When Help Collides

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When Help Collides is effectively four related games in a single gamefile; three of the games, Level 50, A Bleach of Etiquette and Parched Mesa, are accessible with codes found by winning sessions of the first, When Help Collides. These codes were also provided by the author in an accompanying readme file.

Comedy
Comedy
Surreal
Surreal
Crazy quilt
Crazy quilt
Drama
Drama
Western
Western
Virtual reality
Virtual reality
Green IF comp ribbon.png
IF Comp 2002
18th of 38
Four white ribbons.png
XYZZY Awards 2002
Finalist - Best Use of Medium, Best Individual NPC,
Best Story, Best Writing
When Help Collides
Author(s) J. D. Berry
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 2002
Authoring system Inform 6
Platform(s) Z-code 8
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Multimedia
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Ratings
Cruelty scale Cruel

How it Begins

When Help Collides

You are the best help feature the gaming world has ever encountered, but after your Help Module Ship crashed into a Self-Help, your approval rating's down to 97%. Somehow you have to hang on to your beloved trophy.

You are warned about sexual references and strong language.

Level 50

You are competing in a solo role-playing tournament; controlling the level 49 fighter Megnax, you must reach level 50 to win the module. Your character carries a Trident of Might and a Null suit.

You are warned about sexual references.

A Bleach of Etiquette

You are Demetoria, a geisha-in-training; having failed the test to become a full geisha twice, you have one last chance. It is Monday; you must demonstrate competence in six arts on Saturday. Junna-chan is waiting to fill in your appointments diary for the day.

You are warned about implied sexual situations and strong language.

Parched Mesa

You alight from a train in Parched Mesa, New Mexico, late at night. As you do, you overhear someone saying that the town's in quarantine and ordering the train to move on. Then there's an explosion, and pain.

You are warned that the game contains violence.

Now you're in a square stone room, on a slab. You're William Minterford, a captain in the US Navy. You may have been shot.

Notable Features

  • The four games initially appear unrelated, and connections are only apparent towards the end of each section. Because of the difficulty of the first section, the inclusion of codes in the readme file, and the fact that the game must be restarted to access the three later sections, many players assumed that the sections were unrelated. The sections are generally presented as separate games. In fact, in any given session When Help Collides provides a frame-story to one of the other three games.
  • A Bleach of Etiquette, the section that least resembled conventional IF (and most rewarded analysis of game mechanics), has received considerably more attention than the other sections.
  • Two of the games, A Bleach of Etiquette and When Help Collides, have their own extensive sets of unusual commands. 'When Help Collides' uses its unique commands heavily but not exclusively; A Bleach of Etiquette only allows use of its own commands, so that the player cannot, for instance, EXAMINE anything.
  • A Bleach of Etiquette personifies the parser; the input commands are interpreted as instructions spoken to a secretary, rather than physical actions. Level 50 personifies the parser as a roleplaying dungeon master.

Versions

Competition Release

  • When Help Collides (J. D. Berry; 2002; Z-code 8).
    • Release 1 / Serial number 020926 / Inform v6.21 Library 6/10
    • IFID wanted. (Please replace this line with a babel template.)
    • IF Comp 2002: 18th place of 38 entries.
    • XYZZY Awards 2002: Finalist for Best Individual NPC, Best Story, Best Use of Medium, Best Writing.
    • Files: help.z8 (279 KB, download); info.txt (3.84 KB; game codes and walkthroughs; link); lightreading.doc (43 KB; Word feelies document; download)

Release 2

  • When Help Collides (J. D. Berry; 2003; Z-code 8).
    • Release 2 / Serial number 030208 / Inform v. 6.21 Library 6/10
    • IFID wanted. (Please replace this line with a babel template.)
    • File: Help.z8 (280 KB; download)

Links

General info

Reviews

Spoilers