The core Virtua Tennis gameplay is certainly strong enough to stand on its own, but the addition of bizarre, sometimes freakish "Court Games" is what makes the series so memorable.

While "Court Curling" somehow manages to make the sport of curling intense, nothing appeals to me more than trying to secure as much fruit as a professional tennis player is capable of while being assaulted by colossal tennis balls in "Avalanche." Can anyone think of another sports series that has as impressive of a sense of humor, as free-thinking in its approach to mini-games as Virtua Tennis?

Maybe it's just that I love the idea of cartoonish slabs of meat being protected from alligators by a man wielding a tennis racket and shorts.

Virtua Tennis 2009 is out next month for a variety of platforms. It represents everything that is good about Sega.