Great moments in PC gaming: The French Revolution in Aviary Attorney

(Image credit: Sketchy Logic)

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Aviary Attorney

(Image credit: Sketchy Logic)

Year: 2015
Developer: Sketchy Logic

Aviary Attorney is set in 19th century Paris, so it makes sense the political tension of the time would be present in some way. But this is a 19th century Paris inhabited by animal people—the contemporary art of J. J. Grandville brought to life to gently parody the Ace Attorney games. When Phoenix Wright puts a parrot on the witness stand it's a shocking twist. In Aviary Attorney, that's Tuesday.

The fact that this goofy-ass game based on sending up a series that was already pretty damn goofy to begin with contains a deft treatment of the French Revolution of 1848 is wild. 

Class is certainly important to the early cases, where you're interviewing a maid about whether her master is capable of murder or listening to a judge rant about an uprising to come. Still, when events sweep up the inexpert (sometimes inebriated) legal team of Falcon and Sparrowson in their wake, you're as surprised as the characters are. You've just been bumbling along, doing your job and living your life and drinking at Le Canard Joyeux and now history's happening all around you. Which is exactly how many citizens of 19th century Paris must have felt.

One thing that marks Aviary Attorney out from its inspiration is its reactivity. It's possible to lose the very first case and keep going, with consequences later on of course, and there's a branch at the end which sets you off toward one of several endings that are shocking in how far apart they wind up. You keep expecting the game to abruptly stall and tell you this was the "bad ending", but it just keeps going. 

You might end up forced to become an assistant to a leader of the revolution, essentially held captive but able to advise her in ways that might shift the revolution away from violence. But you might also team up with the prosecutor who has been your rival for most of the game to take the king himself to court, putting Louis Phillipe on trial so that he doesn't have to go to the guillotine—a desperate attempt to prove the system works before it's torn down.

You're so invested in this attempt to ensure a peaceful handover as the Second Republic inevitably begins and the wheels of history roll over you all, it stops mattering that the version of Louis Phillipe you've got on the stand just happens to be a penguin.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.