This Monday, as I come down from the amazing performance my students gave last night at the Herbst (seriously: amazing), I find myself bored by the everyday grind, the bland normalcy of my routine. I wish I could shake things up! Wouldn’t it be great if right now, a new client could walk through my door and offer me a case rife with intrigue, double-crossings, and murderous prosecutors? Life would certainly never get dull if I could team up with my best friend (a shape-shifting spirit medium) and tackle the wildest, wackiest, and plain weirdest cases that the west coast has ever witnessed! So, this Monday, I want to be none other than Phoenix Wright, the most ace of all ace attorneys.
I first got to know Phoenix when I borrowed my cousin’s DS a couple of Christmases ago up in the Twin Cities. I hadn’t played anything on the DS before, and the game instantly charmed me half to death. I beat the first case, moved on to the second case, and was hooked just in time to have to put it down and go home. I’ve been longing for something to fill the void it left – I thought that the iPhone game 1112 would do the trick, but I lost interest not too long after writing that post about how freaking awesome it is. Whoops.
Fortunately, I recently went ahead and got myself a DS, and with it, a copy of all three Phoenix Wright games (which are quite cheap these days, though surprisingly hard to find in the States). I’m now most of the way through the second game in the trilogy, and I’m enjoying myself even more than I thought I would.
A brief primer for those who haven’t played the games – you play as Phoenix, a young lawyer (for some reason, all of the characters in this game are around 23 years old) who, along with Maya Fey (the younger sister of his deceased boss Mia), runs the Wright and Fey law offices, tackling four or five big cases per game. The first part of each case is spent investigating the scene of the crime, interviewing witnesses, and preparing for court. After that, you head into court and face off against one of a cadre of fearsome prosecutors (my favorite is the hilariously over-the-top, whip-wielding Franziska von Karma). Despite the fact that the rules of the court are almost insanely stacked against the defense, you work the witnesses, find contradictions in their testimonies, and get your client found “Not Guilty.”
Oh, you guys, it is so much fun. Honestly, the games are more like interactive storybooks than a proper “games,” but all the same – the writing is so funny, light, and witty, and the characters so fun and memorable (the same five or six characters wind up being witnesses in just about every case) that it’s never less than a total pleasure to play.
So, no, Phoenix does not have a boring life, but that’s not really why I want to be like him this Monday. I admire Phoenix because despite the craziness of his day-to-day existence, he is a genuinely honest, caring, and decent guy. He cares more about truth and justice than he does the guilt or innocence of his client (it’s a good thing that his clients are always innocent). He’s a funny, kind person, and though he’s frequently surrounded by a (sometimes literal) circus of insanity, he keeps things grounded, and is frequently the only level-headed person in the room. His “thought bubble” asides to himself are consistently hilarious, and usually match up with what I’m thinking at the moment.
Phoenix Wright is a really nice guy, and takes great pains to protect those he cares about while bringing the wicked to justice. And couldn’t we all strive to be a little bit more like that in our daily lives? I think so.
Plus, it would be pretty amazing to be so popular in Japan that someone decides to make a musical about your adventures. Oh, I’m serious – see for yourself: