Many, many people have stories about how video games have impacted them. It’s rarer for a series to be a continuous, changing influence on half of your life. And yet somehow Ace Attorney, a comedy game about lawyers, became bizarrely foundational to my teenage years – and then jarringly alien in my 20s. So when the original trilogy was remastered earlier this year, it felt like so much more than the chance to revisit a classic. It seemed an invitation to reflect on an influence lasting more than a decade, kicked off by a video game, that ended up nowhere near where I expected it to.
The first time I ever saw Ace Attorney being played, I was 12. The first game was already five years old, having made the transition from the Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo DS by the time I glimpsed it over a friend’s shoulder. She was playing one of the tense courtroom battles and, for reasons long lost to time, I was immediately hooked by the concept.
The investigative sequences were less interesting to me, but this was a blessing in disguise. My friend soon got fed up of calling me over when she was back to arguing her case in front of a judge, and I wasn’t understanding the story properly from those fragments anyway, so I picked up my own copy and tore through it, falling in love with the characters and story.