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WarioWare (also WarioWare, Inc.), known in Japan as Made in Wario (メイド イン ワリオ Meido in Wario), is a series of comedy-based party games published by Nintendo and featuring Wario. A series within the Wario franchise, it was introduced in 2003 with the release of Mega Microgame$! for the Game Boy Advance. While the first two games were developed by Nintendo R&D 1 (now part of Nintendo SPD), subsequent games have been co-developed by Intelligent Systems.
The games in the series are collections of very short and simple games, called "microgames" or "minigames," presented in quick succession. The plot centers around Wario founding the video game studio WarioWare, Inc. and hiring numerous friends of his to develop the microgames for him. The WarioWare games often make use of the new technological innovations of the console for which they are released.
WarioWare is a collection of short, simple games, called "microgames" or "minigames," presented in quick succession. Each of the microgames lasts about three to five seconds and failing to complete it costs the player a life. The games may seem simple; for instance, a microgame may require the player to pop a balloon, pick a nose, zap a spaceship, or make Wario collect coins in a maze styled after those in Pac-Man. The numerous microgames are linked together randomly and steadily increase in speed and difficulty as the player progresses. On each level, players are allowed four losses only. Also frequently appearing are boss games, which are considerably longer and more complex than the other stages; upon completing these, the player can regain a lost life (with a maximum of four). In addition to the microgame stages, WarioWare games also feature unlockable extra modes and "full" minigames.
The plots of these games center on Wario, his company WarioWare, Inc., and his friends in Diamond City who develop microgames for his company. Because of his greed, Wario usually refuses to pay his friends, despite the high success of the games. Most games in the series include short stories in the form of cutscenes dedicated to each of the developers, telling about their adventures or everyday lives. These cutscenes are split into two parts, the first one shown before the developer's respective microgame stage, and the latter part appearing after the player beats the stage.
The concept of a microgame or minigame was popularized generally during the fifth generation of video game consoles, in various releases for the Nintendo 64. Some early minigames appear in the Nintendo 64DD's Mario Artist: Talent Studio in the style that would give rise to the WarioWare series. The ideas for certain minigames literally originated in Mario Artist: Polygon Studio, where they featured in the so-called "Sound Bomber" mode.
According to Goro Abe of Nintendo R&D1's so-called WarioWare All-Star Team, "In Polygon Studio you could create 3D models and animate them in the game, but there was also a side game included inside. In this game you would have to play short games that came one after another. This is where the idea for WarioWare came from." The "Sound Bomber" mode was created by Kōichi Kawamoto as his first assignment at Nintendo, though Kawamoto himself was uninvolved in the WarioWare games proper outside of credits for his work on Polygon Studio. Teammate Yoshio Sakamoto continued, "To add on that, we got the idea of using Wario and the other characters because we couldn't think of anyone else who would be best for the role. Wario is always doing stupid things and is really idiotic, so we thought him and the rest of the characters would be best for the game."
The original WarioWare was developed by a team of newer Nintendo staff members, some of whom had previously worked on Wario Land 4. Both games shared the same director: R&D1 veteran Hirofumi Matsuoka, who would leave Nintendo following the game's completion. Abe, who programmed and designed the original game, directed all later entries except for Snapped!. Sakamoto, a longtime member and manager on the R&D1 team, was involved in development of all but the first installment, and took on the role of producer starting with Twisted! Artist Ko Takeuchi designed Wario's "biker" outfit and created the original characters that appear in the series.
Since WarioWare launched on Game Boy Advance, every Nintendo system from the sixth generation onwards (except for the Nintendo 3DS) has contributed an entry of its own to the series, with each new installment often making use of the new technological innovations of the console or handheld for which the game is released.
Remakes of individual minigames