If you're like me (and I know I am) then you first met anti-hero Wario at the end of Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins back in 1992. Presented as the "evil Mario", he had taken advantage of Mario's absence from Mario Land and taken up residence in the island's grand castle and served as the final boss. There was something attractively twisted about seeing Wario for the first time. All of Mario's familiar traits had been warped and exaggerated to create Wario: larger nose, craggy mustache, a few extra pounds that had become a large overweight gut, and of course let's not forget the parodied color scheme of his plumber's overalls (somewhat depicted in the Game Boy's monochromatic luster). After Wario aped Mario's familiar power-ups he went down in defeat, becoming a shrimpy cowardly wimp.
After fleeing Mario Land Nintendo decided to add some additional personality to the little troll and spring-boarded him to stardom in Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land. Over the next few games in the Wario Land series our anti-hero's characterization was established. He's certainly greedy, yes, and he'll steal from anyone to get what he wants, but he's not necessarily a bad guy. He's just overwhelmingly selfish. He'll assist the "good guys" if there's something in it for him just as easily as he'll side with a villain if it'll get him what he wants. Unfortunately, as time has gone on these traits have begun to change.
I should have recognized the first sign of trouble when Wario World was released for the Nintendo GameCube. This adventure centered around Wario's treasure lust (which is true to Wario form), but one piece of promotional artwork for the game depicted Wario picking his nose. Quite gross and out of character, that. Wario's been a lot of things, but he's never been outright disgusting. Several years later comes the revelation that Wario will be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl which, for Wario fans like myself, was a fantastic piece of news. Then, at the end of the game's first trailer, Wario's super attack is unveiled: atomic flatulence. More out-of-left-field toilet humor, but the worst was yet to come.
Last week I finally got my hands on Wario's latest adventure, Wario: Master of Disguise, in which Wario builds a device that allows him to enter a popular television show so he can loot the storyline of treasure. At last, back to greedy basics! But then the other shoe drops, as Master of Disguise elevates toilet humor above Wario's trademark greed and selfishness. He takes on the alter ego of The Purple Wind ("Silent, but deadly!") in order to remain in disguise. Everyone that Wario encounters make a supposedly humorous comment about Wario's body odor or lack of hygiene habits. Even Wario himself takes pride in these qualities. The game features mini-games that guard various treasure chests. One of these little challenges involves dropping little coiled piles of poo into a waiting toilet before time elapses. What the hell? Where did this kind of thing come from?
Wario has been a damn fine character over the years. He's built upon the id in that whatever he wants, he gets (or at least tries to get). Wario's world is centered around himself which is part of why he's such a joy to play. I've never been a fan of toilet humor, however, and to see poo jokes infringe on Wario disappoints me. Wario is better than that. I don't know why the character has been drifting off in this direction, but I want it to stop. Perhaps it's a bit greedy and selfish of me to call for such a thing, but what can I say? I've learned from the master.