compilation of my PL + AA drawings for the palette meme~!
Brilliant and bonkers, perrrrfect!
Professor Layton and the Curious Village - “Layton’s Theme (Live)”
So after discussing an icon of Nintendo’s past, let’s now look to one of its present heroes.
I mentioned yesterday that the Nintendo DS had a substantial and fantastic library, but that aside doesn’t do justice to the sheer level of work done on the platform. While its only real innovation was having two simultaneous screens, it - as well as the touch screen and online capabilities - seemed to have freed up creators’ imaginations. Even if their changes were not radical, series as diverse as Pokémon, Animal Crossing, WarioWare, and more found new life and unexpected uses for all three major elements. Even some of the less successful experiments like the two Legend of Zelda games managed to include or develop something (in its case touch screen controls) that was far from the norm. But it also managed to sell these changes by deliberaely avoiding being confrontational; its agreeable design probably played a big part in it being the second-highest selling console in history.
Additionally, it inspired a wealth of new series. Perhaps emboldened by Nintendo’s claims that it and the Wii (then called the “Revolution”) were going to galvanize the medium, the system became a boon for genres that had trouble retaining popularity on consoles, particularly puzzles (Brain Age, Big Brain Academy) and classic adventure games (Hotel Dusk, Ace Attorney). One series combined them, to incredible commercial results.
In 2005, the Nintendo DS was starting to find its feet. While its launch and early months were tepid, likely not helped by the intensely creepy slogan “Touching is Good,” it was buoyed by a substantial number of new releases including WarioWare: Touched, Meteos, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Nintendogs, and in Japan, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! Based around the work of neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima, which argued that people could improve their cognitive abilities through puzzle solving, it became a huge hit and suggested that puzzle games, which most major developers ignore as a general rule, could be sustainable on the console. Two years later, Level-5, a game company known for Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest VIII, and Rogue Galaxy would release their first self-funded and published title for the DS that tested the notion.
Inspired by Brain Age, Capcom’s Ace Attorney series (with which the series recently crossed over) and his childhood love of Akiro Tago’s popular Atama no Taisou brain-teaser books, Level-5 founder Akihiro Hino started development of a puzzle/adventure game for the DS. Hiring Tago to come up with several of the puzzles, and setting it in a stylized European setting (possibly inspired by literature detectives like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot), Professor Layton and the Curious Village launched in 2007 in Japan and 2008 worldwide.
The beautiful anime cutscene at the beginning of the game sets the stage for the series to follow: dapper British gentleman Hershel Layton (a sort of archaeology professor cum mystery solver) and youthful ward Luke speed in a classic red car towards an obscure town far off the map. In fact, the map itself is a puzzle; Layton’s been requested to the municipality of St. Mysteré to find the lost treasure of the town’s deceased patriarch, only to find that the town itself is seemingly a giant puzzle box built to guard it.
The hidden genius of Professor Layton is that it from the very beginning, it managed to build a (semi-)believable world whose narrative economy is based entirely around puzzle solving. While future stories wouldn’t go nearly as explicit (though their solutions have almost consistently become more and more over the top), it allows for a great deal of suspension of disbelief in its universe. Of course this ancient civilization (oh, by the way, there are also occasional ancient civilizations) or enigmatic baron would lock their giant towers with “sliding block” or “cut the rope” puzzles; why wouldn’t they?
By the time the first game came out, the DS had already become a powerhouse, and Nintendo of America made a huge marketing push to sell it (centered around a particularly goofy commercial starring Penelope Cruz). It worked, and Curious Village sold incredibly well before taking into account how unlikely its success was. While none of the sequels matched the first game’s success, and it’s recently had trouble with international localization (particularly in Europe), the series has collectively sold over 15 million games worldwide and made an anime film.
I haven’t talked about the gameplay, because frankly, it ain’t exactly killer7. Point and click adventure. Puzzle game. What do you need, a road map? As it’s gone on, the series has added various additional minigames and such, from the “Picarat” point system where puzzle completion unlocks end-game bonuses to the massive RPG “Layton Life.” While the former provides a fun incentive beyond bragging rights, they’ve always been supplemental. This is a series with a single-minded focus, and the games’ greatest pleasures come not just from the puzzles, or their slick presentation, but the way they all combine into giant narrative mysteries. As a great fan of mystery stories, puzzles, and most tests of intelligence and wit, I always appreciate it when a game attempts them. But to have it turn into something so enjoyable, that owns its ethos so much, is a wonderful thing.
With the exception of an extremely different spinoff, Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, the series has remained joined at the hip to Nintendo dual-screened handhelds. It’s a good fit; the latter provides a market generally more receptive than those of most consoles, the games’ retro art style is more at home on the less cutting edge machines, and their attitudes are on a similar wavelength to the fun kookiness of Nintendo’s best.
Interestingly, most of the first game’s included live, orchestrated performances of its score. They’ve done it for every release, and I’ve always appreciated it. To an extent, they’re sort of the gaming version of prestige soundtracks, almost seen as being on a higher level than the more base and immediate goals most game scores. While I’d normally scoff at the notion, the series’ audio manages to be both totally different and also ideal for its gameplay; its music is perfect for its subject. While it’s never been the main theme of any game (though it could pass for the first game’s), “Layton’s Theme” sets the rhythm for the series: a beautiful, slightly melancholic and bittersweet melody that creates just enough propulsion to excite. Its French influence helps give the game that fun and exciting continental European feel, and further differentiates it from everything else on the market.
When discussing Professor Layton as a character, I do think that we shouldn’t look at him as a shoe-in. Despite his financial success, he’s not an icon on the level of the other third parties; this is partially due to his being a recent character tied to two consoles. And while I imagine Level-5 will come back to him, at least for now his series has technically ended with the release of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. But he’s one of the many powerful and important icons for the DS and what it was able to accomplish (a financially lucrative arena for otherwise unpopular console genres), and I imagine he’ll always have a welcome place at Nintendo.
Professor Layton is one of the most popular adventure and puzzle games for your Nintendo handheld console.
Let yourself get carried away into a world full of mystery and riddles by listening to this free ambient sound that takes you right to the Gressenheller University.Picture courtesy
i wish there were some decent professor layton amvs
I found this rather nice amv on nico a while back, although the lyrics are all in Japanese (of course). And even on nico, the majority of PL vids are bland or blurry at best.
If you’re willing to overlook some mediocre video quality for some clever timing and cutscene juxtapositions, these Japanese vids on youtube: [FAKE and El Dorado] are decent series overviews. I don’t know how well the lyrics work, for all I know they could be even less PL-appropriate than “Tik-Tok”, but they do have a nice energy to them.
(I am not even remotely a connoisseur of anime music videos, I don’t know the proper terminology for anything, please send help.)
I wonder if the German side of the fandom has anyworthwhile AMVs. “Professor Layton” in German is just “Professor Layton,” so I can’t use the same trick I use to search for stuff in Japanese.
a professor layton au where instead of being an english gentleman hershel layton is some ill-mannered guy who moved to london from new york
instead of a top hat he wears three baseball caps that his girlfriend gave them to him shortly before dying during some sweet skateboard tricks that were so rad they catapulted her into the future temporarily before she came back and actually exploded
he’s trying very hard to teach luke how to be a super rad dude
Fantasy-esque Prof. Layton and Luke ╭ (;;⊙▽⊙)ᕗ
I might really want to draw more AU costumes…
Fairly large image so a DeviantART link here.
Layton’s Theme (cover, rock version) ~ Professor Layton OST
Luego de terminar el Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright, decidí hacer algo con el tema del Profesor. Espero que les guste.
Haha I wasn’t lying about those Raven!Luke sprites. Hmm now that I’m uploading I see some crap I gotta clean, but otherwise looking good. Haven’t drawn any of Luke with the raven outfit on, but, meh, take it a bit at a time.
Made to scale with the other sprites available online so that I don’t have to redraw everyone when I get around to making mock scenes :D
Honestly I couldn’t find tLS Luke sprites anywhere so I just used Luke sprites from the first trilogy as guides for the range of emotions that he displays. Tell me if I’ve missed any, and preferably provide screenshots?
Sorry about the view quality, yaaaaay tumblr stretching my pics hahaFixed it!
cute girls in cute dresses!! aw yeahhh
Professor Layton and his
attack dogfaithful assistant Luke