Have You Played… Top Spin?


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

I had never seen a sweatier man.

Deep into the battle that would decide his fate and the way his story lived on or dwindled to nothing, my custom-built character was part-way between solid and fluid. A jelly of a man; a moist pink marshmallow on wobbly legs. He was coated in the shine of himself. A hero. A superhero. The Laminated Man.

Top Spin is a tennis game.

That battle was a five set grandslam final against S├ębastien Grosjean. I’ve spent a good while trying to figure out if the sweat that so caught my eye was actually up to snuff in Top Spin the first, or if it had only been perfected by the time of Top Spin 3, the sweatiest game of all time.

Whatever the case, Top Spin was a wonderful game. Tennis games are rare on any format, PC included, which is odd considering that the sport was invented as a computer game by Mr Allan Pong in 1972. The port to clay, grass and hard surfaces came much later.

Shot selection and placement give the one-on-one (or two vs two) competitions a tactical edge, and even when the pace is blistering, it’s the cool head that usually triumphs. That’s my kind of sport. A sweaty strategy game.


  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Good Christ that’s terrifying.

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  2. Oooch says:

    You should’ve posted something about Tennis Elbow

    The gameplay is way better and it is continually modded to be up to date with players and has a full career mode

    Graphics are garbage but he’s working on the sequel which’ll have Top Spin 3 graphics so it makes sense to point out it exists instead of reminding people that Top Spin exists.

  3. int says:

    Boy is Quentin Tarantino shiny.

  4. Darloth says:

    You have a Staring Eyes tag. Why not use it? :)

  5. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    I know this is a PC gaming site, but: the only good tennis game ever made is Virtua Tennis for the Dreamcast.

    (Don’t @ me, this is a hill I am ready to die on)

    • annoyingpotato says:

      @Jason Lefkowitz
      Yes, I’m @ing you. But just to agree with you.

      Virtua Tennis is still the best tennis game around. And God knows I’ve looked for alternatives.

      There is a PC Port, though. And that makes me kinda happy.

      • dagnamit says:

        There’s a little known PS1 game called Tennis Arena, which was, imho, the best tennis game ever made. Arcadey, but with an uncanny sense of control to your shots. Fast-paced and interesting. It may be lost to time at this point, man, I played the hell outta that game.

  6. James says:

    No I haven’t.

  7. vorador says:

    No matter what you say, that’s not a tennis player. That’s a zombie on its early phase.

  8. Zaxwerks says:

    Those eyes! Those eye! I can’t stand it! They’re boring into my soul!

  9. Seyda Neen says:

    I think I played the second game on the original Xbox. It was a lot of fun. I don’t remember the sweat, but it had a pretty cool character creator. Tennis is definitely one of the more interesting ball sports.

  10. sagredo1632 says:

    Personally I’m waiting for Caravaggio on Court. It will involve art! passion! on court castrations!

  11. fish99 says:

    So that’s not a poor attempt at modelling the face of Roger Federer?

    • Zamn10210 says:

      I can’t decide if it’s meant to be Federer or David Ferrer. It’s probably meant to be Federer but resembles Ferrer slightly more for my money.

  12. Neurotic says:

    The sweat in Top Spin is legendary.

  13. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Oh heck yeah, literally non-stop in grad school! So much so that I can no longer see those words together and think of anything else. But I remember it being a little different: more buttons, more emphasis on the 2D graphics, fewer spaces in the title…slightly less sweat, if I recall. Yeah, good occasionally sweaty times. We even rocked the Linux version back before Steam OS and the year of the Linux desktop and all that jazz.

  14. corinoco says:

    Tennis? What is that?