Tennis Elbow 2013 Served To Steam; Demo Available

Tennis Elbow 2013 screenshot

Interesting choice of name, Tennis Elbow [official site]. How many other sports games are named for associated injuries? If creators Mana Games fancy branching out I’ve a few suggestions for them: Cauliflower Ear Boxing, NHL Broken Collarbone and Probably-Faking-It Football.

Mana Games, a French studio at least partly made up of amateur tennis players, have been making Tennis Elbow games since the mid-90s. Tennis Elbow 2013 is the most recent edition; as the name suggests it’s not a recent game, but it did just crop up on Steam, so here we are bringing it to your attention.

My knowledge of tennis is not great. I know I’m not very good at it, although I once almost won a match against a semi-pro because he kept running into the corner of the court where I was repeatedly and ineptly serving balls, and slipped on one. Good work Shaun. Still, I’ve played a few tennis games at the more arcadey end of the spectrum like Virtua Tennis. Tennis Elbow is not as slick or accessible, but I still managed to work out how to play the demo with some degree of competence. I like that positioning really seems to matter: incoming shots are marked with safe and danger zones for returns, and when you do return the ball you can aim it using the analogue stick. This is harder to do when you also have to run to make a return, which feels authentic.

There is no trailer for the 2013 edition, at least so far as my bloodhound skills have been able to establish, so I’ll do one better: below you’ll find footage of an online match that should give you some idea of how the game plays. If you want to get an even better idea of how it plays, there’s a demo available. Try before you buy is recommended, since Tennis Elbow 2013 costs $24.99 / €22.99 / £18.99, which is pricey for an older game.

9 Comments

  1. Neurotic says:

    Speaking as a tennis player and a fan of the sport, I’ve flirted with the TE games over the years, and I took a good long look at 2013 and came to the same conclusion that I always do – any extra symbols or graphics on the screen whilst you’re playing are more hindrance than help, and a big distraction. For all of its arcadeyness, SEGA got one thing right – just you, the court, the ball and the other player. Pete Sampras on the PSX understood this too.

    • Monkeh says:

      From what I’ve read, you can easily turn all that stuff off in the options.

      • Monkeh says:

        Just downloaded the demo and indeed, before the match you had the option to turn off all indicators or choose certain times you do want to see them (like on serve).

        • Neurotic says:

          Now we’re talking! With the mod support Zankman mentions below, I think I should give this another look.

  2. Zankman says:

    I will vouch for this game – the gameplay is amazing once you get at least *a bit* used to it.

    As some have mentioned, the aiming reticules and such can be disabled.

    Another “concern” to address is the dated visuals and lack of licenses: There are full blown, up-to-date and very, very well made mods. They improve the visuals by adding real-life courts & graphics and improve the authenticity of the game further by adding real players and whatnot.

    All of this makes the game look better.

    Additionally, the game has very functional and very FUN online multplayer. Highly recommended.

    Not even just that – the game has an active (but, of course, somewhat small) “Tour Community” – A real community of real players that play their own ATP Tour, mirroring the real-life one, but, of course, in TE2013.

    That, IMO, is amazing in-on-itself.

    I will now direct you to a single video that will show you everything – how the basic gameplay looks like (how damn realistic it is!), how the game looks like when modded, how the online multyplayer looks like & as well as how an official “ITST” match looks like.

    Behold: link to youtu.be

    Please consider giving the game a try! As the video will show you, it’s an unparalleled tennis simulation!

  3. Jackablade says:

    I guess there’s Road Rash, though calling that a sport game might be a bit of a stretch.

  4. Llewyn says:

    Oh, I didn’t for a moment imagine this was still going. I played a lot of Tennis Elbow at some point, probably the best part of 15 years ago. It… doesn’t look very different, but perhaps that’s not so bad – it was a fine game to begin with.

  5. Axyl says:

    I would genuinely play “Probably-Faking-It Football”. :D

  6. Danny says:

    I remember playing the original Tennis Elbow demo on my Pentium 133 until my fingers bled. It was the best tennis game I’ve ever played, Virtua Tennis has got nothing on it (although VT is definitely a nice arcade game on it’s own).

    I’ll play the demo of it’s 2013 iteration this evening – if the gameplay is roughly the same as it was in the nineties I’m going to buy this purely because of multiplayer possibilities.