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January 2019 Retro Gaming Article


January 21, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

21-year-old Frances Tiafoe reached the Grand Slam quarterfinal! Why has tennis disappeared from video games?

tennis player, Frances Tiafoe
EA keeps churning out sports titles, year after year. What's happened to tennis!?!
As an unseeded player, reaching the quarter finals at the Australian Open is an amazing accomplishment. Doing so on one's birthday, makes it all the sweeter. Tiafoe's post-match interview was classic :)

"It means the world. I worked my ass off, man," he said after the match, On my birthday, I would have been mad as hell if I'd lost."

When an unseeded kid comes into a grand slam tournament and wins his way to the Quarter Finals, how can game developers resist the allure of bringing tennis back to video games? They used to be so plentiful and recurring. I never considered Pong to be tennis, but I played my first tennis game on the Atari 2600 and was delighted by Jimmy Connors Tennis on NES and even Snoopy Tennis on Game Boy Color. I prefer the realistic games like Top Spin and Virtua Tennis which took off across multiple platforms, then faded away.

Bigben Interactive's World Tour Tennis Tennis World Tour was announced for Switch, but received poor reviews. Nintendo's Mario tennis met a luke-warm reception, but I yearn for the games that had rosters of actual players from around the globe. You could even re-create famous matches pitting specific players against one another.

EA keeps churning out sports titles, year after year. What's happened to tennis!?!

I've been complaining about the disappearance of Tennis Video games for two years. I miss the additions of new players and the realism that Mario Tennis doesn't cater to. Similarly, I don't want to bounce around d the Mushroom Kingdom as Roger Federer. Aside from Bigben Interactive's World Tour Tennis, it's a forgotten sport in the world of pixels. Maybe it's cyclical and tennis will re-imerge in years to come. Time will tell. In the mean time... developers... how about a tennis game! :)

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