Interview with a Mario Tennis Aces Champion

Earlier this year, a seventh game in the Mario Tennis series was released for the Nintendo Switch to much acclaim. This was a breath of fresh air, given that the last installment, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was met with mixed reviews. So both critics and fans have quickly latched onto Mario Tennis Aces, leading to a lively and competitive online community.

In this online community, there are two world ranking charts: Standard Mode and Simple Mode. (Standard has powerups, Simple does not.) It was with some surprise that one of my good friends, Matt, who goes by the online name of Shmo21 or “Shmo”, rose to the #1 ranking in Simple Mode this past June. That’s #1 in the world. 

So, always looking for interesting content for this blog, I reached out to Matt to see if he might be open to a small interview about his love for Nintendo and Mario Tennis, as well as his rise to #1.

Andrew: Now you’ve been a huge fan of Nintendo games for how long?

Matt: Since I was 2. I’d always watch my brother after he got an N64, with Mario 64 and Mario Kart.

Can you remember the first game and/or console you had?

Our first console was the N64. The first game we had was Mario 64.

Which of the Mario Tennis games did you play first? Which is your favorite?

When I was 5, Mario Tennis (64) I asked my mom if I was gonna get it for Haunakah; Since then, I’ve played every Mario tennis. Maybe 64 is my favorite- but I also love Power Tennis [for the Gamecube].

In your opinion, is Mario Tennis Aces better than the previous games?

In terms of game mechanics, Aces is the best, but Power is the best in terms of content.

Can you tell us about the time between the release of the game and your rise to #1? Was there a lot of training?

I got it at midnight via download; I played adventure mode for an hour and then decided to try online. I chose Simple Mode because I felt I’d be better at that. I played a few online matches and won them and was in the #3 in the US, so I stayed up a few more hours until I was #1. I was a few spots down, and then I’d catch up during the day and then I’d push the lead when people were asleep. I’d play for 6 hours at a time. I’d go to sleep, and then somebody would be in front of me. Then I’d get a big enough lead by staying up late again. In the first month, for that first week, I was the first #1 in the world.

Are you still #1 in the world?

No. I don’t even know who’s #1. You need to play constantly. I’d play like 10 hours a day. And you need to have at least a 95% win-ratio.

Is this the first game you’ve really played at the highest level competitively?

Oh yeah. The 3ds Mario Tennis. I was in the top 100 in the first week, but that’s about it.

What were your experiences with streaming? Do you plan to do more Streaming?

Only in the moment. It made Mario Tennis less fun. When you need to meet a demand while doing something you love, it takes some of the fun out. I streamed with some friends. After three days of that, I realized I didn’t like doing it daily.

Is there another upcoming release that you’re excited to play competitively?

I’m not gonna play Smash competitively, if that’s what you’re asking. I was just in the right place and the right time. I was good before people had a chance to get better.


Matt’s content can be found at the YouTube channel Bowsershmo21.

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