Review: Smash Table Tennis (NES)

Smash Table Tennis delivers a backhand to your wallet.

Sometimes, you just have to wonder who at Nintendo is in charge of the Virtual Console game selection. Perhaps it's one of those people who, when unable to decide what to do, throws a dart at a dartboard with possible "options" on it in order to come to a decision. That almost has to be the case here, because we have no idea why else they would decide to make this forgotten turkey into an import title for the Virtual Console.

Smash Table Tennis (Or Smash Ping Pong as it is known in Japan) started out life as "Konami's Ping Pong," an arcade game which was later ported to a variety of systems, including the Famicom Disk System, which is also the version on Virtual Console. The arcade game had a cameo appearance from Konami's old semi-mascot Pentarou the penguin, but aside from that it was a pretty unremarkable game.

The FDS version received a makeover to make it like practically every other "arcadey" Nintendo game on the NES/FDS, including 2 gameplay modes, "A" and "B", which are playable in both 1-player and 2-player. Like most other games that do this, there appears to be almost no difference between the two whatsoever.

The gameplay is just what you'd expect from a table tennis videogame, you play a maximum of three "games" per match. The first person to 11 points wins the game (If both players are close to 11, you have to lead by 2 points to win the game). The first to win two games wins the match.

All the expected ping pong moves are there - lobs, smashes, you know the drill. Only 4 buttons are used in the game - B is used to serve, left/right makes you swing, and holding A or B after the serve switches your hand from a forehand to backhand position. You've got to master switching between the two different hitting styles, because it's quite easy to accidentally send the ball flying over the edge of the table, giving your opponent a point. Thankfully the game never gets to the insane speeds you sometimes see on TV, it all stays at a fairly modest pace.

That's pretty much everything there is to say, to be honest! Nintendo's Famicom Disk System mascot, Diskun, makes an appearance on the title and game win screens, and Donkey Kong Jr. appears in the crowd (Replacing Pentarou from the arcade game), but besides that, the game is just as shallow as the games in the NES sports series. The only difference is that it wasn't made by Nintendo.

Like most of those games, there's also no music to speak of, except for one or two 4-second jingles. There is really no excuse for this - The Famicom Disk System actually had an extra sound channel to use compared to the Famicom/NES, and Konami released some other FDS games with impressive soundtracks only a few months later.

Conclusion

Unless you're out to get all Nintendo-published games available on Virtual Console, we don't see any reason for you to considering buying this garbage. The Wii already has plenty of ways to play table tennis - Multiple retail games feature it as minigame, and Rockstar even made an entire game based around it! We're all for import games on Virtual Console, but choosing to release this as one wasn't a very smart move!