Japanese manual for Super Mario Land (Nintendo, Game Boy, 1989). Same art as the U.S. manual. Same names, too… Chibibo and Nokobons instead of Mini-Goombas and Koopa Bombas or whatever they normally would have localized these names as. I wonder why they didn’t tweak the names in translation.
Wario as a character is not appreciated nearly enough
You get the creative team of people at Nintendo R&D1 making Mario Land, getting so pissed off at having to work with a character that limited their possibilities so deeply that when the game took off and they made another one, they made this twisted parody of said character the final boss.
And right away they went on to make him the star, used him to explore gameplay possibilities within the platformer, went on to use the series that spawned as experimentation for what you can do.
“what if you explore and gather those coins instead of just getting to the end? what if you can’t die? what if instead of being a hero you’re just really selfish and the butt of many jokes in order to progress? and if the enemies are your weapons rather than obstacles? what if we put a time limit that affects the outcome of the game? what if you don’t know you’re rescuing the princess but there’s subtle hints to it being a sidestory to your goal?”
None of that sounds like a copy of Mario or Mario games as a whole. In fact, I don’t think any of this would have happened if they were to developing a Mario game. These guys took something that could have ended as a generic “bad clone” idea and took it way beyond. And that’s not even mentioning Wario Ware coming afterwards as a sign of the character and the series developing even further, just by virtue of how good of a character Wario ended up being.
Good ol Wario might be funny but he’s also a prime example of brilliant character design for games and how well you can direct your creativity if you just keep experimenting and developing your possibilities.
He stands for way, WAY more than people take him for.