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Video Game / Mario Tennis

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Key art for the latest game in the series, Mario Tennis Aces.

A series of Sports Games by Nintendo and Camelot Software Planning (the two companies also partnered with each other on Mario Golf) starring Mario, Luigi and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom gang in a half-party game, half-RPG take on tennis. The game gives you a large selection of characters all from the Mario universe. The first installment is also famous as the First Appearance of Waluigi.

Games in the series:

Camelot also developed the tennis portion of Mario Sports Superstars, a sports-themed mini game collection released for the 3DS in 2017. Another tennis-related Mario game was Mario's Tennis (developed by Nintendo R&D1), released for the Virtual Boy. Mario was the referee in the original 1984 NES and Famicom Tennis game and its Game Boy port.

Game series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Dweezil and Elroy from the GBA installment are the champion and runner up of the previous Island Open tournament, and are viewed as the players to watch out for, with Elroy even being considered the Academy Team’s captain, and both of them also get byes in the Island Open that you participate in.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: Mario Power Tennis has one of these.
  • A.I. Breaker: Lobs in Power Tour, specifically in Doubles. Executed properly, you can enjoy the back AI futilely trying to reach the ball clear on the other side of the court. This technique, combined with how good net play is in Power Tour, can potentially make even Luigi and Donkey Kong look like jokes. Sadly, this does not work so well in Singles.
  • All or Nothing: In Aces, special shots are extremely dangerous to counter. You either block it perfectly or break your racquet for hitting the shot too early and you'll also lose the whole match if all of your racquets are broken. And chances are, even if you do block it perfectly, the knockback will still stun you enough for the opponent to hit the ball far out of your reach for a point.
  • Animated Outtakes: As a reward for beating Mario Power Tennis.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Near the end of the story mode in Aces, you get to play as Peach teamed up with Daisy in a doubles match against the brainwashed Wario and Waluigi.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You sometimes get a piece of tennis clothing for your Mii after finishing a match in Mario Tennis Open. They have stats, though.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Aces, Gooper Blooper has a unique boss gimmick where he slams a tentacle onto the field to limit Mario's movement (requiring him to vault over the tentacle to reach some of the ink shots, at the cost of energy), while the Bowser Statue fires more shots at a time than most bosses. To compensate, these bosses don't give you a time penalty if you miss their shots, unlike the other bosses.
  • Art Evolution: Mario and Luigi's torsos are usually rendered as a cartoony pear shape that connects to their legs, with no real concessions to anatomy. Aces, however, gives them more naturalistic torsos that connect to the legs properly.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Waluigi in the GBA game. It's also the only game he appears in to not have Wario appear alongside him.
    • One of the Lumas in Open becomes playable there for the first time (a Luma can be seen as Rosalina's passenger in Mario Kart Wii, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 features a co-star Luma).
    • Aces marks the first time in any Mario game to have Chain Chomp as a playable character. They were previously stage hazards in most Mario spin-offs (and in this series, they were a minigame feature in Power Tennis).
  • Automatic New Game: The first time Aces is played, the player is immediately taken to the story mode after the title screen.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Volcano Shot and Rainbow Save power shots in Advance Tour require insane status to obtain, but suck.
  • Bamboo Technology: Downplayed, but Donkey Kong's racquet throughout the series is built from a tree branch, complete with leaves sticking out of it.
  • Background Music Override: In Aces the boss theme plays during the mission where you play a match against Blooper, instead of the regular music.
  • Big "NO!": This is Luigi's reaction to losing a match in Power Tennis and Open, with some Inelegant Blubbering to go along with it.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Slider Shot requires one stats (Spin, which is one of the first to become accessible) to be boosted and is still a fairly solid shot.
    • In the same vein is the High-Power Shot. The ball becomes a fireball. It’s fast and, aimed properly, can score the point. This shot is a very early one, but it can easily get you through to the end of the game.
    • Lob shots in Doubles, particularly in Power Tour. The AI cannot return a well-aimed lob very reliably, making net play borderline broken even on Technical.
  • Breakable Weapons: In Aces, tennis racquets get damaged if a Zone Shot isn't blocked properly, and they are immediately destroyed if a Special Shot isn't blocked properly. Each time a racquet gets broken, the other character gets a point, and if all of a character's tennis racquets gets broken, that character immediately loses the match. However, there is an option to use infinite tennis racquets.
  • Bullet Time: When Zone Speed is used in Aces, time moves more slowly for everyone but the user.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The N64 game, aside from marking the debut of Waluigi, brought back Daisy and Birdo, all three of whom are now staples of Mario spinoff titles. Donkey Kong Jr. also appears here after his last playable appearance in Super Mario Kart, released 8 years earlier.
    • Koopa Troopa, Paratroopa and Petey Piranha make a return in Aces, after their absence in Mario Tennis installments following Power Tennis. Birdo also returns for the first time in the Mario Tennis series since the N64 original (although she was also playable in Mario Sports Superstars). Diddy Kong and Luma also return after their absence in Ultra Smash (with Diddy also having been playable in Superstars).
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Wario and Waluigi are treated as this in the opening movie of Power Tennis.
    • 64 and Power Tennis' victory animations aren't exactly kind to Luigi. A Paratroopa steals his trophy in the former and he gets Eaten Alive by Yoshi in the latter.
  • Button Mashing: Defeating Mecha-Bowser in Mecha-Bowser Mayhem is simply a matter of mashing A and dodging the fire breath and bullet bills. You have the option of firing charged shots which are slightly stronger and home in on Mecha-Bowser but why waste time with that?
  • Can't Catch Up: Any opponent you unlock in the GBC and GBA versions that 1. Aren't opponents in the Island Open, 2. Aren't in the higher ranks of the Varsity Class, and 3. aren't a Mushroom Kingdom character will generally be bad to mediocre and end up as Joke Characters.
  • Captain Obvious: When a point is won in Aces, the commentary sometimes says:
    Red Toad: Point acquired!
    Blue Toad: That's a point!
  • Character Customization: A new feature in Open allows players to dress their Mii up with various gear, changing their stats to the player's taste.
  • Climax Boss: A. Coz (in Singles), and The Costello Brothers (in Doubles) in the GBC version. Willy Costello, joined by Sheri in Doubles, in the GBA version. Winning nets you the trophy and an invitation to the Mushroom Kingdom for a chance to face off against Mario.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Mario Tennis Open, in addition to the usable-by-default green Yoshi that specializes in speedy play, QR codes unlock more Yoshis with different stats, such as yellow specializing in power, red specializing in technique, white being tricky, and black being a Jack of All Stats.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Spike, how in the hell do you get your ball to curve at an almost ninety-degree angle?!? It's worth noting that while you can get your serves to curve, you and the computer can do this. Spike however does this with his drop shots, something you can never do.
  • Confusion Fu:
    • Tricky/Tactical characters like Boo in the N64 and GCN versions, Bowser Jr. in the GCN version, and Willy Costello in the GBA version. They have insane amounts of spin on their balls which can catch a player off guard.
    • Strangely, in the GBC game, a speed-oriented character, Spike, has a tricky-type move; his drop shot (a deliberately weak shot that barely makes it over the net) curves to the right, making it harder to follow. Meanwhile, A.Coz has a very powerful lob (high) shot that will fly high, regardless of what part of the court he's on.
  • Continuity Nod: Metal Mario in Open obviously references the Metal Cap powerup in Super Mario 64, but his topspin shots and Fire Flower shots reference the Fire Flower — his shots for either of those stay low to the ground and bounce repeatedly, and the "flames" around the ball make it look like a fireball from the power-up in question.
  • Cultural Translation: A mild example from the GBA game. The protagonists of that entry are named Clay and Ace in the American version, while the PAL release renamed them to Max and Tina, since the original names wouldn’t make much sense to European and Australian audiences.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Daisy's tournament win animation in the N64 version has her tripping after getting her trophy.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The opening video for Power Tennis focuses on Wario & Waluigi's attempts to hijack the tournament after being eliminated.
  • Deconstruction: In Power Tour, the Academy has training facilities for Power Shots, which are essentially the kind of minigames you'd find in Mario Party. This wouldn't be problematic at all for Mario and his friends, but since everyone in the Academy is an average human being, it's more Training from Hell than anything else.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Every tennis opponent that you play against in the first two handheld titles. This includes Mario himself in the GBC version. For the GBA version, Mario series characters are instead unlocked at the start and you get Star versions of them instead.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • In the GBA installment, the two campaigns, Singles and Doubles, can be played through individually. As a result, one could complete one campaign before even touching the other. NPC dialogue can change in one campaign depending on your progress in the other campaign. For example, if one completes the Doubles Island Open before starting the Singles version, then the first opponent will acknowledge your Doubles victory, and ask you to go easy on her.
    • In Aces, you can break your opponent's racquet and breaking all of them has you win by default. Near the end of the story mode, you have to face a possessed Luigi. His racquet has extremely high durability and his AI is pretty aggressive, making it difficult to break his racquet. If you do manage to fully drain its durability, the racquet just go flying away rather than shattering. This is because Luigi is possessed by the Lucien racquet itself, and the story would get screwed up if it was actually destroyed.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Trick Shots in Aces require careful positioning, aim, and timing to pull off. Getting the position or aiming wrong will cause you to miss the shot, and getting the timing wrong will force you to use Zone Speed to make the shot, without the energy boost Trick Shots usually provide. If you pull it off perfectly, you'll get much more energy than you would from normal shots.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Peach can be heard humming the underground theme from Super Mario Bros. if left idle in Power Tennis.
  • Dope Slap: Yoshi gives one to himself whenever he loses a match in Power Tennis, which ends up knocking him out.
  • Elemental Weapon: Well, elemental rackets. The original game had those whenever a character released a charged swing. For example, Mario had sparkles, Peach had hearts, Toad had bubbles, Wario had lightning, Bowser had fire, etc...
  • Epic Battle Boredom: Victory Medals in Mario Tennis Open. They're glorified versions of dog tags and you can collect them all as long as you defeat a different opponent online. Be aware they can do the same to you.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • In all games besides Ultra Smash and Aces to fill all of the Exhibition match records, you have to play a match with every character against every character.
    • To unlock the Super Star versions of characters you have to beat all normal tournaments with all characters. This is somewhat alleviated in Open, where you just have to beat the Final Cup to unlock them and in Ultra Smash, where you can unlock them via Knockout Challenge (the game's equivalent to Tournaments) or just using coins instead. Aces ditches Super Star characters altogether.
    • In Aces, to unlock new Characters and Special Costumes you have to play Online tournaments and obtain 1000 participation points.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Just look at the box art. Occasionally he does some plotting, but for the most part he just wants to play tennis.
    Mario: Hey, let's-a ALL play!!!
  • Growling Gut: Yoshi's stomach growls at the start of his tournament win animation in Power Tennis. Things only get weirder from there.
  • Hermit Guru: The Stroke Play "master" in Power Tour decides to become one each time he loses to you.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Downplayed: Lucien remains the villain for all of Adventure Mode in Aces, but near the end, Bowser suddenly appears and makes off with the racket and Power Gems after the Lucien Cup. The final boss is a Lucien-Bowser fusion called Bowcien.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Luigi and Baby Mario both break down in hysterical sobbing should they lose a match in 64, Power Tennis, and Open.
  • Insufferable Genius: Tori. Elroy and Dweezil are mild examples. Emi at first appears to be a mild version of this but turns out to be a real sweetheart. Mason thinks of himself as this, but is more of a Small Name, Big Ego.
  • Instant-Win Condition: In Aces, destroying all of your opponents' racquets will automatically have you win the match regardless of how many points both players have.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • Mario, alongside other All-Around characters such as Luigi. They do have their differences, though. Luigi for example had notably better reach in the N64 version, while Mario was more powerful.
    • Willy's partner Sheri and Rank 1 Varsity Player Elroy in the GBA version.
    • In Open, out of the unlockable-via-QR Code and differently colored Yoshis, the black one is one of these.
  • Jerkass: The Costello Brothers, A. Coz, and B. Coz, are minor examples. Tori in the GBA version plays this a bit more straight, while Dweezil is a somewhat more milder example. Averted with the third Costello brother, Willy, who just desires to play against a worthy opponent regardless of the outcome, as well as his partner Sheri who is just confident in both her and Willy's skills, Willy even emphasizes that he's thrilled to be playing in the final regardless of the outcome.
  • Lethal Joke Character: You can set the Mario characters onto any difficulty in the GBC game, but all of the story characters, regardless of their class, will automatically be set on hard each time you play an exhibition game.
  • Lightning Bruiser: By spending your points wisely, you will be able to make your player character into one of these.
  • Limit Break:
    • The Offensive Power Shots from Power Tennis and Power Tour.
    • The Special Shot from Aces can only be used if the Energy Gauge is full. If the opponent doesn't block it properly, their tennis racquet is immediately destroyed regardless of its health.
  • Limited Wardrobe: While Mario, Luigi, Wario and Waluigi usually play tennis (or any other sport, for that matter) in their overalls, Aces gives them proper tennis outfits.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service: Zig-zagged throughout Aces. Mario manages to get the first three Power Gems without any interference from Wario and Waluigi, but they steal the fourth from Gooper Blooper before Mario reaches him, and they run off with the final one while Mario is distracting the defenses that guard it. At that point, they head back to Marina Stadium and host a tournament match to obtain the other three stones from the heroes. Even though Mario and company win the tournament, Bowser still pops up and steals Lucien along with all the Power Gems, setting up the final battle.
  • Magic Mirror: The main gimmick of the Mirage Mansion in Aces are its floating mirrors that act as portals, which teleport the ball from one to the other to confuse the players. In the story mode, the mirrors are shown to be sentient and actively try to hinder Mario's quest for the Power Gems. The boss of the mansion is also a huge mirror named Madame Mirage.
  • Mana Meter: Aces features an Energy Gauge that is used for Zone Shots, Zone Speed, and Special Shots. The Energy Gauge is charged by hitting the ball, but can be charged more quickly with charged shots and trick shots.
  • Memory Match Mini-Game: In Power Tour, one of the minigames used to level up your stats is Instinct Drill, where you have to match pairs of cards in 60 seconds, with the twist that you can use ESP to see the underside of the cards.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy characters like Bowser, Petey, Wario, and B. Coz have slow movement speed making it difficult to cover the court, but enough power behind their swing to make life just as difficult for the competition. In Open, Dry Bowser takes it even farther with the glacier part — his walking (as opposed to running like everyone else with feet) movement is the absolute slowest in the game, as if his bones were joined together by molasses joints, instead focusing on his power.
  • Musical Nod: The trophy celebrations for some of the characters in the N64 game and Power Tennis reuse familiar jingles associated with the character. Mario (as well as Baby Mario) has the Ground Theme from Super Mario Bros., Wario getting Out of the Woods from Wario Land 3, and Donkey Kong uses both the title jingle and the "Pauline kidnapped" theme from Donkey Kong to name some examples.
  • Near Victory Fanfare: The games have special music for game, set, match, and championship points that override the current court music.
  • One Game for the Price of Two:
    • Both the N64 and GBC versions of the first game are necessary to get all the playable characters in either version.
    • Averted with all games from Power Tennis onwards.
  • Original Generation: Present in both the GBC and GBA games. They serve many roles such as playable Story Mode characters, helpful advisors, opponents, and more. Alex of the GBC game becomes head coach in the GBA game, and Harry, Kate, and Nina become very high ranking coaches.
  • Palette Swap: In Mario Power Tennis, Yoshi can unlock the ability to change color every time he uses the Rolling Egg Return.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Waluigi, Donkey Kong and Bowser are able to fool everyone at the Royal Tennis Academy just by putting on masks which also fools the characters from the GBC games who had already seen Mario and the gang before!
  • Power Glows: Rackets glow whenever Power Moves are available.
  • Promoted to Playable: This series marked the playable debuts of Daisy, Birdo, Boo, Shy Guy and Paratroopa in the N64 game, Wiggler and Fly Guy in Power Tennis, Luma in Open, the green Sprixie Princess in Ultra Smash, and Chain Chomp, Pauline, and Fire Piranha Plant in Aces.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: You (blue) and your partner (red), also Elroy and Tori (top varsity opponents). Inverted with the differently colored Yoshis in Open (unlocked via QR code on the game's Web site) — Red and Pink have more focus on technical skills while Blue and Light Blue focus more on speed like the standard green one.
  • Ret-Canon: Bowser Jr. in Ultra Smash and Aces is playable exclusively while sitting in the Koopa Clown Car instead of moving around on his own like in Power Tennis and Open, which was inspired by his playable appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series starting in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
  • The Rival: Wario and Waluigi's rivalry with Mario and Luigi gets more focus here than any other Mario spin-off, especially Waluigi since he was introduced in the first game. Said rivalry was undeniably mutual in 64, as the two duos actually growl at each other in anger (with Mario even shouting "Watch it, buster!" at Wario), but Power Tennis turned the rivalry into a comedic one-sided rivalry on Wario and Waluigi's part, and it's largely stayed that way since.
  • RPG Elements: The GBC and GBA games feature such features as raising stats and Character Level. The games are made by Camelot, and it shows.
  • Save Scumming: That CPU in Star Tourney is at 40 while you're at 0? No problem! Save to keep your record intact!
  • Secret Character:
    • Donkey Kong Jr. and Shy Guy in the N64 version. The handheld version had every tennis opponent you faced during either singles or doubles (meaning you had to play both singles and doubles to unlock them all) and the GBC version included prominent Mario series characters that were unlocked by beating them in the last tournament (Mario and Peach) or by connecting your game with the N64 version (Yoshi, Waluigi, Wario, and Bowser).
    • Connecting the GBC version of Mario Tennis to the N64 version adds four human characters to the N64 version: the characters that you go through the Story Mode and their doubles partners. As there is no current way of replacing the Transfer Pack method, and no way of getting or connecting to the GBC game currently, you cannot unlock those characters in the VC versions. Partially justified in that these characters stats depended on how you had leveled them up in the GBC versions.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The depiction of tennis court sizes, tennis ball speed radars, and the very gravity of the tennis ball are surprisingly accurate or damn near accurate in Mario Tennis Aces. MatPat elaborates here.
    • The GBC game has a dictionary and tutorials using accurate tennis terminology, which is fitting since it's set at a tennis academy for most of the story mode. If you wanted to know the difference between a cross-court serve and a down-the-line serve (and more importantly, how to pull them off in-game), you can learn it here.
  • Sore Loser: Almost every character reacts this way to losing a match throughout the series. Special mention goes to Wiggler, who turns red and goes berserk.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Wario and Waluigi in the Mario Power Tennis opening movie. Since Waluigi debuted in the N64 Mario Tennis, it's not that surprising.
  • Stone Wall: Waluigi and Wiggler are this in Power Tennis, as is last year champ Dweezil in Power Tour.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Dweezil the champ of last year's Island Open in the GBA version. He refuses to speak with you on the grounds that you are a newcomer in the tournament and thus "fresh meat", but warms up to you before the start of your next tennis match against him.
  • Tennis Boss: Unsurprisingly, every boss in Aces is fought this way. Mario has to hit the boss's shots back at them (which they may or may not reflect back) until they tire out or become exposed, and then he has to fire a Zone Shot directly into them to remove one of their hearts. Special mention goes to Bowcien; after removing his shields, Mario has to volley a racket-damaging shot with him four times in a row before it can be used for a Zone Shot.
  • Tournament Arc: Both the GBC and GBA versions have the Island Open tournament to serve as the player's goal. The GBA version has the Peach Tournament immediately after that.
  • Training from Hell:
    • When the Academy in Power Tour begins training its students to learn Power Shots, the training exercises are typically like the kind of mini-games that Mario characters usually face and have no problem with, but as these are regular human characters, they justifiably have great difficulty trying to get a hang of these hard exercises.
    • Wario & Waluigi undergo this in the intro video for Power Tennis. Overlaps with Amusing Injuries.
  • True Final Boss: Mario serves as this for both Singles and Doubles play (joined by Peach) in the GBC version. He was degraded to just Singles play Final Boss in the GBA version, while Bowser and Waluigi seized the Doubles spot.
  • Tsundere: Tori starts off as an Insufferable Genius but when you visit her in the infirmary after she sprains her ankle, she's considerably nicer and wishes you luck in the final.
  • The Unfought:
    • Kevin, the Varsity Champion of the GBC game (and Varsity Coach in the GBA version), is never in a tennis match with the player (he is defeated in the Island Open by the Costello Brothers in both Singles and Doubles), and thus is never a playable character, despite Mark and Emily, the Junior and Senior Coaches respectively, being playable.
    • In the GBA version, none of the original playable characters that appear in cameos are unlockable, save for the Mario series characters of course.
    • Ellis, Edgar, and Frank in the Island Open are never played. Interesting that Edgar and Frank are just palette swapped.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Everyone, but Daisy takes the cake in her victory animation in Power Tennis.
    Daisy: Alright, yes! I won! Take that!
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Waluigi's voice was really different in 64 compared to how it would sound in every later entry, despite Charles Martinet voicing him in all appearances. Though there are instances where he has his normal nasally voice, he more often sounded like he was putting on a tough guy falsetto.
    • Daisy is a lighter case; while her softer voice in this game remained for a few games (notably Mario Party 3, 4, and 5), this game actually gives her a slight British accent that never appeared anywhere else.
    • Mario Power Tennis is the first game to feature new voice actors for multiple characters, such as Takashi Nagasako and Katsumi Suzuki as DK and Diddy respectively, Bowser Jr.'s former VA, Dolores Rogers, as Wiggler, Nintendo of America's marketing manager Nate Bihldorff as Shy Guy and Fly Guy, and Japanese Nintendo employee Sanae Suzaki as Boo. All of them have retained their respective roles ever since.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • In the GBA game when you play in the Mushroom Kingdom Tournament for the first time, the first opponents in both the Singles Tournament (Peach) and the Doubles Tournament (Luigi and Donkey Kong) are considerably harder than the later opponents up to and including the Final Boss of each.
    • The first two bosses of Aces aren't too rough, but the Snow Ogre has you contend with slippery physics and one of the hands trying to slam you flat as you deflect shots. It's also relatively easy to break rackets against it, which can be a problem if you haven't been beating side missions to get extras.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mario Power Tennis, Mario Tennis Power Tour, Mario Tennis Open, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, Mario Tennis Aces


Mario Power Tennis

Yoshi's stomach growling in Mario Power Tennis.

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