When we look back at any year in gaming there is always at least one game that truly disappointed us, there was that one game that had so much potential but threw it all away. For each of us these game differ all because of variations of what we play, our own interests and how our history works and so our individual opinions form and when we look back at the games we personally played there is a couple of games that standout.
For me personally my disappointments really boil down to Nintendo, while in the modern era I have consider myself an omnigamer with a love for all the different consoles it is Nintendo that defines me as a game player and always pulls me back. While I feel disappointment in games across the board it is Nintendo’s games that always standout with the bad ones just being harder to remove and swirling though my head like a bad memory. Oh Nintendo had could you go so wrong, there were actually two games from Nintendo that stood out to me and left me upset that this was what I got. The first is Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, but while this game is bad and a huge disappointment particularly in a world where we have Mario Party there was still a further thorn in my side, and it is Mario Tennis Ultra Smash.
It’s sad to say I was honestly looking forward to this game, leading up to its release I had done research on the past games and had discovered that they were actually very much loved particularly the Nintendo 64 game. In fact it was said history that made me look forward to the Wii U release, but clearly a wonderful history means nothing, and that is exactly the vibe that Mario Tennis Ultra Smash gives off.
In the year 2000 Mario was not known as the king of sports games, in fact prior to this game he had only dipped his toes into the waters of sports games on a rare occasion and like a baby first getting splashed by the ocean ran screaming. However Camelot and Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 changed everything for the better or worse, Mario Tennis saw immense popularity and was even a surprise fan favorite of many people when it first arrived. Many testimonies to this games quality all cry out how wonderful Mario Tennis was and how it was a joy to gather friends and lose an afternoon to this particular unappreciated gem. But this game fueled the future, it seems Nintendo took notice and saw a potential cash cow now seeing the portly plumber as a tool for random sports based spin offs, I will admit these games initially had a certain level of charm that came from Mario and there have been some pretty good games over the years that I can understand their existence. The problem is the bubble of history is doomed to pop, the Mario sports bubble cannot go on forever, sooner or later it needs to burst and Mario Tennis Ultra Smash is the game that puts the first hole in the sports series.
History favored Mario Tennis and some of us looked at Ultra Smash as an opportunity to do something, relive classic nostalgia, or just simply get a first taste of something that defined a generation of games, either way both of these reasons all led to Mario Tennis Ultra Smash being an immense disappointment and one of 2015’s biggest. For me personally history is one of the games worst parts, if Mario Tennis was original and this was the first time any of us had seen it the game would still go down in history as a bad game by most accounts but it would not be a disappointment, but with a history as rich and filled with gold as Mario’s classic tennis outings there was no excuse for Ultra Smash to be this level of bad. History may not mean much to some and it makes fools of us all even having certain events become blurs in time all because of a simple event but I at least would have hoped that history meant something to Mario Tennis Ultra Smash and Nintendo because we did not get a good game.
Of course this does extend beyond history, and in the long run falls down to the lost potential that the game constantly exhibits. As I said in my review of this game when you first see the main screen for Mario Tennis Ultra Smash the first thought that comes to mind was “is that it?” The sheer lack of modes already set this games fate before even jumping into the game itself, it’s not that we decided then and there that this was going to be bad but this showing already sent it down a bad path as we were given only four game modes. While it certainly could have been worse the real potential of this game called for more to be included, but we just were not given enough and what it came down to in truth was a game that was rushed out to fill a blank spot, there was just not enough in Mario Tennis to keep us entertained.
But the one other thing that really bothered me was just how cheap this game felt, first Mario Tennis Ultra Smash should have been a budget title and this is shown just from the sheer lack of options. The other thing is the general gameplay offerings, Ultra Smash feels worse all because of its gimmicky gameplay, I understand needing a killer hook to sell your game but at all turns Mario Tennis feels cheap especially when the games core mega mushrooms come into play. One player receives an unfair advantage which just ruins any fun that I could have been having, it is this gimmick which destroys any chance of fun that Mario Tennis Ultra Smash could have offered and really showing how much of a disappointment the game was.
The worst part with Mario Tennis Ultra Smash is that I wanted to like the game, I wanted to be one of those people who scream a happy testimony from the rooftop about how much they love the game, but all factors considered this is impossible. If 2015 had any major disappointment’s it was this train wreck that truly showed me that history cannot save a franchise from throwing itself away, oh Mario Tennis if only you were given more time perhaps there would have been a good game here.