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What's the deal with Mario Tennis? [roundtable]
 
I'm of course pumped for Mario Tennis 3DS. Mario Tennis Power Tour is one of my favorite GBA games, maybe my absolute favorite, and I've heard equally good things about Mario Tennis for the original Gameboy, although I haven't played it. Hopefully there'll be RPG elements again which really added a lot.

Having said that, the fact that this game is coming for 3DS and yet there's still been nothing but silence about an original motion controlled Mario Tennis game really boggles my mind. Who didn't play Wii Sports Tennis and immediately think about how great it could be if it was fleshed out into a Mario game?

When New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis came out, I was initially interested because I had a lot of fun with the original Gamecube version (although not as much as the original N64 version) and I thought motion controls would really add sometihng. But then it seemed to be the unanimous consensus that the motion controls didn't add anything and actually detracted from the gameplay.

Around then Wii Motion Plus was revealed and multiple tennis games came out making use of it so I thought, aha, they must have been waiting for this to be implemented so they could make the next evolution of the series perfect. But still we heard nothing. And now the game is announced for 3DS.

Now maybe, they'll be announcing a Wii U Mario Tennis with motion controls any day now, but from what we know now, it really makes me wonder. Nintendo is not stupid, they have obviously thought of making a Mario Tennis Wii, which would certainly make good money. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they've made playable tests or had Camelot make them. Could it be that after trying they came to the conclusion that motion controls add anything to an arcade tennis experience? Could that be why they're putting the game on the system with traditional button controls?

All of this goes to the bigger question of whether Wii U will really be continuing to evolve motion controls or if they're moving away from it.

What do you guys think about this? Am I overthinking?

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Posted: 10/02/11, 00:28:56
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I really enjoyed the N64 Mario Tennis. The GCN was okay but the power ups made it too easy. The Wii one probably never got off the ground due to Wii Sports success, and the lukewarm reception of the NPC remake.

I definitely think Wii U will be moving away from motion controls. Unless of course Nintendo releases a tennis handle peripheral where the tablet controller takes the place of the netting.
Posted: 10/02/11, 01:26:33
I think the same thing could be asked about Mario Golf. For pretty much all the same reasons. Except there's no 3DS version for that.

Yet.
Posted: 10/02/11, 01:29:15
@stephen08

Yea, those sucked. Luckily you could turn them off in multiplayer and in exhibition games but it made unlocking things in the Tournament Cup Mode or whatever a drag.
Posted: 10/02/11, 01:47:10
@GameDadGrant

Toadstool Tour is hands down one of my favorite Gamecube Games. I'm really upset there isn't a Wii one. A 3DS one would be even better because I'd rather use the arcade style controls over motion for that game. I don't get why Tennis gets more love than Golf lately, mario wise.
Posted: 10/02/11, 02:26:11
It does seem like kind of a missed Wii opportunity. Maybe Nintendo had this odd sense that Mario Tennis would somehow detract from Wii Sports or something. I've always been a fan of both Mario Golf and Tennis, but Golf seems to have more to offer with newer versions, what with being able to design full new courses and all.

Both of them on consoles need to adopt the RPG elements of the handheld games. Not that I've played the handheld games, but everyone loves the RPG elements. Even Anand maybe.
Posted: 10/02/11, 02:52:04
Yeah, on the list of glaring missed opportunities, Mario Tennis is up there. There was that EA Tennis game, but that wasn't incredibly well received was it?
Posted: 10/02/11, 02:56:55
I watched the trailer last night, and I came away unimpressed...for now. It looks like a dump of Wii Sports tennis with Mario skins on the characters. I don't doubt it will be good when it's finished, but right now, it's not a game I want to play.
Posted: 10/02/11, 03:43:12
Loved loved the N64 game, that's what turned me on to the sport. I hated the GCN game so I didn't play the NPC one for the Wii. I feel like they didn't have the right tech or control set up to really make the game feel intuitive? I'm not sure, we haven't seen very many games utilize motion plus, even the Zelda development team wasn't going to use it after having issues with it...
Posted: 10/03/11, 02:40:20  - Edited by 
 on: 10/03/11, 02:40:48
@ludist210

I dunno, it looks pretty much like past Mario Tennises to me. I do worry about stagnating gameplay though. They need to come up with something to differentiate it from past iterations (and not just RPG elements although I do want those).
Posted: 10/03/11, 21:20:25  - Edited by 
 on: 10/03/11, 21:20:37
Hmm, I think you should probably play NPC Mario Tennis for yourself before casting judgment. Then again, I've played it, and I'd cast it to hell!

But this is an interesting topic, yeah. The unfulfilled promise of Wii Sports. Mario Superstar Baseball was a huge disappointment to me. It had so many interesting features, and it could've been so cool, but they totally fucked up the essential pitching/batting dynamic, basically just grafting the Gamecube scheme onto the Wiimote. Horrible. Strikers was traditional, but still a quality experience.

It seems like Nintendo kind of shied away from Mario Sports after the launch period of the Wii, perhaps instead choosing to focus on Wii Sports/Resort-type stuff. Makes sense, from a sales perspective. But I would've loved to see a MotionPlus Mario Tennis.

Still, I don't know if I'm really invested in Camelot's tennis mechanic anymore. Charging shots is a decent compromise for handheld play, but that's not really what Tennis is about. I'm not even sure it's an improvement over Super Tennis, frankly. It was really refreshing to play the latest... Top Spin demo, I think? Instead of standing in one place and 'powering up', the main determinants of shot quality were footwork and timing. THAT'S tennis.

The 3DS game might still be fun if they RPG it up, but I'm not excited for this reason. Camelot really seems to be spinning their wheels. At least take a hint from the Virtual Boy and add a more dynamic perspective. Well, it might have that, actually. But they still need to change up the old formula. And I'm not convinced that they're the company to trust with motion control implementation. EA's efforts bested theirs with ease.
Posted: 10/03/11, 22:03:28
Anand said:
Still, I don't know if I'm really invested in Camelot's tennis mechanic anymore. Charging shots is a decent compromise for handheld play, but that's not really what Tennis is about. I'm not even sure it's an improvement over Super Tennis, frankly. It was really refreshing to play the latest... Top Spin demo, I think? Instead of standing in one place and 'powering up', the main determinants of shot quality were footwork and timing. THAT'S tennis.

Fair enough, but you're not expecting (or wanting) a tennis-sim game out of Mario, are you?
Posted: 10/03/11, 22:22:25
If there is one thing that I am ALL about, Grant, it is strict, rigorous simulation.

Nah, just like lock-on in Zelda, I've never quite been 100% behind 'the charge' in Mario Tennis. I think it would be more fun, rewarding, AND true to the sport to use timing and position. In general, I feel like games should put as little time between the button press and the resulting action as possible. That arcade responsiveness. That also probably explains why I don't care for the Panzer Dragoon/Rez lock-on mechanic or the controls of SSX (or RTS games?).

I mean, look how much mileage Wii Sports got out of just timing. It was fun, and it felt like tennis.
Posted: 10/03/11, 22:34:20  - Edited by 
 on: 10/03/11, 22:35:26
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