Video Game: High School Story

High School Story is an Android and iPhone game which allows the player to build a high school to attend. It's developed by Pixelberry, the creators of Surviving High School (with which it also shares a universe and several characters.) The player creates a student and then helps direct the development of the school by building classrooms, purchasing books, and admitting more students. Quests can be completed to upgrade the school, help out a fellow classmate, or just advance the plot.

At its heart, High School Story is a Breeding Simulation Game that uses the same mechanics as games like Dragon City or Skytopia or even some aspects of Monster Rancher, though the trappings are different: instead of breeding two creatures to combine their types, two students will throw a party and will meet a new student dependent upon which clique they belong to. Instead of spending a few hours warming the egg in a hatchery, the new student must spend a few hours filling out forms in the admission office.

The game now has a spinoff called Hollywood U where your character there is a student at an acting school.

Has an official forum here.

High School Story contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Zig-Zagged. While you can have members of the student government, they themselves are not very powerful. You, on the other hand, seem to be the entire board of education condensed into one little teen.
  • Adults Are Useless: Two teenagers in a parking lot are entirely capable of starting a school on their own. It just builds from there.
    • When Hope is bullied on her school's website, the principal demands that she show proof of the bullying before he will do anything. This despite the fact that it's the school's website and he should be more than capable of accessing the public pages where other students were posting about her. There's also the fact that it went on publicly for months and absolutely no teachers or moderators took notice.
  • Aloof Ally: Sakura and Wes both start out this way.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kara of Hearst, and Lacey of Athena.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: One ring-purchased quest series has the students go on a field trip to Magic Funland, an obvious expy of Disneyland, complete with appearances by beloved childhood character Mikey the Magic Moose. However, Disney also exists in the HSS universe, because itís been explicitly mentioned by Payton and Julian on separate occasions.
    Wes: (upon learning of the spooky ride in Magic Funland) So itís like a haunted mansion?
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: For leveling the player character and non-main characters up to 4, 7, and 10. Inverted when you need to buy specific clothes for certain quests.
  • Beta Bitch: Mia at Hearst High. When she transfers to your school, she becomes a Former Friend of Alpha Bitch.
  • Black and Nerdy: Nishan, and you can naturally make your own nerds black, Ambiguously Brown, or Asian and Nerdy as you please.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point, someone will mention that they've been playing a mobile game where you manage your own school.
    Payton: It's so meta!
  • Characterization Marches On: In Surviving High School, Autumn was an all-around artist, but her true passion and specialty was photography. Here, however, she's almost always shown painting and her photography skills are rarely brought up anymore.
  • Competition Freak: Sakura, big time. Not only does she play (and own) pretty much every game ever, but when Payton did a magazine quiz about high school experiences, Sakura became extremely disgruntled when she realized others had more "points" than her for doing things like throwing a Wild Teen Party or making out in class. She immediately ropes the player into helping her rack up these points.
  • Cross Player: Sakura played as Male!Shepherd and romanced Tali.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mia had to learn the hard way why she wouldn't immediately be popular at your school. Kara also seems to be defrosting hard, actually being civil to your friends when she breaks up with Max.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sakura first appears when you first meet Nishan, then disappears for quite a while until the story requires her to be recruited.
  • Egg Sitting: One of the time sensitive quests has the player character and their significant other do this for home ec.
  • Epic Fail: Autumn's attempt to play Legend of Clan Craft ends this way. She singlehandedly kills her entire team and seems very confused by the fact that there are no ducks in the game.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ezra's "smoulder" apparently works on Julian even when he's targeting the cute Heartthrob across the dance floor.
  • The Everyman: The player character, obviously, since he/she is based on you. They still don't really follow the stereotype of their chosen clique though.
  • Everyone Is Bi: You can pair up any two students and send them on a date. This includes NPCs who may canonically have a straight crush.
    • Katherine is the closest thing to a definite canon example. She used to have a thing with Zero, but also has a lot of flirty scenes with Mia in later levels and after Katherine joins your school, if you have her date Mia, they will almost immediately be acknowledged as a couple in a main story quest.
  • Fallen Princess: When Mia helps you out because she thinks her fellow cheerleaders' pranks have gone too far, the others ditch her. She transfers to your school and has to learn how to actually be nice to people in order to become popular again, instead of just assuming that everyone will automatically love her.
  • Geek Reference Pool: The pool is fairly wide, as expected from the devs, but the way the questing system works, all your Nerds are interested in all facets of nerdery. Except if your main character is a Nerd, in which case you'll be surprisingly ignorant of a lot of things.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: A ton of it, especially in the quests given out by various random students or when referring to you or your date. Instead of making sure students are referred to with the appropriate pronouns, the game just avoids saying "he" or "she" entirely. This is important especially when someone is referring to their ex, as the game has no way of knowing if you believe a certain created student is entirely straight, gay, or bi, even if they are currently dating someone.
    • This is also true even with named main characters. Mia talks about how her dad disapproved of "the person [she] liked" but only uses the pronoun "she" in reference to this person once in the entire dialogue; you could be forgiven for thinking it was a typo. At least until you start approaching Katherine's recruitment point... Although during the Clan Craft storyline, Mia at one point is irked that chauvinist gamers are thinking of her as an ice queen who just needs a knight in shining armor to thaw her out, as if one of those gamers were what she wanted.
  • Genki Girl: Payton, big time.
  • Girl Posse: The cheerleaders of Hearst High.
  • Heel-Face Turn: You'll be recruiting a lot of students from Hearst High, though how much of a heel they originally were does vary quite a lot. In the case of Autumn and Payton, they were nice people to begin with, they just had to be convinced to (or in Autumn's case, convince her dad to let her) transfer to your school. Probably the biggest case is Mia, who was the Beta Bitch of Hearst before she developed a conscience and turned against them, including her Jerkass brother, Max.
    • Although she doesn't transfer, Kara becomes a better person to a degree and starts hanging out with the main characters, although she still has some questionable morals and only Nishan initially trusts her.
  • Hidden Depths: Payton, who appears to be, as your character puts it, "all about parties and drama" while caring a lot about getting shelter animals homes. She is actually adopted, so she sympathizes with them.
    • Also, when you're helping her with @AskPayton, your avatar at one point will assume that she's about to suggest solving an academic problem with a party (as she's been doing multiple times already), only for her to say that school is important too.
  • High School: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • High School Dance: Seems to happen around once a month.
  • Hippie Parents: Implied with Sakura's parents.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Downplayed. The students date and make out, but the game hasn't referred to anything beyond that.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: When the school forms a soccer team, Sakura is chosen to be the goalie because she has the best reflexes - never mind that the fine motor skills she honed in video games are only tangentially related to the gross motor skills required in sports.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: Your school will eventually be inspected by a trio. You have to come up with ways to impress them, such as putting on a play for one who likes Shakespeare.
  • It's All About Me: Max, in spades. But the worst example is where your school has to put on a banquet for Hearst, due to a lost bet. It's meant to be a Hearst victory banquet, but Max makes demands for it to be a Max victory banquet, demanding ice sculptures of himself, his favourite expensive foods, and requesting your crush to clean up a mess he deliberately makes.
  • It's Up to You: Let's face it: without the main character, nobody would have a date, the football team would amount to Julian alone, the cheerleaders wouldn't know what to yell, there would be no books for class, and this high school wouldn't exist.
  • Jerk Ass: Jack Carver.
  • Jerk Jock: Max and the other football players at Hearst High. Julian was one before he transferred to your school, but he's matured since then.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mia and especially Sakura. Wes, too. They may be rather haughty at times, but woe betide you if they spot you picking on their friends.
    • Koh more than anybody else, she has a tendency to punch first and ask questions later, but she is extremely loyal to her friends.
  • Knowledge Broker: Wes. He knows all the ins and outs of every high school, and naturally will tell you...but it's gonna cost you.
  • Lampshade Hanging
    Class Clown: My friend founded their own school. Who does that?
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: New student types are added in almost every update, and many players find it safest to have at least one of each gender just in case.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Julian's opinion of Wes (initially).
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: After transferring to your school, Wes comes up with a plot to get back at Hearst High and leads everyone, despite being a consummate slacker. Part of the plot is getting everyone to accept him as part of your group.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Mia has shades of this once she's no longer the Beta Bitch at Hearst.
  • Love Triangle: Plot points reveal that Payton, Julian, and Autumn are in one, with all three being friends and varying amounts of romantic attraction between Julian and the two girls. This happens whether any or all of them are dating each other or other classmates. However, in gameplay, couples are either dating loyally or entirely unconnected.
    • Another one occurs between Koh, Wes, and Autumn when Koh transfers to the school.
    • One is developing between Sakura, Nishan (who's in the middle), and bizarrely enough, Kara.
  • Make-Out Point: The Isle of Love.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Sakura is extremely competitive and confrontational, especially when compared to the meek Nishan, who she is occasionally hinted to have a crush on.
    • In fact, Nishan even has her playing the bad cop when he tried to interrogate the Athena girls about Pandora.
  • The Matchmaker: You, of course. Some quests even tell you to send couples on dates (or break them up) for pretty much no reason at all.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: If you choose to break up a couple, their relationship-ending fight may be based on such "major" issues as disagreeing over whether a single movie is awesome or just okay (not even bad; average is worse than bad).
  • Nerds Are Virgins: A fiction book you can order for your classroom is Nishan's Love Life. Not only is it grouped with other fantasy tales, but it's also the shortest one in the bunch. You can't even make up a love life for a nerd!
  • No Going Steady: Discouraged by the game; you get a small monetary reward each time you strengthen the relationship of a couple, and constantly breaking them up to change partners will keep you from getting any premium currency when they finally fall head-over-heels in love.
  • No Loves Intersect: In gameplay, at least. Two students who go on just one successful date are considered a couple and cannot date any other students without first breaking up.
  • The Power of Friendship: Many plots are punctuated with speeches about how students at your high school constantly have each other's backs and support each other in spite of their differences.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Max is the son of the principal and naturally runs Hearst High.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Most of the kids at Hearst High are from very rich families and are used to being able to boss around everyone.
  • Self-Insert Fic / Write Who You Know: Players are encouraged to make students who resemble themselves and their friends, and then to link students to their friends' Facebook profiles.
  • Shared Universe: With Surviving High School, and probably Cause of Death, by extension.
  • Shout-Out: There are lots of references to TV shows, books, and movies, usually under the auspices of a Bland-Name Product.
  • Squee: Kimi of Twin Branches punctuates her sentences with "Squee!" when she's happy or excited. Payton also gets in on it occasionally.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: For Friendsgiving, your Nerds cook baked potatoes with science. Explosions are science!
  • Textbook Humor: You don't get to read the actual textbooks, but they have titles ranging from The Gastronomicon to How to Use Spelpcheck.
  • There Are No Adults: You never see them, at least. Occasionally one shows up for plot-related reasons, but you always hear about it second-hand from other students telling you what the adult said or wants.
    • Invisible Parents: Some of your classmates may talk about their parents, but they're as invisible as other adults.
    • In fact, so far, the only adult to ever get a full model and dialogue is Professor Edwin, and she's not even from your school. She also shares an outfit with the female Student Govs. She even lampshades how the faculty presence at the school is almost non-existent, a concern of hers at first.
  • Those Two Guys: The Student Govs. The game even lampshades this in one of the messages on the loading screen.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Nishan apparently has "Photoshop Ninja and International Man of Mystery" on his.
  • Tsundere: Sakura, especially to Nishan.
  • Very Special Quest: "Hope's Story" is basically a days-long Public Service Announcement about cyberbullying. The cynic may also describe it as a days-long Product Placement for the Cybersmile Foundation.
    • World Water Day, likewise, is a quest about convincing your classmates not to waste water and electricity because people in other countries are dying due to a lack of clean water.
      • This arguably becomes a Broken Aesop in another questline, where a full-on water war ignites in the school.
    • The Yearbook is not just about taking photos for your yearbook; it's also about Mia battling an eating disorder.
      • As this is potentially triggering, the quest is divided into two halves and either the second or both sections can be skipped.