My body speaks the language of Love Love

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (2008)

When you’re a young man desperate for a shag, you’ll try anything. You would probably never have guessed it, but I had no idea how women work, and I still don’t. How could I? I had no sister growing up. I shunned girls at a young age for fear of cooties, or becoming a sissy. I only went to all boy schools, another fine idea from the Catholic Church.

They brought us boys and girls together to interact in college, but by then it was far too late. I had no chat, no patter at all. Toilet humour I had bunches of, but that never got me very far – and with a few dozen drinks onboard I really did just sound like a clogged U-bend.

I had no money, I wasn’t driving… there were probably another fifty black marks against my name. Time for me to knuckle down and self-improve then, right? No, of course not, don’t you know me by now? That’s far too much time and effort. No, when confronted with a personal challenge like this, I could see only one way out – the quick way, which in this case meant the pseudoscience of flirtatious body language.

I must be a marketer’s dream, because I was buying several books on the subject without even questioning it. “Sleep with women without saying a word to them!” they proudly boasted, and I thought, Jesus, that sounds ideal. And there was more thrown into the bargain as well: apparently with an expert understanding of body language I’d be able to spot a liar, hide my own lies, influence people, intimidate people, and more. I’d be quite literally unlocking a superpower, and we all like to believe we have superpowers – especially when we can have them and 99% of the other plebby population can’t.

So there I was, trying to put my newfound secret knowledge into practice in the very few college lectures I actually attended. Forget about the 500 page body language tomes I was reading through and let me condense it for you: body language, especially of the sexual variety, is all about two things, clusters and mirroring.

Clusters simply means reading a group or cluster of different body language stances to get the full picture, rather than going off just one. So don’t just pay attention to the woman’s folded arms, but also take into account their crossed legs, their feet pointing towards the exit, and her pained grimace as well.

Don’t just focus on the fact that she’s occasionally playing with her hair and pinning your hopes on that, because chances are she’s just doing something, ANYTHING, to distract from your presence. It’s not an invitation, for example, to approach her and slobberingly ask her out. This – trust me – will result in a lightning quick slap across the face, and there aren’t too many clearer signs of closed off body language than that.

As for mirroring, that’s simply your pigeon, that is your quarry, imitating your own body language as a sign of desire or rapport or submissiveness. I alighted onto this one, and so there I was at one of those aforementioned lectures, having manoeuvred myself to a seat beside the latest girl I was crazy about, half-listening to the lecturer and thinking how awfully glad I was not to have paid money for all that bollocks, and trying on all sorts of different poses.

Seriously, there was me sat there like a goober, interchangeably exposing my wrists, which my book told me were as open as women could get (other top-shelf books told me different), or folding my arms or playing with my pens or doing God knows what, hoping the lovely vision beside me would become enchanted and mirror me in return. When it didn’t work, I probably read a different book on the subject in lieu of attending lectures, until it all culminated in me at the exam hall for my finals, doing the cha-cha for any girl who’d bother to look.

Crazy world, right? And what a load of cobblers it all turned out to be. Of course body language exists, but don’t start thinking you can manipulate it to your advantage unless you’re some hotshot poker player. You wouldn’t have thought dishonest body language would hold up in a court of law either. But that’s where you’d be wrong, because in actual fact it’s the signature move of Apollo Justice, new Ace Attorney on the block.

That’s not the only wild thing going on though, because this game is a wild reunion gone wrong. It’s been seven years since Trials and Tribulations, the third game and the end of Phoenix Wright’s trilogy saga. In that time, Phoenix has been disbarred from practicing law, Edgeworth has disappeared, Winston Payne has grown his hair long, and Phoenix’s young daughter shows up.

Wow! That’s a lot happening in seven years, although this game only scratched the surface of a crazy new timeline, brand new on the Nintendo DS, before future instalments brought the series back to… well, not normality, but something a lot more approaching Ace Attorney.

Seriously, a decent chunk of AJ:AA was enjoyable, but you almost wonder if the Capcom creators/writers were intentionally trying to hijack the series. Apollo Justice is a bizarre game, and not a particularly long game, just four cases again, and two of them are filler. Both of them are pretty wretched filler if you want to know the truth. The music’s OK, the courtroom suite is fantastic but some of the rest of it is low effort – says he, the man who never wrote a tune in his life. What can I say, music is just another language that I don’t understand.

The game’s flow is still the same – you investigate crime scenes for clues, you shout at people in court, you save and reload if you get it wrong… the biggest changes are that you’ll use the DS’s 3D capabilities for some crime-scene doohickery, being that this is the first Ace Attorney game made fully for DS, with lush new sprites and graphics to match.

For a slight gameplay change, Apollo will also use some magic bracelet he has to spot witness’s grievous body language, and expose them when their bodies tic. The thing is, you only really get to do this a handful of times in the game, although it always works when you perceive them properly.

I’m serious, the judge is immediately convinced and rules in your favour. I suppose the judge is an eccentric enough character, but fancy siding with a man who takes his bracelet off and uses it as a Zelda-style Lens of Truth in court. Sounds like Apollo was able to succeed in the world of body language where I failed.

But not so fast – for all his courtroom grandstanding, other people still do the majority of the work for him, including a hoodie-clad, down-and-out Phoenix Wright,. Also, and more to the point, I already told you that if body language interpretation is useful for anything, it’s for getting sex. And I get the distinct feeling that Apollo Justice is pretty sexless, just like his game.

30 September 2022

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