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GameDesign Tennis

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Rating: 4.7/5 (64 votes)
Comments (68) | Views (15,344)

Tennis gameA tennis game? You've got to be kidding me. In Flash? You must be crazy.

Believe it. And yes, I am crazy... about this elegantly simple and impressive single-player game of Tennis, created in Flash by Taro Ito of GameDesign.

Controls are simple enough to grasp: use the arrow keys to move your player, press [space] to swing. But don't swing too soon! Use the arrow keys to influence the direction the ball travels. Timing is crucial for both.

There are two modes of play to choose from: Exhibition and Tournament. In Exhibition mode, you may choose the relative strengths for both you and your opponent, or just accept the defaults. Values range from 1 to 10 for each ability: forehand, backhand, serve and footwork. You must win by three (3) games to be declared the winner.

In Tournament mode, just select the tennis pro you wish to play as. There are 16 different preset players in all with many of the major pros represented. Once you've selected your racket, you must work your way up the tournament brackets in a series of matches against the computer. First player to win three (3) games moves on up the ladder.

Analysis: The modest and lackluster appearance of this game hides well the exceptional gameplay beneath its surface. And yet with the very first serve across the net, one can immediately tell this is no retro game of Pong. Instead, an excellent game of tennis is revealed with elegantly simple controls that lead to gratifying extended volleys with a formidable computer opponent. Challenging and exciting, this is the latest game by the very talented Taro Ito of GameDesign in Japan. Arigatoo gozaimasu!

Before you pass it by, give this one a try. My guess is you will be very glad you did. Click.

Also be sure to try Domino Pressure and Maze, also by GameDesign and previously reviewed here.


Doesn't look like the controls work for firefox =(.

Still a fun game even though i lost a bunch of times. I'll get the hang of it.


I used Firefox 1.5 (on a Mac) exclusively to play test the game for this review.

Oh, and about losing! Ha! Get used to it. This game is not easy to beat.


The controls don't work for me either. =/ Should I upgrade my Firefox? I have version 1.0.7.

zachariah December 6, 2005 5:13 AM

yea firefox didn't work for me either.


Didn't work for me in FFX, but it worked fine in IE and got soundly beaten for my first 2 games, but won the 3rd :P


I wonder if there's an extension problem with firefox, as I had this problem with the MTV game (only one of the subgames though), and this game..


The controls doesn't seems to work for me, either on FF or on IE.
I have the same problem (Space bar not working) with the Treasure Hunt level on the MTV obsessed game.

Anybody got a similar problem ? Maybe it is a Flash Player 8 bug ?


is a bit like the BBC's tardis tennis from a few years ago, but more developed. good game


Can I recommend to you IE Tab? If it's not working, just click the little icon in the bottom right of your popup to have it render in IE and work!


I'll look into what is causing the trouble with Firefox. I can't seem to reproduce the problem at home. I will try at RIT in a couple of hours.


Here at RIT, using a PC with Firefox version 1.06 and the latest release, 1.5, both exhibit the problem in which Flash does not recognize when the space bar is pressed.

As WobL noted above, after installing the Firefox extension IE Tab, I was indeed able to play the game by embedding Internet Explorer in a Firefox tab. Brilliant! Thanks for that WobL.

Now, does anyone have any idea why Firefox is not passing the space bar pressed event to Flash on the PC? (It works on the Mac)


I've actually tried the game in IEtab, but that creates a new problem with clicking menu items. If I go one menu deep (ie click on tournament) I can't click on a player. To work around this I have to change tabs and then go back to the tab with tennis running and now the menu itme will work fine.

very strange.

Jay, it may not just be a problem with the space bar. If you try the MTV game, the minigame where you use the space bar and arrow keys to jump over crocodiles won't let you use the arrow keys. But you can use the space bar.


It does sound strange.

Am I correct in my observations that the problem occurs only when using the new Flash Player with Firefox on a PC?

Using Firefox on my Mac exhibits no such problem running Flash Player 8.


yes that's right.

on the game:

I just beat tournament mode (at last) and I have to say that the game was really impressive. Unlike other computer tennis games I've played this one actually shows some awareness of different styles of play. And given very simple controls, the level of tactical play you can engage in is surprising. You can serve-volley, rally from the baseline, dominate with your serve, chip and charge. But what's more surprising is that the AI also appears to respond to your tactics, and will alter its own if you start winning points in a particular way. So if you start to go early into the net, the computer will try to take the ball early and pass you.

Overall I'm very impressed.

scramble125 December 6, 2005 8:01 PM

Man. This is one game I think I can safely say I'm not a fan of.

The gameplay has quite a bit to offer for essentially five control buttons. I enjoy how the character automatically switches from forehand to backhand, so there's no clumsy intermediate button to press.

However, am I the only one really having problems with the perspective? The tennis racquets are so large that I often thought I was going to connect with a ball that, in fact, would bounce to a halt several "game feet" in front of my character. I think it's the isometric view (isn't that what it's referred to? Not exactly top down or side to side, but not exactly 3rd person?) but I get way thrown off. I can't really advance anywhere due to this!

But I'm going to keep trying, to see if I can overcome this.

heather12321 December 6, 2005 8:15 PM

has anyone else noticed how ludicrously oversized the raquets are? they're almost as big as the person! or maybe that's just me being low on my daily intake of caffiene . . .


i'm using firefox 1.0.7, and it works fine with me. it takes a while for the spacebar to work though (around 30 seconds). what i do is just keep pressing the spacebar 'til it starts working. fun game! thanks jay!


Wow, Jay I really liked this game, not too sure what the problem is here. Didn't work on firefox, but worked fine on IE. Takes some practice but I did finally beat it with Graf after a little while of getting used to the controls.

If you want a little advice on the serves.....

I found the best spot to aim is on the outside edge, closest to the net which is left/down and right/down depending on what side you are serving from. Hit the ball on the way up and you should find with a little practice you'll be hitting aces a lot of the time.

Go Badgers!

neil Bickerton December 7, 2005 6:13 AM

Great site! Great game! I just won on tournament mode with Hingis, it works just fine with Safari.


i've just tried out "IE tab" and it solved my problem. Thanks Wobl.

Maybe the bug causing Firefox on PC to miss some keys such as space or arrows keys is due to a bug is Flash Player 8 ?


Well i finally got the hang of it but i found a strategy where you can easily win if you're serving.

Just hit the ball as far as you can to the opposite side of the box, then when the opponent hits it back hit all the way to the opposite side of the court, the computer player almost never makes it in time.


Andrew - you have discovered one of the fundamental strategies of tennis. =D

That is also a reason why the server has the advantage, and why there is a special term for losing a game when you are serving: "break."


This has a STEEP learning curve, but I've mastered it. I managed to beat a 10/10/10 cpu with a 1/1/1 player in exhibition. I won 3 games to 1 but it was so hard because you move INCREDIBLY slow and all of your shots are weak lobs.
But it comes down to being aggresive and exposing the cpu's weakness of not covering both sides. Also, it took some luck with guessing where the cpu would return the shot because you had no time to react.

Overall, a great challenging game! :)


I am a recreational tennis player and played top spin for console, so I beat the tournament on about the second try. More important was playing top spin, this game is remarkably similiar, and I paid 20 dollars for ncaa football/top spin combo, and only played top spin, and I could have just played this :P.

Do what MadTown said for the serve, it not only gets aces, but it moves them to the outside of the court, this is perhaps the biggest flaw in my opinion is that this serve is consistantly by far the best and no need to switch.
Another thing is to not try and hit a ball behind someone at the net, if you can't get it to their side, hit a short shot so they can't just spike it.


I beat the CPU level 10/10/10 with a 1/1/1 at 3-0, but I must agree it would have been a lot easier if only footwork was higher...


This game rocks!! And yeah it doesn't work on firefox.


I usually use Opera 8.5, and it doesn't work either.

Some people complain about the big raquets...
That's just a kind of deformation as japanese anime characters are and also it makes the difficulty easier to play.


I wish I could play with any one of you. I am becoming very competitive at this. I chose Datekimi for my player, which I believe it's coming from a former Japanese Pro tennis player Kimiko Date. I beat everyone every time although she isn't set competitive in any skills at all. I chose her because Japan is my country!!


I found a fix to the FireFox issue! It is the script that is the problem not the swf file or the game! If you replace the script with the path of the actual file it will play just fine in Firefox!!!


Once you start to master the game, try a few of these styles to keep it fun and challenging!
1. Play the weaker players like Anna

2. Serving

Try serving without any english. This takes away your serve advantage and forces you into longer volleys

3. Movement

Try messing with the cpu by "faking" movement. You will notice the cpu tends to hit in the opposite direction you start to run in. So fake a run in one direction then change to the other!


it took me 2 days to beat it but i haven't beat it again since even though i beat computer 10/10/10 computer and me 1/1/1 3:0


The best flash tennis game I ever seen. Nice :)


This game is REALLY easy. I can win using any style of play without much effort. Probably because I play tennis. Too bad you can't other people online.


Too bad you can't play other people online, I meant.


This game is very good. Can you play other people online? ... this option will be very interesting. I win to the computer player all the time, but it is diferent if I play again other people online....is it possible?


nice game, only wish the levels kept getting harder every time, now its a bit boring for me since I win the tournament every time, even in manual selection of players, I take 1/1/1 as skill and give the PC 10/10/10, and still it loses miserably, sometimes with 0. I try to play the worst I can, sometimes from behind the boundary line, and still manage to win. Have tried all the spoilers. Although the one mentioned about the PC throwing the ball opposite to your running may not be accurate. What I have noticed is that if the PC has to run for the ball, then it will return the ball most likely in the middle, which you can take advantage of by standing in the middle to receive it :)


This game was rather easy since theres no lobbing.

Well, basically without lobbing, the person that controls the net, controls the game.

Euan MacDonald January 17, 2007 6:40 PM

I have recently been having a problem with this game, since I bought a new computer. When I hold down two cursor keys at once, the space bar doesn't work! I've tried, and this seems to be the only key on the keyboard with this problem. Can anyone help?


I absolutely love this game. Recently I cannot get to it, as it won't appear when I click on it. Can anyone please tell me how I can get this full sized version? It's ruined my personal life..



mike - the game loads fine for me. Perhaps something has happened to your Flash Player install. Try re-installing the latest from Adobe's website.


It works again...thanks for the tip...it's almost addictive


this is a great game.... highly addictive, not so good whilst trying to write a dissertation. It does get kinda easy though, i can win the whole tournament using Anna and without conceeding a single point.

Easybreezy July 15, 2007 4:34 PM

Great game like everyone said, so I won't repeat all the other stuff.

I made it more interesting by trying to see how many smashes I could return consecutively, and how many shots I could play from outside the screen.


I usually hate tennis games because the gameplay is so unpleasant (poor views, ball passing too fast...)
but this game is GREAT! But quite difficult as well. I won the tournament several times with Sabatini, but it took me a lot of focus. I guess Graf is the hardest opponent to defeat (I beat them all), but every player can be dangerous, you must always stay on fire to win; That's why I loved playing this game.
Congratulations to Game Design!


Very cool little game. I'm addicted. Of course, I completely suck at it. :)


The game is extremely easy, but fun to play. I beat everyone 3-0 with any player, even Datekimi.

hateli khopdi September 30, 2007 7:47 PM

Can win tournament with any player with 3-0 playing only on baseline and even with serve/volley. Great game, though!!


Well, I am a tennis player and personally think this is a very well done game.

The only question I have is, does anyone have tips on how to volley well in this game?
I get passed every time almost.

Thanks in advance.


I LOVE THIS GAME!!! I think some people are overseeing (like me) the abiliy to control the direction of the ball. It's a trully useful thing to do, because otherwise the AI opponent will always return your shots. Oh, and has anyone figured out how to beat those computer serves? They're quick and hard to beat. 5 stars! This is going on my favorites!


It is impossible to hit a passing shot down the line with the backhand.!


the only thing i hate about this game is when it calls out when it's on the line... :( but other than that it's awsome! i LOVE this game! and it's easy to beat!!


Took me five tries tot beat the comp at 10/10/10 being 1/1/1. Lost without a point the first time, went better, and finally beat him 3-1... Seems impossible the first time, but it also seems the comp suffers from your boost if you make a few points in a row.


I have completed several tournaments without giving up a single point. This has made the game quite challenging...


i agree, this game is very fine tuned, and don't think it's easy, you can exactly shoot were you want,by combining preesure,velocity,pushing in the same time the arrows..IF you know the followings ...?


This game is a lot of fun. Initially it was almost impossible; even though I play real tennis I had trouble with it, and got defeated by an all level 1 CPU when I was all level 10, not winning a single point. Now, I've almost mastered it, and can easily beat a all-level 10 CPU with an all-level 1 player 3-0, but I still can't get him to not get any points; the least points I gave up in this situation is 2. It is a great game, but how come all the tournament characters are female players?

Anonymous February 6, 2009 2:34 PM

Anyone know of something like this?
I've been addicted to it but now it's too easy... need something else!!!!


Amazing game! I've turned into a real addict! I've played it thousands (not sure, but quite possible) of times and still have a lot of fun. I've noticed that Dokici returns lots of smashes =O. 5/5 =)

Anonymous December 2, 2009 4:37 PM

Great game. Had a lot of fun. It would be great if there could be an online tournament. Characters could be just a little personalized, but, hey, its 600kb, and I've been playing for an hour so... 5+!!!

Anonymous January 12, 2010 8:27 PM

The game will beat you at first, but do this: Play in exibition mode as Anna, then Venus. Playing as Anna will teach you how to position yourself as she is the slowest. Then, playing as Venus will help you use your strengths as she is one of the best. You will hone your skills quicker this way.


Amazing game! Look, this page still getting comments after posted more than 4 years ago.

I've been addicted to it for a long time. Everytime I hit my laptop, I play this game as the starter.

When I first played it, looked impossible to play, but once you getting used to the controls, it's very fun to play!

Now I've mastered it, but you have to keep on fire to win every single tournament, so it will always be fun.
I've been using Anna after I've mastered it, it keeps the game challenging cause she's one of the weakest players (with Datekimi), if you use Venus, it's too easy to beat everyone with her serve, range and power.

The most difficult opponents are Graf, Navratilova and Venus. But all players are great and have their own playing style. The most unique one is Datekimi for sure, initially I'm getting trouble with her, but after learned her playing style, I can beat her easily.

The only thing that disturbs me is sometime it calls out when you hit a shot down the line, so it's frustrating to keep your errors low, so it's hard to win without giving up a single point.

For anybody who didnt play this yet, give yourself a try! It's great!

SergeST May 29, 2010 5:48 PM

This game is too easy. I won the game playing with all the players.

With martina/gabriela/sanchez/graf/venus/seles: I won without loosing a point.

Anyway, I like this game. Two things:
You should add a multiplayer option :D
and, maybe, the posibility to increase the difficulty lvl.


Its cute. But unfortunately some keyboard combinations don't play along on an average system. Up+Left+Space for example (space is ignored). This makes for a very weak backhand hand and much frustration unless you train yourself to let go of a key just before hitting space, but then you no longer have 100% control of the direction the ball should travel. WASD would have been better!


Can't anyone edit this game to give us the possibility of playing a full set, even if not with tie-break, just to be able to win only after winning at least 6 games, not 3? I have downloaded with flashgot and I'm able to play it offline with flash offliner, fullscreen, but can't it be edited using the swf. and fop. extensions of the game to change its options?


I find that this game is too easy. I'm playing aggressively, but once you get used to it, you'll be able to play any way you want. Yay! I can now defeat the tournament with Anna.


^^ Funny, I found the same to be true. I play with "Anna", the weakest player, and still able to win. The game demonstrates some intelligence and different player characteristics. But once you figure out how to position yourself, even the most aggressive computer player can be beat. I wish they'd come out with an updated version with more recent tennis players and more challenge. :-)

samgadoodle October 16, 2012 2:28 PM

Really really fun time waster. As a tennis enthusiast, I enjoy the level of play it takes to master the game. I have won several tournaments with the top players and a few with lesser talents. Moreover it's encouraged me to learn a little more about the style of play of some of these ladies game greats. I would love to see a men's version!

And yes, lobbing would be nice... the AI seems to be able to do it. Can I?

samgadoodle October 16, 2012 2:34 PM

actually, I think I figured out how to lob. Hold down up and down arrows simultaneous with hitting the space bar. You'll send a nice high, soft one over the net.






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