Mario's Tennis

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Mario's Tennis
Mario's Tennis.jpg
Box art
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1
Director(s)Masao Yamamoto
Hitoshi Yamagami
Producer(s)Gunpei Yokoi
Composer(s)Hitoshi Fukushima
Morihito Iwamoto
SeriesMario Tennis
Platform(s)Virtual Boy
Mode(s)Single player

Mario's Tennis,[a] known in development as Mario's Dream Tennis, is a 1995 sports game developed by Nintendo for the Virtual Boy video game console. The game was released at the launch of the Virtual Boy, and even as a pack-in game in North America.


Mario prepares to serve (screenshot taken from an emulator without 3D display) 3d glasses red cyan.svg 3D red cyan glasses are recommended to view this image correctly.

Mario's Tennis is a sports game in which the player controls one of seven different Mario characters and engages in tennis matches.[2] The action on the court is viewed from directly behind the player character from a third person perspective. The Virtual Boy's stereoscopic 3D graphics allow the player to perceive depth within the tennis court, allowing for better perception in the distance between a tennis ball and the respective character.[1] Unlike later entries in the Mario Tennis series, which added gameplay elements not present in tradition tennis, such as "power up items", special "power shots", or external obstacles interfering with the game, Mario's Tennis simply focuses on tennis fundamentals.[1][3]

Mario's Tennis supports a number of different game modes and customization options. The player may choose one of seven Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, Yoshi, Toad, and Donkey Kong Jr., all with differing attributes in regards to "speed", "power" or "racket area".[2] Either a single game, or a three-game tournament mode may be chosen, both having the option to play either singles or doubles matches on easy, normal, or hard difficulties.[2] Although a two-player function was announced, it was not implemented since the cable required to link two Virtual Boy units was never released.[4]


The game initially had a working title of Mario's Dream Tennis upon its announcement.[5] The game was developed by Nintendo R&D1, with director Gunpei Yokoi, the same team that was responsible for the development of the Virtual Boy itself.[6] His success with the Game Boy line of systems, coupled with the public's general belief that it was too early for the next generation of systems, due to the failure of systems such as the 3DO and the Atari Jaguar, lead the team to brainstorm on different approaches that could be taken.[6] The team came up with a system that used stereoscopic 3D images to display conventional 2D graphics, the Virtual Boy being the end result of the hardware end, and Mario's Tennis and Mario Clash the end results of the software end.[6] It was one of the four launch games that were released alongside the console[7] and the console's pack-in game in North America.[4][8] Like all other Virtual Boy games, Mario's Tennis uses a red-and-black color scheme and uses parallax, an optical trick that is used to simulate a 3D effect.[9]


The game received generally mixed reviews from critics. A common complaint cited by reviewers was the fact that it was a tennis/sports game that lacked a multiplayer mode.[1][10] Famicom Tsūshin scored the game a 26 out of 40.[11] Next Generation awarded the game three out of five stars. A writer for the magazine commented, "[I]f you're looking for an addictive title to play on your Virtual Boy, this is one of the best choices you can make."[12] GamePro remarked that "Mario's Tennis commits a fault only with its simplistic music and effects", applauding the impressive 3D visuals, exceptionally large variety of moves for a tennis game, and challenging opponents.[13] They later awarded it Best Virtual Boy Game of 1995.[14]

In a retrospective review praised the game's 3D effects, but criticized the game's lack of a multiplayer mode, or much to actually accomplish in the single player mode.[10] NintendoLife gave the game a 7 out of 10, calling it a "solid, if simple, tennis game" that possessed "Good music and graphics combined with...excellent 3D effect", though they too felt the game was held back by a lack of multiplayer mode, and a lack of characters, which led to the tournaments being too short.[1] IGN's Patrick Kolan compared the game to Wii Sports, another one of Nintendo's pack-in games for one of its consoles, the Wii, in that it showed off the system's unique strengths, but suffered in regards to non-impressive graphics and a lack of long-term game content.[15] GamesRadar echoed these sentiments, stating "Gameplay was rudimentary, and lacked all the flash and silliness that came to define the Mario Sports series, but as a 3D showpiece it worked fairly well".[3] The Rome News-Tribune referred to Mario's Tennis as "the only...decent stab at tennis" prior to the release of Sega's 2000 Dreamcast game Virtua Tennis.[16]


Mario's Tennis not only started the Mario Tennis series of video games,[4] but has also been credited as being the game that started up the sports-related sub-series of Mario video games in general as well.[3][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Japanese: マリオズテニス Hepburn: Mariozu Tenisu?


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mario's Tennis (Virtual Boy) Review". Nintendo Life. April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  2. ^ a b c Alan, Scott (2010-10-03). "Mario's Tennis - Overview". allgame. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  3. ^ a b c Brett Elston on June 23, 2012 (2012-06-23). "Page 2 - Nine Virtual Boy games the 3DS can completely redeem". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  4. ^ a b c Stevens, Tim (21 March 2011). "Nintendo Virtual Boy review". Engadget.
  5. ^ "Mario's Tennis (VB / Virtual Boy) News, Reviews, Trailer & Screenshots". Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  6. ^ a b c "Nintendo's Portable History: Part 3, Virtual Boy | DS". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  7. ^ Plante, Chris (13 August 2010). "10 Lessons the Virtual Boy Can Teach the Nintendo 3DS". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 21 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Virtual Boy: Nintendo Names the Day". Next Generation (8): 18. August 1995.
  9. ^ "Backwards Compatible: The Virtual Boy". ABC Good Game. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  10. ^ a b "25 Years of Super Mario Sports: A Retrospective from". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  11. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: マリオズテニス. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.347. Pg.29. 11 August 1995.
  12. ^ "Mario's Dream Tennis". Next Generation. No. 9. September 1995. p. 93.
  13. ^ "ProReview: Mario's Tennis". GamePro. No. 85. IDG. October 1995. p. 100.
  14. ^ "Editor's Choice Awards 1995". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996. p. 26.
  15. ^ "Retro: Virtual Boy's Best Games". IGN. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  16. ^,7627071&dq=mario's-tennis+virtual-boy&hl=en
  17. ^ "Laying the Virtual Boy to Rest". IGN. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2013-09-27.

External links[edit]