Platform: MSX Computers
Controller: Keyboard or Joystick.
Tennis, by its simple nature of sending a ball from one side of the court to the other, it’s easy to create videogames for it. This simplicity was the base of one of the first successful videogames, Pong. But, at the same time, and maybe for the same reason, there are few videogames of this sport. Specially if we compare with the amount of existing ones like football and/or baseball.
The company Konami, of which we have written before, included a videogame about this sport in its catalog for MSX computers, with a couple of twists somewhat curious for the time. Although with many features already implemented in other tennis videogames, they achieve with funny graphics and simple playability, a respectable tennis videogame. However not being a milestone like the future Virtua Tennis.
Like we have mentioned, the control in a tennis videogame is simple: move the virtual tennis player with the joystick and with the fire button hit the ball, avoiding that the ball hit the ground twice.
The game uses the classic vertical view, where the virtual tennis player controlled by the human player is located always at the bottom of the screen. This easies a little to see where the ball returned by the rival will bounce. According to the position of the virtual tennis player and the moment when it’s pressed the fire button, the speed and direction of the returning ball is determined.
There is one thing, and the virtual tennis player is always represented as female, it’s one of the twists mentioned beofre. In those years the vast mayority of sporting videogames had clearly defined male athletes, and this game caught my attention with the detail of using female athletes.
Like many good sports videogames, it has the two-player mode, but we have another nice feature, although not very original. That there are two ways two human players can play this game: either playing against each other in a singles match, or cooperatively against the game AI in a doubles match.
Other candy eyes of the game include the judge at the side of the court telling if the ball is out (or not) of the court; or to indicate which virtual player won the point. Also if the ball hits the net, there goes a boy to get the ball, I don’t remember another game with this nice touch.
The game was ported to the Famicom Disk System console.
Funny game, not being a milestone. I’m not very good at tennis videogames, just as any other kind of racket videogame (also in real life), but this one I found particulary simple to play without begin too easy or frustraing. It can be a bit slow in its easiest variation. There are 3 difficulty levels to choose, I highly recommend using number 2 at first. The game is quite easy and level 1 is too slow to my tastes.
Maybe the most remarkable feature is that is one of the first sports videogames with a virtual athlete clearly female. A co-worker, real fan of tennis, told me that from a technique and skill point of view, he prefers matches of women than from men finding them more entertaining. Probably this sport, like softball, volleyball and gymnastics, is better performed technically by women.
Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.
Console Icon created by Ciro Alfredo Consentino for the program EmuLoader.