In most of Wario's adventure games, his actions are selfish and greedy, but he consequently does good deeds in order to get what he wants, the antagonizing force being an obstacle.
Wario's personality and actions are often the opposite of Mario's typical heroism and kindness, just as the first letters in their names appear to be opposites. The name "Wario" is a blending of Mario's name with the Japanese adjective warui (悪い) meaning "bad"; hence, a "bad Mario". The letter W also resembles an upside-down M, which is recognized by many as a naming correlation. In a kind of in-joke to the upside-down 'M', Wario's brother Waluigi has an upside-down 'L' on his hat.
Wario is also known for trying to get in Mario's way, as seen in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix where he has one of the music keys in his own theme park, and in the Japan only video game, Mario and Wario. In the end however, Mario usually comes out on top, and Wario is sent packing. His apparent partner is Waluigi, but no one knows if they are related or not.
Wario's hatred for Mario seems to have lessened from full blown hatred to simply causing mischief for him. In most sporting games, he usually uses dirty tricks, but nothing that would be considered evil or damaging. Instead, he tends to show a competitive spirit when combating or playing against Mario, but also tends to be a bad sport when he loses.
Even though Wario dislikes Mario, he sometimes has helped him in games such as Super Mario 64 DS as the fourth character who has been kidnapped by Chief Chilly, and Yoshi's Island DS where he makes an appearance as Baby Wario and helps Yoshi.
In Wario Land 4, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, it is shown that Wario owns a purple convertible, loosely resembling a 1960s Cadillac, dubbed the Wario Car. He owns a similar car, the "Brute", in Mario Kart DS that is black with a checkered design. The Wario Car also makes a number of cameo appearances in the WarioWare titles, both in minigames and cutscenes. According to the trophy section of one Mario Party game, Wario's car was designed for him by fellow WarioWare series character Dr. Crygor. One of the most distinctive features of the car is that its hood ornament is shaped identically to Wario's mustache. Wario also possesses a motorcycle, which features prominently alongside him in the WarioWare series, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii.
Furthermore, Wario has poor hygiene. This can be revealed by talking to one of the Toads as Wario in Super Mario 64 DS and going to World 3-5 for the first time in Yoshi's Island DS. Also, he has had a crush on Princess Peach in earlier games such as Wario Land and Super Mario Land 2. Wario is incredibly fond of eating garlic, which is often used as a power-up in several of his games and acting as an answer to Mario's Super Mushrooms, and as a result many games depict his breath as foul-smelling. Wario can eat garlic in Super Smash Bros. Brawl to trigger his Final Smash, Wario-Man.
Recently, with the onset of games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Strikers Charged, Wario has been depicted using explosive flatulence as a weapon against his opponents. Prior to WarioWare: Smooth Moves (the first game of his to depict him using flatulence jokes), he was never associated with bodily functions.
The game is also one of the relatively few Wario games to feature limited lives. If Wario loses all his lives, the game ends, and the only one, apart from Virtual Boy Wario Land, where he made use of various hats to get special powers in much the same way as Mario subsequently did in Super Mario 64,
In his next adventure, titled Wario Land, for the Virtual Boy, Wario must fight his way out of a giant cave which houses several different worlds, gathering money along the way. The game features Virtual Boy-style pseudo-3D gameplay, allowing Wario to travel into the background at various points in the levels.
Wario Land II was released in March 1998 for the Game Boy and a year later for the new Game Boy Color, thereby being the first game to feature Wario in color. The story continues the rivalry between Wario and Captain Syrup. Captain Syrup and her Black Sugar Pirates loot Wario's castle, and Wario subsequently chases them to their lair on Kitchen Island to retrieve his treasure. After defeating Captain Syrup and the Giant Spear King, Wario recovers his treasure and returns home.
Unlike the first two games, in Wario Land II Wario's abilities are gained through status effects. For example, he can be set on fire by the fire from a candle, allowing him to be set on fire and run uncontrollably in one direction until he bursts in flames, which in turn allows him to burn through certain objects.
Instead of having a life meter as in some of his other games, Wario loses coins when he takes damage, and in the event that he runs out of coins, he still cannot die — basically making him invincible. Wario Land II also featured secret exits in its levels, which allowed the player to experience alternate boss battles and endings. There are five end boss battles and one more battle before the player can experience the actual ending.
In Wario Land 3, also for the Game Boy Color, Wario finds himself trapped in a Music Box World, and before he can leave he must help a mysterious figure regain control of this world by defeating a horde of monsters. Only when the figure promises Wario that he can keep all of the treasure he collects along the way does Wario agree to help. This game introduces a new villain, Rudy the Clown, who would later appear in Dr. Mario 64. Unlike past games, Wario is not set on a linear path, and can collect any treasures available to him. He also lacks all of his innate powers (with the exception of jumping and walking), and must find them as he makes progress in the game. Just like Wario Land II, Wario is invincible, and the bosses do work around the common fact that being harmed once ends the battle.
The premise of Wario Land 4 for the Game Boy Advance begins with Wario reading about a treasure-packed golden pyramid deep in the jungle. Wario decides to track down the treasure and travels there in his Wario Car. He must retrieve four pieces of jewelry (each guarded by a boss) in order to get to the final treasure and defeat the Golden Diva (the master of the pyramid who appears throughout the game), who transformed Princess Shokora into a cat. Wario Land 4 sports a 'middle-way' between the classic limited-lives gameplay of the first game, and the invincibility of the two following. Here, Wario has a health meter, and if he loses all health in a level, he loses all the treasure gathered in that level and is ejected back out to the "world map" - instead of losing lives.
Wario World for the Nintendo GameCube is a departure from typical Wario platforming games in how it plays. It was co-developed by Treasure and Nintendo, and is a 3-D beat 'em up/platforming video game. Unlike the Wario sidescrollers, Wario World focuses more heavily on action, although there are still many platform jumping and puzzle-solving sequences. Wario gets his hands on a mystical Black Jewel, which eventually destroys his castle and turns all of his treasure into monsters. Throughout the game, Wario will encounter Sprites trapped in small boxes. Once Wario defeats the Black Jewel, the Spritelings will reward him with a new castle. Depending on how many Spritelings, treasures, and coins Wario finds in each area, he will get one of two castles—if he does not collect enough wealth and Spritelings, he will be given a shack. As in Wario Land 4, Wario has a health meter, but the status effects have been removed.
Wario: Master of Disguise showed the return of the Wario Land series, and was released on March 5, 2007 for the Nintendo DS. The game allows Wario to transform into various different forms of himself, each giving Wario certain abilities. It centers around Wario (A.K.A. The Purple Wind), inventing the Telmet, allowing him to enter a television series revolving around thievery. In this game, Wario is given criminal-like abilities from the get-go as The Purple Wind (Thief Wario), such as unparalleled jumping abilities, similar to those of a cat burglar. Wario also steals a magic wand known as Goodstyle to aid him in his criminal endeavors. The wand is essential for Wario in order for him to don various disguises, such as Cosmic Wario (an astronaut) and Genius Wario (a mad scientist-type disguise). The plot revolves on Wario acquiring the various pieces of the Wishstone, an ancient tablet that supposedly grants the wish of those who behold it, in order for him to gain all the wealth and treasures in the world. As in the latest Wario adventure installments, Wario has a health meter. Wario's disguises include Thief Wario, Cosmic Wario, Genius Wario, Captain Wario, Dragon Wario, and Wicked Wario.
The next game in the Wario Land series is Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, a 2D sidescroller. It uses a sideways Wii Remote for control and has the player shake the remote among other things to use special moves.
In this series of games, Wario is the founder of a video game development company, which he founds after seeing a report on a new "killer app" video game titled Pyoro on television. He then hires his friends to help him make his games. In most of the WarioWare titles, after they make the profit from the video games, Wario attempts to run away with all of the profits, but is foiled in the end. Each of the games consists of a number of microgames that last between one and seven seconds. The game spawned several sequels available across all of Nintendo's current consoles and handhelds.
The release of WarioWare: Twisted!, released in 2004 (Japan) and 2005 (North America) for the Game Boy Advance, utilized new features of the Game Boy Advance. In this game, Wario wakes up from a nap on his couch and begins to play a spaceship game on his Game Boy Advance, but he soon crashes into an asteroid and loses. Infuriated, Wario breaks his GBA by throwing it at the floor. Overcome with regret, he takes it to Dr. Crygor, who restores it to a playable condition, though it loses its face buttons and gains a tilt function in the process, which inspires Wario to develop new games based on the tilt function.
In WarioWare: Touched!, which was the first game in the Wario series for the Nintendo DS, Wario is walking down the street after having stolen a Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP, but trips and drops them into a sewer hole. However, an old man floats up, and asks him if he dropped the GBA systems, or if he dropped the 'fancier one.' Wario states that he wants all of them, and then lunges at the Sewer Guru, causing them both to fall into the sewer. Wario comes out with the fancier system, and has no idea how to play it until he finds the stylus. After winning a game, he decides that this idea would make a ton of money, and goes to get his friends to help out. Near the end, Wario walks down the street and trips near the same sewer hole. The Sewer Guru comes out, red all over the face, and smacks him over the head with a baton as revenge.
The newest of the WarioWare Inc. games, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, released 2007 (2006 in Japan), saw the Wario games move on to the Wii console. In this game, Wario stumbles upon an old temple, and when he comes to the Form Baton (similar to the Wii Remote), he notes its inspiration for a new series. He then escapes Indiana Jones style (a gigantic boulder chases him when he picks up the Form Baton). The Form Baton is however eventually returned, only to be used by Orbulon for his own purposes soon after.
Aside from Mario Tennis: Power Tour and the original Mario's Tennis, he has appeared in all of the Mario Tennis games. In Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color, Wario is a secret unlockable character, while he is available from the start in the Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64. Wario also appears in the Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64 versions of Mario Golf. Unlike the other Mario sports titles, Wario's character plays without any unusual quirks. He has appeared in every game in the Mario Golf series.
Mario Superstar Baseball features Wario as a team captain. He is also a team captain in the GameCube title Super Mario Strikers, a soccer game. Like in most other Mario sports games, he is also a powerful character in Superstar Baseball and Strikers.
Wario appeared in Dr. Mario 64 as the co-star of the titular character. In this game, Wario attempted to steal the bottle of Megavitamins from Mario in order to become a doctor himself, but fails. Wario eventually gets involved with a man named Mad Scienstein, who steals the Megavitamins. Mario and Wario chase him together in order to retrieve them. Wario was a different selectable character. If Dr. Mario defeated Rudy the Clown without being defeated, he would face Vampire Wario, and if Wario defeated Rudy the Clown without being defeated, he would face Metal Mario.
Several characters from the Mario series are playable in the Mario Party titles, including Wario. Wario is one of the original six playable characters and has been a playable character in every Mario Party game, with the exception of Mario Party Advance, where only Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi are playable. Unlike the Mario sports titles, there is no difference between any of the characters outside of voice and appearance.
While Wario's first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series was as a trophy (as well as an alternate outfit color for Mario in all three Smash Bros. games to date), he is a playable character in the Wii title, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Wario appears in the first trailer in his WarioWare-style biker outfit as opposed to his plumber outfit (although his plumber outfit is available as an alternate costume with its own spectrum of alternate colors) and is shown using the "Wario Bike" and the "Wario Waft", two moves which respectively involve his motorcycle and explosive flatulence. The "Wario Waft" gains power the longer a player goes without using it; it has the ability to rocket Wario into the air at full power. Players had to be careful though, because if used too close to the top of the screen he'd rocket off the playfield, and would die with the star effect. His other two special moves are the "Chomp", where he bites characters and projectiles and either spits them out or, in the case of projectiles, swallow them (though he'll takes a bit of damage from consuming explosives), and the "Corkscrew", where he spins in the air. His Final Smash is his transformation to Wario-Man from the WarioWare series.
Wario appears as a playable character in Super Mario 64 DS for the Nintendo DS, but he must be unlocked using Luigi. He has abilities that Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi do not, such as being incredibly strong; being able to break large, black bricks; and also being able to turn into Metal Wario with a Power Flower (unlike the original Super Mario 64, wherein Mario could become Metal Mario). Wario can also use the Wing Feather in Versus mode, as well as his Wild Swing-Ding ability from Wario World.
In November 2006, the release of Yoshi's Island DS featured Wario as a baby. In the game, he teams up with Yoshi, Baby Mario, Baby Peach, Baby Bowser, and Baby Donkey Kong. He has a very powerful magnet that is able to attract coins, metal platforms, and metal boxes. Baby Wario is only available in a few levels, and at the end of world 3, he leaves Yoshi in favor of the Bandits and their treasure. He returns in the game's final level, however, where he is found arguing with Baby Bowser over the treasure that the older Bowser kept within his castle, and they both tag along until Baby Bowser starts fighting the others over the treasure. Baby Wario ends up helping the crew defeat Bowser, and he makes off with the treasure in the aftermath of the game, though arguments once again ensue when Baby Bowser falls into the treasure.
In Densetsu no Stafy 3, Stafy encounters Wario in World 8. Throughout this world, Wario assists Stafy with completing the levels, giving the player four different treasures — a Wario cap, a Wario nose/mustache combo, a copy of WarioWare, Inc. with a Game Boy Advance, and a pile of gold. In each level, Wario is affected by one of his three more common status effects — Puffy Wario, Fire Wario, and Bubble Wario, all of which Wario uses to help Stafy complete the level.
Wario also makes several minor appearances in various other games. He appears in various minigames in Super Mario 64 DS and New Super Mario Bros., both for the Nintendo DS. The Game & Watch Gallery series replaces Mr. Game & Watch with various Mario characters in the modern version of Game & Watch games, including Wario. Wario appears in such modern versions as Helmet, Ball (Game & Watch Gallery 2), Mario Bros. (Game & Watch Gallery 3 and 4), Rain Shower, and Fire Attack (Game & Watch Gallery 4).
Wario makes a number of cameos as well. One of the tracks in Uniracers is called Wario Paint, a reference to Mario Paint for the Super NES. In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance, there is a WarioWare, Inc. poster on the wall of Yoshi Theater. Interestingly, Wario was also supposed to make a cameo appearance in the Starbeans Cafe at one point in development, alongside several other Nintendo characters. In his scenario, Wario is offered some coffee, but does not like the taste. He also makes a cameo in Pilotwings 64 in the Little States stage after the player shoots Mario's face on Mt. Rushmore, turning it into Wario's. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for the GameCube has a badge called the W Emblem badge, which changes the colors of Mario's clothes from red and blue to yellow and purple, the same as Wario's (but Mario's hat still retains the "M").
Wario also appears in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games as a power character.