Relax With the Law: Ace Attorney Video Games

The Blackacre Times has already introduced you to a law firm which created a video game to give applicants an idea of what the practice of law is really like. But maybe you aren’t interested in reality. You just want to relax, point and click, and shout “Objection!” a lot. Allow me to introduce you to the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. As Phoenix “Nick” Wright, you are a rookie attorney, just entering the legal profession. Each game sees you interact with the police, wacky suspects, a clueless judge and ruthless prosecutors as you investigate and try several cases.

The series has proved incredibly popular over the past decade. The original game has spawned two direct sequels, two spin-offs, a team-up with the popular Professor Layton game series, a couple of manga books, and an upcoming live action movie adaptation. To say nothing of Nick’s recent addition to the Marvel v. Capcom line up (in one move, he literally throws the book at opponents).  Not bad for one attorney.

As a budding attorney yourself, it won’t take you long to realize that the game play bears little resemblance to the US trial system. In some part, this is because you are after all playing a video game, but  mostly it’s because the games originated in Japan. Although some references and settings have been localized for an English-speaking audience, the games still primarily reflect Japan’s legal system, which is a mix of the European civil law system, with some American elements thrown in recently. If you need a justification for playing a video game during law school, just say it’s helping you “study comparative law”.

The Phoenix Wright games are available for the Nintendo DS, Wii and, most recently, through the Apple store for your iOS devices.

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