We’re covering Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney as our old game this week, and, if you somehow hadn’t yet realized, I have a deep and enduring love for these ridiculous games. But, despite playing as a lawyer, that’s probably one thing you really, really don’t learn from the games. Along with how to have a stable emotional state. Or how to name your children. And how to practice safe behavior. The greatest mystery in the Phoenix Wright games is how on earth Phoenix Wright is still alive.
But I do think it’s interesting when professions are portrayed in media- how accurate or inaccurate is it? I mean, have you watched any cop shows? I have a soft spot for the new Hawaii 5-0. And their way of justifying dangling suspects off buildings and stuff is that the team has “full immunity and means,” which is actually terrifying if you think about it.
Games have a separate dilemma. How accurate can a game be while still making it fun for the players? Lawyering certainly would not be particularly fun, not with how long cases actually drag on and how much minutia actually needs to get done. Imagine just filling out paperwork all game. I mean, I guess it worked in Papers, Please but still. Hence why Phoenix Wright introduces the context of the three-day court system and the totally sketchy way of introducing evidence and witnesses.
We talked about this in relation to Watch Dogs 2 as well, in our last full episode. The designers at Ubisoft did apparently collaborate with real-world hackers for the lingo and technique, but I refuse to believe that hacking is actually that easy. Please, nobody tell me if hacking is actually that easy. But if you had to actually hack, like type a bunch of stuff, how fun would that be? Not.
But is it possible to transfer the skills and understanding of a job through gameplay? I’d say that it probably depends on the job, and the person.
For me, practice is helpful when I’m learning. But sometimes, there’s no feasible way to practice something- chemistry experiments for instance, or building roller coasters. Games or even just simple simulations help you do that. But some people learn better through visuals or lectures. I’m sure you’ve heard of the different learning styles before. I need to do something before I learn. I can’t just read. I have to read, interact with the reading, take notes, then interact with those notes. Gameplay just happens to be a much more fun kind of way to do that.
If games could somehow be used as a way to give kids and teens a way to explore different professions, it could provide an awesome motivating tool. The games wouldn’t have to show all the difficulties and boredoms that come with any job, just as games now don;’t. But kids with no inspiration or particular dreams would be given the chance to find one through experiencing different jobs for themselves.
Perhaps that’s a bit idealistic and optimistic, but I think it holds some water. There was a brief period after playing Phoenix Wright that I thought I’d be a lawyer. Then I realized people wouldn’t actually be named things like Ini Nocent or Didnot Dooit or Deid Mann.
Okay, that last one is the only real one. But come on. Come on Phoenix Wright-ers (haaaa haaaa, I made my own pun YOU PUN MONSTERS).
Anyway, I’m always thinking about new ways that games can be used beyond entertainment. If you’ve ever been exposed to anything similar (or know any other ways that you’d like to see games used), let us know. And remember to listen to our new episode next Sunday!