I don't have much interest in sports games in general, but Nintendo fanboy that I am I feel obligated to work my way through all Nintendo games, including the fairly primitive early Game Boy efforts such as Tennis. Apparently it was one of the system's launch titles in North America, and it seems that a fair number of people have someĀ amount of nostalgia for it.

I'd played the NES Tennis game a while back, but the Game Boy version is pretty much completely different, aside from the fact it's a video game rendition of the actual sport and it features Mario as the referee. The controls in Game Boy Tennis are much more involved. In the NES version you only had two types of shots: the A button for a regular shot and the B button for a lob. The Game Boy version multiplies each of these by three, depending on if you're holding the up button, down button, or neither while you're pressing the A or B buttons. Serves also have those three variations, and all these optionsĀ make the game much more active, but also more complicated. Instead of relying on timing your hits to influence the angle of the ball, the game seems to emphasize getting your opponent to stand close or far from the net, and then hitting a far or close shot to mess him up.

All in all the game was more enjoyable than I expected, although it's sort of a toss-up (get it? haha) for me as to whether I prefer this one or the NES version. I didn't bother trying to master the higher levels of difficulty (there are four levels of difficulty total), since in those modes the ball whizzes by so fast that I assume you'd have to go through a lot of trial and error to win. I doubt I'll be playing this again anytime soon, but it wasn't a complete waste of time, even for someone like me who's not really into sports games. It's been a while since I'd played a Game Boy game, and I still haven't gotten into the Mario sports games much at all, but hopefully I'll make some more progress on both those fronts before too long.

Some fast-paced Game Boy Tennis links:
- Longplay of the highest difficulty level
- Review on NintendoLife of the 3DS eShop rerelease
- Entry on Wikipedia (although it mostly just covers the NES version)
- Entry at nindb.net

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