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Video Game / Unforeseen Incidents

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Unforeseen Incidents is a Point And Click Adventure Game from 2018 co-developed by Backwoods Entertainment and Application Systems Heidelberg.

Shiftless small-town handyman Harper Pendrell stumbles onto a conspiracy when he happens upon a dying woman in the middle of town, just as an outbreak of a mysterious new illness known as Yelltown Fever starts making the news.

This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Animal Motifs: The recurring theme of eagles in art turns out to be Foreshadowing for Aquila — Latin for "eagle" — the cult/corporation/government think tank behind the whole plot.
  • Big Bad: Patrick Rancho, CEO of RHC, is a Red Herring, an actor paid to take on the role of the cult's public face. The real Big Bad is the Votary, leader of Aquila — AKA US Senator Sylvia Thurlow.
  • Brainwashed: The cult and The Conspiracy both engage in this. Naturally, since they're later revealed to be one and the same.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Most of the Eccentric Townsfolk of the Quirky Town(s) of Yelltown and Graystone have aspects of this, but bunker-dwelling, fit-throwing Mad Artist Cardero takes the cake.
  • The Conspiracy: One that turns out to go pretty high in business, academia, and politics. Big Bad Senator Thurlow combines the latter two, while RHC turns out to be nothing but a front she can use to channel money into Aquila.
  • Cult: A self-help group called Aquila starts to look a lot like this as the investigation continues. They had a brainwashing facility at their "sanctuary" off the coast of Port Nicola.
  • Deadpan Snarker: More proof that Harper is smarter than he thinks: he has a ready quip for most any occasion, even with a gun to his head. Graduates to Stepford Snarker after the attack on Yelltown, and hinted to be something of a Sad Clown facade even before then.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Jervis tells people not to call her the Colonel, since it was her father who served, not her. The Graystone townsfolk think she secretly likes it, and that she's earned it for all she's done for the town.
  • Dying Town: Yelltown is a fading, backwater former factory town. Many inhabitants have simply picked up and left, particularly as fears of Yelltown Fever have taken hold. They turn out to be the lucky ones.
  • Engineered Heroics: The disease that becomes known as Yelltown Fever turns out to be an Synthetic Plague which the Big Bad intends to deliberately unleash so that they can then play the hero by curing it, thus securing ever-greater power over a grateful public.
  • Evil, Inc.: RHC (Rancho Health Corporation) appears to be an evil health and pharmaceuticals giant in the vein of Umbrella Corporation. Subverted to some extent when it turns out the company is largely a front for an organization that's part cult, part military lab complex, the baby of a renegade US senator diverting funds.
  • Foreshadowing: Lampshaded. Harper is extremely glad not to be going into the condemned mine at Kahona. In the aftermath of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, their escape route has them emerge directly from that same cave mouth.
    Harper: I am so psyched not to be going in there. Not ever!
  • Forest Ranger: "Colonel" Abarrane Jervis is a badass park ranger beloved by the people of Graystone for saving any number of people, locals and tourists alike — as was her father Arbroath (an actual colonel) before her.
  • Hazmat Suit: RHC's Faceless Mooks wear these to protect themselves from Yelltown Fever. Harper disguises himself using an old hazmat suit twice over the course of the investigation.
  • The Heavy: Gun-toting man in black Devlin is the Votary's Psycho for Hire. He seemingly dies after being trapped in the breached, overheating virus containment facility, but is revealed to have lived just long enough to contract Yelltown Fever before dying in the explosion that destroys Aquila's Elaborate Underground Base at Kahona.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Harper refers to himself the village idiot and generally goes on about how he's not smart enough to do anything, despite being a talented Mr. Fixit with a broad knowledge and genuine love of electronics and engineering. This is actually part of his Character Development: during his time in Graystone, he's forced out of his comfort zone and discovers that a lot of things he thought were beyond him are actually well within his grasp (like basic firestarting, herb gathering, and hydroelectric dam repair). He later states as much after his near-death experience after being shot by The Heavy Devlin: that a lot of the things he used to be afraid to try really don't seem as bad anymore.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: The dying woman Harper meets in the middle of Yelltown who tells him not to trust RHC and to make sure the envelope she gives him gets to a reporter named Helliwell at the local hotel.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: If Harper hadn't gone to fix the professor's laptop, he never would have run into Patty Silverdale and been given the envelope that led him to Helliwell.
  • Long Game: The Big Bad first conceived of their Evil Plan decades ago while still at university. In the years since, she's become a US senator, created a cult that all but worships her, and used government funds and a stolen corporation to build a number of secret facilities across the US and Canada.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Professor MacBride went to university with the woman who later became the Votary, and ends up helping Aquila because he's still in love with her.
  • Mr. Fixit: Harper. His Iconic Item is a multitool which he's never without, he can pick locks using a screwdriver, he hoards old electronics and spends hours picking over the local junkyard, and he repairs the Professor's car using, among other things, a pair of old pantyhose. The same MacGyvering mindset is what allows him to solve most of the game's puzzles, despite his own insistence that he's dumb.
  • The Plague: Yelltown Fever, a disease with an extremely rapid onset that kills within hours. It was bioengineered by Aquila, and ends up being released deliberately, killing the entire population of Yelltown. Harper, Helliwell, and MacBride only escape by virtue of being at the RHC camp at the time.
  • The Professor: The game begins with a call from dotty old Professor MacBride, asking Harper to come over and fix his laptop charger so that he doesn't lose the previous night's data.
  • Properly Paranoid: Jervis has elements of the Crazy Survivalist and The Hermit, but under the circumstances turns out to be largely justified. Her only real mistake was not trusting Harper, and in fairness she had ample reason not to at the time.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Professor MacBride Takes The Bullet for Helliwell after several spins in the Heel–Face Revolving Door at Aquila.
  • Shout-Out: Many to Twin Peaks, particularly in Ronda's Diner in Graystone: "Places like this give me a hankering for cherry pie," and "Damn fine coffee." Also, the description of the stuffed owl in park ranger "Colonel" Jervis's shack provides a "not what they seem" quip when clicked.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Despite ostensibly being set in a Twin Peaks-esque American small town, most of the major characters and locations in the game are named after streets, parks, and other landmarks in and around Vancouver and southern British Columbia, Canada, where one of the devs studied: Harper, Pendrell, Rupert, Denman, Jervis, Cardero, Harwood, Rankin, and Thurlow are all streets; McBride, Morton, Leroy, and Greystone are local parks, while Helliwell Bluffs is a provincial park on nearby Hornby Island in the Georgia Strait, and the Kahona Cruncher is a bike trail across the same strait on Vancouver Island; Yaletown is a trendy downtown neighbourhood, a gentrified former factory district; the Nicola Valley is a valley in the Rocky Mountains of the province's Interior. Silverdale, meanwhile, is an unincorporated town in Washington, west of Seattle across the Puget Sound.
  • The Slacker: Harper — in spite of a real gift for electronics and a childhood dream of being an engineer, he dropped out of university after only three weeks, feeling like it was too hard and that he wasn't smart enough. He's spent years since in his "dead-end" (as he later describes it) hometown, living in his parents' old house, hoarding old junk, and eking out a meagre day-to-day existence. Much of the game is spent having Harper demonstrate to himself that You Are Better Than You Think You Are.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The sweeping, moody soundtrack fits the mysterious Pacific Northwest-inspired landscape, but not the quirky, comedic tone of Yelltown and its inhabitants. Then RHC begins actively spreading Yelltown Fever throughout the town, killing everyone you just met. It fits a lot better afterwards.
    • Also in-universe with the creepy old-timey music piped in along with the Canned Orders over Loudspeaker in Aquila HQ.
      Harper: "I'm Chet Manningly, and you're listening to Slow Dance the Apocalypse."
  • Straw Hypocrite: The Big Bad doesn't believe in the principles she instills into the cult's members. She's just manipulating them through catchy slogans and their need to belong to something bigger than themselves, as she casually admits just before ordering Harper and Helliwell's deaths.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter I ends with RHC spreading the virus through Yelltown, killing everyone but Harper, Helliwell, and the Professor.