Turnabout Thinking: How Ace Attorney’s Logic Embeds Neurodiversity
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Turnabout Thinking: How Ace Attorney’s Logic Embeds Neurodiversity

Turnabout Thinking: How Ace Attorney’s Logic Embeds Neurodiversity

Turnabout Thinking: How Ace Attorney’s Logic Embeds Neurodiversity

Although Phoenix Wright, the defense attorney for Phoenix Wright, is confident that his client is innocent, he is quickly forced into a corner during the first trial of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. All hope is lost if there is no proof that the clock was three hours behind the crime time. But things change when Mia Fey, his mentor, gives him a simple but powerful piece of advice. He advises that instead of worrying about proving the clock was slower, focus on why.

This scene shows how lateral thinking is essential to Ace Attorney logic, investigation, puzzle-solving, and logic. These elements were born out of Shu Takumi, series creator. He loves mystery fiction like Sherlock Holmes. In which twists are revealed through deduction, unusual thinking, and observation, these elements result from Shu Takumi. It’s also the reason I fell in love with Ace Attorney. Through the lens of my ADHD adulthood, this is why the franchise has been so crucial to many neurodivergent people and me.

The Defense is (Not Ready)

Lateral thinking refers to problem-solving that uses an unusual, indirect, or creative approach. It is a way of seeing the problem from a new angle. People with neurodivergent disorders, such as those with ADHD and people on the autism spectrum, often excel in lateral thinking because they view the entire world differently and rely on creativity to navigate it.

Around the age of 10, I was diagnosed as having ADHD. My ability to manage schoolwork was greatly affected by ADHD. It wasn’t because I didn’t understand the lessons but because I approached them differently. I was often criticized for not showing work in math, but I found a different way to solve them in my head. For most of my childhood, I solved problems, but not the way school wanted me to. It made me feel like a dumb child, just like teachers and peers. In middle school, I began to play the Ace Attorney trilogies. It clicked. These games not only accepted my strange thinking but encouraged it. I didn’t fully appreciate and understand ADHD until recently.

The Ace Attorney trilogy is about Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney. Players take control via visual-novel gaming. They find contradictions in witness testimony, present evidence, and reach the correct conclusions to prove their client’s innocence. The defense is often left with little information about the case while the prosecution has access to all evidence, resources, and witnesses unfairly. Phoenix Wright and other defense attorneys are left without crucial information in every case. The prosecution unfairly has exclusive access to evidence, police resources, witnesses, and witnesses.

As the defense attorney, players must challenge the prosecution’s rigid thinking and find a way forward. This is a problem-solving approach that anyone with ADHD or any other neurodivergent would immediately recognize.

Each Ace Attorney game begins with you being placed in court without evidence or the chance to investigate the crime scene. The investigation gameplay is only introduced later. Once it is, you will be able to see beyond the surface. You will need to be more creative if you cannot solve the problem during the first trial. You’re using the lateral thinking skills you gained from the first trial to look for bloody knives and fingerprints. Instead, you are looking for more minor clues that might not seem to be related to the crime but still grab your attention. This is where neurotypical minds can be challenged and stimulated with puzzles that are specifically designed for them.

As crucial as noting and observing missed details is the defense lawyer’s fixation upon these details that others may find trite. You are encouraged to identify and dissect any inconsistencies and strange details during cross-examination and the investigation segments. Regardless of how small or insignificant they might seem, you will be expected to insist on the details and fight off ridicule from prosecution. This is similar to the hyper fixation that ADHD and autistic people have: From interests to observations to priorities, neurodivergent minds often place value where others don’t — a trait that can lead to social outcasting.

My own experiences have shown me that I can quickly get obsessed with TV, anime, and, a strange video game about lawyers. I often focus on these details, such as a scene, character design, or specific game elements. (I was obsessed using the “OBJECTION!” exclamations in games. It feels like I’m trying to explain to you why I hold on to these things. These details may seem trivial to neurotypicals, and in the Ace Attorney metaphor the prosecution, they are important. These details are extremely important to the neurodivergent (the lawyers representing defense) however. These details will become more important with enough time and flexibility.

Consider, for instance, the fourth case against Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. In “Turnabout Goodbyes,” Phoenix defends Miles Edgeworth for a murder that occurred at a lake. And, most importantly, he didn’t do it. Phoenix mentions the legend of the lake monster during the trial. This detail appears insignificant until Phoenix reveals that a witness to the crime was busy looking for the monster. Phoenix even revealed a connection between the crime and a 15-year-old unsolved tragedy. The game wouldn’t have allowed him to indulge his fixation; it wouldn’t have made the case if the game didn’t give importance to fixations neurotypicals might consider silly, annoying or irrelevant.

Phoenix’s propensity to bluff in order to stall and get new information is an extension to this. He sometimes doesn’t realize where his theories and hypotheses are until he gets there. They are used to substitute for hard evidence, but he realizes that he actually has the evidence he was looking for all along. It is how I talk, even though I didn’t realize it until I was halfway through. This is how I wrote this chunk. Ace Attorney not only stimulates my brain but also gives me the validation experience of being able see myself in Phoenix. I feel like him. I sweat because it is difficult to know what to do. But I am also excited to learn as I go.

Take It!

The defense attorneys’ sensory abilities, which are skills of observation that allow you to see details and give you an advantage over the prosecution, further emphasize the importance of these details. These game mechanics emphasize lateral thinking. They also ring like my ADHD-related emotional and physical hypersensitivity. This is something that many neurodivergent people can confirm.

Phoenix’s ability, for example, to see people’s “psyche-locks”, which are locks that are hidden truths, mirrors our neurodivergent experience. We feel excluded from neurotypical society due to our differences, and are fully aware of this snubbing. Apollo Justice’s “perceive”, which allows him to see people’s ticks when they lie, or hide information, mirrors mine. I avoid eye contact and focus on body language so Apollo Justice’s ability to perceive is similar to my own. Athena Cykes developed “sensitive hearing” as a child through the use of special headphones to deal with overwhelming sounds. This ability allows her to detect subtle emotions in voices and is reminiscent of autistic hypersensitivity.

The Great Ace Attorney also introduces multi-witness cross-examinations as well as the protagonist Ryunosuke Narutodo’s “pursue” ability. It encourages the player to pay close attention to other witnesses’ reactions to testimony. This highlights a non-conventional method for interrogation. This involves picking up subtle cues on body language and subtle cues that you might not normally notice. This demonstrates ADHD’s distractibility. ADHD means that I am constantly absorbing multiple stimuli and have difficulty deciding which ones to focus on. Sometimes, I don’t prioritize what other people believe is important. Ace Attorney does not see executive dysfunction and distractibility as a problem, but as a powerful tool for discovering the truth.

I can see myself in the way these lawyers use small details to gradually reveal the truth. They are a mirror of my productivity coping strategy, which is very common for ADHD patients. This involves breaking down a large task (getting a Not Guilty conviction) into smaller tasks (finding leads and following up on inconsistencies). It is easier to tackle a case that could determine the fate of many victims and criminals if I can work slowly and not get overwhelmed. This is a valuable lesson many ADHD people must learn to manage their executive dysfunction. Ace Attorneyembraces it.

Turnabout Thinking: How Ace Attorney’s Logic Embeds Neurodiversity
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