[QUOTE=Teddybear]Do avid tennis players really enjoy playing tennis video games? It just seems like it would be playing extreme Pong
to me. Back and forth, back and forth...... [/QUOTE]
Well, I'm not an avid tennis player
-- more of a spectator -- but that's pretty much how I felt about tennis and tennis video games until I learned more about the sport. Seeing live tennis in person helps, since there are all kinds of subtleties going on, and many of them involve ball dynamics in 3D space that don't translate well to a 2D format like television.
A good tennis game manages to find a way to capture some of those subtleties, and allows for tons of different play styles with a different risk/reward ratio. A bad tennis game can
feel suspiciously like a more elaborate version of Pong -- and there are a lot of bad tennis games, unfortunately.
Of course, when you watch two defensive players who stay near the baseline, real tennis can seem like Pong too! And that's one of the problems with the modern game, especially on the women's side where it seems like an entire generation of players forgot how to approach the net.
But when you watch, say, Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic, a lot of what seems like waffling defensiveness is actually them trying to get the other guy to give them the ball they want, so they can in turn go for a strong, attacking shot with the right risk/reward ratio. (Chess is the same way: between evenly matched opponents it can be a battle of endless maneuvering, waiting for your opponent to make a small positional or tactical error that you can pounce on -- but do so prematurely, and you'll be the one who gets pounced upon!)
Good tennis video games often reward that subtle approach, but it's tricky to get it right: if you can clobber everything all the time, the game is too one-dimensional, but if you have to be in just the right spot to hit big, the game feels contrived. Learning how to hit big without making errors, and figuring out the CPU's weaknesses and exploiting them, is basically the core of a good tennis game. If you can't boil that process down to a single pattern -- if you have to constantly change tactics, and yet still feel like the game is being fair about it -- then you may have a great
tennis game on your hands. But I still haven't found one of those, alas.
The sports game genre that I can't get behind is football, but that's not football's fault: I've never really understood the rules, and I certainly don't understand the subtle dynamics of the game. Either way, though, the complexity and aesthetics of your typical football title make me feel like I'm playing a bad strategy/war game with mild action elements: lots of jargon I don't understand, lots of dudes in funny outfits wailing on each other and taking themselves way too seriously, etc.