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Gaming Journalist Looking for AA Fan OpinionsTopic%20Title
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Rest in Peace, Pumpkin

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Earlier this month, a gaming journalist reached out through Gmail. He plans on writing a piece about the Ace Attorney games with a particular focus on same-sex shipping--especially Phoenix/Miles--and LGBT+ representation (I'm guessing Pride Month is a factor in that). He'd like to get opinions from fans of the series, so here I am relaying his questions to anyone interested in providing answers. He hasn't set a hard deadline, but he'd appreciate having material to work with by the 21st or 22nd. Anyone who would prefer to answer anonymously (or is worried that their answers might violate forum rules) is free to PM me their answers and I will relay them (without your username, of course) to the journalist. Feel free to answer as many or as few of the questions as you'd like. Some might not be relevant to you personally, so don't feel obligated to answer them all.

Spoiler: Questions
  1. What do you think it is about the characters of Ace Attorney that makes them so popular and enduring?
  2. Why is Narumitsu such an overwhelmingly popular ship?
  3. How does the Ace Attorney fandom compare to other video game fandoms? Is it more welcoming, does it have its own toxic sections?
  4. There’s a good amount of evidence in the game to suggest a relationship between Phoenix and Miles. Would you like to see Capcom outright confirm the relationship? Why do you think they haven’t?
  5. Along those same lines, Ace Attorney has a lot of popular ships that are same sex relationships. Do you think the series needs to embrace that idea in the future?
  6. Was Ace Attorney an inspiration for you getting into game dev, and/or does it serve as an inspiration now?
  7. I’d like to know what you think of LGBTQ representation in gaming, in general. What can we do to improve it?
  8. Feel free to answer this as in-depth or briefly as you want, but why do you think people are so attracted to “shipping” video game and anime characters? What makes people so passionate about it?

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Re: Gaming Journalist Looking for AA Fan OpinionsTopic%20Title
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Art Person

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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:23 am

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Alright, I'll bite. (Some DD and DGS2 spoilers present)

Spoiler:
1. What do you think it is about the characters of Ace Attorney that makes them so popular and enduring?

I think there's an element of quirkiness and irreverence to the characters of the Ace Attorney franchise. Most of the characters have overtly obvious pun names (take "Paul Atishon", a politician, or "Redd White of Bluecorp" as some examples spanning across the 6 mainline games). There's also a mixture of the characters' designs, the way that they're written, and the worldbuilding surrounding them which make for compelling and enjoyable moments which resonate with players.

2. Why is Narumitsu such an overwhelmingly popular ship?

There are, in my opinion, a few explanations I can surmise for this.
1. There appears to be some hinting to this in some of the games, take the infamous "Yes, Daddy" from Dual Destinies' final case said by Phoenix in response to Edgeworth. I think their relationship as being one in which Phoenix and Edgeworth are shown as more than friends. For example in the first game, Phoenix, who last saw Edgeworth in his fourth grade class, was so enamoured by Edgeworth sticking up for him and it defined his whole life going forward -- becoming a lawyer, seeking out Edgeworth to meet him again, and helping Edgeworth work through his trauma. There are interludes of what can be read as more than a 'friendship' in Phoenix's actions and Edgeworth's responses.

2. Kumiko Suekane, the artist who designed Phoenix and Edgeworth, does a lot of "boys love" or "BL" work nowadays and so there may have been a connection there. My understanding (and this is rudimentary at best) is that this tends to sell well with female crowds in Japan to add a little queer-baiting into media.

3. I think there are a lot of LGBTQI+ people who just like to see representation in media, especially at a time when it was taboo or not seen as acceptable. It's basically a form of release and a way to create a pocket of relatability for people.

3. How does the Ace Attorney fandom compare to other video game fandoms? Is it more welcoming, does it have its own toxic sections?

I'd say on the whole it's very welcoming. I've been fortunate enough to make some long-lasting friends from across the globe through my 13+ years in this fandom, spanning across forums, Skype roleplays, Discord servers and the like. There is a strong LGBTQI+ presence in the community as well which I have noticed grow in the last 5 or so years.

The earlier days (circa 2010-2013 let's say) I'd argue was less accepting of this, but this has changed over time. Even still I recall shipping being very common back in those days, although in forums it was mostly Phoenix/Maya rather than Phoenix/Edgworth.

The fandom today isn't all accepting though - but I will say this is a small pocket. I have seen in recent times some pockets of the fandom I can only explain to be conservative (and in some instances discriminatory) towards issues such as gender and race. But those pockets are relatively obscure at best and it's only because I've been around so long I've seen this sort of thing. Nowadays I can't say this is as obvious as the earlier years of internet culture.

4. There’s a good amount of evidence in the game to suggest a relationship between Phoenix and Miles. Would you like to see Capcom outright confirm the relationship? Why do you think they haven’t?

I'm personally indifferent to it, but not opposed to it. I think there's always a risk of corporate backlash to openly displaying lgbtqi+ relationships in media. It's in my opinion an outdated view to think showing a main character as anything but straight could affect profits, but I don't think many well-known game companies have yet to embrace this level of open diversity outside of stereotypes, as much as other forms of media have in recent years (and even then it's under-represented on the whole).

As a queer person I don't feel like representation is even a factor in the minds of game developers when making games in general, based on my experiences it's few and far between and can only grow from here.

In the Trilogy, the closest to an overt queer representation was Jean Armstrong, a stereotypical gay man. Yes the character had more than one dimension, but the overt expression of his character was more of a joke rather than a serious statement.

As a general rule I'd say I respect Takumi's story as it is, and if it was his intention to imply that, I'm fine. If not, I'm fine. The trilogy was originally written between 2001 to 2004, so it makes sense why it's not as overt in media now 20 years old.

5. Along those same lines, Ace Attorney has a lot of popular ships that are same sex relationships. Do you think the series needs to embrace that idea in the future?

My view mirrors that of my last answer. It would be nice, but I don't think it's a reality unfortunatley. I would love to be wrong on this though.

There are only two I consider are hinted at being canon, being a one-sided love of Metis Cykes by Aura Blackquill in Dual Destinies, and again, a one-side infatuation of Rei Membami's towards Susato Mikotoba (disguiesed as "Ryutaro Naruhodo") in Great Ace Attorney 2.

There isn't more than queer-baiting. The series doesn't actively care or promote queer relationships. I don't think it ever will unless it's thematically relevant to a mystery. I find that a shame, but it's also something I've seen in video games my whole life, so I accept it, and I accept that the fandom fills that void as it continues to do so, with things like original characters or ships. I'm not personally one for ships, but I do enjoy creative fanfiction and also enjoy using that to write more thought out queer characters.

6. Was Ace Attorney an inspiration for you getting into game dev, and/or does it serve as an inspiration now?

It moreso inspired me to pursue law rather than develop games. That was a not fruitless endeavour either.

7. I’d like to know what you think of LGBTQ representation in gaming, in general. What can we do to improve it?

Have protagonists be gay, non-binary or trans. Just do it. Don't feel the need to make it a focal point. Don't make the world stop for them. Normalise it. Show people it's real, accepted, common and it won't go anywhere anytime soon. Consult with actual queer people and allow them to impart their experiences as to the nuances of various identities.

I feel games tend to add it in as a small thing on the side, or if they add it in, it's done so in a manner that's either comedic or shoehorned in to come across as 'woke'. There's no acknowledgement of LGBTQI+ people as people, as normal people, with their own flaws and dimensions to their character. It tends to be tacked on as some after-thought like "oh and by the way, this person will be gay".

In indie-developed projects, queer representation is more accepted and displayed in a positive light. Take "Murder By Numbers", an Ace Attorney inspired game with picross-like puzzle elements sprinkled in. That has a whole case centred around a drag bar, and shows drag queens, queer characters, and does so in a way that humanises them and, in my opinion, portrays people as people in a way that's accepting and also educative to people not familiar with these sorts of things.

Will Ace Attorney ever have drag queens, non-binary protagonists, or queer relationships? I don't think that it will any time soon. I think there's still a very conservative viewpoint held by people in upper management of larger companies. It's just the way of the world as of 2022. Maybe in another 10-15 years this will change as execs are replaced. Only time will tell. There has to be an active push from the top down to ensure queer representation is more visible. I think the only time I've ever seen that is in SEGA's latest IR presentation where they had one comment of Sega of Japan adding "LGBT Guidelines" in a slide, but even then that's not exactly a plan nor a pledge to make it displayed in a more positive light.

8. Feel free to answer this as in-depth or briefly as you want, but why do you think people are so attracted to “shipping” video game and anime characters? What makes people so passionate about it?

My personal views are that I think a lot is self-inserting. On the whole, it's mostly the younger fans that 'ship' characters. I don't see most of my friends in their 20s or older doing it. That's not to say adults don't do it though. I think shipping is a way for people to explore their identities through characters they relate with, and this is their medium.

Re: Gaming Journalist Looking for AA Fan OpinionsTopic%20Title
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My 3DS broke;-;

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Okay, here we go

Spoiler:
1.What do you think it is about the characters of Ace Attorney that makes them so popular and enduring?
Mostly the way they are written and aniamted, like, the characters in Ace Attorney have a lot of distinct animations, some can be funny, sad or determined. The characters have a lot of emotion and the way they are written and even their backsroty makes them seem more alive and likeable.

2.Why is Narumitsu such an overwhelmingly popular ship?
Because it envolves the two most popular main characters of the series and even has a lot of evidence supporting it(although I highly disagree with some of it).

3.How does the Ace Attorney fandom compare to other video game fandoms? Is it more welcoming, does it have its own toxic sections?
Okay, I have only been a part of the Ace Attorney fandom for a year, and I can say that it was an amazing experience, really, it's the best fandom that I have seen, but of course, there are some bad parts, like the people that only enjoy the OG Trilogy and think that everything that came after it is morally a disgrace.

4.There’s a good amount of evidence in the game to suggest a relationship between Phoenix and Miles. Would you like to see Capcom outright confirm the relationship? Why do you think they haven’t?
I wouldn't like to see them confirm it because I think what makes the shipps magicals are the headcanons and the fact that they haven't been confirmed(and Edgy already said in Turnabout Time Traveler(SOJ-DLC) that he doesn't want to have a relationship with anyone)

5.Along those same lines, Ace Attorney has a lot of popular ships that are same sex relationships. Do you think the series needs to embrace that idea in the future?
I think that shipps in general(both heterosexual and homosexual) should only happen if they have a purpose in the history, not just because of fanservice.

6.Was Ace Attorney an inspiration for you getting into game dev, and/or does it serve as an inspiration now?
YESSSSS. I am even trying to write a fan-game based on it, and if all goes well, maybe in the future I can start making games.

7.I'd like to know what you think of LGBTQ representation in gaming, in general. What can we do to improve it?
I think it's very good to have that kind of representation in media in general, especially since ace attorney had some very strange things involving lgbt(I like Recipe for Turnabout, but Jean was a very strange character, let's be honest). To improve it you can just add characters that are lgbt and don't make them have some strabge characteristic based on it, like Robin in DD-3, yes, I know she wasn't actually trans, but she was such a great characterthat could be changed to include that detail.

I won't answer 8 cuz I have no idea what to answer.

Sorry for bad english :yogi:
Re: Gaming Journalist Looking for AA Fan OpinionsTopic%20Title
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The [[Big Shot]]

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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:53 pm

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Spoiler: Questions (Answered, obviously)
  1. What do you think it is about the characters of Ace Attorney that makes them so popular and enduring?

    That they keep the character's stories entirely within the scope of the narrative, rather than having them as stand-ins.
  2. Why is Narumitsu such an overwhelmingly popular ship?

    It's a meme.
  3. How does the Ace Attorney fandom compare to other video game fandoms? Is it more welcoming, does it have its own toxic sections?

    The fandom overall is welcoming, it doesn't have any type of gatekeeping since there's no mechanics to master and no real skill floor other than a basic ability to read. Toxicity in fandoms for story based games is pretty rare, other than the occasional shippers having a spat. But there are bad people in every group.
  4. There’s a good amount of evidence in the game to suggest a relationship between Phoenix and Miles. Would you like to see Capcom outright confirm the relationship? Why do you think they haven’t?

    The Japanese don't have the same connotation of homosexuality as two men getting along, it's mostly a western thing that two men having a close relationship means it's sexual somehow. Two men are allowed to have a close platonic relationship.
  5. Along those same lines, Ace Attorney has a lot of popular ships that are same sex relationships. Do you think the series needs to embrace that idea in the future?

    No, unless that's what the author wants to do. A creator's work should be entirely to show their own vision, not appealing to as broad a group as possible.
  6. I’d like to know what you think of LGBTQ representation in gaming, in general. What can we do to improve it?

    Having people who can actually write a compelling narrative would be a good start, the AA series is proof positive that a franchise can be long running due to it's story. Other game types can rely on their mechanics or their multiplayer "It's fun with friends" approach, but a story based game with a bad story has literally nothing. Many of the good writing tricks that make good LGBT characters in television and literature will work on the AA series.
  7. Feel free to answer this as in-depth or briefly as you want, but why do you think people are so attracted to “shipping” video game and anime characters? What makes people so passionate about it?

    Autism, the cool kind.

Re: Gaming Journalist Looking for AA Fan OpinionsTopic%20Title
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Rest in Peace, Pumpkin

Gender: Male

Location: Southern California

Rank: Admin

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:31 pm

Posts: 4212

Article's up.
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