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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Suffering Dual Destinies On Mobile

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Everything is wrong in a mobile world.

We know I'm old-fashioned when it comes to technology. You hip people and your smartphones I don't own. But you know who also does not have a smartphone, and lives in the future about 13 years from now?

Phoenix Wright's cell phone in Dual Destinies
Phoenix Wright. This is his phone in 2027.

I think I'm in good company. Unfortunately, not many other people agree with me on my harsh anti-mobile stances. In fact, many people are happy that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies is now available on Apple mobile devices. And I think it's... a terrible thing.

Wait, it's not rated M in the Apple Store? All that effort for nothing?!

Apparently a lot of other people think it's a terrible thing, despite Capcom's PR. (I want that foam finger.)

Apple Store reviews for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
Trashy mobile users do not understand what a virtual novel is.

To help understand why these people do not like the game, let's look at the mobile gaming market.

The majority of these so-called "apps" in the Apple Store are dirt-cheap and are crappy touch-screen-only puzzle games that you play while on the train or something for 5 minutes. They require very instant gratification because the sit-down time is so short and the attention spans so brief. I've seen it with my own eyes, these business dudes in suits who are just time-wasting on some puzzle game. These are without depth and without merit to gamers. The people who are the target audience are not people with taste. Those statistics you see about how half of gamers are women? They count the mobile gaming market. These women are not videogame fans. They're even broader a demographic and more mainstream than the Wii audience, given the prevalence of smartphones in society and the dirt-cheap barrier to entry. Remember how I said that portable systems trend to a lower-aged demographic because it's cheaper to enter the market as a consumer? That's on steroids here.

But it's not just young people buying things. What I said about ESRB and young people is absolutely true, but it also means that adults are playing E-rated games. These are the type of people who would never go into a videogame message board or a blog like KoopaTV, so I'm free to bash on them behind their backs.

Well, I have nothing against them (besides the ones who wrote those reviews of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies) but I do have things against mobile games being considered the wave of the future (or the present). And I do have issue with them being seen as a viable alternative to handheld gaming.

Satoru Iwata is absolutely correct that mobile game developers do not care about the future of the game industry. He's correct that the 99-cent model is a disaster and is poisoning the minds of consumers. He's right they are only shallow experiences.

It's that poisoning that makes those impatient mobile consumers come to the ridiculous conclusion that Ace Attorney is a bad series. (We're proud to not offer Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!! on mobile devices, but KoopaTV being a lesser-quality experience on mobile devices than on a PC is not a result of my biases.)

I'm concerned about two things now:
  1. Capcom (and other publishers) might eventually abandon handhelds and only release games on the mobile market. This is why people who say that Ace Attorney's appearances on mobile devices will expand the fanbase are wrong. To make up for the mismatch between Ace Attorney and the nature of mobile games, Dual Destinies is only half the price than it is on the Nintendo eShop. The only compatibility between the game and its platform is that the control scheme is simple enough. People are not going to buy a dedicated handheld system because they liked Ace Attorney on their mobile system and it's their first exposure to it. These people do not have the attention span or dedication to become long-term fans of the series. It's short-term profit with long-term detriment, just as Iwata said. This has already been a thing in non-videogame sectors. Entities make apps to post service alerts. For example, in Massachusetts, the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) has mobile apps telling you that their shitty transportation infrastructure is falling apart and your train is delayed, but their LED screens plastered all over the place in their stations don't replicate that information. It's exclusive to the mobile app.
  2. Smartphones make their users lose all capability for critical thinking.
That second point doesn't have to do with videogames, but it's absolutely worth warning about.

This guy is going to get killed. (By Victorgrigas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
People who use smartphones to run their lives forfeit the ability to think for themselves. "Hey, what decision should I make? Well, there's an app for that!" Or something. You're outsourcing your critical functions to a machine that is designed to break so you upgrade to a new one that comes out a year after the previous version is released.

Having dinner with people on their smartphone is incredibly obnoxious. They're always texting someone or looking at cat photos on the Internet. Hey, I'm trying to have a conversation here! With YOU. Quit lookin' at your phone, bub!

You know what I also hate?


Wear some headphones, people. They're more comfy, have better sound quality, and don't make you look like an obnoxious kid.

Yes, I do prejudge people who walk around with those awful things in their ears. They don't aesthetically go well with anything, and you're just completely oblivious to things around you. Got a "NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!" riot going on? Hey man, I got ear buds. I'm tuning you out.

In conclusion, the absolute worst experience is some little 12 year old that got the first Dual Destinies episode for free on their iOS-enabled system (because Apple rates these, not the ESRB) because it was labeled an "editor's pick". They play with their damn ear buds pictured above for five minutes on the drive from middle school to home by their mommy, and that entire five minutes is on the opening cutscene so they do not actually play anything. They wail and drop their iOS-enabled system in frustration because they wasted that all-important five minutes of their useless lives, and the fragile thing cracks its screen. Mommy sighs, and they drive to the nearest obnoxiously-styled Apple store to buy the newer iOS-enabled system that just came out.

Absolutely awful.

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Dual Destinies old phone Miiverse
“Do the Wright thing!
Don't support Apple and the iPhone!
Support Nintendo and the 3DS!”

Ludwig carries about his 3DS with him everywhere in hopes of Streetpassing someone, and he's quite satisfied not having a smartphone. If you would like to friend him (why would you ever do that?) his 3DS friend code is 3351-5164-3598.

For a real, detailed review of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies, click here! 
For a different perspective on this issue, look here.
More rants against earbuds.
Now Nintendo is suffering on mobile, though they'll tell you it's a success.
Now Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney made its way on iOS, but without an accompanying Nintendo 3DS launch!
Afterwards, Spirit of Justice ends up on mobile, and Maya Fey also has an old phone. It's broken now, though.


  1. *sighs and shakes head* Don't lump all us mobile users into one category! :P

    Once upon a time, there was a person who heard about a lawyer game. She thought a lawyer game sounded pretty dull, and didn't want to take a chance on such a dull game at its full retail price. On the other hand, it was cheap on the app store. So she got it for her iPod. It turned out to be one of the best series ever! She then went out and ordered DS copies of the rest of the series, even though some were at absurd prices back then, parodied the series as an official final project for class, recommended it to everyone she knew, and considers it one of the few instant-preorder series.

  2. And your screenshot isn't a good measure. You can find 1-star reviews for the DS games, and those complaints look awfully similar to things I saw people say when Dual Destinies came out on 3DS. Now, if there are proportionately significantly more negative reviews for the iOS version, I'll give your argument some credence.

    1. Sure, let's do some math.
      (I'm understanding why YouTube ditched the stars rating system for a thumbs-up/thumbs-down)

      Dual Destinies iOS star ratings:
      836 ratings total
      585 | 5-stars
      59 | 4-stars
      42 | 3-stars
      31 | 2-stars
      119 | 1-star

      Weighted average: 2925 + 236 + 126 + 62 + 119 = 3468 stars/836 = 4.148 stars average

      Dual Destinies eShop star ratings:
      4722 ratings total
      4124 | 5-stars
      499 | 4-stars
      67 | 3-stars
      20 | 2-stars
      12 | 1-star

      Weighted average: 20620 + 1996 + 201 + 40 + 12 = 22869 / 4722 = 4.843 stars average

      That may not look like much, but that's an astoundingly large difference. Especially if you look at it from a percentages perspective:

      70% of iOS users rated 5-star; 14% rated 1-star
      87% of 3DS users rated 5-star; .25% rated 1-star

      I think that's significant. I didn't just cherry-pick the one-star reviews.

    2. All right, point taken.

      But those 70% of iOS users who adored Dual Destinies don't want to be grouped in with those 14% as visual novel haters. :P

    3. I don't know enough about app store rating culture to know average game ratings.

      Some places have a culture of just five-starring things without thought.
      I'd also like to know how many of those purchases are newcomers to the franchise, how many are just Ace Attorney fans wanting to support the series, and how many will be converted to franchise fans.

      I guess I'll have to compare Trilogy ratings to Dual Destinies ratings on both eShop and iOS after enough time passes.

      ...And after the Trilogy comes out on 3DS.

    4. Then there are the ones who'll give it 1 star because of a glitch... and the poor souls who give it 1 star apparently thinking that's for #1! (I assume the reverse happens, but I've never seen it.)

    5. Hey, 3DS got glitches too and you didn't see a rating backlash.

      Like the dialogue log one. And the invalid message or whatever in Aura's lab.

    6. Yes, that maybe actually be an argument in your favor--in my experience, iOS users tend to give 1-star reviews if they experience crashes. (Although to be fair, if it's a startup crash and prevents you from playing the game, maybe it's justified.)

  3. This now has an embedded Miiverse post.

  4. *sigh* Okay, maybe you do have a point...

  5. I completely agree with your take on these games not fitting well on iOS devices. It is pitched to the wrong audience even though their intent is to expand their market. For me, I prefer these quirky kind of games like lawyer games (Phoenix Wright), surgury games (Trauma Center), etc. than main stream ones like CoD. They offer something new and more of them will be developed.

    1. ...By the way me responding within a minute was completely accidental and not a robotic reply or anything!

      Anyway, CoD-like action games wouldn't work on iOS anyway. Like, control-wise.

    2. Speaking of CoD-like action games, what do you think of Splatoon? I think it's really great that Nindendo is trying to get into shooter games using new ideas.

    3. Splatoon is amazing.

      Put it as my second-most hype game of the whole E3 event behind Smash.

      I'm totally behind the Splatoon for MLG movement too.

      I just hope it has a substantial amount of content fitting of whatever its price is.

    4. Splatoon for MLG is a great idea as long as other players don't think it as too 'kiddie'. We'll see when it finally gets released.

    5. Well, if the other players consider it "kiddie", that's their problem.

      It shouldn't stop it from still being impressive and looking great on streams and whatever.

      I'm pretty sure up until The Smash Brothers documentary the fighting game community considered Melee to be kiddie and not a real fighting game!

  6. Just gonna say from personal experience...
    iOS Dual Destinies... Is overrated.
    Because I downloaded it.

    1. Overrated? It looked pretty underrated to me!

      Why so?

    2. For o- why is this posting from my old email?
      Gimme a second. .3.


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