February 23, 2011
In my opinion, tennis video games peaked early, with the original "Tennis" for Nintendo. That game ruled, mainly because Mario was the chair umpire and it made a great sound when you lobbed the ball.
Games have come a long way since then thanks to improved graphics and, most notably, motion controllers. It also doesn't hurt to have pre-baldness Andre Agassi featured in the game.
A new trailer was released for "Top Spin 4" today (it speaks of my tennis game ignorance that I wasn't aware of Top Spins 1 through 3) and it looks like pretty solid thanks to a lineup featuring Agassi, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. (What, no Chrissy and Martina?)
Some of the avatars for the players are a little creepy in the typical uncanny valley way (Agassi's in particular) but the trailer is worth the watch if only for the fact that it features "Back in Time" from Huey Lewis and the News, which featured prominently in "Back to the Future."
2K Sports does a nice job of capturing some of the moves and mannerisms of the players, from Agassi's toe-walk to Sampras' jump smash to Chang's clay slide. My only question is whether the graphics are good enough to show the bobby pins in Agassi's weave.
In addition to those players listed above, the game includes Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Patrick Rafter, Michael Chang, Dinara Safina, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Ivan Lendel, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Caroline Wozniacki, Nikolay Davydenko, Gilles Simon, Bernard Tomic, Eugenie Bouchard, Stanislas Wawrinka, Vera Zvonareva, and Jelena Jankovic.
I mention all those names if only to point out that Eugenie Bouchard must either have a great PR rep or a relative who works on the 2K Sports development team.