Guilty Pleasure: Top Spin 4

We live in an era where we have no shortage of incredible video games to play. Every week there seems to be at least one game that's purchase worthy to take your focus off whatever you're currently playing. However, we also have those games that we like to keep in our back pocket. The perfect titles to fill in release gaps or rekindle our love for video games. The games that we may not be proud of but that we play more then even we think we should. We here at Darkstation like to call them our guilty pleasure, and mine is Top Spin 4.

So a little back-story. I grew up playing tennis. I've got a deep love and admiration for the sport and it has always been a big part of my life. Heck, I met my wife on a tennis court. Not only do I love the real-life sport but I'm also a connoisseur of the virtual game as well. Since the days of the NES I've always been on the lookout for the next great tennis game. Or, in other words, the best sequel to Pong. There have been some fantastic games Jimmy Connors Tennis, Mario Tennis, Smash Court Tennis, Virtua Tennis, and my personal favorite Top Spin 4.

It's not a sexy choice to be playing Top Spin 4. There are deeper, richer worlds then that of a virtual Arthur Ashe stadium. My brain tells me I should be playing something with a little more redeeming value. My friends list is a perfect example of all the intellectually stimulating games that are out there. As I look at my personal video game library while playing Top Spin 4, I wonder if I should be spending my time playing something else.

And yet I've easily put in over 100 hours into Top Spin 4 and don't see me stopping anytime soon. Tennis is often compared to boxing and chess, and Top Spin 4 is a great example of that. Top Spin 4 in my eyes is a quick, really intense mash-up of those two very different sports that blends perfectly into a nice bite sized experience. It's a game that if I want to get 15 minutes of gaming in I will go to. Or if I just finish a game but want to get a little extra gaming in I go back and throw in Top Spin 4. Even with all of the hours I've put into the game, the AI on the hardest difficulty still gives me a run for my money.

Sports games are often considered cash-ins, roster updates, and all-around shallow experiences. In many ways sports video games deserve those sentiments. But Top Spin 4 is a game that stands above the rest. It's gorgeous, fluid, and incredibly fun to play. It harkens that simple Pong experience from the 1970's and brings it to life with real-life tennis players and stadiums. I love Top Spin 4, I really do. I even love the absolutely horrid intro music (North American Scum by LCD Soundsystem) which has no real relevance to a tennis game and is an all-around horrible piece of music. Say what you want about sports games, tennis, and the like but it is a brilliant game. As there won't be a sequel anytime soon, I'm going to play now if you don't mind.

Go Roger Federer.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.