A victory of progress

Every generation has its own magic moments. It is a very intense experience that changes the way you look at things. Something familiar turns into something completely different. All new paths open up – it is a revolution in your mind. Children have something like this every day. But the older we get, the more something familiar will block your view. A tennis match with my buddy Tobi opened my eyes. I didn’t like tennis very much, nor was I a friend of online gaming. But he lived in Hamburg and I was in Berlin. And he liked Top Spin.

I gave both a try. And then I was trapped for almost an hour in a match that would not end – simply because we didn’t want it to end. Top Spin was a master of his class in terms of accuracy. It was a game that perfectly balanced realism and entertainment and made you sweat in front of the TV like on the real court. Being connected online with a friend with a headset and talking about the world and life in general – it made the dramatic and never ending last set feel like a quiet walk in the woods. Each of us was happy about every point of the other one.

I can neither remember who won the game in the end nor what exactly the content of our conversation was. It is simply not important. If such a match had taken place in an actual tournament, both winners would have won. Such matches go down in history as lasting memories – it’s not “The Winner Takes it All”. What remains is a good feeling and the fascination for what is possible with new technology.

hen Microsoft announced the Xbox more than 20 years ago, the gaming world laughed. The American company wasn’t considered as a place of creativity. The Windows operating system was closely related to steady system crashes known as blue screens. And playing on the PC was complicated and expensive. But with Xbox Live they pushed Sony and Nintendo to change. Both still couldn’t keep up with Microsoft’s online service – which is still the case today. And even though I prefer to play local multiplayer with friends – I’m socialized with LAN parties and Nintendo 64 – this experience with Top Spin remains a very special one. It wouldn’t have been possible without technological progress – and without the friend who took me into this world.

TopSpin was one of the exclusive XSN Sports Games for the original Xbox, as were Amped, NFL Fever, NHL Rivals, NBA Inside Drive and RalliSport Challenge. The game was developed by PAM Development and Indie Built and was released for the Microsoft console in late 2003. Both studios were sold to Take-Two before the release of TopSpin 2 and then closed one after the other. The successors of TopSpin have also been released for other platforms, but couldn’t convince in the same way. In 2011, Take Two has completely discontinued the series.

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