theuselessgod's Tennis (Nintendo Entertainment System) review

Nintendo serves up nothing special here.

The Short


- Has singles and doubles play

- Can play two players

- Set the stage for future tennis games, such as Mario Tennis


- Like the other launch sports titles, Tennis doesn't have much depth

- Only singles or doubles and only individual matches. That's it.

- Character moves weirdly fast and slippery for a tennis game

- A fun diversion, but little more than that

You should really just avoid most early NES sports games

The Long

Yes, we're back to this again. After ripping into 10 Yard Fight, Golf, and Baseball we're taking yet another launch title in the "Sports" set: Tennis. So...does this one finally redeem the Black Box Sports collection? Or is it just another mediocre NES sports game that was outdone by it's successors?

Hint: it's the latter. The only black box sports games I like are Pro Wrestling and Volleyball.

It's tennis. Wee!

Long before Wii Sports totally made everybody play tennis by swinging their Wiimotes and lobbing them into their TVs, we had Tennis, a basic little game that launched with the NES. Now, unlike the previous sports game, this one at least isn't as boring. The very nature of having to volley back and forth in the sport of tennis means there's always something going on here, and the matches are quick and decent.Too bad the controls are botched and there are next to no options.

For reasons I can't figure out, your character runs as if he's sprinting over ice. The feeling of moving the character is extremely loose and far to quick to properly control. First time players will have issue lining up ball shots, but once you get the hang of it the game becomes trivial. You move so fast you can counter every single ball, and so can the computer. Volleys last forever.

And doubles! Wee.

The only time you score is when the computer seems to deliberately make a mistake. And while it's pretty easy for YOU to make mistakes (running on ice, remember?) this means the game feels like the computer is toying with you. "Here, I'll let you have a point, since I'm a perfect AI construct that can't fail!" Tennis' computer opponent chortles. Well I'm the one whose going to be doing the chortling, chortling as I stick this stupid game back on the shelf.You can play the game two-player, which makes it a bit more enjoyable, but unfortunately the lack of variety here kills it. You have singles or doubles and only one real match; once it's over all that's left is doing it over again. And while I'm all for simple games, Tennis just doesn't serve any real purpose here.

I am like the king of video game sports puns.

As you can see from the screenshots, Tennis is on par with the other offerings of its time. The game has no music (again, par for the course) and the sound effects work but are hardly exciting.All in all, Tennis isn't the worst of the sports line-up games (I'm still trying to decide which of the unholy trio mentioned above is on top of the suck pile), it certainly isn't particularly compelling. With a friend it's considerably more fun, but even so the core elements here are just bland. It's better than the rest of the batch, but not by much.

Here is where I wish I gave half stars, but since I don't I'm going to round up: Two out of Five stars.

"Strike! You're out!" I am so good at sports puns.

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