Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on Capcom's 2001 Japanese GBA title/2005 US DS title Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. We talk a bit about the year, the visual novel as a form we're not all that familiar with, although we've each played at least one, and then dive into the game properly before turning to reviews. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
Cases 1 & 2
0:48 PW Discussion
1:03:16 Reviews & Feedback
Issues covered: looking at the history of the visual novel, crime scene base, the combination of visual novel elements with other action elements, companion quests as visual novel, the split between adventure game types from different cultures (like RPGs and JRPGs), the limits of a handheld vs the early 80s PCs, good fit for the DS, the rampant sexism, the distraction of the sexism, stereotypes/archetypes used to involve the player efficiently, lack of subtlety, production realities, dating game history, where you put your development dollars, showing the crime and the killer up-front, dramatic irony, knowing you have to press the villain, scrubbing back and forth and evaluating when you want to present, being able to see the evidence at any point, a brief discussion about the Japanese legal system, similarities to turn-based combat, stripping down the mystery to expose the mechanics, adding in the investigation/adventure game mode, coming up with a theory of the crime, finding the evidence, the burdens on the prosecution vs the defense, adding in the pressing mechanic, seeing characters progressively crack, animating the characters in a way fitting to the hardware, having the fighting game rhythms, using manga aesthetics for pacing, Brett objects to the supernatural elements as unnecessary, would historians really thank us?, making the margin too small for dates, possible localization issues, Brett objects to the lighting in the office vs the hotel room, being open to what the game wants from me rather than what I know, finding what the game wants, seeking out the aha moment, following the wrong leads, red herrings, stuffing too much into the initial couple hours of a game, missing a core mechanic, two old men with their vision issues, exhaustible dialog elements vs a different style in PW:AA, RPGs trying to replicate D&D, verisimilitude of a game's dialog, parser-based early Ultima games, different ways of presenting dialog, lifting into a different level of story space abstraction, the hidden costs of moving to voice, the loss of the parser, money finds a way.
Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Republic Commando, Capcom, GBA/Nintendo DS, Portopia Serial Murder Case, Enix, Square, Hotel Dark, Trauma Center (series), Professor Layton (series), Policenauts, Hideo Kojima, Bioware, Mass Effect (series), Doki Doki Literature Club, Space Quest/King's Quest, Sierra, Scott Adams, Devil May Cry, Ico, GTA III, Animal Crossing, Civ III, Halo, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Final Fantasy X, Onimusha: Warlords, Shenmue II, Dreamcast, Pikmin, Advance Wars, Starfighter, Luigi's Mansion, GameCube, Xbox, Dream Daddy, L.A. Noire, Infocom, Deadline, Law & Order, Medium, Profiler, Numb3rs, SamSpot101, Ben Zaugg, 999, Danganronpa, Kingdom Hearts, Hunt A Killer, LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, Sam Thomas, Walker Farrell, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Divinity: Original Sin, Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, Dungeons & Dragons, Ultima, Reed Knight, Ken Rolston, Mark Crowe, Jurassic Park, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
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