Doctor Who Reference in “High School Story”

Keep an eye out and you’ll find Doctor Who references anywhere and everywhere, from TV shows to books…and games. You may have seen the police box and angel statue with the mysterious “don’t blink” descrption in Zynga’s Frontierville or the octagonal blue box with the description “doesn’t travel in time. Stop clicking on it” from Blackwood & Bell Mysteries. Well, today I found a fantastic reference in the relatively new mobile game High School Story developed by Pixelberry Studios (yes, if you look it up you’ll discover it’s one of those totally implausible “timed” games, but in my defence I only started playing it because my friend told me about it containing a slight mention of Doctor Who. Although it is the sort of game I’d play anyway, don’t judge me). Basically, in one of the quests you send a “cheerleader” to go help a “nerd” (the entire game revolves around stereotypes) with his latest science-fiction fan film. And this is how it goes down…

high school story pre-quest 1
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Pretty cool reference…or is it really about Doctor Who? I mean after all, it is a bit ambiguous, so you can’t really know, right?

It gets better. Because after the quest is complete you’re greeted with this lovely surprise…

high school story post-quest 1
high school story post-quest 2
high school story post-quest 3
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There’s a bit afterward which I unfortunately didn’t capture where he says “Yeah, it’s like that” or something. But anyway, that’s still not all. Next comes the bit where the game tries to force you to post your activity to Facebook…

high school story post-quest 9

Still have any doubts?

One thing I really love about this nod is that you can tell it was created by total Whovians, not just sort-of-fans who were perhaps trying to push a sci-fi reference. For a start, our hero is referred to as “The Doctor” and not the typical “Dr Who” (yes yes, you could use the copyright arguement, but nobody important would notice or care). Secondly, there is not only a reference to the infamous “timey wimey”  Moffat phrase but it’s used in the correct context. Think for a moment which episode the scenario in the game reminds you of – does the Children in Need special Time Crash come to mind? In case you’ve forgotten, in this minisode the Ten saves the world because he remembered being Five and watching himself save the world (“you remembered being me watching you doing that! You only knew what to do because I saw you do it!”) after which the Doctors say “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” in unison. I suppose it’s worth noting the game could be referencing Blink, but I’m thinking the former is far more likely.

Of course, Mia’s “I’m NOT playing Doctor” is a reference to Donna in Partners in Crime – after misunderstanding the Doctor his new companion remarks “you’re not mating with me, sunshine.” But the references don’t end there. ‘Mia’ reminds us of Rose (perhaps her blonde hair inspired the quest, or it may have even been the other way around), and you can’t go by without noting the mysterious ‘Nebulons’. This could be a reference to the Zygons, but based on the nature of the reference, and the fact that The Day of the Doctor hadn’t aired at the time the game was written, I don’t think that’s likely. Instead I think this is, in fact, a reference to a reference. Still with me? Basically, you may or may not know about the Doctor Who nods in the American sitcom Community, where two characters occasionally enjoy roleplaying the fictional TV show “Inspector Spacetime”, about an Alien and his companion who travel in a red London phone box and fight his arch enemies, the ‘Blogons’. These are, of course, a parody of the Daleks, and you guessed it…I think the ‘Nebulons’ are referencing the ‘Blogons’. Or, you know, the developer could have just made it up.

High School Story is an interesting game laced with all sorts of awesome references – from a sci-fi convention for a TV show that sounds suspiciously like Star Trek to a nerd shouting “so say we all” after an empowering speech (and tons of other references I’m sure I didn’t notice). The game itself may be slightly painful for people like us (shut up, I still enjoy it) but hey, at least the developers have taste.

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5 comments on “Doctor Who Reference in “High School Story”
  1. AdriennePatterson says:

    As soon as I saw this Doctor Who reference I actually ‘googled’ it to see who noticed it! I’m a complete whovian, and I seriously got super excited about this

  2. GLaDOS says:

    There’s a Portal reference too. When its the one girls birthday and you go into the bakery to get one, you can choose what it says. One of the choices is “The Cake is a Lie” If you choose it then the jock guy doesn’t get it and you say “I need more gaming friends. At the end of that conversation you say “We do what we must because we can.” which is a line from the song “Still Alive” from the end of the first portal game.

  3. Amber says:

    they also have a glee costume in the game

    • Yes, there are a lot of different references to a lot of different things – for example Tron, Star Trek, The Hunger Games (it was in a quest, and you can also buy a costume in game), Dungeons and Dragons, David Guetta, Dude Where’s My Car? (there was an entire quest called ‘Dude Where’s My Card?’), Star Wars, World of Warcraft, Law & Order and many more I can’t remember. Ah yes, and the characters of Autumn, Kimi and Owen, who are originally from the game “Surviving High School”.

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