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Have You Played... Virtua Tennis?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Before Sega were the owners of Relic, Sports Interactive and The Creative Assembly, their games arriving on PC felt like a strange treat. Virtua Tennis doubly so, for being a rare, excellent tennis game on the PC.

I loved Smash Court Tennis – particularly Anna Kournikova’s Smash Court Tennis on the PlayStation – but those games never left console. Virtua Tennis was a similar game in that it was simple to control, but it looked and played more like real tennis.

This matters when the rules of tennis are simple enough that, simplified further, games can easily come to feel like Pong. Virtua Tennis managed, without the need for flapping your arms in front of a motion sensor, to feel like you were hitting a ball with an arm-swung racket. That made for super-satisfying rallies, as you attempted to lure your opponent back and forth across the court till you could strike the perfect drop shot.

The series fell by the wayside with 2011’s Virtual Tennis 4 and there’s not been many PC tennis games since. A shame.

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Graham Smith

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