There a plenty of villains having appeared in video games to exact their vile, devilish plans as they wait for the hero to deter their evil deeds. Some, like Donkey Kong were once opponents to player before being endowed with their own endearing stories, becoming beloved by gamers in their own right while villainous characters such as Liquid Snake are so reviled that there is little hope of them being nothing more than dynamic forces bent on their own dastardly agendas. Wario, perhaps one of the best loved, if not bumbling villains, is a treasured of a character not just to the World of Mario in which he inhabits, but to the populous gaming culture as a whole.
Stepping in to replace series star Bowser, Wario initially appeared as the primary adversary and final boss in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, quickly he set his precedence in Mario-lore as a twisted version of Mario as he set out to fulfill his nefarious acts across the Mushroom Kingdom. While not as evil as the reptilian Koopa overlord, Wario still had a decidedly wicked demeanor about him. Yet as time goes on, he progresses into a self-pitying antihero who reveals that there is a lot more grey area to his persona than one would initially suspect.
Certainly true that Wario is forever out to achieve his own goals, only allying himself with Mario and his entourage when the situation explicitly calls for it. Never losing sight of his goals, Wario is despicably lovable in that you hate him for what he does, but can’t put your finger on why you can relate to him for some obtuse reason. Perhaps it’s the fact that he becomes powered up by consuming gratuitous amounts of garlic, which seemingly wreak havoc on his gastro-intestinal system creating weapons-grade flatulence as anyone who has eaten Taco Bell or White Castle can easily relate. Moreover, it may be his viciously laughable cackle that goes so well with his well-quaffed moustache that gives him such a decidedly admirable panache.
For such an obscure character, never really situated in a good or evil personality following the course of his fruition, Wario has found himself comfortably found in the grey area. He loves money enough to open his own factory to create slews of microgames that cover everything from patting a dog on the head to picking a booger and will laugh at those who can’t keep up and ultimately fail those games. Yet his enduring personality wins people over, keeping them coming back for more in conjunction with truly enjoyable game mechanics.
Wario stands out as unique when placed next to many of the characters, both good and bad, in modern video games. Complete with a decidedly charming mixture of bumbling greed and occasional heroism, Wario is a combination of Marvel Comic’s Deadpool and South Park’s Eric Cartman. Not the most willing hero ever the ready chaotic neutral personality, but ever ready to do whatever it takes to give himself a laugh while achieving whatever ends through any means necessary.