I was planning to do this segment during the U.S. Open, but I obviously wasn't active during that time, so that idea blew out the window. Regardless, I share this with you tonight-- my favorite tennis games, and there's a whole gala to choose from. On this list we'll see appearances from Mario as well as the Hot Shots crew, so let's get our equipment ready, our laces tied, and our rackets ready for action!
5) Hot Shots Tennis (PS2)
Hot Shots Tennis took the easy controls of past tennis games and added the importance of timing your shots in order to win big. A whole cast of colorful characters played in this game with courts spanning from the underside of a highway to a court played on a calm, serene beach shore. My only real problem with this game is that it took little time to unlock everything the game had to offer. That's a big no-no in my rulebook.
4) SEGA Superstars Tennis (PS3, 360, Wii, DS)
Sonic and friends volley it off with this clever tennis title. It combines the ease of Mario with the complexity of the Top Spin franchise. It is, of course, the engine used after all. There was Sonic, Ulala, Aiai, Beat, characters from Golden Axe, Alex Kidd, and many more. If the normal tennis modes bored you, you could always challenge the game's career mode where the goal was to complete a myriad of different tasks such as completing a game of Puyo Pop-- tennis style-- or fighting off the undead in Curien Mansion. A good game, but not great, SEGA Superstars Tennis is an admirable effort.
3) Mario Power Tennis (GCN)
Mario Power Tennis amped up the content compared to its predecessor. This new content came in the form of new minigames where you batted away at different color barrels for points, colored in pictures of Mario and the gang, and tried to play tennis with a giant blooper. Also new to the franchise were power shots that when built up gave an edge to the player using them. Diddy Kong, for instance, would ride on his barrel-propelled jet pack and pound the ball down his opponent's throat. A colorful and fun game, Mario Power Tennis takes the middle spot on our list.
2) Hot Shots Tennis: Get A Grip (PSP)
The aim of Hot Shots Tennis: Get A Grip wasn't so much to play cartoony despite its aesthetics as it was to provide a challenge, authentic tennis experience where timing and ball position were important factors to take in unlike other tennis titles. What made Get A Grip enjoyable was the sheer customization, cast, and courts available to the player. By playing through the story mode you'd earn costumes that could be mixed and matched with other outfits. For such a portable title, this game has the content of a console game!
1) Mario Tennis (N64)
We've made it to the number one tennis title on our abbreviated list. It's the very first console version of Mario Tennis (not counting the Virtual Boy game) for the Nintendo 64. There were plenty of modes and content to unlock such as Shy Guy and Donkey Kong Jr. for instance. Almost every character had their own board to unlock whether it was Wario and first-timer Waluigi's grand court or Mario and Luigi's sky high in the clouds court. The mechanics were perfect with every shot feeling as epic as the next. Mario Tennis reigns as my favorite tennis title.
There you have it as I like to say after every list we do here on SPC. What are your favorite tennis titles of all time? Send me a comment in our comments section.