In this episode of NEStalgia, get ready for a game that's a lot like Pong but with better graphics! It's TENNIS on the NES. For more NEStalgia and the show notes, visit NEStalgiacast.com
Is It Still Fun?
Doubles is still a pretty good time if you're able to get a competent second player. Everything else about NES Tennis is way below what gamers today would want in a tennis experience. This game doesn't have the simplicity of Pong so it's not accessible, but it also doesn't have the fun/wild moments of later Tennis games.
Is It Still Playable?
The frustration in NES Tennis stems mostly from it's inability to accurately tell where the Z-axis is. If you can get over that hurdle of 3D in 2D you will probably have a good time with difficulty 2 or 3 of Tennis. Difficulty 4 is very hard and 5 is borderline unplayable. I'd love to see a video of someone beating the Difficulty 5 opponent.
Is It Still Important?
A Miyamoto tennis game with no flair or wackiness doesn't really make for a great time. They focused more on realism than fun and thirty years later it's way past it's expiration in terms of impact on the industry. Tennis on NES didn't quite change the video game world the way Pong did.
Tennis on NES offers very little today. It's a necessary launch title from back in the days when a tennis game was a system seller, but I don't think it's still worth picking up today.