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January 2015 Retro Gaming Article


January 31, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Disappointed by Sharapova vs Williams #AusOpen2015 final, I can't even play a video game rematch

Tennis video games I began taking tennis lessons at an early age. Of all the things my parents forced me to do, tennis was the one I really enjoyed. Soccer, Chess, and Judo just didn't cut it when I was a kid. Tennis is a sport that has stayed with me through my adult life. Naturally, I've always had a soft spot for tennis video games.

Tennis video games From the early days of Real Sports Tennis on the Atari 2600 and 5200, I next went to the NES with Everett and Lendl Top Players Tennis from 1990 and Jimmy Connors Tennis (1993). I loved the Connors game - tons of fun!

In the 8-bit days, sports games lacked the definition that we see in todays games. Thus, I was eager to delve into dome of the more peculiar offshoots of tennis video gaming. I picked up Mario Tennis for the Virtual Boy and Snoopy Tennis for the Game Boy Color.

Jimmy Connors Tennis had a pretty good image of Connors Even in '93 the NES could deliver a full-screen image of Jimmy that was quite accurate for it's era. As technology progressed we began to get more realistic imagery and game play.

Acclaim's VTennis for the PlayStation (1997) gave me high hopes until I began playing it. The PlayStation delivered so much potential, but this game was a polygon-nightmare. But it was a step toward the realistic looking games on the horizon.

You have to love the "Outlaw" sports series. I got a kick out of Outlaw Tennis for the PS2, but it was really the Top Spin and Virtua Tennis that gave the sport of tennis a great visual representation.

Vying for Top Tennis Players

I always root for Maria Sharapova when there's a tournament going on. She's an amazing player who fights so hard to win - always fun to watch.

Maria Sharapova in Top Spin 3 She recently lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open which prompted me to pit these two competitors against one another on my PS3! i figured either Top Spin or Virtua Tennis would do the trick... But No!

As it turns out, I couldn't find a release featuring both players. Maria appears on most recent tennis games, but I only found Serena on Top Spin 4. This makes me wonder how they choose (or bid for) players appearances.

Obviously, they need the players consent to use their likeness, but I wonder what the "behind the scenes" negotiations entail. I find it curious that Maria appears in so many of the recent tennis games, but Serna only appears in one - one that Maria does NOT appear in. Coincidence? Makes me wonder.

I was disappointed to not be able to pit Maria against Serena to fight for a new outcome in a virtual Australian Open. Stranger than this is the fact that neither Top Spin nor Virtua Tennis has been updated since 2011 and have no presence on PS4 or Xbone. I know that tennis games don't have the same appeal as other sports, but it seems as though there's a whole new roster of players they could incorporate.

I'd love to see more players from the past. Let Bjorn Borg take on John Isner. We shall see.. but to appreciate tennis on modern consoles, you have to revisit it on the Atari 5200 and Nintendo NES!

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