Wii sports vs real sports: Tennis

Felipe Bravo via YouTube
Felipe Bravo via YouTube

Baby got back hand

By Jessica Berget, Staff Writer
Wii Tennis is a Wii Sports staple. Everyone and their mother was playing Wii Tennis when it first came out, which explains the outbreak of “Wii Tennis elbow” just shortly after its release. But despite the consequences of a Wii Sports related injury, is the reward of improving one’s athletic ability worth it? Absolutely not.

Admittedly, it is a fun game. However, I think I gained more athletic ability waving around my Wii remote trying to find the Wii sensor than I did actually playing the game. Mario Tennis 64 might actually be more athletic than Wii Tennis. It’s definitely more challenging. Wii Tennis is the least athletically focused out of all the Wii Sports games, save for Wii Bowling, but even Wii bowling can actually teach you something about bowling.

The first problem with Wii Tennis is that it does all the work for you—all the player has to do is swing their arm back and forth. Running is the most integral part of tennis, but there is literally none of it in the game.

The second problem with the game is that you can actually hurt yourself playing it, which can hinder your athletic ability more than it can improve it. Wii Tennis related injuries are not uncommon. Ever since Wii Sports debuted there have been cases in which people who constantly play the game end up with repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and pulled shoulder muscles—injuries usually typical with actual sports, but these players aren’t actually playing any sport. After only 20 minutes of playing the game, my shoulder and elbow started to get sore, and it’s not the kind of sore you get from exercising. It’s hard to gain any athletic ability when you can easily hurt yourself from just waving your arm back and forth.

The difference between Wii Tennis and regular tennis is that real tennis is harder. So much harder. There is actually running involved in this sport, which Wii Tennis did not prepare me for. It is also a lot harder to return a serve in real tennis as opposed to Wii Tennis. In Wii Tennis the ball is served at a reasonable speed, and as long as you swing in the general direction of the ball, you’ll hit it. But in real tennis the ball comes flying at you at an alarming rate, and there is the very real danger of being hit in the face, so actually making contact with the ball is a challenge.

Compared to playing real tennis, Wii Tennis did little to improve my athletic ability; in fact, it may have made it worse, if that’s possible. Nothing about swinging your arm back and forth can—or will—improve one’s athletic ability.