Tennis (1981 video game)

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Activision Tennis Coverart.png
Developer(s) Activision
Publisher(s) Activision
Designer(s) Alan Miller[1]:76
Platform(s) Atari 2600
Release date(s) 1981
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) One player, two players

Tennis is a tennissimulation video game developed for the Atari 2600 by Activision, and published in 1981. The game was designed by Activision co-founder Alan Miller.[2]

Activision has republished Tennis in a number of game compilations, as well as via Microsoft's Game Room service.


Tennis offers singles matches for one or two players; one player is colored pink, the other blue. The game has two user-selectable speed levels.[2] When serving and returning shots, the tennis players automatically swing forehand or backhand as the situation demands.[2]

The first player to win six matches is declared the winner of the tournament. This differs from professional tennis, in which player must win at least two out of three six-game sets. (In tennis, a set is a sequence of games played with alternating service and return roles.)


Tennis was well received by critics, picking up an award for "Best Competitive Game" and an honorable mention for "Best Sports Game" at the 3rd annual Arkie Awards. Arkie Award judges commented that "'Tennis' is as far removed from the primitive 'Pong'-style games from which it derives as gasoline is from the dinosaurs", and specific praise was given to the game's "realistic illusion of depth" and its competitive aspects which allow for "hard fought contest[s]" and "glorious comebacks from the brink of defeat" and which give "more methodical players a chance to taste victory against the kings and queens of hand-eye coordination".[1]:76 Covered in Video magazine's 1982 Guide to Electronic Games, Tennis was characterized by critics as "not terribly complicated" but also as "one of the few very good sports games for the Atari VCS".[3]:52


  1. ^ a b Kunkel, Bill; Laney, Jr., Frank (January 1982). "Arcade Alley: The Third Annual Arcade Awards". Video. Reese Communications. 5 (10): 28, 76–77. ISSN 0147-8907. 
  2. ^ a b c Tennis at MobyGames‹See TfD›. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  3. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (November 1982). "Video's Guide to Electronic Games". Video. Reese Communications. 6 (8): 47–56, 108. ISSN 0147-8907.