Shit My Dad Plays

Shit My Dad Plays
The Case of Dad vs. Phoenix Wright

Brendan Main | 22 Feb 2011 09:48
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Months passed, and we went back and forth like that. Every trip back home, I would look forward to hearing of his progress, how he had managed to work his way through cases of murderous acrobats and vengeful face-swapping nurses and evil psychics back from the beyond. Until one day, I got a call from my mom about a very real sort of courtroom drama: That day, while presiding over his courtroom, my dad's heart had stopped.


Not an attack - it just up and quit on him for a few seconds. And then it did it again. The episode landed him in the hospital, waiting for his condition to be addressed. My family, my brothers and sister, dropped what they were doing and came to visit, from all across Ontario. By the time we arrived, he was fairly sound and settled in. The emergency had passed, and now he was simply on strict observation, with the procedure to install a pacemaker scheduled for a few days' time. We walked the empty halls of the hospital, sat and talked in a sterile pastel waiting room. He was comfortable, he explained, and in no pain. The worst part of it was the wait.

The next day, we came bearing gifts. My family brought flowers and cards and books and magazines and Sudoku puzzles, and all sorts of things you're supposed to bring to people in hospitals. I brought his DS case, his small stack of games, and a few new ones to boot.

I said, "Hey, dad, I know you're working through the sequel to that stupid lawyer game. Well, did you know that it has a sequel? And that that game has a sequel? And that that game has a sequel?" I placed them beside him in a neat pile. He complained how stupid they are, how boneheaded and random, how they're next to impossible without an faq. Then he put the next one in, and turned it on, and I left him be.

It's funny. Up until then, I had assumed that I was foisting these games on him as some sort of malicious prank - an inside joke without a punchline. But it was more than that. They were a way of pointing out the vast, unspannable expanse between him and me: Him the federal judge, and me content to "play one on TV." But at certain times, in certain moments, we are more alike than different. I am no justice - but every now and then, I get a chance to be just.

I left the hospital with the surety that I haven't heard the last of my dad's criticisms about Phoenix Wright - I'll be listening to him complain about stupid games for years and years. It's only fair, after all. If I can play an attorney, he should get a chance to play a games critic as well. A small stack of games he loves to hate - in a weird way, I was happy to do him that little service. A waste-of-time game for a little bit of time worth wasting.

No objections here.

Brendan Main fought the law, and the law won. He needs a better lawyer.

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