Mario’s sports games lack diversity in their roster and levels, but Sega Superstars Tennis is a great example of how Nintendo can improve on its formula.
Sports video games belong to a niche genre that is outside the preferences of many gamers, but it’s a completely different story when some of the most iconic characters in video games play a sport. Mario Sports titles are loved by gamers who wouldn’t think twice about playing. FIFA or To get mad, and that’s because of the familiar faces on the list and the crazy fun gameplay mechanics. However, there is a way to improve Nintendo’s beloved sports games, and that is to be more like Sega Superstars Tennis.
Mario’s first sports game was NES Open Golf Tournament released in 1987. Since then, Mario and his friends have appeared in several different sports titles playing games like baseball, tennis, soccer, and more. Sometimes characters from other franchises will join in the fun, like Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games and guest appearances from Final Fantasy in Mario Hoops 3 vs 3. Mario has also appeared as a guest character alongside Princess Peach and Luigi in SSX: in Tour for Nintendo GameCube.
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While these titles are popular with gamers and tend to do well from a business standpoint, it’s time for Mario sports games to move to the next level. Sonic and Mario may have competed with each other at six different Olympics, but it’s time Nintendo took a page out of Sega’s playbook. Specifically, the next Mario the sports title should look more like Sega Superstars Tennis.
What Sega Superstars Tennis can bring to Mario sports games
Sega Superstars Tennis it feels more like an homage to Sega history than another Sonic-based sports game. Similar to how Super Smash Bros. is a love letter to the most iconic heroes and villains in video games, Sega Superstars Tennis provided a modern platform for some of Sega’s oldest characters to relive their glory days. This is not to say that the future Mario Sports games should be used as a museum for Nintendo’s forgotten characters, but they could diversify the list beyond Mario and his 10 closest friends.
Sega Superstars Tennis had characters like Friend of Friend’s Samba, Beat from Radio Jet Setand AiAi of Super monkey ball. A similar Nintendo game might include Link from The legend of Zelda, Tom Nook from Animal crossingand Kirby. Allowing a large number of Nintendo IPs to play golf or baseball together would be an amazing experience.
Beyond a diverse list, Sega Superstars Tennis it had Superstar mode that acted as a “story mode” that featured each of the game’s unlockable characters. Players would participate in unique challenges that took place in themed courses around a Sega character or game. This took on the feeling of not being “just another Sonic sports game “to a new level, as the story explored a lot of Sega IP. There were also several normal courts to represent different games. Nintendo could do the same by creating a story mode that stands out more than Mushroom Kingdom. The Adventure could start with Mario and Luigi, but could later expand to Splatoon, Land, Y Pokemon-thematic challenges.
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