Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Oi, nutta!"

In the early 90s, bedroom coder and Amiga fan Andy Davidson decided to make an Artillery-style Turn-Based Strategy game with a large arsenal of outlandish comedy weapons and - for reasons known only to himself - warring annelids. Showing his game idea - Total Wormage - at a games fair, he caught the eye and imagination of games company Team17, who offered to develop the game. The result was Worms. With weapons ranging from the relatively sane Bazooka, Grenade and Shotgun to the bizarre Sheep, Banana Bomb, and the devastating Holy Hand Grenade.

The warring annelids were originally set to be Lemmings, for the first several years of the game's existence. Only when he started trying to sell the game to games companies did he change it from "LemArtillery" to something less copyright-infringing. Some versions of the game still mention "***Artillery" in the credits or title screen.

Worms games throughout the years have included:

  • First Generation
  • Second Generation (a smoother, more cartoony graphical overhaul)
    • Worms 2
    • Worms Armageddon
    • Worms World Party
  • Third Generation (3D)
    • Worms 3D
    • Worms 4: Mayhem (refined and addressed most of the criticisms that Worms 3D picked up; unfortunately the game was a total flop, largely killing off the 3D Worms line)
    • Worms: Ultimate Mayhem (an Updated Rerelease, coupling the engine and content of Worms 4 with most of the content of Worms 3D)
  • Fourth Generation (back to 2D, but with vector graphics for the Worms)
    • Worms (Xbox Live Arcade and PSN)
      • Worms 2: Armageddon, a sequel to the above game (which is not directly related to the similarly titled Second Generation game Worms: Armageddon) for XBLA (and eventually PSN) that's also been released for the PC as Worms: Reloaded
    • Worms Open Warfare (handhelds)
    • Worms Open Warfare 2 (handhelds)
    • Worms: A Space Oddity
    • Worms Reloaded
  • Spin-offs
    • Addiction Pinball/Worms Pinball
    • Worms Blast (puzzle game with similarities to Puzzle Bobble)
    • Worms Forts: Under Siege (3D title with more of a focus on constructing buildings than worm-on-worm warfare)
    • Worms Crazy Golf (golf from an Artillery game perspective, with Worms weaponry)

The most popular version is probably Worms Armageddon, which is still being patched and modded today to keep compatibility with modern machines despite its age.

Tropes used in Worms include:
  • Abnormal Ammo: Sheep and Pigeons can be shot at opposing Worms, and you can call in airstrikes for more sheep, carpets, explosive mail, and who knows what else.
    • We know what else... a freakin' CONCRETE DONKEY! Awww yeah.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: The AI tends to make some of the most spectacularly improbable shots purely by accident, as the AI Roulette decides that they'll pick this turn to miss their intended target. Human players frequently do these too.
    • What makes this "worse" is that the Artificial Stupidity, at least in the first few games, "misses" by aiming perfectly at spot slightly offset from their true target, rather than fouling their aim by a few degrees or power by a little. When using weapons like Molotov Cocktails or Cluster Grenades, this can work out better for them.
  • All There in the Manual: Any number of things from Lightside vs. Darkside to the origins of the Concrete Donkey.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Armageddon weapon's meteors take out almost the whole map. It's down to luck as to whether any of your Worms will survive.
    • It helps if you burrow one or more of your worms deep into the ground first.
    • Alternatively, place the electromagnet when you what the Armageddon to hit. Because the game ( well Reloaded, atleast) count Armageddon as a metal item, so you basically can aim the most devastating weapon in the game wherever you want.
  • Artificial Stupidity: It's easy to make an AI that can hit the target every time. It's hard to make one that can convincingly miss.
    • The AI will also occasionally make some very strange choices in the usage of their weapons (i.e. Bazooka tunneling instead of hitting the obvious target nearby, or using a bazooka to shoot someone right next to them). In some installments, they cannot use the variety of weapons.
    • Sometimes they'll skip a turn for no apparent reason.
    • The Stupid AI in Reloaded deliberately invokes this trope. The improved smarter A Is will sometimes do stupid things as well like getting caught in their own explosions, or maybe they're making a sacrifice for some higher strategic value. It's hard to tell.
  • Baa Bomb: Sheep exploding. Flying sheep with capes exploding. Flying, swimming sheep with capes and snorkels exploding. Sheep that have been launched from cannons exploding. Sheep spawning from destroyed weapon crates, then exploding. Cloned sheep exploding in herds. Sheep dropping from a plane and exploding. Sheep that have been set on fire dropping from a plane and exploding. And, in Director's Cut, sheep using Ninja Ropes and exploding.
    • Boy, this series really loves this trope!
  • Bag of Holding
  • Bag of Sharing: All worms on the same team have access to a pool of weapons and items.
  • Bag of Spilling: In a multi-round versus match, the Regular arsenal setting gives each player a fresh arsenal of weapons and items each round, ignoring what they had remaining in the previous round. Averted with the other settings; the Plunder setting allows teams to keep what they had in the previous round as well as giving them a new arsenal each round, and the Survival setting gives each team only one arsenal at the very beginning that carries over but is never replenished.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Though some of the games, like Armageddon, gives the option to turn blood on. It's basically the equivalent of a minor graze.
  • Bond One-Liner: When a Worm is killed, a comment like "Rincewind is 6 feet under" or (in the case of falling into the water) "Rincewind sank like the Titanic" is displayed at the top of the screen.
  • Boring but Practical: A few weapons, but exemplified by the Shotgun.
  • British Accents: Several voicebanks in Armageddon and World Party: Scouser, Yorkshire Tykes, Cockney Wideboy, Geezer (also Cockney), Brummie (Birmingham), Stiff Upper Lip, Cad (both upper class accents), Geordie, Angry Scots, Jock (also Scottish)... Worms 3D then brought Welsh and Madchester to the party.
  • Character Customization: Worms 2 and Armageddon allowed the player to create their own sound schemes using .wav files. A massive amount of fan made schemes abound, ranging from Duke Nukem one liners to Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 quotes.
  • Cherry Tapping: Prod and Handgun.
    • Worms Reloaded even awards the player an achievment for winning a game this way.
  • Circling Birdies: In 3D installments.
  • Cool but Inefficient: Several of the weapons, as well as some methods of getting around.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Because of how turns work, when a team of worms starts to dwindle down, they "move faster" than they did before. The game always ensures that players alternate turns, and because there's fewer worms on the team to cycle through, they get to act more frequently. At the extreme end of 1 vs 8, the 1 worm is basically moving eight times as fast as all the other worms. This helps narrow the advantage the 8 might have in such a situation, making spectacular (and usually hilarious) comebacks more likely.
  • Creator Killer: Averted by Worms 4... but only just. Afterwards, Team 17 admitted that had Worms: Open Warfare not been as big a success as it was, the company would have been lucky to survive until the end of 2006.
  • Critical Existence Failure: In many of the games, the Worms blow themselves up with a demolition plunger when they run out of Hit Points.
    • This "corpse explosion" will occasionally damage or even kill other worms that happen to be in the area of effect. It can turn the tide in close matches.
  • Cutscene Incompetence and Cutscene Power to the Max: Sort of. The amusing opening animations tend to feature stuff that couldn't happen in game.
  • Darker and Edgier: The theme for Worms Armageddon.

Then came the nuke and the disease tumbling down
If the bug didn't get you, you probably drowned
But the Worms battled on, through hunger and pain
Living to fight, just a victor again

    • Debatable, the original game's version of the theme is hardly less dark, it was on the disc but for whatever reason not featured in-game:

It was there he saw his friend Spadge, stood upon a bridge.
But another worm had also seen him, and aimed to have him dead.
Boggy called to Spadge, but Spadge didn't hear!
He never knew what hit him, as he flew into the air.
It was all too much for Boggy, as he watched his best friend die.
His heart filled with rage, and he gripped his rifle tight.

  • Development Hell: A 3D Worms 5 has actually been in the early planning stages since 2006 or so. However, the higher-ups at Team 17 have admitted that short of someone making a major breakthrough in the game design, we shouldn't expect to ever see it released.
  • Difficult but Awesome: A number of weapons, but perhaps the poster child for this is the Super Sheep.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Some of the most spectacular and memorable shots set off chain reactions of exploding barrels, crates, mines, etc., killing worms which then explode, setting off more barrels...
    • The "Bow 'n' Arrow" scheme is this personified. Played on maps that resemble giant pachinko boards with mines on all the dots not occupied by worms, players shoot at the mines with bows and arrows to send them flying. Maybe the mine will take out the worm you want. Maybe it'll miss everything. But most likely the chain reaction will take out half of the worms on the map, including several from your own team.
  • Disc One Nuke: Players will often use the Ninja Rope item to grab crates and boxes with powerful weapons early in the game, though the AI can do this as well.
  • Dueling Games: Armageddon vs. Hogs of War.
  • Edible Ammunition: The Banana Bomb.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Mike's Carpet Bomb is an airstrike... using rolls of carpet and the Mail Strike is an airstrike... using letters.
    • These are also examples of Incredibly Lame Pun.
    • The "reckless" AI in Reloaded will make careless and often suicidal decisions if it means doing damage.
    • There's also the Sheep Launcher in Armageddon.
  • Exploding Barrels: Full of napalm in the second generation games, full of poison in Worms 4: Mayhem, just generically explosive in other games.
  • Enough to Go Around: Many of the superweapons are like this, where uses are 'in' crates that anyone can grab.
  • Face Palm: In Worms Reloaded, worms will smack themselves in the face when they hurt themselves.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: A terrain type in the original game.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Some weapons do a fixed amount of damage, such as the Shotgun always dealing 25 a shot, and Fire Punch always doing 30.
  • Floating Platforms: Terrain continues to hang in the air after you blow up the land supporting it. It just wouldn't be the same without it.
  • Game Mod: Worms Armageddon in particular is still being maintained by fans of the game employed by Team17, who have added many, many things to keep it up-to-date and relevent with modern computers.
  • Gatling Good: The Minigun, a super weapon in the original but more common in the second-generation games.
    • Also doubles as a Ginormous Game Breaker if one falls to the Dark Side enough to abuse the glitch that changes the Minigun bullets to bazooka shells.
  • Grid Inventory: Something of an aversion, as the grid will happily hold all of the game's weapons.
    • The fact that all weapons and items are only one square and stack uses really helps.
  • Have a Nice Death: "_____ is an ex-worm" is a classic example.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Worms seem to be not only desensitized to death, but occasionally laugh whenever someone dies.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Straight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Home Run Hitter: The Baseball Bat, even though many of the more powerful weapons can easily send worms flying off the map as well.
    • Of course, in some of the 2D games, batting enemy worms into the water will prompt the 'Charge!' theme to play.
  • Homing Projectile: The Homing Missile (obviously), the Homing Pigeon, and the Silver Bullet, in increasing order of reliability.
  • Idle Animation: Several to choose from.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: AI driven worms throwing Grenades down a shaft so that it bounces off of an object, rolls up a crater and gets lodged inbetween your worm and a wall half a second before exploding is not uncommon. The improved AI in Worms Reloaded plus the fact that grenades stop dead when they roll into a worm makes this more common.
    • The "Cocky" AI in Worms Reloaded does this on purpose. It chooses to do the most difficult (but still viable) shots possible in order to show off.
  • In a World: Invoked by the "Movie Trailers" voice option in Reloaded. "In a world where worms can't trust one another..."
  • Just for Pun: Mail strikes, literal carpet bombs, mine strikes, cloned sheep, magic bullet, mad cows... and probably a lot more.
    • Not Dragon Ball (which resembles a Kamehameha ki wave), at least not in the way you expect. Dragon Ball was basically unknown in the United Kingdom until around the release of Worms Armageddon. As stated in Shout-Out below, it's named after the Fireball and Dragon Punch moves in Street Fighter (there's another unarmed combat move called Fire Punch which supports this).
      • Many voice bank settings have the worms shout "Hadoken" and "Shoryuken" when using said attacks. However some of the non-street fighting referring ones tend to be funnier, due to accents.
  • Large Ham: The Thespian voice set, which is basically worms trained in classical acting. Has gems such as "FEEL THE POINT OF MY RAPIER, YOU SCOUNDREL!" for damaging an enemy worm, "'ZOUNDS! I AM UNDONE!" as a death quote and the randomly said "A DONKEY, A DONKEY, MY KINGDOM FOR A DONKEY!" , a Richard III quote rendered in-context.
    • The donkey quote above is used when picking up non-health crates, even when said crates contain an actual concrete donkey.
  • Last Ditch Move: Worms blow up when they die, damaging others near them.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The silliest weapons also tend to be the most deadly ones.
    • Basically, anything with an animal or an old lady? You're fucked.
  • Lighter and Softer: Worms 2 and onward.
  • Lock and Load Montage: A trailer, released way-back-when, displayed a Worm spending a good thirty seconds grabbing weapons from the wall and loading up, before turning to menace the camera... only to tremble then collapse under the weight of all the weaponry.
    • It was also the intro of the first game on PlayStation.
  • Made of Explodium: EVERYTHING
  • Magikarp Power: Everything you consider useless as a weapon - because in worms, there is actually no such thing as a useless weapon.
  • Mission Pack Sequel: Worms World Party. In all fairness it added a few new modes and restored a number of Worms 2 features that had been left out from Worms Armageddon, but a lot of buyers felt cheated afterwards.
  • Nerf Arm: As a rule of thumb, the more unlikely a weapon sounds, the more powerful it will be.
    • What about the sword? It instantly kills, but isn't that unlikely.
  • Nice Hat: In some games you can slap on helmets, beanies, paper bags and cement mixers on your worms.
  • Non Sequitur: The 'Cricket' soundbank adds completely unrelated comments to the end of its cricket phrases, such as commenting on a lovely flock of birds or informing the player the worm likes wine before blowing themselves up.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Worms will take damage if they strike the landscape at a fast enough speed, and if this happens to the active worm, the turn will end... except with some transport tools.
  • Oh Crap: Worms will respond to timed explosives that are a second from going off.
    • In Reloaded, they actually scream whenever they see it coming.
  • Percent Damage Attack: The Battle Axe cuts the target's HP in half.
  • Pinball Spinoff: Worms Pinball for the PS 1 and PC.
  • Player Versus Player
  • Plot What Plot: Worms are trying to kill each other with nasty weapons. Why? Who knows? More to the point, who cares?
  • Power-Up: Many, such as Double Damage, extra superweapons and health.
  • Preorder Bonus: Worms Reloaded comes with extra maps, bonus hats, a discounted price and early access for preorders.
  • Randomly Drops: All sorts of weapons, items and even health pickups can be randomly dropped in crates scattered around the map.
  • Rise to the Challenge: See Stalked by the Bell.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: To quote the song Wormsong '95 - "It was all too much for Boggy as he watched his best friend die. His heart filled with rage, and he gripped his rifle tight. Charging down the hill, he had to have revenge. What had Spadge done to come to such an end?"
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Quite literally with the Armageddon weapon.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Inverted - in all of the Worms games, the shotgun is your primary sniping weapon.
  • Shout-Out: The most notable examples being the Fire Punch and Dragonball weapons, homages to Street Fighter's Shoryuken (Dragon Punch) and Hadouken Fireball, and the Holy Hand Grenade's Shout-Out to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • The beta demo of the game made it even more blatant as it just called them 'Dragon Punch' and 'Fireball' before they were swapped around for the actual release.
      • One of the voice packs even says "Saiyouken!" when the Dragon Punch is used.
    • The Priceless Ming Vase references an ancient comedy trope, French and Indian Nuclear Tests, Mad Cows, and most of the Strike weapons (particularly the French Sheep Strike, with its burning lorry...) also shout out to other events, things and tropes.
    • The two main playstyles of "Lightsiding" and "Darksiding" reference, of course, Star Wars (although the styles are inverted: in Star Wars, Light Side fighting is mainly defensive; in Worms, Lightsiding is offensive. In Star Wars, Dark Side fighting is offensive; in Worms, Darksiding is defensive).
    • There are Shout Outs just about everywhere in the Worms series, right down to the voice sets: "Formula 1" is the Worms doing the best impersonation their squeaky voices can handle of legendary British motor racing commentator Murray Walker. "There was definitely contact there!"
    • The classic Ninja Rope was a Shout-Out to Batman and his Grappling Hook Pistol. The beta even called it a Batrope.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Way down the silly end, and loving every second of it.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: In Worms 3D, this happens when the player is using the shotgun since, as in all other Worms games, the shotgun works more like a two-shot sniper rifle.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The explosions of most weapons in the 2D games leave perfectly circular craters.
  • Stalked by the Bell: When the round timer runs out, varying things can happen: all Worms reduced to one health, all Worms poisoned, and/or the water level starts to rise. The latter is a problem due to Super Drowning Skills.
  • Stealth Pun: Homing pigeon. It's of course a type of a pigeon, but here it's also "homing" in a way a homing missile is.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: See Made of Explodium above. There's stuff you'd reasonably expect to explode, like grenades and bazooka rockets. Then there are sheep, bananas, pigeons, carpets, concrete donkeys, more sheep, cows, envelopes, and grannies. Shoot a supply crate and it explodes. Kill a Worm and it explodes, leaving behind a small gravestone which given enough provocation also explodes.
    • This is also the only reason why an entire team can get wiped out with one prod. That and really lucky placement.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Being submersed in water kills instantly regardless of health.
    • Unless you skip over it.
      • of course, if you're being skipped over water, odds are you're flying off the side of the level...
    • This becomes incredibly annoying because your worm could still be half-submerged and still alive after an attack, and then immediately dies when you make any sort of move because they're pinned on a slippery cliff, thus wasting a turn.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: The spin-off Worms Pinball was originally named Addiction Pinball on its PC release before being renamed for the PlayStation port.
  • Theme Tune: Wormsong, written by Bjorn Lynne. Three versions of it - Wormsong '95 from the original, Wormsong '98 from Worms Armageddon and Wormsong '03 from Worms 3D - have lyrics and little stories to go with them.
  • This Banana Is Armed: Every version starting with Armageddon has had a number of silly weapons, the sillier the more dangerous.
  • Throw the Pin: Played straight in one cutscene in Worms 2: We see a worm pulling the pin from a grenade, the camera cuts to the "victim" worm - who is hit on the head by the pin. Cut back to the attacking worm, who proceeds to do an Evil Laugh - then notices that he's still holding the grenade.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some players feel the series peaked with the United expansion, and the absolute impossibility of playing the first generation games on a modern Windows machine - or a modern multi-core processor machine - cause them no end of pain.
  • Title Drop: The Armageddon weapon in Worms: Armageddon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The worms have no sense of fighting back or fleeing when they're attacked.
  • Trash Talk: If you screw up a shot, expect other worms to point out your stupidity. "OI, NUTTA!". They'll also chew you out for skipping turns or running out of your turn time. "BORING!"
  • Trope Codifier: For Artillery-style turn-based strategy. Despite being preceded by a number of similar games, newer games with a similar style of play (such as Hogs of War) are inevitably knows as "Worms clones".
  • Tunnel King
  • Visual Pun: Skipping rope for skipping a turn. The Battle Axe splits the worm in half...and their hit points
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: particularly with the cartoony direction of the series from Worms 2 onwards.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Your worms will berate a teammate for getting them caught in the crossfire.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: In 3D installments.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: PLENTY of this going on. Enemy worms will take any opportunity they can to lambast your combat skills.