Game Name: Tennis
Developer: Nintendo R&D1 and Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo and JP: Hudson Soft (PC-98)
Released Date: October 18, 1985
Systems: Arcade, PC-88, PlayChoice-10, Sharp X1, Famicom Disk System, NES and Switch
In the past I reviewed the tennis game Racket Attack from Jaleco. To me, this was the best tennis game on the NES. It had better graphics and it actually had speech capabilities which was really cool at the time.
I also played another tennis game in my youth and it was this one, Tennis on the NES. This was the Nintendo version of this sport. It was in the same vein as Ice Hockey I never actually owned this game on its own. I always played as part of a multi-cart. I would play it if I was too lazy to put in my Racket Attack cartridge.
Let us see how this game holds up after all of these years.
Like many of the Nintendo licensed sport games, this is a very simple version of the game of tennis. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is an extension of Pong. Although that could be said about any 2D sport games of the past, Hockey, Tennis, and Soccer.
Let us start with the graphics. The graphics are exactly like the cover art. It is an 8-bit version of tennis. I can honestly say that it does the job. Yes it is not as appealing as Racket Attack but it is fine. I do not think the goal of the game was to achieve realism.
The controls are very simple as you would expect. There are two types of volleys that you can use. The B button will give you a big lob when hitting the tennis ball. The A button will give you the ability to hit the ball closer to the ground. You can use either button for when you serve as they hit the ball the same way. If the opponent hits a lob and you are closer to the net, you will get a smash hit. The D pad is used to move around.
The point system is what you would expect from playing tennis. You have 15, 30, 40 and then if you are tied at 40-40 a piece you will have a deuce. You play the best of 3 sets.
You really only have 5 opponents that you can play against. They range from speeds 1 to 5, with 5 being the fastest and most challenging opponent. The way it works is that you choose your first opponent and play that game. If you win, you go against the next level. if you win this time, you will win money and then you start over again.
Tennis (NES) - Sample Gameplay (from my Twitch Stream)
Is this game still fun today? Yes, it is good to pick up for a quick game. It is very simple with that Nintendo stamp and feel. It is simple yet effective.
Yes, the game is not as evolved as some other sports games, but like I mentioned before, it does not aspire to be that. It just wants to give the player the basics of the game and then have you play.
Like other sports games of the time like Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!!, I appreciate that they added Mario as a chair umpire. Unfortunately, he does not really talk. Words are written on the screen but only non legible words are heard.
I know that it sounds weird but I always loved the Nintendo licensed cover art. Similar to Atari back in the day, I love the cover art. It is simple and it has aged better than what most people would have thought.
I have also played this game on my Switch and it is a fun game to play when you are just sitting in your favourite chair and want to play a quick game of something. The games last about as long as a full Ice Hockey game on the system.
If you have an Online Switch subscription, this game is free. You can probably get this game pretty cheap nowadays as not many people actually play it much. I think for free it is worth the time, if you want to play a very simple tennis game or advanced version of pong.
What do you think? Let me know if you played this game and liked or disliked it.