Day 43 - come on, Tim!

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , , , , ,

It's the Wimbledon final today.  Normally I watch it, but when there's "home" involvement (and Andy Murray is always classed as British until he loses), I just can't bear to sit there and see another plucky failure.  As I write, the match is level, but every time I flick it over, Our Boy is either hitting the ball tamely into the net or seeing it fly past him.  So I'm a jinx, and I refuse to curse the lad further.  Instead, I've gone for a bit of computer tennis.

It's one of the oldest forms of video game, is tennis.  From its humble beginnings with Pong right up to the current motion-based efforts on modern consoles, we've always quite enjoyed whacking a ball over an electronic net.  It's much easier than actually going out and doing it for real, and risking getting wet or something.

Trouble is, it's a very difficult game to get right.  There's too much subtlety to the game that is hard to capture in video game form.  Some games get the hitting of the ball right, but not the running around the court.  Some games get the running around the court right, but not the hitting of the ball.  Some games are hateful bastards, like Mario Power Tennis.  Very few get everything right, but still they try.

Andy Murray never smiles, so he must be the one in black.
One of the games I bought on the Commodore 64 was Sensible Software's International 3D Tennis.  I always enjoyed Sensi's games, and when I read the review in ZZAP! 64 I was intrigued.  For one thing, it featured vector graphics, something that the C64 had struggled with in most cases.  The screenshots looked a bit odd, but the ZZAP! lads insisted it moved well and played better.  I trusted them, and I bought it.

I enjoyed it a fair bit at the time, but it never grabbed me as much as I'd hoped it would.  It was a very brave effort, and playing it again now I can appreciate it in a different light.  I probably wouldn't play it ahead of Virtua Tennis, but it certainly stands out from the crowd in many ways.  If I manage to get hold of any of the Sensible Software guys, and I'll certainly be making every effort to do so, then I'd love to ask a few questions about this game.