ATB’s Best Games Ever: (18) Phoenix Wright


Someone has to look out for the people who have no one on their side. This is the list of At the Buzzer’s top 25 games of all-time, as voted on by the main ATB cast members and other friends of the show. For more information on how this whole thing works or for the other games on the list, check out the Related Links at the bottom of this post.

18) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)

Chris: As a young boy, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, which meant that I spent a lot of time watching game shows, Murder She Wrote and Matlock. I suspect that might have had something to do with my love of detective stories. Phoenix Wright encapsulates everything that made shows like Perry Mason and Columbo successful, only in video game form. The anime graphics help appeal to a younger audience (read: younger than 70), as do the intense interjections and often ludicrous cases. The game is also a testament to the occasional success fans can have in bringing a game over to the U.S. — even if it takes four years to do it. phoenixwrightboxOn the surface, you would think that a game about an attorney would be the most boring title ever, but instead, Phoenix Wright carved out its own niche in the market to become one of gaming’s most beloved series.

Dave: Take a promising young lawyer, throw him against a psychotic prosecutor who only wants a guilty verdict (evidence be damned) and you have one of the most inventive games ever created. Phoenix Wright is able to take the usual boring day-to-day life of a defense attorney and pair him with likeable partners while searching for justice in this mixed-up world. While some of the laws may not be completely accurate, the musical score and character facial expressions more than make up for any inaccuracies.

Shaun: Where do I start with Phoenix Wright? Is it the most epic game series ever? I think you can make a case for it, depending on how you judge.

If “epic” has to involve a bunch of roided-out freak shows spouting dumbass one-liners as they chainsaw through hordes of silly monsters…then no, Ace Attorney’s not for you.

If “epic” is defined by sharp writing, complete characterization, and dramatic atmosphere, then look no further.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like more of a badass in a video game then, when defending my own innocence in a case where I’ve been accused of murder, I call out the most subtle contradiction that slowly makes the prosecution’s case start to unravel. The combination of me feeling like I out thought my opponent, along with the accompanying “Objection” and awesome score, make playing Phoenix Wright unlike anything else in gaming.



(19) Final Fantasy IX

(20) Star Fox 64

(21) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

(22) The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

(23) Fallout 3

(24) StarCraft

(25) Bioshock

Best Games Ever: #50-26

Best Games Ever: #75-51

Best Games Ever: #100-76

Honorable Mentions


6 thoughts on “ATB’s Best Games Ever: (18) Phoenix Wright

  1. I love the statement in David’s blurb: “While some of the laws may not be completely accurate, the musical score and character facial expressions more than make up for any inaccuracies.” If only our own judicial system worked this way. Oh wait…it does…except with less music.

  2. Once upon a time, Dave’s biggest gripe was that the game didn’t reflect actual courtroom happenings. Can you believe that? I agree with you – if anything, it reflects it TOO well. And to address the other problem, I’m going to start bringing a boombox to the courthouse and hold it over my head anytime someone presents contradicting evidence.

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