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Games Of June 2013: Game & Wario

Nintendo knows how to show off their console’s tricks. Now they just need to make the most of it.

By John Teti • July 24, 2013

Derrick Sanskrit swings by The Digest for the first time to discuss Game & Wario, which he also reviewed last month. Nintendo wants this game to be a proof-of-concept for the Wii U, and it certainly is that, but we’re left with the question of whether the console is going to get past the proof-of-concept stage. Then again, it’s still just a gadget. Derrick and I are more concerned with the wonderful characters that populate the WarioWare universe (of which Game & Wario is a part, even if not explicitly). Forget Mario; let’s see more of 9-Volt and Dr. Crygor!

Our treat today is Pop Rocks, and of course Derrick is enlisted to Tweet That Treat—in which our contestants must compose an on-the-spot review of the day’s candy that comes as close to Twitter’s 140 characters as possible without going over. Will Derrick fare better than Drew Toal did yesterday? There’s only one way to find out.

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  • Cloks

    Wario… I’ve had a weird obsession with Wario for a few months now. It started while playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl with a friend. It was the two of us playing against two CPU characters in a free-for-all and the game would often give use the same characters over and over again. One of these was Wario, who popped up in every match. We made cracks about his quirks while playing but the floodgates opened when every player was randomly assigned Warios. At this point we started making “Wario Facts”, where we came up with things that we then attributed to Wario. Some good examples of this (good being purely relative) are: “Wario invented the word smidgeon. He meant for it to refer to smelly pigeons.”, “Wario has his own game called Wario Party. It’s mostly about collecting beetles.”, “Wario knows almost all of the numbers”, “Wario’s proudest achievement was deciding to have a proudest achievement.”. This eventually led to the two of us writing a letter to Nintendo where we pretended to be eleven years old in the hopes that we’d get a response faster. This worked, and we got a letter back from some marketing guy with a Pokemon card and a nicely worded thank you for our concern over whether or not Wario and Waluigi could indeed be good guys (they could just be misunderstood!).

    Anyway, that’s my experience with Wario. The takeaway here is that you can write to Nintendo of America and get free Pokemon cards.

    • George_Liquor

      Wario can put his elbow in his ear, but only when nobody’s looking.

      Wario once stopped a speeding bus with his face.

      Wario sensibly plans today for a comfortable retirement. Do you?

      • Cloks

        These are all great.

    • throbbin_bitchcock

      “…evil celebrity chef Wario Batali. He’s just like his brother, except he doesn’t wear crocs.” -Stefon

      • DrFlimFlam

         That makes him the GOOD brother.

    • Boonehams

      Wario volunteers at local nursing homes as a Bingo caller. He’s becoming so famous among the geriatric crowd that the Gray Foxes are nominating him as a write-in candidate for president next election.

      Wario once pulled a bus with his teeth, but only because he doesn’t know how to drive.

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      I love this, and the jokes that ensued in the replies. I’d also love a photo of the letter you got back from Nintendo, if you’re inclined. I remember writing letters to Nintendo when I was around the age you pretended to be.

      • Cloks

        Will do!

  • PaganPoet

    My review: “God help you if you mix this with cola.” #tweetthat

    • Dave Dalrymple

      Total myth. Mentos, on the other hand…

    • Fluka

      *Ctrl f’s for “SEE YOU IN HELL, CANDY BOYS!”*

      *Gets nothing!*  Yesssss.

      *Tries to think of a game-relevant pun for Simpsons quote.*

      *Has nothing.*

      *Stands around awkwardly.*

  • PaganPoet

    Derrick, I love the effect you’re talking about at 7:50. But for me, it reminds me of Kate Bush, not Black Sabbath.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      A Digest video AND a Kate Bush video? What a great way to start off a hump day.

  • Enkidum

    First obscenity on a Digest? 

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      Obviously, he said “Forking”…

      • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

        It’s actually just a flurry of sounds as I reacted to a series of explosions along my gum line, but I approve of John’s “forking” translation. John, however, does drop a solid F bomb at 3:34, but we love him regardless of his sailor speak.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      There have been “shit”s on previous Digests. This may be the first “fuck,” though.

      • caspiancomic

         We need @stakkalee:disqus to start keeping track of Digest swears.

  • rvb1023

    Given the Wii never got past proof of concept stage, I’m not exactly holding my breath. I just hope the Wii U’s good games are enough to get the Wii U’s lack of anything new.

    Man, X looks really good.

  • Gnarled Bark

    I completely see how this could be the game that really shows how the potential of the WiiU.  Wario Ware: Smooth Moves was, and still is, one of my favorite games on the Wii and showcases the WiiMote better than any other game (I know some people will argue that Wii Sports does this the best, but I think Wii sports was great at getting people to understand the concept, but not the potential).  Smooth Moves is also ridiculously funny with the various “poses” and their descriptions, aided by a fantastically monotone voice-over.  Seriously, the puppy disco, with the dog in the disco ball might be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

    It is be complete happenstance that this starts at 4:20: http://youtu.be/e0lmGCJ0ZmI?t=4m20s

  • caspiancomic

    Superficial observation #1: Will Teti slapping a game box against the side of his face ever stop being endearing? I’m thinking: no.

    Superficial observation #2: Finally getting eyes on Derrick Sanskrit! I see that he, too, is in the “brunette on top with ginger beard” club. I don’t know how that happens. Being European makes you look weird sometimes I guess. Derrick pulls it off much better than I ever have though.

    Relatively probing observation: I’ve been alternately burned and pleased by Nintendo’s hardware game recently. After being a Sega/Sony kiddie all my life I bought a DS and a Wii in the same year, and while I loved my DS (and have since happily graduated to its multi-dimensional successor) I got almost no use out of my Wii. When I was at uni and living with a bunch of slovenly twentysomethings we played quite a bit of SSBB, and I’m glad I got a chance to play Zack & Wiki and Sonic Colours, but at the end of the day I don’t know if I’d consider the machine “worth it.” I also will probably not be buying a Wii U, unless it manages to achieve the potential alluded to in the video (and that the Wii promised but never delivered on). It’s a damn shame, too, since I’m really hoping I’ll be able to play the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World, which looks crazy amazing.

    Potential Wii U killer app? Pokemon Snap sequel. Money in the bank, Nintendo!

    • PaganPoet

      Derrick Sanskrit also has really nice eyes.

      • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

        Aw shucks, well, aren’t you a sweetheart?

        • Chum Joely

          Just don’t go changing them in any future Digest, or there will be commenting hell to pay.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      Did you play the Mario Galaxy games? Those pretty much made it worth it, for me at least. Also, germane to this discussion, Wario Ware Smooth Moves is one of the best games on the system. Other possible opportunities for enjoyment include Little King’s Story, which is adorable, funny, and super bizarre, and Muramasa, which is no great shakes on the gameplay front, but I suspect you’d dig its Vanillaware aesthetics.

      Also, if your narrative of not having had any Nintendo prior is true, then you’d do well to pick up some Gamecube games for that Wii, especially the Pikmins, Windwaker, Paper Mario 1000-year-door, and Metroid Prime 1 and 2. (Killer 7 is notably weird, too, but may not be your cuppa)

      • DrFlimFlam

        These are good recs. That’s parto of what sells the original Wii – the back catalog of the Gamecube means you can fill it out with those games. You can also see if you can find the trilogy of RPGs that closed out the system (good luck with Xenoblade Chronicles, though – it’s the Ommegang Iron Throne of video game releases).

        Best Buy (at least this weekend) had the Kirby Dream Collection available for $7.99. That was the last game Nintendo published for the Wii, apparently.

      • CrabNaga

        Metroid Prime 3, while being a huge departure from 1 and 2, is still a very good game on its own right. The motion controls were used perfectly in that game as well. And the Wii Zeldas are nothing to turn your nose up at, either. However, I would recommend getting the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess, since the Wii controls aren’t as fully realized as Skyward Sword’s and you still get to play as a southpaw Link! Lefties unite!

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

             Being left handed has always been a minor, but constant annoyance with the Wii.  I’m much more dexterous with the wand in my left hand, but I’ve been so conditioned by game controllers that any attempt to switch the two halves would just result in my character walking in an awkward degrading orbit.
             But that said!  Not only are you right about Prime 3, Prime trilogy is fantastically done.  I found Prime 2 to be both difficult and hand-crippling on Game Cube and really smooth on Wii.    

        • PaganPoet

          Twilight Princess on Wii is infuriating to me, especially the slingshot/boomerang/bow and arrow aiming. I haven’t played Skyward Sword, but I suppose it’s a good thing they smoothed out the controls.

        • Dave Dalrymple

          @PaganPoet:disqus  I’m in that group of people who absolutely hated the motion controls in Skyward Sword. Far from making combat more intuitive, it became more infuriating. Most enemies require very precise slashes to defeat.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          @davedalrymple:disqus : The motion controls were awful. I had my first dark inklings when I noticed that even simply navigating the opening menu screen with a cursor was significantly more sluggish and ropey than with the IR pointer. 
          Actually playing the game was an exercise in trial and error, where I had only a chance of doing the right move. Some moves were correct fairly frequently (directional slashes), while others were infuriating (having to stab forward into the chest of the penultimate boss, and doing a useless forward roll 80% of the time drove me fucking batty! I know what I have to do, game. Just fucking let me DO IT.).

          TP’s Wii controls were significantly tighter and more responsive than the Motion Plus stuff they tried to do with Skyward Sword.

      • mizerock

        I was stunned to find that I did not enjoy the Galaxy games. It was ALL meaningless fetch quests, to me. I’m sure that’s just my fault with being too concerned about saving the Princess, and getting the football yanked away after every planet you visit. Maybe she’s in the next star system! Spoiler: she’s not. I quit.

        Similarly, I refuse to watch “How I Met Your Mother”. Though at least they will finally get around to doing what their title promises during this upcoming and final season.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          The only ‘fetch quest’ was ‘fetching’ stars to unlock new areas, which is pretty de rigeur for 3D Mario games. However, unlike other 3D Mario games, the environments were gorgeous, imaginative, and a delight to traverse. Sooooo goooood.

        • GaryX

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus I still need to play the second one. I heard it gets actually crazier? The first one is such a delightfully creative game. You can tell the designers really had a blast making it.

    • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

      The Wii is home to possibly my favorite lineup in home console history just because of its diversity and developers’ willingness to experiment, even if most of those titles wound up being commercial flops. No More Heroes, MadWorld, WiiFit, A Boy and His Blob, Lost in Shadow, Boom Blox, de Blob, Muscle March, Art Style: Cubello, the BIT.TRIP series, Punch-Out!, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Bonsai Barber, Fragile Dreams, Endless Ocean: Blue World, LIT, Monster Hunter 3: Tri, SSX Blur, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and You, Me, & the Cubes were all wonderful Wii exclusives (some of which have obviously since been ported elsewhere), plus the aforementioned Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Smash Bros Brawl, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Wii Sports, Zack & Wiki and Sonic Colours. I understand why a lot of people (John Teti included) were not fans of the console and its lineup, but it will forever hold a very special place in my heart.

      And on the topic of GameCube games for people’s neglected Wiis, I cannot possibly recommend Chibi-Robo enough.

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        Aside: The new Chibi Robo for 3DS has my favorite central conceit in a long, long time. I’ve only played the demo so far and it definitely has issues (I was supposed to take a photo of what was quite obviously supposed to be a gable top carton, but my milk cartons are in a slightly different shape so I had to take a photo of a stock image instead, which totally runs counter to what the game is trying to do) but I’ll recommend it anyways. I just love the idea of taking everyday junk that’s designed to be disposable and granting it some measure of worth and permanence.

        • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

          I was concerned about this myself, what sort of cultural differences would be present in the photographs, what they expect Japanese homes to have which other nations’ homes might not. That said, I would probably just draw pictures of the things and wind up with a collection of pencil-sketch 3D objects just for the heck of it.

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          @dsanskrit:disqus There’s at least some room to improvise. I managed to convice the game that a section of my mixing console is close enough to its idea of a wall plug. But yeah, I’d rather wait and see if they do a proper localization, with wall plugs and milk cartons that look like the ones I have. Using that stock photo not only felt like cheating, it really defeats the purpose of the game. It just isn’t a proper nostaljunk museum if it’s not MY nostaljunk and I can’t fire up the game five years later and be all “Oh, that’s right, I used to drink a lot of grape juice back then!” or whatever.

      • Dave Dalrymple

        “Zack and Wiki” and “Boom Blox” stand out to me as emblematic of everything that was great and wrong with Wii development. The underlying games were fun and original, but the art design was far too kiddy.  

      • DrFlimFlam

        Kirby’s Epic Yarn is an all-time favorite game of mine. Just delightful.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Yeah, it’s just so goddamn gorgeous and charming. You can’t not smile when you play it. 

          Also fun, in a more traditional kirby kind of way is Return to Dreamland which had some really fun 4 player coop.

        • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus Return To Dreamland was nice, but it felt extremely safe and uninspired in the wake of Epic Yarn and Mass Attack, both of which had come out within the preceding year-and-a-week and were easily among the most inventive and thoroughly charming titles in the positively massive Kirby series.

          The Water power, though, was easily my favorite Kirby power-up since Yo-Yo and Mirror in Super Star, so Return To Dreamland got that right, at least. Looooooooved surfing along the surface of the levels.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    INB4GHALEONMENTIONSIT:
    Derrick, that Game & Wario ghost photographing level reminds me a lot of the weird Love De Lic Playstation game UFO: A Day in the Life, which is based entirely around photographing invisible aliens based on the phenomena they leave in their wake. You maaaaay enjoy it, though it’s also a non-US release, which means it’s hard to (legally) find, and what little flavor text there is is all in Japanese.

    • mizerock

      Huh, that sounds like something I would like, if it ever comes out for WiiWare. Oh, I guess it never will, since they have moved over to Wii U only (???). And Nintendo doesn’t seem nearly as interested as Sony in releasing its “previously available only in Japan” titles digitally.

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        That is a Playstation title though. And it’s not available on any PSN store I’ve seen either (same goes for any other Love-de-lic, Vanpool or Punchline game).

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        It’s a PSX game, so if it will appear anywhere, it would be on a Sony system. It’s obscure and hard to get, to the point that I just wound up emulating it.

        • mizerock

          “Playstation game”, it’s right there in the description, bah. Are there any Japanese games that ARE available in the PS store that you could recommend for being fun but also weird / quirky / strange / distinctly Japanese?

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      As mentioned by @DestroyHimMyRobots:disqus , the Chibi-Robo camera game is NOT a coincidence.

      Also, I try not to swear, but FUCK the job market for people in their 20s right now.  No new video games for me for awhile, never mind imports.  I wish I could comment on some of the cool stuff from this summer.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Gamelo?  Is that some sort of Gameological Juggalo?  That’s so unnecessarily cruel it’s making me cry a little.
        Great, and now my face paint is running.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      See, if you’d gotten that red button tattooed on your cheek like me, you wouldn’t have to worry about it rubbing off.

  • http://whatistheexcel.com/ Excel-2013

    They changed up the art design of Game & Wario to more closely resemble the art in Rhythm Heaven. I get that they’re cut from the same cloth, but I didn’t even recognize Mona in that game until I saw her name.

  • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

    Speaking of Rhythm Heaven, it is easily my favorite Rhythm game, trumping the likes of DDR and Guitar Hero, because:

    1. The syncing on the Rhythm part is just perfect. I never feel cheated by the system. (except for one exception, the Love Rap on Rhythm Heaven Fever, which I think was messed up when they localized the originally Japanese spoken-word rhythm cues into English. What would be so horrible about an American playing as a Japanese rapper?)

    2. It’s just plain zany and funny. Definitely the least pretentious out of all Rhythm games. Not that any of the Rhythm games take themselves all too seriously, but Rhythm Heaven takes more risks and lets it all hang out.

    I’ve typed out the worth Rhythm so many times I’ve re-realized what a goofy word it is: such an odd combination of letters. How many other words have only a ‘Y’ for the vowel surrounded by a bunch of nonsense consonants? Hymn? That’s all I can think of, and it isn’t even close to as weird.

    • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

      Crypts
      Glyphs
      Lymph
      Myth
      Nymph
      Sylph
      Tryst

      Also, did you hear that there’s finally an English patch for the original Rhythm Tengoku? That was the first game I ever imported from Japan because I absolutely needed to play it and I treasure that cart. There’s only one game that really relies on understanding any Japanese, I only got a perfect on it by memorizing the pattern R-Type style. Undoubtedly my favorite of the series so far.

      • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

        I DO NOT ENDORSE DOING THIS:

        I played the Rhthm Tengoku (illegally) on a GBA rom without the English patch, just by using my wit to figure it out. (it wasn’t that hard.) It was nice to understand some of the allusions to older games that show up later in the series. But thanks for tip about the patch! 

        My favorite is still Rhythm Heaven Fever, if nothing else because of those amazing and adorable tiny watch-monkeys. But it’s hard to pick, the three games would all be on my ‘Top 20 Games of all time’ list.

        And blast you Derrick Sanskrit, you’ve also made me feel guilty, I should have just legally imported the physical cart too. 

        • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

          Plus the Japanese GBA cart comes with stickers of most of the characters!

    • boardgameguy

       there was an entire puzzle in the 7th Guest that required you to make a sentence with words that only had Y as vowels

      • caspiancomic

         Shy gypsy slyly spryly tryst by my crypt. History’s greatest bullshit puzzle, seared into my memory forever by the blistering heat of pure molten hatred.

        • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

          I can’t like this comment enough. For alerting me both to a crazy sentence and a ridiculous puzzle.

          Another bizarre, but correct sentence I’ve heard is:

          ‘Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.’

          You figure it out.

        • Chum Joely

          @Xyvir:disqus BUFFALO PUZZLE SPOILER

          Yeah, I’ve heard this one. “Buffalo buffalo” = “buffalo that come from the city of Buffalo”. And apparently “buffalo” is a verb too (puzzle, baffle, confuse).

          So, if “Bb” are the animals from western New York: “Bb (which) (other) Bb baffle, (themselves) baffle (other) Bb.”

          That might be harder to understand than the original. I’m glad I didn’t go into teaching.

    • DrFlimFlam

       The best rhythm/music game is Gitaroo-Man. It is known.

  • ChicaneryTheYounger

    Is that a Hawkeye shirt?

    • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

      Yes!

  • Walter Gentz

    Um, where’s the video? I need assistance.

    • Chum Joely

      Oh good, the traditional “what the hell is wrong with the video” thread for the Digest.

      On Chrome, I got the usual random crashes, but at least this time, when I reloaded the page,  I was able to browse to the time where it crashed and continue watching.

      However, at some point I went to IE9 to see if it would be more cooperative (it usually is), and in that case the video was not even clickable, so I couldn’t even start it.

      Someday this all will be solved, I’m sure…

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Yesterday’s video didn’t show in Chrome for me – I had to hop over to Firefox. I tuned off the native ‘Pepper’ Flash player in Chrome, and now things work okay.