The Wars Series is easily one of Nintendo’s most underrated franchises featuring some excellent turn based strategy gameplay and while the game only came out in the west starting with Advance Wars where it became the new region where it was mostly popular it also included quite a few games before that that came out in Japan. Sometimes called Nintendo Wars since they included the console’s name before wars which is a naming convention that mostly stuck. So let’s take a look at a quick history of this series and how they relate to one another and piece together some sort of timeline. When I first played Advance Wars I thought all the mentions of previous events had indeed happened in previous games that came out in Japan but it’s not that clear.
It came out on the Japanese NES the Famicom; here we have Red Star or Orange Star as known in localizations and Blue Moon are the only two armies here and it is rather basic game play but I’m sure it was very innovative at the time. There is no story mode or CO’s to speak of so there really isn’t much of a story here. I guess you can argue that it’s the first time that Orange Star and Blue Moon fought for whatever reason. Most of the maps end up in future games so you’ve gotten the chance to play them, might also mean it’s the same territory for when this War happened.
Super Famicom Wars
This looks a lot more like the Advance Wars that we know but it’s still missing some features that make the Advance Wars so great, it’s far more playable today than its predecessor but it’s still a bit dated in that regard. We still don’t have a story mode but at the very least we do get some CO’s even some that inspired some of the Advance Wars CO’s. I guess it can also be taken as a game of events that happened in Advance Wars and the CO’s are just older ones. Again the maps are also played in future games so it could fit, especially since some CO’s are clearly based from the ones here, it could be their past selves. yellow comet, red star, blue moon, green earth. 7 C.O.s Mr. Yamamoto, Von Rosso, Rogenski, Hetler, Caroline, Billy Gates, Von Rosso, Yuan Delta.
Game Boy Wars
We move on to the Game Boy Wars trilogy with the first game being released in between the last two titles we saw. It’s a bit different since you have six sides to interact with instead of 4. It’s a hard game to play through since it is rather slow. Again we have no story mode or anything of the like to piece anything together but the ambiguity like with the rest of the trilogy means that it could be events that are referenced in Advance Wars.
Game Boy Wars Turbo
They likely knew it was not a very playable game if it kept taking forever and they released an update called Turbo which like the game implies is much faster. From what I can tell there are no real differences in any of the gameplay but I could be wrong. You definitely notice the improvement in speed as it makes the game playable.
Game Boy Wars 2
The sequel improves the original game and gives us a bunch of new stuff to be able to play wars with, Everything being in color is just amazing and really helps the title feel easier to play. Like the previous Wars games there is no real story but it would’ve been a blast to take this on your Game Boy back in the 90s
Game Boy Wars 3
Released rather late, around the time Advance Wars was coming out which is the better game but even then this third entry does seem to add a lot of new features that weren’t in the games before. In fact it seems to get a bit complicated because of it but it might be because I didn’t dedicate enough time to any of the Game Boy Wars games. No story or anything to link it either as well but it very well could’ve happened.
A classic and the first real game that has a story mode, they reference past confrontations that could’ve easily been the ones from the previous games if you really want to think of it that way. And thankfully we get to play on some of the great maps that had been in previous games as well so we get a taste of everything that came before it. While it came out in the US first, the Japanese version was made first so any edits were made after despite releasing first in the West.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
The timeline gets a bit easier since it’s a direct continuation to the story and we get a more balanced game overall. The story isn’t as strong but it is still a worthy sequel. The anime style starts to get a bit more realistic in this game as well. This game along the first were bundled together and finally released in Japan as Game Boy Wars Advance Wars 1+2 which included both games in their original form.
Advance Wars Dual Strike
Famicom Wars DS as it was known in Japan used the two screens to battle and had a slightly different view for the maps since it was using 3D. The art style once again got a bit more realistic and the storyline from the previous 2 games continues. In the west it kept the Advance Wars moniker which was likely for the best to give the series an easier name to remember.
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
In Japan it was known as Ushinawareta Hikari when it finally came out or Dark Conflict in other regions. It is considered a reboot since none of the characters from the previous games appear and it’s a post apocalyptic grim story. The art style got serious once again but this time it actually works since they’re originally intended to be this way. It includes various maps from the previous games and is an excellent game. With that said story wise it could still take place in the same world, it’s still a goofy world with jokes despite the grim tone and the other nations could just be on the other side of the map.
It’s officially a spin-off with the name Assault!! Famicom Wars in japan and this features a new story that Ig uess also can take place in the same world as the others if you wanted to. In the Western game there are no references to the Advance Wars series but publications at the time made sure that this was a spin-off. A good real time strategy tactics game and I was suprised we got a sequel to it since it seemed to be sent out to die with the late release date.
Battalion Wars 2
But we did get a sequel suprisingly on the Wii that was called in Japan Assault!! Famicom Wars VS or BWii for short in the west, which is a cute way of titling the game correctly and referencing the console. It features a sequel story that is far more ambitious than the previous game and while it’s not changed a lot, the few improvements are felt. It didn’t come out at the best time for the Wii and it had little to no promotion so the spin-off likely will never see another release.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
A remake of the two Advance Wars games that will hopefully revive the franchise and we get more entries. It is unknown at this time if the two games will feature exactly the same stories or if it’ll be slightly changed or what, it’ll still be a retelling of those two games events though. But the future is looking better already.
It was meant to come out for the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive and be compatible with Game Boy Wars 2, so that you could play outside and eventually when you got home to be able to continue your battle. Because of this it would’ve featured the same 6 grid system that the GB Wars games used and likely it would’ve been like the original Pokemon Stadium where the connectivity was the main selling point and not so much the individual game. The game never came out so we will never know what the game would’ve been like.
As we saw pretty much all games could take place in one continuity if your headcanon chooses to and it’s Canon Until Proven Otherwise. Now unless the series continues and moves on to see what can happen I guess we won’t ever really know. But as of today these are all the Wars games that Nintendo hs released. I hope reboot camp goes for a third title and a new direction personally but I welcome DS remakes as well.