News Article

New eBook Will Analyse Wario Land 4 In Nearly 600 Exhaustive Pages

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 is unusual in its approach"

We suspect that a number of gamers, including some of us at Nintendo Life, hope to see video games become an increasingly respected medium in comparison to veteran forms such as the book, film and TV. Even compared to the latter two gaming is a young art form, and due to a variety of factors is still striving for mainstream recognition not just based on sales — which is already being achieved — but in terms of critical appreciation and coverage.

Games don't necessarily get treated with the depth of analysis that they arguably deserve, and one fascinating project seems set to do its part to resolve that issue. Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 is the work of Daniel Johnson, a game design analyst and former GameSetWatch columnist; as the title suggests this eBook will assess Game Boy Advance game Wario Land 4 in comprehensive detail. Below is some detail from the press release.

Author Daniel Johnson, in a radical departure from contemporary videogames discussion, examines Wario Land 4 in its totality—including mechanics, psychology, education, level design, and game feel—calling on evidence-based analysis to understand the player’s subjective reactions to videogames.

Says author Daniel Johnson:

“A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 is unusual in its approach as we begin to understand videogames through evidence-based analysis rather than socio-cultural critique. I’m hoping this book will push against the accepted norms of ‘games criticism’ and open up new avenues for analytical discussion.”

The eBook will be sold on Stolen Projects from Wednesday 18th December, with each purchase providing both .pdf and .epub formats; its standard retail price will be $7.99, but it will have an introductory price of $4.99 until 31st January 2014.

We plan to check this out, do you?


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User Comments (45)



idork99 said:

Since I've yet to play this game, I have no interest in reading...wait a sec...I'm a 3DS Ambassador! I forgot I owned this game! What a pleasant surprise!

Now, I'll have to play this game. If I like the game enough, I'll go ahead and give the book a read



NintyMan said:

Well, this is pretty interesting. Analyzing the psychology and education of the adventure of a greedy man who enters a golden pyramid filled with dimensional portals to loot treasure while not realizing that he's saving a lost princess from the clutches of a hideous, masked diva. Sounds like there should be some interesting material to research indeed!



Bulbousaur said:

I've always been really intetested in game design, and Wario Land 4 was one of my favourite games when I was a kid. Might have to replay Wario Land 4 and give this a read!



Gioku said:

That's so cool! ...My English teacher'd get a kick out of this, haha!



FJOJR said:

Wario Land 4 was awesome and I'm glad I bought the 3DS early and got it. Already plan on picking up the 1st 3 games.



6ch6ris6 said:

my analysis of the game:
running against the clock is frustrating and it is to hard to navigate through the levels



Kyloctopus said:

Wario Land 4 was one of the first games I played, and naturally, I loved it. Yet today, I don't like that game, or any of the Wario Land games for that matter.
To put it simply, Wario's too slow, the presentation is unappealing, and I'm more of a Mario fellow.
With that said, I'm still really interested in this book. And I've always been a fan of looking into game design with a microscope.



ThomasBW84 said:

@ueI Yeah, I meant December, I've fixed that.

I think we may review it, we'll certainly think about it. Naturally any review will take a little while as it's a meaty text



FritzFrapp said:

Wonder why Wario Land 4 was chosen, unless it was the pick of a batch of his games reviews? Regardless, I don't like his writing style so I'll pass.



EarthboundBenjy said:

The only thing I can think to criticise about Wario Land 4 is that you have a health bar, yet getting hit by enemies is sometimes mandatory to progress. I guess if you're familiar with the game you'll know which enemies hurt and which enemies bestow effects, but I still think Wario Land 2's method of doing it was better, where you just didn't have a health bar at all and were free to experiment on the effects of getting hit by each enemy.



ueI said:

@ThomasBW84 I bet I could finish it in a week if you gave me a copy. Too bad I don't have the professional experience to do a review.



V8_Ninja said:


Seriously though, I am interested in reading what Daniel Johnson was to say. I just started playing the game several weeks ago thanks to the 3DS Ambassador program and I'm enjoying it despite finding it simplistic.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

I still consider Wario Land 4 to be one of the best handheld platformers ever, so this might be just enough of a reason to get my first eBook.



TruenoGT said:

Awesome, Wario Land 4 is the first one where Wario games became really crazy, followed by WarioWare which uses a lot of the same sounds, etc. Freakin' love that game. My other favorite Wario Land is the Virtual Boy game which is exceptional.



SCAR said:

So, apparently figuring out what Wario Land 4 is takes as many pages as an entire year at Hogwarts, to explain?

I guess we'll have to see.



WaveBoy said:


It's a watered down Wario Land experience that feels like it was designed for newcomers. After playing 3(Least favorite in the franchise) it was pretty surprising just how stripped down the experience truly was. The bizzare Mad-scientist concoction freak show Bosses have got to be the most note worthy thing about this game.

I wish there would of been a hard mode from the start, because i found 4 ridiculously easy in comparson to 3, even 2 and Shake it!
I've 100%'d all of the Wario Land games and shake it was pure HELL to fully complete. an amazing game no doubt!.....Ribbit.



Socar said:

A game that is gonna be analysed? And its Wario Land 4 which is my favorite GBA game? I'm on!



SmoochyTea said:

As a media interaction student I am heavily interested in this. As a gamer I am even more interested.



DreamyViridi said:

I don't think I'll be able to get this 'cuz US$ Dollars but I'm really interested in how this book will turn out. Also love the cover. Wario sophisticatedly reading a book? What's not to like?



Grayjedi13 said:

This is pretty cool, but what a random game to do a a critical analysis of. I might have to check this out.



LittleIrves said:

Might be worth it for the Daniel Purvis illustration alone.
That said, 600 pages is a lot of pages.
But who am I to critique a book about a videogame? (...) Please support longform writing on games!



Auracle said:

@uel - Not to mention the Super Hard Mode after clearing the normal Hard.

I've fully cleared Wario Land 4 and I really enjoyed it. The game was fun, zany, and had great music. I've always felt that W4 had some sort of hidden depths that I just couldn't put my finger on. Perhaps this book will guide my finger to the proper spot.



Linkuini said:

This game is long overdue for some psychological inquiry, if you ask me. Then again, maybe I'm better off not knowing more about those boss fights.



nothankyou said:

This sounds amazing actually. Wario Land 4 is one of my favourite GBA games so you better believe I'm getting this on day one



Collision_Cat said:

This is awesome! I've played Wario Land 4 to death, and it is a very strange and surreal game as well as being absolutely fantastic. I'll be very interested to read this!



duffmman said:

Something about this game did always pique my interest. It always seemed like something bigger and impossible to comprehend was happening within the game. Even after collecting everything, I thought there was still something about this game that kept drawing me in. Lots of mysterious and odd memories tied to this game for me. Count me in on buying this thing.



Genesaur said:

I love Wario Land 4 so much, but couldn't it be, like... a regular book? I'd be much more inclined to buy that.



StarDust4Ever said:

Despite being a fan of the Wario series, I can't imagine reading let alone writing 600 pages about a single game. This is coming from someone who has read the 800 page Atari Inc: Business is Fun from cover to cover. There's supposed to be a sequel coming out too: Atari corp: Business is War. But in all seriousness, this is 600 pages about a single freakking game. It sounds to me like the author is putting more thought into the book than the creators did for the original game.



StolenProjects said:

@LittleIrves Hey there, just wanted to chime in and say thanks for loving the cover illustration, however I (Daniel) can't take credit on this account! Good friend Harry Plane provided the cover illustration for Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4.

If you dig his image of Wario, be sure to check out the rest of his work at



CM30 said:

As someone who's both talked to the author of the book about game design and matters and does really like Wario Land 4, this book seems kind of interesting to me.

Although you may also want to check out the articles on his site beforehand, since they go into a bunch of stuff, including some more on the game.



Platypus101 said:

At first this sounded... Well, pompous (the actual word escapes me at the moment). After reading the article, I'm interested!

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