Mario Tennis GBC

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Sports video games tend to be focused on their multiplayer gameplay. Sure, there are always modes to play against the AI but usually these modes feel like training to play against other players and that makes sense. Sports are all about getting outside with your friends, why wouldn’t the video games be similar? Today’s game is a bit different though and focused primarily on a fleshed out single-player experience, even when the other versions of the same game did not. Today’s game is Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color, developed by Camelot and released on the Game Boy Color in 2000.

Many fans remember Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 and may be wondering what single-player focus I’m referring to. Actually, despite sharing the same name and coming out at the same time, Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 and Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color are very different games developed by different teams. They both feature many similar modes, however. Exhibition matches allow players to play tennis as the Mario character of their choice and play against AI opponents. There’s also a multiplayer mode, which on the Game Boy Color uses the link cable to play with friends.

This is where the similarities end, however. Game Boy Color Mario Tennis’ main single player mode is called Mario Tour and may be a bit different from what you’d expect. You start out choosing to play as Alex or Nina, basically a boy/girl option. Whoever you choose, they are a new student at a tennis-focused school called the Royal Academy. You must train with teachers and play matches against other students in order to increase your character’s stats and eventually play in the Castle Open against Mario himself. Other than these last few matches, you don’t play against Mario characters at all. Every opponent is human in appearance, just like you and outside of tennis matches, the game plays like an RPG, focusing on increasing your characters stats and living school life.

Mario Tennis was well received by critics and there was significant comparison to Virtua Tennis on the Sega Dreamcast, an impressive comparison to make considering Virtua Tennis was a new gen game, at the time, and Mario Tennis was on the Game Boy Color. The RPG storyline was well received by fans as well, but despite this, Nintendo did not return to the idea for later entries. Camelot would go on from Mario Tennis to create the cult-classic Golden Sun series for the Game Boy Advance. They also continue to work on Mario sports titles to this day.

Thank you so much for listening! Did you know I have a new podcast I co-host along with Adrian Simple from The Gaming Observer? It’s called The Gaming Observer Podcast and it’s available now on iTunes and all other podcast hosts. Go check it out, leave us a review, and let us know how we’re doing! As always, don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.