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

Brendan Main | 22 Feb 2011 13:48
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My father is a judge, presiding in the Ontario Court of Justice. Growing up as a kid, I used to hear stories around the dinner table of recent or unusual cases - stuff like arson, assault, or theft. But none of them holds a candle to the most unusual cases he's recently set his mind to - trials involving extreme plastic surgery, psychic mediums, amnesia, assassins, and ghosts.

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My parents used to joke that they were once told the jobs their children would one day have were yet to be invented, and I guess that was right. I had no interest in following my dad's footsteps, and never wanted to be a judge. Instead, I write about videogames for the internet. It might seem like a bit of a leap at first, but there are certain similarities in our vocations. We both work at a desk - though his is a little nicer than mine. And we both wear a robe to work - only, mine normally rests on a little hook outside the bathroom.

The Honorable Justice Dad views games as a waste of time. This is not conjecture. It's straight from the horse's mouth. A million years ago, I used to write about comic books, and one day I made a joke to him about their relative unseriousness in the grand scheme of things - ranking somewhere below Proust, and somewhere above funny pictures of cats on the internet. Well, he said. It could be worse. I could be writing about videogames. We both laughed at that: Him a deep, earnest chuckle, me an emaciated, weaselly "heh heh..." all the while I'm thinking "Good. Great. I better get started on that pseudonym."

They say adulthood truly hits you in that moment when you realize you've turned into your father. In my case, it hit me when I realized I was something my father thinks is kind of dumb.

The Honorable Justice Dad is not someone with any need for a videogames critic. Until recently, Dad had played about a dozen games in his life. This is a testament not to his casual nature, but rather to his single-minded devotion and perseverance. He used to flip on Dr. Mario on the NES on the hardest setting, music set to "Chill," and methodically empty out that jarful of viruses pill by pill without breaking a sweat. Chill, indeed. Later, I would turn on Mario Kart on the SNES to find he had beaten all my time trial scores, and I'd labor to reclaim them one after another. I still remember coming home from University, year after year, to help him sort through various epics and set pieces looted from Mephisto Hell runs for his Diablo 2 characters, to optimize this or that spec. The conversations would begin the same way. "Brendan. Come have a look at my goodies." And then he'd open a chest to sift through a list of runes, set items and epics. He may be the only man on Earth to refer to videogame loot as "goodies," but, you know, it makes sense. You kill baddies, you get goodies.

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