Friday, May 14, 2010

Where's HELP(Girl)?

Infinite Space has its moments*. If you start up CTA, then go to Help, and ask the helpbot about several (maybe about 10?) topics of possibly mild or only placeholder interest, then Exit Help, you'll get a BOOM! and crew will coming running to ascertain what is amiss. The old Help robot has broken down, it seems, and is now operating at 17% efficiency. Sadly, nothing can be done.

You DEPART for your next destination in the "sea of stars," Star Ocean having copyrighted the universe aeons ago, but before you get under weigh, Professor Minas shanghais Yuri into a closet and reveals the new helpbot, now feminine (the kind that gets your game a "mildly suggestive" rating).

Her name is HELP(Girl), with laser eyes, 7000 volt thermic cutter hands, Medic Level 2 (like Kira, she can heal ships damaged in running battles) and she's a hell-on-wheels battle android during MELEE, in other words, just your average NERD(Toy).

She's also a standard JPRG trope (based on Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Mercy), like the fairy ponds in Ocarina of Time or the "comfort girls" in Japanese-occupied Korea in WWII†, or less overtly, like Belldandy in Oh My Goddess, Nia Lochlain in Part I of the present game, or Gidget in old surfer movies.

Heavy ludological social history aside, those of us who never RTFM will never find this little joke unaided. Lurking in cheat forums turns up a ton of references to HELP(Girl), usually with a snidely smug tone of voice that jeers, NERD(Boy) style, "You don't know what I'm talking about, do you? Heh." At least the music for this incident is light and whimsical.

Here's how.

*My game clock was pinned at 99:59:59 for days before I noticed HELP(Girl), but I gather you can find her anytime after Minas joins your crew.

Speaking of WWIII, have you noticed that Hollywood hates Muslims? Egyptians and Persians galore, yes. Bloodthirsty hashish-addled natives on Arabian sands, yes. Semitic merchant stereotypes in caftans and turbans, yes. Muslims? No. The Middle East is kosher, so far as Hollywood is concerned: Throat slit, heels hung and bloodless, all the Islam poured out and sluiced away into the local watershed with extra salt. It looks like wartime propaganda from here.

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