Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
Everyone in Socrates's family loves philosophy, including his smart-as-a-whip daughter Ari, but he doesn't get what all the fuss is about. After all, if you aren't a philosopher, why should you care? But in Connor Fallon and Valeria Reznitskaya's Phoenix Wright-inspired educational visual novel adventure game Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, Socrates is about to get a crash course in why you don't need a flowing white robe and a long scraggly beard to get why philosophy and basic debating skills are important in every day life. Especially if, like Socrates, an ironic accident strands him in a surreal realm beyond our own where the only way back is to sharpen his mind and provide an answer to what sounds like an unanswerable question.
The gameplay itself comes down to sequences where Socrates (that's you) must square off against someone's arguments or presentation and use tactics to pick it apart. But you're no troll, you're just using basic skills like asking for clarification or supporting evidence, or checking for relevance. As each statement is made, you'll get a chance to ask questions that can force them to change or otherwise update their statements in ways that provide you with more information or even provided an opportunity to make a counterpoint. Of course, to make counterpoints of your own, you'll need to have a little bit of knowledge of your own, and pertinent arguments to raise in any given situation will be added to your "idea slate" to raise when the time is right. Be careful... debating needs to be handled intelligently and credibly, and making wild, useless, unrelated, or just plain wrong statements will lower your credibility bar, and if it drops all the way, you've lost.
See, Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is all about teaching you how to debate people in every day life. You don't need to be standing behind a podium to need to know how to argue or even just talk to other people in a productive, intelligent manner. It's what separates the humans from the trolls, after all. But regardless of how useful the skill it's teaching is, any educational game still needs to be fun and engaging to really teach someone and keep them interested, and Pro Philosopher happily succeeds in both parts. Not only is it witty and clever, but the characters are interesting and the topics they discuss doubly so. Of course, not everyone is going to agree with every concept on the table, or the way they're presented, or even the counter-arguments you're given, but hey, that's what debates are for.
It is, by design, an exceptionally wordy game, which means that players looking for more adventure-sy aspects might find it a bit too linear and talky. But Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is a great idea delivered in a simple yet effective format that works perfectly for its core concepts. Whether "NONSENSE!" is ever going to become as catch-phrasey as "OBJECTION!" is (snicker) debatable, but with great art and a light-hearted take on some big ideas, Pro Philosopher is a prime example of how edutainment can be effective and still be fun.