Video Game / High School Story

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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.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Your musician gets subjected to this from the other students after a music test results in the school's power being knocked out at an extremely inconvenient time for a number of active school clubs at that very moment. Your main character also gets this treatment during the Ace storyline thanks to some skilled manipulation on Ace's part, to get your school and the district council against you.
  • 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 it’s been explicitly mentioned by Payton and Julian on separate occasions.
    Wes: (upon learning of the spooky ride in Magic Funland) So it’s 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.
  • Anti-Poop Socking: Some quests can take as long as 24 hours to complete, collection of books from the Classrooms can take up to 23 hours, and unlocking of plots to expand your school can take as long as 4 days. In other words, unless you're willing to waste Rings and real money to speed up the completion time for these things, you have no excuse not to actually live in the real world.
  • 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!
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can spend real-world cash to increase your amount of Coins, Books, Pencils and Rings to breeze through the game much more quickly.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Some quests require you and your classmates to wear specific outfits before you can start. You can easily change them back.
  • 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.
  • Costume Porn: A lot of the outfits you can unlock and purchase, for both male and female students, are gorgeous. That also includes some of the outfits specific to certain student types.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Sakura just happens to always have a video-game token with her in case she needs to use it as a makeshift screwdriver while sneaking through air-vents. Likewise, Julian just happens to always carry a snail around with him to use as a tool in a game of Truth or Dare.
  • Crossover: With Hollywood U Rising Stars, with which it shares the same universe. As of this writing (October 16, 2015), it has also done this with Monster High.
  • Cross Player: Sakura played as Male!Shepherd and romanced Tali.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several side-quests, including ring-purchased quests, focus on certain members of the main cast, and of course the personal help-quests for your classmates showcase the issues they have to contend with and that your main character has to help them resolve. It's not just limited to your school, either, as "Hope's Story" focuses on Julian's sister Hope and her having to deal with cyber-bullying, and "Hearst School Story" has you experience a day in Max's life from his point of view.
  • 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.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: While it's certainly possible to pair any two students together as a couple, an exception is made for siblings Talia and Tariq—if you're selecting one of them to be part of a couple, when you're going to select the other half of the couple, the other sibling will be blocked from selection.
  • 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.
    • Your attempts to expose Razor for planting fireworks on your float in The Mastermind end this way. You not only get kicked out of your own school, but all of the evidence you collected is discredited.
  • 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.
    • At the Fantasy Photo Booth, all of the canon characters will date your character, regardless of gender.
  • Experience Points: Earned by completing main-story quests, or by completing specific achievements in the Google Play-Store (for example, leveling a Nerd to Level 10 gives you 500 XP).
  • 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.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You get to name your main character whatever you want at the start of the game, and you can also change the names of the non-main-character students at any time.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: A couple of times, across different quests.
    • During the Pandora storyline, Nishan becomes almost like a walking zombie after Pandora manipulates him, Sakura and your main character into missing the CAT exams, which he'd spent a good deal of time trying to prepare your school to take.
    • Again during the Pandora storyline, Autumn breaks down sobbing on your main character's shoulder when Pandora steals Autumn's mother's locket, then returns it in pieces despite you fulfilling the villain's requests to get it back.
    • In the Ace storyline, your main character has an emotional breakdown outside the entrance to City Hall when the school district council elects to shut down your school, through Ace's manipulation.
    • This sometimes happens in some of the quests to help different students. For instance, your Homecoming student will BSOD at the realization that their efforts to make Homecoming more exciting have only alienated your school's students, something that had also happened at their previous school; while your mascot will freak out during an important game against another school when their mascot showcases a video of your mascot's earlier humiliating failures at performing gymnastic stunts.
    • In the Expelled quest, almost all of the main characters BSOD once they're expelled from your school.
  • Hidden Depths: Several of the main characters, and even a few of the villains.
    • Autumn, in addition to being very artistic, is also revealed to be very athletic.
    • 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.
    • While Julian loves to revel in the fame that comes with being your school's star football player, he also worries about being seen as a Dumb Jock, something that's not helped by his low grades and his verbally-abusive father.
    • Mia can be quite a bitchy character when she's not being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but at the same time she's shown to be very deeply affected by being The Unfavorite to her father. There's also her issues with her eating disorder, which she's shown to still have to monitor closely even after the end of "The Yearbook."
    • During the quest where you meet Phoebe, Heart High's prom queen, she's shown to be very deferential and elegant, possessing all the traits that a prom queen is expected to have...but at the same time she's revealed to be an Action Girl at heart, under pressure to conform to the stereotypes that come with her position. The same quest implies that Kara is likewise affected by having to conform to expectations, even giving Phoebe a pep talk to just be herself—although how much of that is genuine and how much of it is self-serving manipulation is left ambiguous.
    • Even Max gets to have some of this too. Sure, he's a selfish Jerk Ass who'll throw anyone under the bus to have his own way...but as "The Yearbook" reveals, he's very protective of Mia, despite their Cain and Abel dynamic, following her struggles with her eating disorder. "Hearst School Story," which has you experience a day at school through Max's eyes, also reveals that he really wants his dad, Principal Warren, to come watch him at his football games, and him being disappointed when the man doesn't show.
  • 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.
  • Holiday Mode: Each update that's made available at certain times of the year will result in the loading screen and the in-universe map altering to reflect the holiday at that time (Halloween decorations in October, Independence Day themes around July, Christmas scenery in December, etc.)
  • 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.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: The main character says as much during Mia's personal help-quest, when she expresses frustration at her father cancelling her sweet-16 birthday party.
    Mia: I'm so mad I could punch a kitten in the face!
    MC: Okay, let's just calm down and pretend you didn't just say that.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: It registers when quests and other requirements are completed within their specified time limits, even if you haven't played the game over a period of hours or days.
  • 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.
  • Insult Backfire: During the quest in which you first meet Koh's ex-boyfriend Razor, your band camps outside his apartment and sings all kinds of impromptu insults, in addition to playing the music really loudly, in an effort to aggravate him...except he's a fan of loud rock music and actually likes your lyrics.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: One Christmas-period quest, "It's a Winterful Life," explores what would have happened if your main character had not gone about setting up your school. Among other things, Hearst High would have extended an auditorium onto the premises where your school would have stood, Autumn's deeply depressed, Payton's a snob, and Julian is Max's number-one lackey.
  • 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.
  • Lost Forever: Certain limited-edition costumes will be gone for good if you don't get them within a certain time limit. Also, you won't be able to play the time-limit quests again if you let their time of availability run out before accessing them.
  • 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.
  • One-Gender School: Athena Academy, for girls.
  • Perspective Flip: "Hearst School Story" has you playing as Max, showing how a typical day goes for him, including his interactions with fellow students and teachers at Hearst High and how he handles being his football team's star player, plus his interactions with Mia and the main character and his desire for Principal Warren to attend even one of his games.
  • Picture Day: One quest revolves around the characters having to take part in this. One of the goals is to get Koh, Perpetual Frowner extraordinaire, to smile for her pic.
  • The Pig Pen: One reason for couples to break up in this game is that one half of the couple may be this.
    Student 1: You’re breaking up with me?! Why?!
    Student 2: How can I put this delicately? You...stink.
    Student 1: So maybe I haven’t been very attentive lately, but I wouldn’t say that I stink at being—
    Student 2: No. Like, you stink. You smell bad. You need to take a shower. And use deodorant. And soap. And burn your clothes.
  • 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.
  • Randomly Drops: The poll questions you answer give out different rewards, ranging from as low as 110 Coins, 15 Books or 1 Ring, to as high as 1 million Coins, 100,000 Books or 1000 Rings, and everything in between, and there's no way to predict how much of which item you'll get. The game encourages you to answer as many poll questions as you can in order to get more of the rarer items.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Whenever quests require you to wear something professional, a common choice is the Prep School Uniform.
    • The Rebel help quest has your school being forced to employ a uniform policy.
  • 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. Of course, they also share a universe with Hollywood U, thei college spinoff.
  • Shout-Out: There are lots of references to TV shows, books, and movies, usually under the auspices of a Bland-Name Product. The staff mentions that many of them are big gamers, which explains all of the game references.
  • Something Completely Different: The Auto Club help quest is not really a "help quest" as compared to every other help quest.
  • 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!
    • In the Moment of Truth quest, Razor's illegal fireworks warehouse explodes after you set off a few fireworks to attract police.
  • Sudden School Uniform: During the "Rebel with a Cause" quest, the district makes everyone in your school wear very "expensive" uniforms (which are really just the prep school uniforms). Everyone who takes part in the quest, asides from Autumn and your rebel, must start the quest wearing the uniform, and the other main characters do not participate until the uniform is abolished.
  • Supreme Chef: The recently-added Foodie classmate type proves to be this. Your Fast Food classmate has this going for them as well.
  • 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 don't 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. The only parents to appear so far are Ace's, who only appear in the last quest of Ace's story, and Asher's father, who serves as the main villain for one series of quests.
    • So far, the only adult to ever get a full model and dialogue in the main quest 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. Subverted in that they occasionally appear separately.
  • Training from Hell: Your mascot gets subjected to this from two of your jocks, to help him/her get over a fear of falling. What does this training consist of? Jumping off a trampoline and landing properly on the ground over and over and over and OVER.
    Mascot: YAAAAAAAAAAAAH! (lands awkwardly on the ground)
  • 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.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can change the outfits of your avatar and the non-main-character students. As it relates to the main characters (Autumn, Julian, Payton, etc.), for a long time they couldn't be customized, although the game would change their outfits for special occasions or holidays; recent updates have provided alternate costumes for them (some with different hairstyles), but nearly all of those can only be unlocked with Rings.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Your Jazz Club student's parents don't approve of their playing jazz, preferring that they instead play classical music so as to get a prestigious music scholarship. Helping the student to overcome this hurdle forms part of that specific help-quest.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    Wes: You're not a bully, (player's name). Don't do this.
    • During the storyline in which you, Payton and Nishan work for Asher Rollins' father's baking company, Nishan gets this twice from both you and Payton. First, when you discover Mr. Rollins is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who ruthlessly crushes smaller companies to keep his stranglehold on the local pastry monopoly, Payton chews out Nishan for wanting to continue working for the company even after knowing all of that...then later the main character angrily calls out Nishan for only caring about the power that comes from working for Mr. Rollins and not caring that Mr. Rollins is planning to bring a lawsuit against Payton's already cash-strapped family because she went back to selling your cookies at your school instead of on the company's behalf.
    • During the Expelled questline, Professor Edwin gives you this after finding illegal fireworks planted in your locker.
  • Worth It: Phoebe makes this declaration after finally being able to shed her Incorruptible Pure Pureness facade and revealing her Action Girl abilities during her pageant performance, despite the disapproval of Professor Edwin and ultimately losing the pageant crown to Kara.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/HighSchoolStory