300 Word Reviews

300 Word Review – WarioWare, Inc.:
Mega Microgame$

There’s an old samurai saying that goes: “The one who thinks first, dies”.

WarioWare was the first to realize that an entire game could be based around this maxim, or rather, a suite of games. The best games in this themed collection are the ones that feature one mechanic that must be executed in a split second. Challenges where the player must grab a rod as it drops past a hand, or jump off a ski jump at exactly the right moment. These games require the player to empty their minds and act purely with their reflexes.

Academics refer to a ‘flow state’ as the feeling of effortless mastery that occurs when the difficulty of an activity sits below frustration but above boredom. WarioWare induces flow states with incredible alacrity. It’s method for doing so is proof of the developer’s (Nintendo R&D1) subtle genius. By dressing up the same game, ‘Press The Button’, in a several disguises, they trick the player into practicing the same task over and over again without seeming monotonous. Then, as they slowly ramp up the difficulty, usually by tweaking the timing, the player lifts off into the golden zone where everything is a challenge but nothing is hard.

Towards the end of the game however, the developers seem to forget their own lesson. As the games become more complicated the margin of error necessarily increases. One wouldn’t think that the difference between 3 seconds and 7 seconds would be that big a deal, but the addiction to near instant gratification, and instant failure, is palpable and to have it delayed even a few extra instants can be infuriating.

However, with their follow-up, Rhythm Tengoku (Rhythm Heaven), R&D1 proved that looking back on their own work, they could recognize the seed of greatness when they saw it.