Visual Novel: Socrates Jones Pro Philosopher

Socrates Jones (and many others)

Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is a Visual Novel by Connor Fallon and Valeria Reznitskaya; as the title alone should indicate, it draws heavy, heavy inspiration from the Ace Attorney series. It's actually an Edutainment Game designed to teach the player about debating and philosophy, but hides it well.

The titular Socrates Jones is an accountant who lives in New York with his daughter, Ariadne; every Jones except for Socrates himself is a huge philosophy buff, whereas he himself just doesn't get what the fuss is all about. A car accident and a cosmic misfile, however, land him and Ari in the Intelligible Realm, the philosophers' afterlife, and his only ticket out is to answer the ancient question of what constitutes the perfect definition of morality. To come up with an answer, Socrates has to debate with a handful of famous philosophers.

This series provides examples of:

Tropes shared with the Ace Attorney series

  • Armor-Piercing Question: The gameplay revolves around discovering the one that will unravel each opponent's theory. Arguably more appropriate here than in the inspiration series, because this is primarily a game about philosophy and debate.
  • Big Word Shout: NONSENSE!
  • Rainbow Speak: With Socrates's thoughts and with narrative observations (e.g. "New idea added to the Idea Slate").
  • Screen Shake: To emphasize shouting and particularly climactic points, and a bit of miscellany besides.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Averted more often than not, but played straight in a few cases (Hobbes in particular).

Other tropes

  • The Cavalry: Right in the middle of the last chapter, just as Socrates is about to admit defeat against the Arbiter, all the philosophers he defeated storm in to back him up.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Socrates is an accountant; his skills lie in mathematics, not philosophy. In the final chapter, he uses a mathematical concept — namely, the nature of infinity — to counter an argument.
    • Downplayed with the "question relevance" option — after the prologue, it's only useful against the Final Boss, but it's not crucial to winning the argument.
    • Averted with "Your face is ugly!" You get it at the very beginning and it persists in the idea slate throughout the whole game, but it's never useful apart from getting some funny dialogue and suiciding.
  • Chess with Death: Or rather, philosophizing with Death.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Immanual Kant seems to have everything on his schedule, including the events of his debate with Socrates.
  • Darkest Hour: The final chapter begins on a very bleak note, as Socrates accidentally throws away his one chance at returning to life.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Potentially; Ari wagered her own life to allow Socrates an opportunity at the Arbiter's Wager.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Discussed and deconstructed in the third chapter, wherein Soc debates the matter with Hobbes himself.
  • I Think You Broke Him: Hobbes makes this observation at the Laughing Mad moment below:
    "Oh wonderful, you broke the sovereign. Now we'll have to get a new one."
  • Lampshade Hanging: Some questions don't make logical sense to ask (asking for clarification or backing on a point Socrates himself made, for instance), and your opponents will point out the absurdity if you try.
  • Laughing Mad: The Arbiter's breakdown.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Philosophy, of course.
  • Press X to Die / Schmuck Bait: Saying "Your face is ugly!" is guaranteed to heavily damage your Life Meter... but it's always there, and so tempting. You'll at least get some funny dialogue for your trouble if you succumb to temptation.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Socrates (Blue) and his daughter Ari (Red). The former is calm and collected whenever possible, and serves as the voice of reason on more than one occasion; the latter is easily excitable and doesn't hesitate to take risks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • An optional question when debating with Mill can lead to him outlining a scenario where society doesn't follow the rule of "innocent until proven guilty". After a description that sounds oddly like the premise of the Ace Attorney series, Socrates muses that it "might make an interesting game".
    • When Ari asks Socrates if he knows who John Stuart Mill is, he says "A comedian?"
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Billy. He sells deer repellent using the classic "I don't see any deer around, so my product must work" fallacy. Dissecting his sales pitch serves as the game's Justified Tutorial.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When beginning to argue with Kant:
    Socrates: This doesn't seem too bad.
    • In the final chapter:
    The Arbiter: Do you really intend to question his judgment?
  • The Unfought: Socrates is about to meet Friedrich Nietzsche when he accidentally starts the final argument against the Arbiter.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: During the credits. Curiously, despite all the other similarities, the style of it is radically different from the way the Ace Attorney games handle it; whereas that series offers short speeches from the various NPC's, this game offers white-on-black images with no dialogue and no sprites.