Super Tennis

Double Fault.

There are a few tennis games on this 1001 list. I don't really like tennis. I've played a few games down the years, more on consoles than in person (much more, really), and they always tend to go the same way - Fault, Double Fault, Fault, Double Fault, Fault, Double Fault...

Where is the fun in tennis games if that's your first experience with them? That or 00-15, 00-30, 00-40. There isn't any. Pong can't be the greatest tennis title in history, can it?

Let's see what Super Tennis can serve up for us.


Super Tennis allows for single matches, double matches or a tournament/career mode, with games consisting of 1, 3 or 5 sets. There are ten men and ten women, each with their own subtle caricature appearance, drawn quite well (on the court, if not in the profile pictures), and you can play with two players, competitive or co-operative. Smashing. Variety is a good thing, and Super Tennis seems packed with content already.

I jumped into a singles match on the grass court and got thoroughly trounced. Like, not even entertainingly so. Even with somewhat generous hitboxes and collision detection for ball and racket, I was appalling.

May the Tennis Gods thwack me across the head with their rackets if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure that three of the points I scored there were a result of errors from the computer. They sure weren't scored by any skill on my part. Fluke, luck, and deals with the devil might have gotten me some of those points, such was my ability level.

Through many, many lost points I think I worked out that different buttons lead to different shot types - it makes sense, so I'm going with it as if it's correct. Returning a ball is easy enough if you're in roughly the right place, and you time your shots somewhat accurately - not perfect, thankfully, but there or thereabouts should do fine. Returning a ball in such a way as to avoid your opponent and not land miles out of court might as well get rewarded with a scholarship or something because it seems impossible.

Dejected, I got help from the computer in a doubles contest. I'll give you one guess as to which team I ended up on.

Improvement. Somehow. Not sure I scored those points either, but a 1 looks better than a 0.

My final attempt at proving to have at least got the hang of hitting the ball half of the time it was hurtling towards me was to jump into a tournament, held on the clay courts of Rio.

I won't be putting in that password to retry anytime soon, you can rest assured of that.

Fun Times

But it's not all doom and gloom for Super Tennis. Throughout my abysmal time with it, I could easily see how good it is - or how great it could be if you were even half as good as the computer, and therefore miles better than me.

Its presentation is simple, but its styling is welcome. It's not a super realistic simulation, but a fun little tennis game - one that happens to be full of depth and will require much practice to master.

The 1001 entry for Super Tennis claims that it could stand up against modern (at least modern at the time of printing; 2010 or so) tennis titles, and while probably not beating them, at least putting up a pretty darn good challenge. I can see why.

I'd see better if I were better myself, but there we go.

Final Word

The Mode 7 graphics look a bit dated today, which is mighty surprising because I thought they could never look bad. They're only used briefly in the introduction, and then again, briefly, every time you change sides - a cut scene that you will skip each and every time you sense it coming up.

The camera is where it needs to be, and working out depth isn't too much of an issue, though it makes for a great excuse for missing the ball. Again. The ball has a shadow that works well enough, especially with those hitboxes.

My one big gripe with Super Tennis is that it just isn't friendly to new players. There's no practice mode, nor difficulty selection - unless some characters are worse than others, but there's no way to see that before selecting who you or your opponents are. It just chucks you onto the court to slap some balls about the place, hoping you have fun in the meantime.

And there is fun to be had. I like playing it. I'd like it a hell of a lot more if I could at least challenge my opponent, rather than waste their time. Maybe I need to try out the multiplayer options. If everyone on the court is a dribbling tennis novice, we'd all have a better time with Super Tennis.

Whether you think you'll be good at this or not, you should try it out. Sometimes it looks a little old and dated, other times it looks like it deserves a spot in a list of 1001 must play video games.

Fun Facts

Players are still playing Super Tennis tournaments against each other, across the world, over on the likes of SNESOT.

Super Tennis, developed by Tokyo Shoseki, first released in 1991.
Version played: SNES, 1991, via emulation.