994)
Super Metroid (March 19th, 1994) Original design for Samus
Wario Blast featuring Bomberman! (November 1994) Graphic design
Wario’s Woods (US: December 10th, 1994)
Virtual Boy Wario Land (December 1st, 1995) Director
BS Excite Bike (May 1995) Technical support
Wario Land 2 (October 21st 1998) character design
Wario Land 3 (March 21st, 2000) graphic design
Wario Land 4 (August 21st, 2001) Graphic designer
Metroid Fusion (February 14th 2003) Samus original design
Warioware (March 21st, 2003) Wario original design
WarioWare: Mega Micro Minigames (October 17th, 2003) Wario design
Metroid Zero Mission (May 27th, 2004) Samus design
Wario World (May 27th, 2004) advisor
Wario Master of Disguise (January 18th, 2007) Wario supervision
Metroid: Other M (September 2nd, 2010) concept art
List of Wario Games (Not including spin-offs like Mario Party):
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (October 21st, 1992)
Mario and Wario (August 27th, 1993)
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (January 21st, 1994)
Wario Woods (February 19th, 1994)
Wario Blast featuring Bomberman! (November 1994)
Wario’s Woods (US: December 10th, 1994)
Virtual Boy Wario Land (December 1st, 1995)
BS Excite Bike (May 1995)
Wario Land 2 (October 21st 1998)
———————Super Smash Brothers 64 release date (January 21st, 1999)———
Wario Land 4 (August 21st, 2001)
——————Melee’s release date (November 21st, 2001)————————-
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (March 21st, 2003)
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! (October 17th, 2003)
WarioWare TWISTED (October 14th, 2004)
Wario World (May 27th, 2004)
WarioWare Touched! (December 2nd, 2004)
Super Mario 64: DS (December 2nd, 2004)
Wario Master of Disguise (January 18th, 2007)
Wario Land Shake It! July 24th, 2008
WarioWare: Snapped! (December 24th, 2008)
————Brawl’s release date (January 1st, 2008)————————–
WarioWare: D.I.Y (April 29th, 2009)
Game and Wario (March 28th, 2013)
Wario’s Big Butt is Perfect for Smash
The trophy text for Wario in Melee is slightly different, and they list different games. Interestingly, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (released in 1993) and Mario and Wario (released in 1993) were chosen as the titles for Wario instead of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992). The Japanese is a little more detailed about Wario’s powers, and the story of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.
|マリオとは旧知の仲。 ”マリオ城”を強奪するが、 失敗。以後、自分の城をかまえたがっている。 怪力を持ち、豪快で、 マリオにはマネのできない アクションをする。 意外に芸があり、 アイテムや敵の力を借りて 太ったりゾンビ化したりと さまざまな変身をとげる。||An old acquaintance of Mario’s. He seized Mario’s castle, but [he] lost it. Ever since then, he’s wanted to set up his own castle. He has superhuman strength, and can do exciting moves that Mario cannot imitate. He has surprising skills from using items or borrowing enemies’ strength, allowing him to change shape such as becoming fat, or changing into a zombie.||An old acquaintance of Mario’s. His failure to seize Mario’s castle has fueled Wario’s desire for a palace of his own. Wario has herculean strength and can do things that even Mario can’t imitate. His unexpected skills include a talent with items and the ability to assume many roles, among them a snowman, a zombie and a bat.|
|マウス専用マリオとワリオ（SFC)スーパーマリオランド３ワリオランド（GB)||Mario and Wario (Super Famicon)
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (Gameboy)
|Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins|
Clone Quotes (Wario in Melee):
If I could add one or two more characters, then [Wario] might have gotten in. Of all the characters I discarded, [he’s] ranked near the top.
However, even if I didn’t work on several clone characters he wouldn’t have gotten in.
Even if I deleted characters from before (Jigglypuff, Luigi) he wouldn’t have gotten in.
You might think it’s impossible that even if we delete one character in development that it couldn’t be replaced with another character….
I would have needed to get rid of both Marth and Roy or Mewtwo in order for Wario to get in
I was worried that there were too many Mario representatives, so unfortunately this is why it was difficult to add Wario.
I’ve talked about this several times already…
Clone characters are for the fans, through and through (literally, “clones are free/ service”).
Even if we delete one clone, the amount of new characters wouldn’t increase by one.
However, I could have made Wario if I [had given] him the same exact body structure and moves as Mario.
PushDustIn loves Wario, and thinks you should too. Follow him on Twitter to stay updated with Source Gaming’s news and posts!