Retronauts Micro Looks Back on Ace Attorney's Legacy of Law and Order

This week, USgamer's classic gaming podcast examines the series that helped Japanese adventure games develop a cult following in the States.

Article by Bob Mackey, .

It's strange to think of Ace Attorney as an "old" series—mostly because it hasn't changed all that much since its inception. But this Capcom oddity entered the world back in 2001, putting it well within the purview of the Retronauts podcast.

Coming to America during those first shaky years of the Nintendo DS, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney could have been just another gimmicky dual-screen experiment—at least, for as much most of us knew about the series' Game Boy Advance origins. But after picking it up based on the unique concept alone, Ace Attorney surprised me for being a much less limited experience than its title implied. Simply put, it's an honest-to-god adventure game—though it comes from a much different school of thought than the Sierra and LucasArts productions we American kids played throughout the '80s and '90s.

And that's the reason I turned the spotlight on Ace Attorney for this episode of Retronauts Micro. It's not just an extremely fun series; it also essentially introduced Japanese adventure games to Americans in a way the equally great Snatcher never could. Thanks to Ace Attorney, Japanese adventure games and visual novels are now somewhat viable in the West, and some of them aren't even porn! Okay, most of them are porn, but without Phoenix Wright, it's unlikely Danganronpa would make it to the States or even exist—an alternate universe I definitely wouldn't want to live in. So celebrate existing in this better reality by listening to our newest episode of Retronauts Micro!

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Comments 5

  • Avatar for SOUP32 #1 SOUP32 2 years ago
    Can't wait to give this one a listen. I'm actually playing through the fan translation of Ace Attorney Investigations 2 right now.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #2 link6616 2 years ago
    Could you list those books you recommended either in this piece or comments.
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  • Avatar for pennybags #3 pennybags 2 years ago
    I suppose this might be taxing to research without a strong command of Japanese, but I'd really like to hear an episode talking about Japanese detective adventures going back to the Horii trilogy.

    One thing that's really striking about the genre is how little these games have changed. This series obviously adds in the court system, but the basic gameplay outside of that is strikingly similar to, say, Hokkaido Serial Murders, which I just played a few months ago. The main difference is the older ones gave you fewer hints.
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  • Avatar for orient #4 orient 2 years ago
    Absolutely loved the original trilogy, especially 1 and 3. Fantastic characters and music. I never finished Apollo Justice, though, and I've been disinterested since then. I did pick up the latest 3DS game but again, didn't grab me like the originals.
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  • Avatar for jgoreham #5 jgoreham 2 years ago
    I bought the first one for DS in England (bigger game case on the shelf! lol) and I am TERRIBLE at it. Thanks for the book recommendations! Maybe I'll read a mystery and see if that helps me to have sharper courtroom skills in the game ;)
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