STARNBERG, April 22, 2022
Tennis gaming is somewhat lackluster. There are a few decent, cartoonish mobile games (like Tennis Champs Returns), and the Tennis World Tour PlayStation game is about as good as we’ve seen on a major console. Unfortunately though, more often than not, games in this category are disappointing.
That doesn’t have to be the case moving forward, however. So here, just for fun, we’re going to dive into some fun tennis game concepts we’d love to see turned into real titles one day.
Training & Management Mobile Game
This is a simple concept, but we imagine a primarily text-based game in which you orchestrate a player’s career. You’d have the power, making decisions about training, scheduling, and which traits to improve in order to see what results the player could get from one tournament and one year to the next. A good example of this type of game, albeit for football rather than tennis, is Football Manager 2021 Mobile from SEGA. It even includes some of the business aspects of managing a football team. A tennis version would be a treat for fans (and probably fairly easy to develop!).
Arcade-Style Legends Game
Many gamers hold a special place in their hearts for the classic looking, arcade-style games we see so often on mobile. Now again, we do have Tennis Champs Returns –– a game some find so delightful that TouchArcade called it “a new definition of love.” But it would still be pretty great to have a similar game built with real players from tennis history, and a full roster of famous names. Tennis fans worldwide would enjoy getting into it as their favorite players, past and present, as a kind of a just-for-fun legends showdown.
A Better Tennis Slot Game
Looking to the increasingly popular gaming category of online casinos, there are actually several tennis-themed slot games out there for fans to enjoy. Unfortunately though, none take advantage of the same kind of licensing we see in, say, movie- and music-based slots. It would be more fun to see a developer or slot gaming site partner up with the ATP and/or WTA so as to use real player likenesses and give casino gamers who like tennis something to really get into. Slot game designers could incorporate favorite players, together with symbols they’re famous for and backgrounds relating to famous events and venues; winning paylines could include animations of the tennis players’ real-life past wins.
Slingo –– a cross between slots and bingo –– is not a new concept, but it is one that is somewhat newly relevant. Due largely to the emergence of more cutting-edge Slingo offerings at Gala Spins, these games have had a bit of a renaissance, showing off bolder graphics and animations and engaging themes. Basically, they’ve had the same journey we’ve seen online slots undertake, and as a result, they’ve become popular with modern casino gamers. A Slingo game could work similarly to the slot concept discussed above, but may actually have the potential to rope in even more players –– if, say, player likeness were used to fill out whole digital bingo cards.
A Console Tennis World-Building Game
A lot of the fun of tennis is the different venues and tournaments around the world, and in particular events at gorgeous locations like the Queen’s Club, Indian Wells, and Monte-Carlo. Presumably, quite a few tennis fans would enjoy a game in which they could build a whole circuit of venues of this sort –– arranging tournaments and decide where and when the tournaments would take place. The main point could be just building or expanding the tennis world, for those who enjoy world-building in general.
A Console Game That Ties It All Together
One reason we don’t have a truly great tennis game is that professional tennis isn’t really one entity. With the ATP and the WTA being separate, and the major tournaments being governed separately, there hasn’t really been a single console game to lock down all of the player, apparel, and venue licensing rights that would be necessary to present a sports game as realistic as, say, FIFA or Madden. Nevertheless, it would be amazing to see a game that could tie all of this together and give us the closest thing yet to a real simulation of the pro tennis circuit.
While tennis games haven’t ever impressed us all that much, we think that there’s plenty of space for developers to create a wide variety of games in the category. Here’s hoping they get started soon, because all of the suggestions above sound like fun!