The Wario universe (ワリオ, Wario) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties concerning the subfranchise of the world-famous Mario game franchise centered on series anti-hero Wario. Wario's franchise is split into two major subseries, Wario Land and WarioWare. Wario Land is a series of platformers with cartoonish mayhem, bizarre humor and somewhat unsettling imagery, being a more deranged take on the normally cheery and child-friendly Mario archetype, whereas WarioWare is a series consisting of collections of many fast-paced and quirky "microgames", minigames lasting only a few seconds that are played in rapid succession, with many paying homage to Nintendo's other franchises and lesser-known titles. While its appearances in earlier Super Smash Bros. titles mostly adhered to the WarioWare series, later titles acknowledge and represent both the Wario Land and WarioWare franchises though representation still generally prefers the latter.
In mid-1989, early in the Mario franchise's release history, Nintendo released the Game Boy platformer Super Mario Land, in which Mario traveled to a far-off land to rescue Princess Daisy. This gave way to a subseries of handheld platformers; the second game in the series, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which was released for the Game Boy in late 1992, debuted a new antagonist that resembled a larger, portlier, more thuggish counterpart to Mario, Wario. Wario, originally presented in a more straightforward, villainous light, takes over Mario's castle while Mario is away; then, once Mario returns, he must go on a quest to collect the six titular coins that are the keys to his castle in order to defeat Wario and reclaim it from him. Wario, for a time, then became a recurring Mario villain. Mario & Wario (a Japan-only release for Super Famicom by Game Freak in 1993) and Wario's Woods (released in the West in December 1994) both featured Wario enacting revenge plots against Mario and his friends. In one of Nintendo's first crossovers with a third-party franchise, Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman, a Game Boy installment of the Hudson Soft franchise Bomberman, the Bomberman must prevent Wario from plundering his home planet.
Wario was then permanently assigned a new role and outlook in the Mario universe, which is the one that still defines him to this day - that of a less malicious anti-hero motivated by a comically insatiable greed. Like Yoshi and his own relevance in the Mario games, Wario forever became part of the collection of recurring Mario side characters that would take part in a variety of Mario games, such as being a selectable racer in the Mario Kart, a selectable "board piece" in the Mario Party and a major playable character in other Mario spin-off titles, while at the same time beginning to star in his own games.
The "third" game in the Super Mario Land subseries, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, became the first game in the Wario Land series of platforming titles for various platforms, a series which established a style of platforming different from the familiar Mario formula of jumping and bouncing on enemies through focusing more on physical attacks such as running tackles. The scenarios in Wario platforming games typically center around Wario's greed-motivated adventures and the incidental deeds of goodness he commits for others while doing so, such as defeating a more threatening villain in his quest to claim the reward money. Early in his own games, Wario briefly had an equally greedy rival of his own, a female pirate named Captain Syrup, who had only recently made a return appearance in 2008's Wario Land: Shake It! from Good-Feel (the most recent Wario-centric platformer) after a decade of absence.
Starting from 2003, Wario additionally and regularly starred in a more deranged, parodic, borderline scatological series of minigame collections entitled WarioWare, with an all-new cast of bizarre side characters and a very different twist on the established party game formula. This subseries began as an idea for a Nintendo 64DD title, Mario Artist: Polygon Studio, in which the player would sometimes complete minigames in quick succession before being interesting enough to expand into its own game on the Game Boy Advance. The developers at Nintendo R&D1 tentatively chose Wario as the star because he "was always doing stupid things and was really idiotic" according to Metroid producer Yoshio Sakamoto, before settling on him as the permanent mascot for the series. Intelligent Systems have mantled the series ever since the second installment, WarioWare: Twisted!. In these games, Wario gets the idea to acquire vast richess by founding his own video game company to capitalize on the medium's success. To achieve this, he also calls up all of his friends from his hometown, Diamond City, to program hundreds of extremely simple games for him to maximize profits. The gameplay itself resembles an extended rapid barrage of extremely simple "microgames", each lasting mere seconds and taking no more than one or several appropriately timed button presses to complete, and the number of microgames a player can complete before failing a set number of times is set as their high score. The microgames display a variety of surreal imagery, including Wario having to jump at the right time in order to avoid getting run over by a giant hot dog on wheels, successfully guiding a finger into a nostril, and reenacting classic scenes from older Nintendo games. Different installments of the series for different platforms have featured their own, unique twists to the gameplay dependent on the hardware of the console itself, each releasing either incredibly early or incredibly late in a system's lifespan. The latest installment, WarioWare Gold, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2018 and includes microgames, control schemes, challenges, and gameplay modes from across the series's history.
Wario first became playable in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In the Super Smash Bros. series, the WarioWare sub-series is recognized as Wario's home franchise, separately categorized from the Mario series in a similar fashion to Yoshi and Donkey Kong.
Wario was not recognized as a distinctive universe in Super Smash Bros. Melee, as there were no playable characters nor stages based on the franchise. However, there were trophies for Wario and the Bucket. Wario was strongly considered for Melee's roster, and on a fan questionnaire on Smabura-Ken, Sakurai stated that he would add Wario to Melee if he had more time to add just one more character. In addition, one of Mario's alternate costumes in both Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee is a yellow and purple color scheme based on Wario's attire.
Wario is recognized and treated as a distinctive universe in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It focuses heavily on the WarioWare games due to their extreme popularity.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
Allusions were made to the Wario series prior to the release of Super Smash Bros. 4, but it was not revealed that Wario himself would return until after the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, as he is now an unlockable character. As in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the majority of the Wario content in Smash 4 comes from the WarioWare titles. A significant amount of focus was put on the popular WarioWare character Ashley, who appears as an Assist Trophy. While most of the character specific music pieces from Brawl did not return, both versions of "Ashley's Song" return, along with a brand new arrangement. A costume set based on Ashley was released as downloadable content for Mii Swordfighters. Otherwise, Smash 4 features content from Wario Land: Shake It! and Game & Wario, which were released between Brawl and Smash 4.
Bold italics denotes an Assist Trophy new to the Smash Bros. series.
Smash Tour items
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (WarioWare series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash Bros. titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from Wario games with no alterations.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (WarioWare series)
for Wii U
Only one Trophy Box appears in the Wii U version. It is titled "WarioWare, Inc."
The Wario series returns for Ultimate, featuring WarioWare representation yet again. However, there has been a significant increase in Wario Land representation from previous Smash titles, mainly through Wario's moveset and the addition of Spirits. Ignoring spirits, the Wario series itself overall received the same level of representation as its Smash 4 appearance, although Kat & Ana no longer appear as an Assist Trophy.
Both Wario stages from previous games return as retro stages in Ultimate.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (WarioWare series)
There are no new tracks and remixes for Wario, although all previous tracks return.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash games. The track "Ashley's Song (JP) (for 3DS / Wii U)" was previously Japanese-exclusive.
Tracks sourced directly from the Wario games.
Main article: List of spirits (Wario series)
The kanji aruji "主" denotes a Master Spirit.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series