Sport involving hitting a fuzzy ball over an elevated net until either the ball goes out of play, is hit into the net, or the ball bounces twice. Can be played between two individuals (singles) or between two pairs of individuals (doubles). Requires excellent coordination, timing, and endurance. Can be quite trying mentally, but not nearly as bad as golf.

A juggling pattern, or rather set of juggling patterns. The simplest is a three ball cascade where every third throw goes over the top.

Other variations:

- One ball is thrown over the top from one hand to the other, but the next throw goes straight up then down into the same hand. Then the first ball is thrown back, to do the exact same thing in the opposite hand.

- The above, but both hands throw a self at the same time; i.e. it is a form of columns.

- The hardest version... Four ball tennis. One ball is thrown constantly over the others as above, but while you do a three ball cascade with the other three balls! The best way to learn this is to do a whole load of four ball over the top throws.

No matter which version you call 'tennis', they all have one thing in common: there is one ball which goes back and forth, and it is always the same ball. Because of this fact, this ball can literally be a tennis ball, it can be a large ball such as a football, it can be a club, egg, ring... etc. etc. etc. Experiment!

Atari 2600 Game
Produced by:Activision
Model Number:AG007
Rarity:2 Common
Year of Release: 1981

Activision's seventh game was Tennis. It is of course the Atari version of the sport. This game features 2 difficulty levels, and can be played by one or two players. The graphics are simple but effective. The viewpoint is from overhead with one player on top and the other on the bottom.

This game is a wonderful addition to any Atari collection, simply because it is a great 2 player game.

s From the instruction manual:

Alan Miller is a Senior Designer at Activision. A fierce video game
competitor, he's the designer and undisputed champion of Checkers and

"My Activision Tennis, like real tennis, puts a premium on anticipation,
reflexes, and conditioning. You really have to stay on your toes, try
and anticipate where your opponent's shot will land, and get in position
to return.

"Practice moving quickly to the area where you think your opponent's shot
will go. If you can do that, then you'll get a jump on placing your shot
out of your opponent's reach.

"For an extra tough challenge, try to serve and volley against the computer
with the difficulty switches set on b. Hit a sharply-angled serve off the
edge of your racket to either the right or left side, then move quickly
about two-thirds of the way to the net.

"If you've anticipated properly, you can nail his return with a cross-court
volley for a winner. But, guess wrong and he's passed you. This strategy
demands a high level of concentration, razor-sharp reflexes, and lots of

"But you know the old saying, practice makes perfect. So, keep at it, good
luck and have a great game. Drop me a line and let me know how you do.
I'd love to hear from you."

Alan Miller is the programmer on this title.

This game is valued at around $2 USD. Games with boxes and manuals are worth more.

A history of tennis

High society
Ballgames are nearly as old as mankind. In 11th century France a game was played that was very similar to current tennis: jeu de paume. It was a game of returning a ball with the hand. Originally it was played in religious circles, but soon it became hugely popular in high society. We know for instance that king Louis X died of a cold, which he picked up during a game of jeu de paume in the Bois de Vincennes.

Power to the people
Jeu de paume then spread over high class people in the whole of Western Europe. After that the whole of French, Italian, British, Spanish and German societies embraced the sports, which was very much to the dislike of the upper class. They tried to monopolize the sports, but they failed. In England, religious services were often disturbed because people used church walls to bounce the balls during their play. Even worse was that the players used far from civilized language to express their anger for a missed ball.

High society
As said, in the beginning only hands were used. But increasingly, people started to use equipment to control the ball. First a glove, followed by a bat (as used in baseball or cricket), which eventually evolved into a racket. This was around 1500. This jeu de paume racket (the word comes from the Arab word for the palm of your hand) was the direct predecessor of all modern rackets used in tennis, badminton, squash, etc.

Around 1600, France was addicted to the racket sports. It was played in open field, but also inside tennis courts were built in cities, castles and universities. French capital Paris counted around 250 inside courts in this period. When theatre got popular after 1600 however, jeu de paume was pushed to the background. Court owners found out that financially they gained more by exploiting their tennis accommodations as theatres.

Although I have been talking about jeu de paume mainly, the earliest notion of tennis stems from 1399 already. It was then spelt as tenez, which probably is the origin of the word tennis (it means "here it comes" in French - called out by the serving player). Other theories however say that the word was derived from the ancient Egyptian city Tinnis, well-known for its linnen which was used to fill the balls.

Wingfield's sticky
The official tennis game was born almost 500 years after this. The British major Walter Wingfield designed the basic idea for the modern tennis game. In 1873 he patented his idea, which he called Sphairstikè, soon nicknamed 'sticky'. The counting of the points was exactly the same as used in jeu de paume.

Curious counting
The way points are counted in tennis is mysterious. It is probably based on a Middle Age math system. According to one theory, the points were counted by using a clockwork. In each game a player had to gain sixty points by winning four hits. Each won rally is fifteen points (for instance 15-0, 15-15, 30-15, 45-15, game). Another theory claims that the early players gambled: one point was worth 15 centimes. All in all they are all incertain guesses, and none of them gives an answer to the question why the points go from 30 to 40, instead to 45, in a game.

Love and deuce
Thinkers have also theorized about some other curious tennis terms, like 'love' and 'deuce'. It is said that the shape of an egg (l'oeuf in French, sounds pretty much the same as love in English) was to symbolize the zero, while 'deuce' is deductable to 'deux' or 'deux à jouer': two points left to play.

Differently shaped courts
Wingfield's invention immediately attracted lots of cricket and crocket clubs, although his rules were criticized. Each club interpreted these in its own way, which caused differently shaped courts and nets everywhere. In 1877 the famous tournament of Wimbledon was played for the first time at the lawns of the All England Crocket Club. Three years later the Marylebone Cricket Club set strict rules for courts and rules for tennis. Of the original Sphairstikè, a lot of elements had gone and Wingfield became bitter over the fact that only after many changes his game had gotten popular. The 1880 rules are still used, although they have been bent in some ways, for instance with the introduction of the tie-break.

World tour
With the standardized rules, tennis started a true conquering tour around the world. Most important exponents here were the United States (introducing the overhand service) and Australia (introducing the smash). In the beginning tennis was only practised outside on grass, but soon gravel was used as well. Later experimenting lead to matches on concrete, hard-court and other surfaces.

Title: Tennis
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Dates: 1984 (Japan), 1986 (North America)
Platform: NES
ESRB Rating: N/A


Back in the NES's earliest days Nintendo classified all of its own games into various Series, including the Action Series, Adventure Series, Programmable Series, and Sports Series. The company converted many sports to the small, pixelated screen back then, including Baseball, Soccer, Ice Hockey, and Tennis.

Gameplay, or You Were Expecting a Story from a Tennis Game in 1986?

Tennis features one or two nameless protagonists competing against various computer opponents who vary only by their quickness and the color of their shirts. Tennis offers single and doubles play, though a one-player game is always singles play against the computer and a two-player game always teams the players in a double match against two computer opponents.

The player's court is always on the bottom of the screen, and the computer's is on the top. Matches are played in a stadium court, though the crowd is entirely unanimated. The setting is sparse, but functional.

Tennis has five skill levels, though they really should be called "speed levels", as the computer opponent doesn't actually play with more skill. Instead, he gets faster, and so does the ball (and the combination of these two elements really does make the game harder.) The highest skill levels take lots of practice to beat, since the only really effective attack strategy at that level is to stay at the net and try to smash the ball past the opponent when they don't lob it high over the player's head.

Matches are best-of-3 sets, and follow the standard rules of tennis. Winning one match gives the player another match against the next highest difficulty level, and winning that match gives the player a championship trophy and a nice payday (up to $100 ,000.)

Where is This Court, Anyway?

The Tennis cartridge was made in abundance and is not particularly rare. Any decent NES emulator should be able to play it, and the ROM is not terribly difficult to find.

Game, Set, and Match

Overall, Tennis is a distinctly average game. There is a two-player option, but the player who is stuck patrolling the back line won't enjoy it very much, because the player at the next sees most of the action. The real value of Tennis is in the historical context it provides. Nintendo's tennis efforts started with Tennis for the NES and Vs. Tennis in arcades, but they came back to the sport of tennis many times in subsequent years, with Tennis for Game Boy and Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and GameCube. All of these later games and their various wild and wacky embellishments can be traced back to Nintendo's early efforts in the mid-1980's at putting players on the court with just a ball, a racket, and an opponent.

Oh, and Mario is the chair umpire. Seriously.

Ten"nis (?), n. [OE. tennes, tenies, tenyse; of uncertain origin, perhaps fr. F. tenez hold or take it, fr. tenir to hold (see Tenable).]

A play in which a ball is driven to and fro, or kept in motion by striking it with a racket or with the open hand.


His easy bow, his good stories, his style of dancing and playing tennis, . . . were familiar to all London. Macaulay.

Court tennis, the old game of tennis as played within walled courts of peculiar construction; -- distinguished from lawn tennis. -- Lawn tennis. See under Lawn, n. -- Tennis court, a place or court for playing the game of tennis. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Ten"nis, v. t.

To drive backward and forward, as a ball in playing tennis.




© Webster 1913.

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