Platform: Nintendo NES
Controller: Default of the console
The original lineup of titles for the launch of Nintendo NES in United States of America included many sports titles, and since the sport Tennis has some videogames about it, it was included in this catalog with an entertaining game of this sports either for one player, or two. Of course, the main protagonist of videogames from this company had to appear, as the referee.
Other game offering a vertical view, with a traditional field not using anymore a colorful court, and, unless other videogames of this sport at the time, also the virtual tennis players are clearly male. The control is quite simple, moving the virtual player with the cross of the controller and with the two buttons either making straight shots, or lobs, also it provides 5 difficult levels, we highly recommend starting with either first or second level, because even it the difficulty ramps slightly, starting with a level of 3 or above can be really frustrating. The pace of any match in this game is fasat enough to not feeling monotonous.
It’s funny to see Mario as a referee, specially because in this game, the ball frequently falls off-bounds. It’s possible to play competitively against another human videoplayer, or playing cooperatively against the AI.
In this mode, it’s very important to coordinate well, because in this game, the ball CAN hit another virtual player and clearly cost from a point to a match. It’s worth to mention than in doubles mode, the AI gets harder and harder if the videoplayers are winning, so a turnaround can become a very real possibility. Maybe it considers in its algorythm that two heads ussually think better than one.
Nintendo Game Boy
I find interesting the fact that the initial catalog for the Game Boy in North America, also had the port of the Tennis game. It has obvious graphical differences comparing to the original NES version, with a closer zoom at the court, making the virtual players to look bigger and more detailed. This generates a scroll both horizontal and vertical, which personally I don’t like, quite te opposite, because sometimes I get lost in the action, specially after playing more times the NES version, where this scrolling is non-existent. The game has 4 difficult levels, but average, I find it a bit harder and slower than the NES version.
This port, being for a handheld, offers a two-player competitive mode using a cable to connect two consoles. So, the doubles mode is absent from the game.
The game was also ported to the following japanese personal computers:
- NEC PC88
- Sharp X1
The game was quite popular, I consider that the adequate pace is an important factor in that, because was fast enough without being frentic. Eventually, the popularity of this game gave birth to a sort-a-kind sequel called Mario Tennis which surely we’ll write about it here, because it was an incredibly good videogame.
Simple and popular videogame in my hometown, we frequently played the cooperative doubles mode against the AI, and usually I played with the blue player. A really common phrase at the time was “As ussual, the blue player”, so you can get a slight idea of how “good” were my skills in this particular game.
Console Icons taken from Retroarch.