Thursday, October 27, 2011

Phoenix Wright, from Nintendo DS to the Big Screen

Those of you who have been reading this sight for a couple of years, know that I am a huge Phoenix Wright fan.  The game series is a splendid addition to the procedural/detective game genre.  A genre that includes many great video games, as well as some of the best table top games ever created

At first glance, the game might seem a little strange.  It is entirely narrative, requires keen observation and logic skills, but almost no coordination.  It requires a skill set that is typically used in board/card game play and when used in those it tends to be in an "abstract" fashion.  Most video games that use this skill set -- exclusively -- also tend to be abstract.  Think Chess, Solitaire, and Minesweeper for examples of the kinds of games that have historically been observational/logical in game play.  Very rarely are these games narratively exciting.

Somehow, the Phoenix Wright game manages to be exactly that -- exciting.  Sure, the random "OBJECTION!" from time to time wakes up the mind in a brute way, but it is the engaging stories and humor that really make these games worth playing -- and replaying.  It should be noted that game designer extraordinaire did work on a "Harvey Birdman" game for the Wii that is more humorous, but similarly entertaining. 

Engaging stories and humor...hmmm...that sounds like a good combination for a film, and low and behold there is a Phoenix Wright film in the works.  The official trailer should be released November 5th and the film will be released in Japan on February 11th.  The film will be directed by Takashi Miike of 13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer, and Audition fame.

One might think that Miike is an odd choice for a humorous attorney film based upon a video game, but players of the game are familiar with how gruesome some of the murders in the game actually are.  One can only hope that Miike is able to balance the gore, humor, and engaging narrative in the same manner as the games.

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