Mario Tennis (series)

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Mario Tennis
The current logo of the Mario Tennis (series).
The updated version of the logo introduced in Mario Tennis Open.
First installment Mario Tennis (N64) (2000)
Latest installment Mario Tennis Aces (2018)
Number of installments 10 (7 direct, 2 indirect, 1 port)
Parent franchise Mario
Key staff Shugo Takahashi, Hiroyuki Takahashi

Mario Tennis (マリオテニス Mario Tenisu) is a brand of sports games that features tennis matches incorporating the characters, themes, and locations of the Mario franchise. Though preceded by several earlier tennis games featuring the Mario character, the series was created for Nintendo by its partner Camelot Software Planning (which also created the Mario Golf series), and saw its first installment on the Nintendo 64 console in 2000. Since the series made its initial debut, each successive generation has featured a console and a handheld version. The Mario Tennis series' first game was the second project developed by Camelot for a Nintendo system, and saw three sequels in total (with the original game and the first sequel also being ported to their consoles' respective handheld companions).

Gameplay

Mario performs a jump shot.

Mario Tennis includes variations of tennis matches consisting of characters, courts, and scenarios based on the Mario franchise. The selection of courts varies, ranging from the standard three types of tennis court, to those themed upon Mario games, which adopt the aesthetic styles of the games on which they are based and feature thematic elements that influence how the match will be played on that surface (some of which manifest themselves as obstacles that hinder character movements or otherwise interfere with gameplay). In addition to standard tennis, Mario Tennis can feature variants of the sport that adopt different rules and methods of victory.

The control system differs significantly from other tennis video games. Shots are performed by pressing one or both of the controller's two main buttons, which make the ball spin in different ways. Pressing a button twice strikes the tennis shot with more power and spin. Additionally, pressing the two buttons in a different order can result in a different type of shot altogether, such as a lob or drop shot. Both buttons can be pressed at the same time to hit a very powerful smash shot. The longer a button is pressed before contact is made with the ball, the stronger the shot will be. The control system allows players of all levels to become familiar with the mechanics of the game within a very short time, while also encouraging advanced players to take advantage of the variety of shots on offer to come up with different strategies for winning points. In addition to generic tennis moves, later on the series began to feature special "Power Shots," unique moves that incorporate the specific qualities of the characters that use them; Power Tour specifically categorizes them as either "offensive" shots (those that power up the ball and put various side effects on players with whom they make contact) or "defensive" shots (those that negate the secondary effects of offensive shots and reach balls that would normally be out of reach).

Many game modes have appeared throughout the Mario Tennis series. The central mode of play is "Tournament Mode," which comprises a set of events with accumulating difficulty, where players play tennis matches in either doubles or singles, needing to win two games to win a set, and unlock playable characters if they finish successfully. Another major mode of play is "Exhibition Mode," where up to four players can play matches of their own, with players being able to choose opponents for computer control, and the conditions of the match such as the difficulty of opponents, the court used, and the number of games and sets required to win. Later games introduced modes like "Ring Shot," where players can earn points by hitting the ball through rings of varying sizes; "Item Battle," where characters use items based on the Mario universe to interfere with each other's game and gain an advantage; and special minigames where the player can meet a tennis-related objective, incorporating themes from past Nintendo games.

Mario Tennis games feature a selection of playable characters from the Mario franchise, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Wario, Waluigi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and several others. Characters are categorized into six groups that reflect their playing style: all-around, technical, power, speed, defensive, and tricky. Many of the player-characters in Mario Tennis recur as playable throughout the various series of Mario spin-offs; sometimes, games feature characters for whom a tennis game marks their first playable appearances altogether, such as Shy Guy and Wiggler. For Waluigi, the original Mario Tennis was his first appearance, and for Daisy and Birdo, that game marked their re-introductions and (in Daisy's case) permanent establishment into the recurring cast roster of the Mario franchise.

The first two handheld Mario Tennis titles feature role-playing game elements, where the player controls a young boy or girl character who has enrolled at the Royal Tennis Academy and must set out to become the top-ranked player there, enter a tournament called "The Island Open" to challenge other tennis champions from elsewhere in the world, and afterward travel to the Mushroom Kingdom to challenge its stars, ending with a match against the game world's greatest tennis player of all, Mario. The first- and second-generation Mario Tennis games have connectivity functions where a player is able to import characters and data from the home console game to its handheld counterpart, and vice versa. The third generation of Mario Tennis removes the RPG elements and the ready-made human characters altogether, with Mario Tennis Open instead allowing players to use their own Mii characters as saved in the Nintendo 3DS Mii Maker, who have variable skills and can equip special gear to improve their skills, and costumes upon completing certain objectives. On a related note, data saved in Mario Tennis Open is not transferable to Ultra Smash, as these two games are not direct counterparts to each other.

Installments

Direct

Title
Cover, original release, and system Synopsis
Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64)
North American box art for Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64
Japan July 21, 2000
Nintendo 64
Mario Tennis is a Nintendo 64 video game. It features Mario and his friends playing a classic game of tennis, with a few Mario twists. This game marked the debut of Waluigi, and also Princess Daisy and Birdo's re-entries into the Mario series. It is also the first playable appearance of Boo, Paratroopa, and Shy Guy.

The game was rereleased for Wii through Virtual Console in 2010, and for Wii U through Virtual Console in 2015. It is also included in Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online, released in 2021.

Mario Tennis (Game Boy Color)
MarioTennisGBC.jpg
Japan November 1, 2000
Game Boy Color
Mario Tennis is a tennis game for the Game Boy Color. The game features Mario and other characters. It also introduced a RPG-like story mode, where the player controlled Alex or Nina on a tennis adventure to beat the best of all players, Mario.

The game was rereleased for Nintendo 3DS through Virtual Console, initially in 2013.

Mario Power Tennis
The front cover for Mario Power Tennis for the Nintendo GameCube
Japan October 28, 2004
Nintendo GameCube
Mario Power Tennis is a game for the Nintendo GameCube. It is the sequel of Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64. In this game, Mario and his various friends (and enemies) meet up to play a few rounds of tennis. Like previous Mario sports titles, all the playable characters have Power Shots. Additionally, there are courts in the game that have special effects and events during the game. Also, for each court, there are special games to play. The game introduces Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr., Fly Guy, Petey Piranha, and Wiggler as playable characters to the series.
Mario Tennis: Power Tour
North American box art for Mario Tennis: Power Tour
Japan September 13, 2005
Game Boy Advance
Mario Tennis: Power Tour is very similar to its GameCube counterpart, except it is for the Game Boy Advance. It brings back the RPG elements of its predecessor. The game is not compatible with Mario Power Tennis like its golf counterpart. The PAL region's name for this game is Mario Power Tennis (same as the GameCube game). The game's story has the player controlling tennis student Clay or Ace as they rise through the ranks of the Royal Tennis Academy.

The game was rereleased for Wii U through Virtual Console in 2014.

Mario Tennis Open
North American boxart for Mario Tennis Open
USA May 20, 2012
Nintendo 3DS
Mario Tennis Open was released for the Nintendo 3DS. It features some elements from Mario Power Tennis from the Nintendo GameCube. This game features gyroscope support and online multiplayer (via Nintendo Network). The new playable characters are Baby Peach, Dry Bowser, Luma, and Metal Mario. The game also makes use of QR Codes as a method to unlock certain content.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Box art for Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Europe November 20, 2015
Wii U
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was released for the Wii U. Chance Shots from Mario Tennis Open return, and a new mode called Mega Battle is introduced, where Mega Mushrooms that give players advantages in power and defense are thrown on the court. It is also the first Mario Tennis game to be compatible with amiibo. Rosalina, Toadette, and Sprixie Princess are playable for the first time in the series in this game.
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario Tennis Aces box art
June 22, 2018
Nintendo Switch
Mario Tennis Aces is a Mario Tennis game for Nintendo Switch. The game features a story mode (a first in the home console installments) and some new shot types, such as the Zone Shot, which can break rackets. In addition, some characters have redesigned appearances, such as Mario wearing a tennis hat and a tennis outfit instead of his usual cap and overalls by default. The game introduces Spike and Chain Chomp as playable characters to the series, as well as Blooper, Boom Boom, Pauline, Kamek, Dry Bones, and Fire Piranha Plant post-launch. It is the first installment to have alternate costumes for characters. It led to the release of two online demos and a browser trivia quiz on the Play Nintendo website.

Indirect

Title
Cover, original release, and system Synopsis
Mario's Tennis
Mario's Tennis
Japan July 21, 1995
Virtual Boy
Mario's Tennis is a Virtual Boy game, the first tennis-related Mario game. It features Mario and the other playable characters from Super Mario Kart (except Bowser) playing a classic game of tennis. The game was one of the first Virtual Boy games to be released and is one out of the only three Mario games to be released on the Virtual Boy.
Mario Sports Superstars
MarioSportsSuperstarsBoxArt.png
Europe March 10, 2017
Nintendo 3DS
Mario Sports Superstars is a Nintendo 3DS game that was released in March 2017. Tennis, developed by Camelot like the main series, is included as one of the five sports available. Its gameplay is similar to Mario Tennis Open, though with the inclusion of Jump Shots and Ultra Smashes from Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. In addition, Baby Luigi and Pink Gold Peach, who have not yet been playable in the main Mario Tennis series, are playable in this game.

Port

New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis

Mario Power Tennis for the New Play Control!

This game is a Wii port of Mario Power Tennis for the Nintendo GameCube. As part of the New Play Control! lineup, the game makes use of the Wii's motion controls. This version includes a tutorial movie to demonstrate how to use the Wii Remote in this game. Players can choose to play with the Wii Remote only, or with the Wii Remote/Nunchuk combination for advanced control of playable character participants.

Playable characters

In the eight installments of the Mario Tennis series, many Mario characters have been playable. Human characters unique to the Mario Tennis series, such as Clay, appear in dark cells.

Character Mario's Tennis N64 GBC Power Tennis Power Tour Open Ultra Smash Superstars Aces
Mario Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Luigi Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Peach Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Yoshi Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Toad Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Koopa Troopa Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg4
Donkey Kong Jr. Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2
Wario Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Waluigi Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Daisy Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Baby Mario Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg
Birdo Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg4
Donkey Kong Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Bowser Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Paratroopa Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg4
Boo Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Shy Guy Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg4
Alex Check mark.svg1 Check mark.svg
Nina Check mark.svg1 Check mark.svg
Harry Check mark.svg1 Check mark.svg
Kate Check mark.svg1 Check mark.svg
Allie Check mark.svg
Joy Check mark.svg
Brian Check mark.svg
Pam Check mark.svg2
Bob Check mark.svg2
Beth Check mark.svg2
Fay Check mark.svg2
Curt Check mark.svg2
Mark Check mark.svg2
Sammi Check mark.svg2
Sean Check mark.svg2
Spike Check mark.svg2
Elden Check mark.svg2
Emily Check mark.svg2
A. Coz Check mark.svg2
B. Coz Check mark.svg2
Diddy Kong Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg4
Bowser Jr. Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Fly Guy Check mark.svg2
Wiggler Check mark.svg2
Petey Piranha Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg4
Clay Check mark.svg
Ace Check mark.svg
Sophia Check mark.svg2
Meg Check mark.svg2
Mason Check mark.svg2
Chad Check mark.svg2
Sasha Check mark.svg2
Sylvia Check mark.svg2
Chris Check mark.svg2
Kyle Check mark.svg2
Shawn Check mark.svg2
Linda Check mark.svg2
Gary Check mark.svg2
Jet Check mark.svg2
Kyoko Check mark.svg2
Micki Check mark.svg2
Emi Check mark.svg2
Roy Check mark.svg2
Flit Check mark.svg2
Skipper Check mark.svg2
Whisker Check mark.svg2
Paula Check mark.svg2
Elroy Check mark.svg2
Tori Check mark.svg2
Barb Check mark.svg2
Sass Check mark.svg2
Chas Check mark.svg2
Mel Check mark.svg2
Dweezil Check mark.svg2
Mynx Check mark.svg2
Willy Check mark.svg2
Sheri Check mark.svg2
Luma Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg4
Baby Peach Check mark.svg2
Metal Mario Check mark.svg3 Check mark.svg2
Dry Bowser Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg4
Mii Check mark.svg
Rosalina Check mark.svg Check mark.svg Check mark.svg
Toadette Check mark.svg2 Check mark.svg
Sprixie Princess Check mark.svg2
Baby Luigi Check mark.svg
Pink Gold Peach Check mark.svg2
Spike Check mark.svg
Chain Chomp Check mark.svg
Blooper Check mark.svg4
Boom Boom Check mark.svg4
Pauline Check mark.svg4
Kamek Check mark.svg4
Dry Bones Check mark.svg4
Fire Piranha Plant Check mark.svg4
Unique characters introduced 6 14 16 5 32 12 3 2 2 + 6 DLC = 8
Total playable characters 6 20 28 18 38 25 16 18 16 + 14 DLC = 30

1 - Unlocked with a Transfer Pack.
2 - The character is unlockable.
3 - The character becomes available after scanning a specific QR Code.
4 - Obtainable through online tournament.

Gallery

Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Chinese (Simplified) 马力欧网球[1]
Mǎlì'ōu Wǎngqiú
Mario Tennis
Chinese (Traditional) 瑪利歐網球[2]
Mǎlì'ōu Wǎngqiú
Mario Tennis

Trivia

References