Musings on Ace Attorney 1 + Phoenix Wright Artbook Humor
Overall Impressions (parody follows later!)
I always used to say how corny the Ace Attorney games looked. How super-anime-like. How unlike any real legal system. But despite all this….once I tried the game, I was hooked. The games themselves are so simple…just a basic visual novel structure with a few menus and a fairly fixed storyline. Normally, those types of games on their own don’t intrigue me all that much, but the difference here is in the writing. Start with some funny, dynamic, and interesting characters with backstories and development (!!!), some nice background music (that only gets better), and intriguing, pretzel-like twisting stories developed for each trial (all of which happen to be for murder).
It was really inspiring for this former visual-novel-type-game creator to see such a “simple” game work so effectively and be so popular among both VN fans, other habitual gamers, and non-habitual-gamers (especially in the USA, where visual-novel-like games are nowhere near as popular as they are in Japan. Could it be all the reading involved?). It’s all in the writing. Given the relative simplicity of the game, I was not surprised to learn that the entire Ace Attorney core development team is only about 6 people. Capcom sure gets their moneys’ worth. However, the next game in the series (where you play the prosecution rather than the defense; it’s in development in Japan now) moves beyond the VN structure in that it appears to have controllable character sprites and a further “investigation” aspect. I’m not disappointed; it actually looks very very exciting.
As angry as most dubbing and over-localization makes me, I have to applaud Capcom’s USA team here. The vast majority of the names and humor don’t translate directly, so the localization team decided to do the best approximation without totally wrecking the sense of the original. And the humor really makes the game more enjoyable. From punny names (i.e. Winston Payne) to subculture jokes (the nerdy director of a samurai TV series talks entirely in l33t-speak) and other comedy gold (a wiretap is found in the “Gatewater Hotel”), the localization team really creates a well-written game that appeals to people outside the anime-fan-cum-gamer crowd.
So am I going to play the rest of this series? Yes.
Artbook Musings of Hilarity
*This was originally a chain email sent to some of my friends who play Phoenix Wright, in response to an artbook drawing of Miles Edgeworth in his pajamas. I can’t link the artbook scans directly, but I will provide the URL link to each picture.*
It’s really funny to think….SOMEBODY official drew that picture ’cause I’m sure something like this went down:
Boss: “Hey, look, underpaid Capcom artists, we’ve gotta get this stupid artbook together so we can make tons o’ money on something that’s half made-up of graphics already used in the game, but…there’s something new we need here. Something different….”
Artist 1: “Uh, how about something for the fangirls?”
Boss: “….Good thinking there! They will have no choice but to buy it!”
Artist 2: “Oh I drew this picture of Miles Edgeworth in his pajamas as a stupid joke but….”
Boss: “(shrieks). OH. MY. GOD. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME HAVE YOU DONE?!”
Artist 2: “Sorry…”
Boss: “NO I LOVE IT! YOU’RE GETTING PROMOTED! STOP THE PRESSES, PUT THAT SH*T IN THE ARTBOOK NOW!!!! Okay people we need more of this!”
Artist 3: “Err, how about something like this?”
Boss: “MAYA FEY IN A SCHOOLGIRL AND MAID OUTFIT?! YOU SICK PERVERT!……I LOVE IT! THOSE FANBOYS WILL LOVE IT TOO!” **addition: my friend informed me that the maid outfit is actually a waitress outfit from one of the later games.***
More Artbook Musings
(from the same email)
Okay, yes, I haven’t played the 2nd or 3rd game yet so I might be missing something, but this picture looks SO SO wrong:
Franziska: Hey, I hear your salary is pretty low recently, but I can pay you for *something else* if you just hop inside my limo here…. *heh heh heh*
Or maybe she’s just bribing him. *rolls eyes*
Additional Fangirl-like Rant (and response)
“Oh man, I can’t wait for that *new* game they’re developing in Japan to come out…I just saw the trailer and it looks hella cool.”
***note: this refers to the new Miles Edgeworth game (tentative USA title Miles Edgeworth Perfect Prosecutor) that is in development in Japan right now****