Virtua Tennis Review (1999 Arcade Game)

Virtua Tennis is one of those deceptive arcade games that initially seem to be very basic, sacrificing skill and nuance for flashy graphics and great presentation. But anyone who’s played it knows this is certainly the finest tennis reproduction to ever grace an arcade, and possibly the best tennis videogame, period.

It’s hard to talk about Virtua Tennis without mentioning the graphics, because they’ll certainly be the first thing a player notices about the game. The visuals are absolutely drop dead gorgeous, featuring realistic, beautifully animated player models accurate down to the tiny details of the face. These are wrapped up in a presentation package that makes the game look almost real, and if you squint your eyes you might be tricked into believing you’re watching a match on television. It’s that good.

It’s the finer points of gameplay that really make Virtua Tennis outstanding, however. Yes, there are only two buttons, and the fact of the matter is that you’re usually only going to use one. But this is one of the finest games when it comes to recreating the nuance of the sport, as Virtua Tennis takes a refined sense of strategy and timing to master.

Shot placement, speed and setting yourself up for the return volley are all extremely important, and the game flows in the same way an actual game of tennis would. To truly get into the game, players will have to understand the physics of different services, and they’ll also need to adapt to the diverse playing styles of both computer and real-life opponents. Of course, even novices who have never played tennis before can get into the game. Virtua Tennis offers both accessibility and depth that is truly worthy of praise.

With an excellent engine, beautiful graphics and sounds, and an intuitive, deep gameplay system, Virtua Tennis is one of the best arcade games in recent memory. Sega dominated arcades of the late ’90s, and with excellent titles such as this, it’s easy to see why.


The graphics in this game deserve to be called beautiful. They capture the look and feel of the sport of tennis like no other game before it.


While the sound is a bit more laid-back than the amazing visuals, the squeaking, squealing, grunting, and bouncing of Virtua Tennis sound just like the real thing.


Deep enough for the regular player, but easy enough for the occasional fan, Virtua Tennis is a prime example of a great, intuitive game that is made for just about anyone.

Replay Value

Truth be told, it is just tennis, although it recreates it nearly perfectly. There’s great depth here, but only the most hardcore are ever going to discover it, as many players will be lured away by games with fireballs and automatic gunfire.

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