Mario Tennis(JP) is a game for the Nintendo 64 that is developed by Camelot Software and is published by Nintendo, and is the second installment in the Mario Tennis series (although the first in the modern incarnation of the series) and the follow-up to the 1995 game Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy. It is a tennis game that features Mario characters, stages, items, and more. It also spawned off many sequels, and became a huge hit. It should also be noted that this is the first game to feature Waluigi. It is also first game since NES Open Tournament Golf to feature Princess Daisy and the first game since Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars to feature Birdo.
The game begins with the launch of the Mario Star Tournament. Mario and a prominent cast of characters (including some newcomers like Princess Daisy and Birdo) walk out onto the field, where it switches to a walk-through of more playable characters, and a quick zoom in on two shadowed figures. Eventually, the tournament is started and characters are matched up. Mario defeats DK, Yoshi defeats Daisy, Princess Peach defeats Birdo, and Luigi defeats Paratroopa. In the semi-finals, Mario defeats Yoshi and Luigi defeats Peach.
The finals starts with Mario and Luigi beginning their match by looking for the tennis ball, when suddenly Wario and his new side-kick Waluigi bust in to challenge them. As Waluigi enjoys his new introduction, Luigi exclaims he's not afraid of this new character. Waluigi, now angered, challenges Luigi. Mario tries to calm the two down when Wario confronts him. The four are about to have-it-out, when a gloaming spot-light shines down upon them.
As Toad (who is the announcer) points and shouts, "What's-that!?", Bowser and the hovering Boo fall onto the court below, knocking Wario and Waluigi backwards. Everyone appears disgusted that Bowser would try to ruin a tennis match. To everyone's surprise, the pair announce they have come to play a friendly game of tennis. As everyone is baffled, Mario breaks the silence by exclaiming, "Let's all play!". As Peach and Daisy look to each other and agree, everyone, including Wario and Waluigi, follow suit. Out of nowhere, a Bob-omb makes its way onto the field. Without time to act, everyone is caught in the blast, and the game begins.
- Hard Court - This court is available from the start.
- Clay Court - This court is available from the start.
- Grass Court - This court is available from the start.
- Composite Court - This court is available from the start.
- Yoshi and Baby Mario Court - To get this court, you must win the Mushroom Cup with Yoshi.
- Donkey Kong Court - To get this court, you must win the Mushroom Cup with Donkey Kong.
- Mario Brothers Court - To get this court, you must win the Mushroom Cup with Mario.
- Bowser Stage - This court is available from the start.
Including all the characters that can be transferred from the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis, the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Tennis features a total of 20 playable characters. Of these characters, 14 characters are default, 2 characters (marked with a double asterisk) are unlockable through playing the Nintendo 64 game, and 4 characters (marked with a triple asterisk) can be transferred from the Game Boy Color game. Aside from the transferable characters, characters are divided into 5 different play styles, listed below. Waluigi (marked with an asterisk) makes his first appearance in the Mario Tennis series and the overall Mario franchise. Short Game and Tiebreaker are the only modes that can be played with the same characters. When two of the same character is selected, the second player to select said character will have an alternate palette swap of the character. All of the returning cast from Mario Golf retains a returning palette from that game.
|Mario||In the game, Mario is an average player whom is perfect for beginners. Mario will be able to do very well on hard courts, though it will be tough on him if you choose a clay court.|
|Luigi||Like his brother, Luigi is an average player who would be a perfect pick for beginners. He will do great on hard courts, and not so well on clay courts. He is a tad taller than Mario, which is a pretty big advantage.|
|Peach||Peach is under the technical category. She has great accuracy, but weak hits. Out of all the characters in this category, many will argue that she is the best.|
|Yoshi||Yoshi is the fastest character in the game. This said, many will say he is the best compared to all the other characters. He is extremely fast, has an above average accuracy, and average hits.|
|Bowser||Bowser is the most powerful character in the game. His shots aren't as accurate as Donkey Kong's, and he is the slowest, though for someone who wants to hit hard shots, you should pick him.|
|Donkey Kong||Out of all the characters in the Powerful category, Donkey Kong has the most accurate shot, and is faster than Bowser, but slower than Wario, though he is still extremely slow.|
|Daisy||Daisy's playing style is similar to Peach's but also a lot like Mario's. She's stronger than Peach and likely just as fast as her. She is good all-around but uses some technique.|
|Wario||Wario is under the powerful category. Though he is still slow, he is the fastest out of all the characters in the power category. He is, though, the least powerful compared to Donkey Kong and Bowser.|
|Toad||Toad is a fairly fast and speedy, but also quite weak. The rallies may go on for quite a while. Toad has a rainbow colored racket. It may be easier to play against someone when you vary your shots.|
|Waluigi||Waluigi's first ever game. Although a technique player type, he leans into a speed type. Like Toad, he's quite quick but weak. Waluigi is slower and stronger than Toad. Because he is tall, he can lack speed a tiny bit. Waluigi has great accuracy.|
|Birdo||Speedy and surprisingly strong, but not strong enough to be a power type. You may get somewhere if you keep on hitting strong shots, but be careful on the power types!|
|Boo||Boo has a problem about hitting curled balls. You never know where the ball is going to go. If you serve wide barely any one can hit the ball back! Boo is a great tennis player!|
|Paratroopa||Paratroopa's got a trick or two up his sleeve. The puff of feathers that emit from his racket serve as a kind of smoke screen, disguising where he's going to put the ball.|
|Baby Mario||Baby Mario is a whiny little speed demon with a penchant for accurate ball placement. Although he's short, his serve has a ton of pace. It is a good idea to use a bunch of Top Spin shots.|
|Shy Guy||Shy Guy is one of the most well-rounded characters in the game. He's got good speed and good power, and the ability to place shots anywhere. In addition, he's got a weird swing that can serve to confuse opposing players. But, has to be unlocked.|
|Donkey Kong Jr.||Back Finally! Donkey Kong Jr. is a chip off the old gorilla. He's got a lot of power, but unlike his dad, he's also got a little spring in his step. Use DK Jr.'s killer serve to start things out, then bomb the lines. Has to be unlocked.|
Pre-release and unused content
Goomba, Bullet Bill, and Whomp were suggested to be made playable, along with a "Warupichi" as a potential evil counterpart to Peach, but these were all dismissed for varying reasons, such as Goomba and the Super Mario 64 Bullet Bill's lack of hands, and Whomp's rigid posture. The idea for a rival for the Princess was dismissed by Shigeru Miyamoto.
- This marks the only time where the late Jessica Chisum voices Princess Daisy.
- This is the final Mario game to feature Donkey Kong Jr. as a playable character, not counting Modern mode in Game and Watch Gallery 4.
- This is also the first Mario game to feature Shy Guy as a playable character.
- Before the name "Waluigi" was ultimately decided, several names to the character were brainstormed such as "Jeroji", "Jinani" and "Wa-igi".
- During the development of Mario Tennis, there were talks of adding an evil counterpart for Princess Peach to expand the roster, but the idea was scrapped by Shigeru Miyamoto.
- Donkey Kong and Bowser's sound effects were recycled from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Golf.
- Yoshi's voice clips were recycled from Yoshi's Story and Super Smash Bros..
- Boo's sound effects were recycled from Super Mario 64.
- Alex, Nina, Harry, and Kate are no longer playable in the Virtual Console versions of the game, nor can the transfer-related personal courts be unlocked in that version as well, due to the Wii and the Wii U lacking an equivalent to the Nintendo 64/Game Boy Color Transfer Pak. Despite this, the data for all the characters are still in the game.
- This is the only game where the current Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. are seen together, not counting Donkey Kong Jr.'s background cameo in Waluigi Stadium in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. This also marks Donkey Kong Jr.'s final playable appearance to date, not counting later ports of his game of the same name.
- This is the only game in the Mario Tennis series where the announcer is Mario himself. He is the referee unless he's playing, in which case, a clone of him becomes the referee and wears different clothes depending on the tournament, plus a blue version of Mario's cap.
- On a side note, on the title screen and group artwork used for that screen, Peach can be seen sitting on the referee's seat despite that only Mario (and his clones if Mario is playing the matches) is the referee.
- In tiebreakers, "0" is read as "oh". Later Mario Tennis titles have that number read as "zero".