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6 Characters Most Deserving of a Playable Spot in ‘Mario Tennis Aces’

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If you’re like me, you’ve been having a real good time playing Mario Tennis Aces. Also, if you’re like me, you like a lot of Mario characters. If you’re a lot like me, you might’ve even made a list of the forgotten characters you’d like to see make a reappearance.

And if we continue down this path, you might, like me, probably have a list of characters you’d like to be playable in Tennis Aces. Well, excluding the ones already confirmed as DLC, here’s just such a list that I crafted.

(Warning: If you care, this list contains a minor boss spoiler for the “Adventure Mode” in Tennis Aces)

6. Goomba

Tennis Aces

I mean, this isn’t “Koopa Stomp” (Character artwork from “New Super Mario Bros. Wii”)

The most common, standard enemy in any Mario game, and also the namesake for this very site.  Yes, I speak of a Goomba.

Technically, the very first adversary Mario faces in the first Super Mario Bros. game. Since then, Goombas have grown to become one of the most recognizable characters in video game history, and could certainly be considered the most recognizable enemy in any Mario game

So what gives? Yeah, Goombas appear as NPCs and background scenery in Mario Tennis Aces, but I believe that these little guys deserve more time in the spotlight. Reparations for all the years of stomping need to be made.

Tennis Aces

A Goomba is the first enemy you ever see, and the first character outside of Mario/Luigi you see, in World 1-1 in the first “Super Mario Bros” game — that’s pretty important

But, OK, let’s face it. There’s a problem. Arms. Goombas don’t have them. They do in this one image I found online but I have no clue where the hell it comes from (and kinda don’t want to know?). This hasn’t stopped them from playing baseball with levitating bats in the past, but that’s lame.

Still, if a Chain Chomp can tromp around the court with a racket in its mouth, so can a Goomba. So, yeah, that or duct tape one to its side or give it some sort of racket hat. I don’t care, anything is possible. I just want to see it use its tiny little legs to try and keep up with the ball.

As for type, Goomba could work as a light-weight “defensive” type character, as the game is currently lacking in those types. Plus, it fits how I imagine a Goomba would play tennis. Which sounds like a sight. What also sounds like a sight is if the Special Shot had our Goomba getting on top of a Goomba Tower.

5. Whomp

Tennis Aces

*increasingly Whomp grunt sounds* (Artwork from “Mario Party 9”, Wii)


Hear me out. I know the idea of a living wall playing tennis might sound a little too impractical, and might sound more like squash and less like tennis.

But just think about how great it would be to see Whomp shimmy side to side to reach and whack back a ball. And Whomps aren’t just walls, they’re determined little (big) go-getters, with goofball, often care-free personalities to boot, who just happen to be walls.

Born as a kind of 3-dimensional cousin to the classic Thwomp enemy, Whomps have been around the block quite a lot since Mario 64. While it’s hard to imagine Whomp playable in a game like Mario Party (where it has appeared in one form or another in every installment of the series), Tennis Aces‘s gameplay lends itself really well for this kind of adaptation.

Tennis Aces

We might have to scale his proportions down a little (“Mario Party 9”, Wii)


Whomps come in all shapes and sizes throughout the Mario series, so the character’s exact size doesn’t really matter, either. Hell, it would be cool to see a miniaturized version of King Whomp instead of just a regular Whomp in this role.

If you’ve played Tennis Aces‘s “Adventure Mode”, you might be aware that a Whomp does actually appear in the game as a boss fight, but not as an actual character. Instead, Whomp in Aces is more like a hardly-animated cardboard cut-out that moves side to side in what is perhaps the lamest boss fight in the entire game. So, let’s fix that, please.

I imagine Whomp as either a strong “defensive” type (I mean, it’s a wall) or just a “powerful” brute strength type character. There’s even potential for a Thwomp to make an appearance during a Special Shot.

4. Phanto

Tennis Aces

If Death was personified in the “Mario” universe, it would probably look like Phanto

Anyone who has played Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Yume K?j?: Doki Doki Panic) or knows anything about it, recognizes the Phanto mask enemies as the personification of all that is evil and unrelenting in the world. Who better to invite to your tennis match?

Phantos are perhaps one of the more interesting Mario 2 enemies. They’re like evil guardian spirits that haunt those who touch ancient treasures (well, keys) as a kind of curse. How they move in Mario 2 and come after the player is very reminiscent of the Angry Sun introduced later in Mario 3, but I’m not sure how viable it is for the Sun to play tennis.

Phantos have never been seen in any Mario game outside of Mario 2 and its ports, remasters, remakes etc., which is such a waste. So, I’d love to see a Phanto make a surprise appearance once again.

Tennis Aces

The only real “3D” (as in, not a flat sprite) appearance of Phanto is in “The Super Mario Super Show”, where it looks more like a luchador’s mask

While like a Goomba, a Phanto doesn’t have arms (or a body), it’s not hard to imagine and makes more sense for a levitating racket that would serve that function. I’d imagine Phanto as a fast and “tricky” character type, but a case could be made for it being a “powerful” type. It might seem odd for a floaty mask to be “powerful” but at the same time, they do give off a kind of evil spirit strength vibe.

Beyond Tennis Aces, I’d just love to see these guys show up in any Mario game.

3. Uproot

Tennis Aces

Artwork of a Mario-possessed Uproot in “Super Mario Odyssey”


Despite my well-documented unimpressed take on Super Mario Odyssey (tl;dr: I think it’s a really fun game with a lot of great ideas but it’s not to my liking compared to previous 3D Mario titles), I love some of the neat little enemies introduced in that game. Even if they made their debuts alongside one of the worst designed enemies in the entire Mario series.

A few of these enemies I’ve been hoping to see become new staples in spinoff Mario titles and the most prominent out of those has to be Uproot.

First encountered in the Wooded Kingdom, which we can assume to be their hometown, these little onion guys can stretch to become really tall with their extending root limbs; of great use to Mario and Cappy in Odyssey. And, there’s a whole boss fight centered around making use of a captured Uproot, an honor bestowed on only a few of Mario’s victims.

Tennis Aces

Uproots tend to chill out with a pot over their heads until knocked off by Mario. I think they can ditch their pots for a game of Tennis, though (“Super Mario Odyssey”, Nintendo Switch)

I really like these little guys, enough to say that I’d even want a puzzle game centered around their stretching mechanic in Odyssey. And while that might be a, yes, I’m going to say it, stretch, I don’t think seeing them make an appearance in Tennis Aces is all that unreasonable.

Considering that Blooper is a playable character in Tennis Aces, it wouldn’t be that out-of-place to see Uproot rally a ball back. In fact, it’d be pretty awesome to see them stretch around all over the court.

I’d imagine Uproot would have an incredible reach, so a “technical” character type would be most fitting. Unless we can create a new kind of type for them….”stretchy”? “Elongated”? “Longboy”?

2. Wart

Tennis Aces

Promotional “Super Mario Bros. 2” artwork for Wart

In my article about the 5 Mario characters that I want to make a comeback in the series, Wart reigned number 1, as he deservedly should.

As the main Dream Machine-hijacking villain of Super Mario Bros 2, there was a small period of time where he dethroned Bowser/King Koopa as Mario’s biggest concern, and we haven’t seen him return to that former glory since.

Wart is rather different than other enemies, a shared commonality among Doki Doki Panic-origin character, but also fits really well within the expanded Mario family. Or rather, would fit really well if Nintendo would ever use him.

But as I mentioned, unlike Shy Guys, Birdo and other characters, and similar to Phanto, Wart falls in the camp that hasn’t seen a single appearance since Super Mario Bros 2 (save for the remix-ish sequel thing, BS Super Mario USA, and remasters/remakes of Mario 2, such as Super Mario Advance).

Well, he did make a cameo under his Japanese name, Mamu, in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (fits into the whole dream theme), which was pretty cool since it gave us this amazing official art for that version.

Tennis Aces

Wart’s defeated (and bloody?) body being taken away by muus who’ll do who knows what to him as punishment (“Super Mario Advance”, Game Boy Advance)

I believe he has incredible potential in a game like Mario Tennis Aces. While he’s hefty like Bowser, I don’t see him as a “powerful” type, but rather more “technical” or even leaning toward an “all-around” character. Spike serves as a tiny yet “powerful” type in Aces, so it would be good to have bigger characters that aren’t just relegated to “powerful”.

Sadly, I think this one is perhaps the most unlikely addition to Aces possible, which is why Wart lost the number one spot. He’s still number 2 on this list because I have to dream. It’s what Wart would want.

1. Ninji

Tennis Aces

Ninji in “Super Mario Run”

Yet another Mario 2 enemy character, but Ninjis have a much richer history within the broader Mario world since 2. While not utilized the same amount as say, Shy Guys, Ninjis were one of the few characters from Mario 2 that made an appearance in a mainline Mario game, in Super Mario World.

Since then, they’ve appeared in the Paper Mario games, but their most recent appearance comes in Super Mario Run of all things.

But what are these weird guys really? Aside from being adorable in their onesie footy-pajama looking suits, with those big red nipple buttons, they’re…ninja devil ghosts who are described as haunting the dreams of NES fanboys. I have no clue why or what that means exactly, but that’s what it says in the instruction booklet for Mario 2.

A Ninji as it appears in “Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam”; if you deny this creature’s charm and cuteness, you are a wrong person.

So, yeah, they’re awesome and deserve a bigger spotlight. And what better way to earn that spotlight than by playing some tennis.

Within Mario Tennis Aces, I imagine them as a fast, “Speedy” characters, but perhaps “Technical”, or a tendency toward it would work as well. They’re fast and nimble, but also give the appearance of being childish and clumsy, which would be really great to see in animations. Of all the weird Mario 2 characters I love, I see Ninji as the most probable, hence its spot in number 1.

***

And that’s for my list, but what do you guys think? Which characters would you like to play as or have a match against in Mario Tennis Aces? Did you like my list or do you hate my opinions? Say what you must in the comments!

Immensely fascinated by the arts and interactive media, Maxwell N's views and opinions are backed by a vast knowledge of and passion for film, music, literature and video game history. His other endeavors and hobbies include fiction writing, creating experimental soundscapes, and photography. A Los Angeles, CA local, he currently lives with his wife and two pet potatoes/parrots in Austin, TX. He can mostly be found hanging around Twitter as @maxn_

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. James Baker

    July 4, 2018 at 6:30 am

    I’m actually surprised they didn’t include a few Odyssey characters to carry on the success from it. Ignoring the Broodals because nobody likes them, Glydon could have been a decent addition. I also think there was room for Pauline. I imagine there will be constant additions through DLCs though.

    • Maxwell N

      July 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      I’m actually not a fan of Pauline’s design and character in Odyssey personally, but seeing her included in spinoffs would be cool. Also, Glydon would work really well in Aces too! I had to go with my guy Uproot though.

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‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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