Gaming Post 30: WarioWare: Twisted

The random number generator has determined that the game I should write about next is WarioWare: Twisted. It was one of the 3 portable motion controlled Game Boy games that I know about, as well as the second real installment of the WarioWare series.

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WarioWare games are great. They’re difficult to play at first, but with practice they become more enjoyable. It consists of playing various micro games in quick succession. Each micro game is only a few seconds long, and the player either wins or loses based on their actions after quickly being given the instructions. Some of the instructions can be too vague to understand the first time you see them, but there are only about 200 micro games in the game, so you end up memorizing a lot of them by the time you’re finished. 200 micro games sounds like a lot, and it is, but they are divided into categories when you play through the main story, so the rotation of possible micro games should only consist of about 20 when you’re first learning them. You can play a mode at the end when any game can appear, but that’s after the main story.

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Aside from the first one, WarioWare games have always had a gimmick related to the controls. This time, the gimmick was motion controls. At the time, the Wii didn’t exist yet, so motion controlled games felt new and exciting. Despite how common they are now, this game is one of the best motion controlled games I ever played.

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Take a look at this cartridge! I don’t know how it works but it’s amazing!

The other motion controlled Game Boy games I know about are Kirby Tilt-N-Tumble and Yoshi: Topsy Turvy. WarioWare: Twisted is the first one I played, and the best of them, but I eventually beat all 3. I wonder why so many of these titles use the letter T so prominently. It might just be a weird coincidence.

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The story starts with Wario accidentally breaking his Game Boy Advance. He takes it to his friend Dr. Crygor and tells him to fix it. Instead, Crygor modifies it to have motion controls. Wario sees the potential of it and starts developing games for the new system.

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The whole game uses tilt controls and occasionally the A and B buttons. This also applies to the menu. You will never use the directional pad for anything.

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I’m a big fan of WarioWare. My friend Jonah introduced the series to me, but I only really got into formally completing the games myself once I received a download for the first WarioWare game through the 3DS Ambassador program. My local Target store dropped the price of the 3DS from $250 to $180 a day early, so I bought it for $180 the day they dropped the price but still got the Ambassador games.

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I always strive for 100% completion in WarioWare games. In order to do that, there’s a certain process I undertake. First, I try out the first category of micro games. If I make it to the boss and win, I unlock the next category of micro games, but I don’t move on to playing them yet.

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There’s a mode in the better 4 WarioWare games that lets you play a particular micro game over and over until you lose 4 times. Just like in the regular mode, the micro games get faster and sometimes trickier the further you progress. If you can reach the high score goal for beating a micro game a certain amount of times in one go, the game acknowledges this achievement with a flower icon (I think) on that particular micro game in the micro game selection menu.

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Example of a micro game

I work to get the achievement for every single available micro game, and I stop once I’ve reached all the high scores. If there are micro games you can’t access in challenge mode, it means that you’ve never encountered them before in regular mode. In those cases, I would go into regular mode with the express point of finding the locked micro games. Having practiced the micro games unlocked so far, I’d be able to survive long past the first time encountering the boss micro game, and as I progressed further, the faster micro games went and thus the more likely I was to encounter the locked micro games quickly. WarioWare is definitely a situation where practice makes perfect.

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Another micro game

Once I unlock all the micro games and complete their challenges, there are still neat things to collect. WarioWare: Twisted takes advantage of its unique controls by adding in neat virtual toys that they call “souvenirs”. I think it’s great that ideas like these see the light of day because they are bundled with a product that is actually worth buying.

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Example: When you rotate the game system, the globe rotates too.

My favorite micro games in WarioWare are generally the ones developed by the character 9-Volt. He’s a Nintendo Fan who (by an extension of logic) lives on the same planet as Mario, Wario and Donkey Kong. His games remix old Nintendo games with changes either in controls or context. This time he added Motion Controls to classic Nintendo titles.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew up to develop NES Remix.

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WarioWare: Twisted was never localized in Europe. Some say it was never sold there because the mechanism inside the cartridge used mercury and mercury is one of the poisonous substances blocked from being sold in the European Union, but this is probably not why.

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A mercury thermometer. Not all thermometers contain mercury.

The main reason I don’t believe that the mercury rumor is true is that mercury is poisonous no matter what country you’re in. I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t allow a poisonous substance to be used in a toy or video game sold in America, so the only other theory I’ve read that makes sense to me has something to do with the long bureaucratic process for approving games to be sold in Europe. The idea is that either the process for getting the game’s approval took too long or it was predicted that it would take too long and (either way) was abandoned by Nintendo of Europe since their focus shifted from marketing Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo DS. A similar thing happened with Earthbound Beginnings between its release in Japan and its lack of localization anywhere else. Earthbound Beginnings eventually did get released worldwide on Virtual Console, but it took a long time and a lot of fan outcry to make it happen. For anyone wanting to play this game in Europe, I’d recommend just buying an American copy, since there was no region lock on the Game Boy Advance so it should work with a European console.

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Europe did get some of these WarioWare: Twisted micro games via the inclusion of a few of them in a category within the WarioWare game for Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Both games had motion controls, so the category’s inclusion was an elegant throwback to “retro” motion controlled micro games.

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A micro game in WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Theoretically, Nintendo might be able release the entirety of WarioWare: Twisted for the Wii U Virtual Console, but honestly, I don’t see it happening. WarioWare: Twisted is a great game, but it’s relatively obscure. If you want to play it, definitely order a copy online. I recommend it!

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Wario’s game development team

Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

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Gaming Post 25: LarryBoy and the Bad Apple

A while back, the random number generator told me to write about one of the games that I’ve beaten, however, I’ve been procrastinating about it for some time now (of course while also playing lots of new games). The game was LarryBoy and the Bad Apple on the PlayStation 2. To explain why I played this particular game, I’ll need to explain what VeggieTales is and why it was so cool when it first came out.

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Nowadays, lots of our entertainment comprises of 3D rendered content, whether that’s monoscopic or stereoscopic 3D videogames, films, or television shows. It was not so prevalent when I was born though. There are plenty of full length 3D animated films available today, but the very first one was Toy Story which came out in 1995. Every film in this category came out in the past 20 years, which in the grand scheme of things is not a very long time. Before the first Toy Story movie came out, there was a “straight to VHS tape” series that was fully rendered in 3D. This series was VeggieTales, whose first episode came out in 1993, when I was 1. It must have been the coolest thing around.

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At the time, there had never ever ever ever ever been a show like VeggieTales. They even say so in the theme song!

VeggieTales was really great. I think I discovered it when I was about 4, when VeggieTales was 3 years into its run and there were only 5 episodes of the show. I think one of my cousins showed it to me after discovering it himself when he went to college. At the time, 3D animation was very exciting no matter what age you were because it was so new and fun. I’m sure many of us don’t even notice it today when we see it, because it’s become such a staple of entertainment in our society. It’s a technology that no longer seems new.

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VeggieTales episodes often feature moral dilemmas, sometimes through the retelling of Bible stories but also through original stories. There is always some humor to be found in the episodes, even though the plots of some of them can be slow for older viewers. I kept up with the series until about 2001 when I was 9, but the show seems to have continued at a steady pace.

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My favorite character was LarryBoy, the alter ego of Larry the Cucumber. Of the episodes that I watched, LarryBoy was in three of them, and was featured heavily in the two of them that took place in the fictional city of Bumblyburg. LarryBoy is a superhero similar to Batman, but he’s also a vegetable like most of the characters in VeggieTales.

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Sometimes characters can be fruits. After all, Bob the Tomato has seeds and is thus technically a fruit.

Years after I stopped following VeggieTales, I was going through a shelf of old PS2 games at a GameStop store, and I found a game called “LarryBoy and the Bad Apple”. The game is based on LarryBoy’s third adventure of the same name. I hadn’t seen the episode, so I figured that playing the game would be an approximation of watching the episode, but with added interactivity. That’s when I decided that I would play through the game.

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It was a pretty fun experience simply because I grew up watching LarryBoy and had sort of thought that a game about him would be cool. The gameplay was especially good in the segments of the game in which LarryBoy has to fly through the air. As a whole, the game mostly consists of puzzles and platforming. There are cutscenes taken directly from the VeggieTales episode that the game is based on.

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LarryBoy isn’t completely based on Batman. They went ahead and threw in a reference to Spider-Man too.

The main villain is an Apple who personifies temptation. This is especially interesting because as VeggieTales is limited to a cast of vegetables and fruit, casting the villain as an apple that tempts people cleverly draws a parallel between the villain in this story and the Apple of Eden that tempted Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. In that way, this was both an original story and biblical. The thematic use of apples to represent temptation and evil is quite old and prevalent throughout literature and other media.

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The main villain is called The Bad Apple. She is an apple who tempts people. LarryBoy’s temptation is eating too much chocolate.
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A witch tells Snow White that eating this apple will grant her a wish. Snow White gives into her temptation and eats it, but it is poisoned.
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The future that the forbidden fruit foretells… I shall change the dream into reality. -Death Note Intro Song English Translation
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The Piece of Eden is temptation given form. -Al Mualim talking about the mechanical device called the Apple of Eden (Assassin’s Creed)

The villain, so called “The Bad Apple”, goes around tempting people to neglect their responsibilities to do other things they’d like to do instead, getting the mayor to vainly obsess over her appearance and a cook to watch an entire science fiction TV series. LarryBoy breaks people free from their temptations by completing levels, each one given the theme of the person’s temptation. Ironically, one of the people in the game who the Bad Apple has tempted is someone who wants to play video games all day. What’s ironic about this is that in order to make this character pay attention to their real responsibilities, you have to beat a level of this real life video game. The moral of that chapter is to not play videogames all day, and yet this is exactly what I did to finish this game.

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Am I subject to temptation? Absolutely. Do I give in to my temptation? Oh yes, definitely. That’s how I beat so many games.

And so with that, I’ve finished another article on Zelgerath.com. Maybe I can get back in the swing of things. As always, Thanks for Reading! =)