Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Simply reading the title causes a mental car crash of headline proportions, with ‘crazy Japanese game’ causing the first casualty, closely followed by ‘a game about lawyers?’ and then ‘I need to find out more’.

While I love graphical adventure games, I’ve never played a Japanese one. From my limited understanding of the Japanese game industry, I gather that they’re more keen on RPGs, for which I’ve never had the patience. I’m sure there are a lot of Japanese adventure games out there, but I’m also sure that few of them get translated into English. When I saw Phoenix Wright on a store shelf, I simply chuckled and put it down.

Several months later, after seeing it on several ‘Must Buy’ lists of Nintendo DS games, I put an order in – for research purposes, naturally. What I found was a surprisingly funny, intelligent and at times, grown-up, game. In Phoenix Wright, you play a rookie defense attorney who has to take on seemingly impossible cases; of course, you know that your client is innocent, but often the odds are completely stacked against you. Continue reading “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney”

Doctor Who on Earth

Despite my dislike in the direction that Doctor Who is currently going (immature jokes, nonsensical plots), I found Russell T Davies’ remarks on why Doctor Who never seems to leave Earth very refreshing:

“People will say, ‘Why doesn’t he visit alien planets more often?'” he said. “But that’s because they are expensive. They’re hugely expensive.”

Davies also told Doctor Who magazine that these episodes gained the lowest viewing figures of the series.

“The programmes that do show alien planets are not prime-time programmes,” he said. “Star Trek and Stargate are subscription-based programmes for a dedicated audience.”
The writer added that he would not be using forests and quarries as stand-ins for alien landscapes, as was often the case in classic Doctor Who episodes.

“The mockery we would get walking into a forest and saying that we’re on the planet Zagfon! If you think we had one or two bad reviews in the second series, they would become like a machine gun the moment we started doing that.”

It’s not that I wish Doctor Who went away from Earth more – I think there are plenty of good stories to be told on it – but at least he has a reasonable excuse. Having said that, I still think that the show either takes the easy option (recycle old enemies/visit famous Victorian people) or the startlingly weird option. How about some interesting new enemies, eh? How about getting some new music other than the two tracks that the show always uses – namely, upbeat excited, and slow depressed? How about at least attempting to make the stories consistent and logical?

There’s nothing worse than a show that has unquestioned support and no competition. The Matrix was a fine movie, and so successful that the studio apparently left the Wachowski brothers alone to direct the two sequels without much interference. The result? Disastrous. I won’t pretend that Season 2 of Doctor Who was that bad, but I didn’t feel it improved much. And the news that there are not one, but two Doctor Who spinoffs now in production – Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures – simply confirms to me that the BBC lacks balls and imagination. There are surely other good ideas and directors out there – why not give them a chance? Doctor Who won’t be popular forever…

Indy!

Yesterday I went to see a matinee performance of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the local cinema. It’s a popular film, to be sure, but I didn’t really expect there to be many people watching it at Sunday lunchtime, especially since Clapham is known for its bars and clubs. You can tell where this post is going – it turned out that the performance almost sold out. Pretty much everyone was of the intellectual urban hipster variety, keen to sample the glorious movie in full size. Their age was such that I doubt any of them (myself included) could’ve seen it at the cinema.

I’ll tell you how much I like the Indiana Jones movies: I dressed up as Jones himself for not one, but two Halloweens. Granted, the second time was because I couldn’t think of another costume and I happened to have all the requisite materials to hand (hat, shirt, whip, etc), but the thought was there. To me, Indiana Jones is one of the ‘best’ heros around – not just tough, but intelligent (a college professor!), self-deprecating and funny. Certainly represents the best of America.

As for Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s one of those movies that makes you tut severely and demand why modern directors can’t equal such elegant storytelling and wonderful suspense even when they have untold amounts of more money (for that matter, why can’t Spielberg himself do it?). Ah well. It’s good enough that we have it at all.

(On a side note, when digital projection of movies becomes commonplace, I anticipate that there will be far, far more screenings of classic movies. It doesn’t make financial sense to get a reel in for just one showing, but when you’re just downloading bits, you can show anything you want, any time you want – if the movie studios don’t screw it up, that is…)