Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And the Winner Is...

I know that we've kept this under wraps all day, but it's finally time to announce the winner to our Nancy Drew Dossier Cameo Contest. So here goes, our single winner is:


Congratulations to you, Mikala, you'll be hearing from us very soon. And thanks to everyone who entered the contest, you can bet we'll be doing more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned!

In other new news, the boards are up and running. How do you like 'em? I've seen quite the ups-and-downs from our users. I think there's a lot of good things to be said, but as always, there will be room for improvement. :P I guess only time will tell, eh?

And lastly today, I wanted to say Puzzle #27 has been solved! Great job to those of you who participated in the puzzle. I'll be showing you the steps tomorrow and you can look forward to another excellent puzzle on Friday!

Auf Wiedersehen

+ Novel (-) +

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Boarding Calls

I'm not sure where Monday went, though to be candid, I wasn't in it. My wonderful, and oh-so-busy, compatriots could not fill my empty shoes and so here we are, one day past due. ^.~

The talk of the town is of course the current website update. Everyone has been putting in a lot of time to make sure the Message Boards look great when they come back up. I've seen some preliminary screen shots (as I'm sure you have,) and I'm going to say that I like the new look. I know many of you are sad to see the teal go, but hopefully when the site goes live, you'll be as impressed as I was.

Interestingly enough, with the Boards down, I'm unable to check how the progress is going on the weekend puzzle. I know everyone was attacking it head on, so I wouldn't be too surprised to see the answer when the boards return.

Oh and for those of you wondering when the update will be finished, I'm told you should expect the boards back by tomorrow. But if any other news develops, I'll let you know.

I guess, we'll see you then!

- Novel -

Friday, September 25, 2009

Easy Weekend

Boy what a week!

We've had quite the announcements and press releases this week. There's a lot going on and, with WAC only 3 weeks away, I bet it's only going to get busier! We've got some extra-special content on the way for this launch, so be on the lookout for further announcements. For the moment, my lips are sealed. ^.~

It looks like I'm going to let you stew on puzzle #27, though I've got to say you are pretty close to solving it. Mari doesn't like me to double up, so I'll respect her wishes. Enjoy the light weekend and I'll see ya on Monday! ^.^

- Novel -

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eyeing Waverly

So have you checked out all the WAC stuff yet?

We're all pretty excited about it's up-and-coming release. Plus pre-orders have started already! Crazy! There's still a lot left for us to do around here before it happens.

I'm sure many of you have seen the announcement concerning the website upgrade. After nearly a year of hype, it is finally going to happen. In case you've yet to read it, here's what Admin "Nikeheart" has to say about it -

"We are finally updating the design of the Message Board to match our website! Yes, that's the burgundy background that's been highly anticipated by our fans. The burgundy code is 3C0928 for signature makers and the gold that we use is FDBD5C. So say your final goodbyes to the teal as we bring in the new burgundy.

Unfortunately, we need to a day to make the move, so we'll have to shut down the message board on Sunday 9/27/09 starting at noon. The boards will be up on Tuesday 9/29/09."

Make sure and remember those dates!

And finally, here's a little hint for #27


I'm going to give you two big hints

First - This subject of this puzzle was hidden in the last hint I gave :P
Second - I'm going to give you the spaces for the words (since there are so many possiblities)

"----- --- ---, ---- ----- ---- -- ------"


Nice!Tomorrow is finally Friday and then... relaxation. Cheerio!

- Novel -

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Wednesday Fiascos

Ya know all that cool content I've been talking about... Well it's here!

The newsletter just went out, you can check it out here if ya missed it (it does take about an hour to get completely mailed out, so don't panic if yours hasn't showed up yet.


Also we've released the first WAC Trailer, and I've got to say it looks pretty darn spooky. You can view the trailer by checking out the link below.

WAC Trailer!

And as it is Wednesday, I have a totally awesome picture for you today. These pretty flowers were brought in today by none other than president-at-large Megan!

She picked them out of her own garden at home. Who knew she had such a green thumb.

That's all the random for today, adios!

- Novel -

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anniversaries of Others

Did you know that the ESRB turned 15 this year? They've been reviewing and rating games for a decade and a half!

I spent a great deal of time today ensuring that we're still up to code with all of our rating information. This means I had to make sure our packaging, trailers, and ads all had the proper symbols and lingo. They've got some pretty strict content guidelines, but it all helps to distinguish between their various ratings. And we certainly want to ensure the precision of their content analysis. Otherwise, who knows what you'd get. :P

Also today, we said a fond farewell to Nadine, one of our beloved interns. We wish her well in all her future endeavors and thank her immensely for all of her help throughout this year.

And on to sunnier subjects; for your hint today, I've been instructed to tell you two things:


It looks like you've figured out the boxes, you'll just need to figure out the statement with all of those letters.
You'll know you're on the right track if you end up with 8 words.


See ya soon!

- Novel -

Monday, September 21, 2009

Short Shift

The return of Monday can mean only one thing!

More work :(

However on the plus side we've got some excellent content for you. As I hinted at last week, the 1st WAC trailer will be up this week, plus the September newsletter is on its way. And, we've finally put up the WAC minigame, you can try it out here -

Also I've got a little hint for puzzle #27. Check it out.


I've seen some good attempts so far. Here's a little nudge in the right direction.
"Each square represents a different letter."


Alright, that's it for now. See ya tomorrow.

- Novel -

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Puzzle Two-Seven

Here it is, hot off the presses. A big thanks to Mari for this one. I can assure you however that it is a tough one. Good luck to everyone!



I'm out till Monday. Peace.

- Novel -

Events of the Day

I see the week is just about up.

I know many of you are anxious to see Friday, as we here are. I'm sure it'll show up sometime tomorrow.

The marketing team has been churning away at a whole bunch of WAC content. We've got trailers, newsletters, mini-games, oh-my! But when, oh when, will they be released? Soon... soon. Trust me when I say we're just as excited about this game as you are. I promise to tell you when we've put something new up, cause you'll definitely want to check it out.

So my journeys into our older games have proven to be quite fruitful, and I'm glad to hear from many of you that these are some of your favorite games. Feedback is always great to have. Hopefully I'll be able to add some of that older content to the website soon, but with things as busy as they are it may not be immediately.

I've also gotten so many entries for the Dossier contest. I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out. If you haven't entered yet, be sure to check out the newsletter ( for all the details. There's still time to enter!

I guess that's all the bits for the day. Mari's already sprung the puzzle upon me, so it'll be up bright and early tomorrow. See ya then!

- Novel -

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interesting Days

I don't know much about obscure holidays, but Summer sure did. She actually made me promise to pass this one on to you guys after she left. So here it is, September 16th is also known as "Stay Away from Seattle Day."

It would be nice to celebrate it by getting out of town in the midweek, but alas, there's work to be done. For those of you beyond our urban borders, it might be best to keep away till tomorrow (if you're into goofy holidays.) But you can be certain that in the face of such a day, spirits in the office remain cheery!

You can tell by the recent advertisement posted about the office:

I have noticed how those Production Team meetings can sometimes turn in to heated battles. Oh well, I'm sure one of our employees will sleuth out its location.

Keep it breezy!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Scene and One Treasure

Ya know, for a Tuesday, we've been having quite the fun in the office today.

We've had some friends stop by and we're showing them around and explaining the daily tasks for our various departments. I'm sure by now, most of you could play tour guide for our office. It is always nice to see people taking a real interest in the inner workings of our little family. (not to mention games) :)

I've also spent a good part of the day working with some of your favorite games. I've been gathering some good images from them to use for our website and a few of the digital sites we sell our games through. It has been nice to spend a lot of time with our older titles recently. It's like seeing an old friend again. I thought I'd share a couple shots with you. Enjoy!

-- Backstage on The Final Scene --

-- TRT's secret garden --

- Novel -

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Ease In and Quick Desolve (26)

It's Monday here in Washington and Fall's setting in.

There's a slow start to this week, but I imagine we'll be seeing some awesome things as we get further into it.

I'm completely amazed that the weekend puzzle was solved so quickly! (Mari was too) I suppose at this point you all are becoming old pros. I guess we'll just have to try something trickier. I guess it's time to pull back the veil, eh?


This puzzle uses [ semaphore ] to hide letters in each figure. So by looking at a list of [ semaphore ], we can get these letters:
[ A, S, S, N, N, N, O, O, P, P, I, I, T, H, E, E, E, L, G, C, R ]

If you unscramble them to fit in the blanks below the picture, you get
[ Snoop in the Sleeping Car ]


Certainly a reference to the new Hardy Boys game, Treasure on the Tracks. Way to go puzzlers! Catch ya on the 'morrow.

-Novel (I or II)-

Friday, September 11, 2009

It might be a Test of Twenty-Six

You know, for a short week, it took a long time for Friday to show up.

We've just been crazy, what with putting the finishing touches on WAC. I tweeted about October being close, and boy did I mean it! Our Testing Team is ever vigilant in their quest to ensure that WAC comes to you in the best condition possible! And I've got to give them props, cause they are doing a great job. But now, it's time for some much need rest.

For you avid sleuthers however, your work is just beginning. Mari sent over a pretty excellent puzzle today. Time to get to it!


----- -- --- -------- ---

Good luck and have fun!

- Novel -

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breaking the Fourth day

Thursday is back once more!

We've been diligently working away at WAC today. With the release just right around the corner (still hush-hush) it has been pretty tense around the office. I can tell you that I've seen a few shots from the trailer they're working on. It looks pretty intense. Mystery, danger, gossip... gossip? Oh yeah, talk about dangerous! :P No word on when they'll release that trailer though.

Also I wanted to say great job on solving puzzle #25! You all stuck with it and got it finished in the end. So let's see how it works out.


Each box contained an equation. In order to solve the equation you merely had to
[replace the letters with numbers (or vice versa) and then solve.]
The key is [ A=1, B=2, C=3, etc. ]
Once you had an answer [you used it in the next line of the equation.]
Continue solving, remembering to [ take both letters, one for the "?" and one for the "_" ] for the final part.
[s,u u,g t,d e,t s,n i,e i,r e,s t,e]
After you have all the letters, rearrange them to spell: [Guest Suite Resident]


Awesome! Just a slight rearranging. I bet it has something to do with RED >.> Hmmm...

I'm done for the day. I'll see everyone tomorrow. Adios.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hint for #25

Okay, just a quick hint here from Mari.


You're close, you just need to find the right anagram. Think lodging. ^^


Good luck sleuthers!


Watching Wednesday

Oh, the mid-week,

Here we are smack in the middle of another tumultuous week. We're steadily working towards the release of WAC; prepping newsletters, building trailers, and re-working websites. Many of these you'll see soon enough, but some might be a little ways away.

Currently I'm ensuring that the RED launch continues to go smoothly. Pretty soon it will be available for download on even more websites and I've got to facilitate that process by preparing a whole bunch of art and documents for the companies to use. It's a pretty lengthy task, but definitely necessary. We need to ensure that we're using the same language and thoughts on every site so our products don't create confusion if you see them in different places. (Marketing can get tricky when you get down into it.)

I know Wednesday is a typical picture day, so I've got a few shots I took while I was at PAX. I've asked for some employee submissions as well, and I'll post them if anyone replies. Until then, here's a few to keep you piqued.

-- This one is a cute advertisement for a new DS game. (I liked the look)

-- And this is from a panel on User Interfaces and Aesthetics

-- And here is one of the main open areas, late at night though, so not much traffic.

-- Oh, this is a giant chalk mural an artist was creating during the whole conference!

Mari's sending me a hint for puzzle 25, I know we've been lagging behind, but I'm hoping to catch back up. I'll post it when I get it. :P Cheers~

- Novel (1) -

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Right into Tuesday

I came to work today not noticing the missing Monday. It occurs to me right now that you all might be seriously craving a post. I must say, with my absence on Friday and the holiday on Monday, there's a lot of work to make up. Still, I hope most of you had a wonderfully extended weekend.

I spent most of my weekend, much like Friday, attending the annual Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX as it's mostly referred to.) In short, it's a big 3-day conference where gamers and developers meet up and talk about all things gaming; culture, trends, new products, etc. Some companies show off their new games and products, while others bring issues to talk about.

Many of HI's employees went to PAX to see discussions on some new ideas in gaming and gaming communities. If you followed my tweets, you probably saw a couple of panel names, but I thought I'd share a few more with you:


What do Recruiters and Hiring Managers look for?
Pitch Your Game Idea
Legal Issues in Contemporary Gaming
How Gamers Give: Improving the World Through Gaming
Game Culture: How Gamers Impact Society and How Policy Affects Gamer Culture
So you Want to Be a Game Designer?
Losing Should Be Fun


Sure they don't all sound fun, and admittedly some of the talks weren't my cup of tea, but hopefully we learned a whole lot to help make our games better. Getting out of the office and meeting other companies and other gamers was a nice break from the busy times we've been living in. Plus seeing all the cool new products coming out soon...

Sometimes it's just nice to be a kid in a candy shop again.

- Novel -

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The End of #24

I'm sorry to say it, but I've got to reveal #24. I'll try to break it into steps so if you want to see little bits of the answer and then try and go on your own.

-- #24 --

Okay so we know what the rebuses stand for:
[ Do not look a gift horse in the mouth ] and [ A piece of cake ]

Now for the next part - the first thing you have to do is:
[ Number each statement starting from the last letter and working backwards, be sure to count spaces as well. It should look something like this:
h t u o m _ e h t ...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ...

Next you need to [ apply a letter to each fraction in the list ]
so then we get a bunch of letters like so:

A _ O C _ _ I _ E I F F _ _


Now drop the blank ones and unscramble the letters to spell:
[ Mr. Mingles is full of class ]


And there you have it. Solved and sorted. The answer might be slightly confusing, but I'm sure you'll get the reference soon enough.

Mari says you're close on #25, so I'll let you finish it up this weekend. Also a big thanks to Nadine for her awesome post! Maybe I can convince her to do another. :P I'm out at the Penny Arcade Expo tomorrow, but I'll be twittering from there all day. Anywho, see ya then.


Working In Turn

Hello everyone! Well, this is the special treat that Novel mentioned you would get to have yesterday -- just a guest post from me, yet another of HI's lucky interns. :p

How do I differ from Summer_Sleuth, you ask? Well, really we had many of the same tasks -- such as stuffing (HUNDREDS) of envelopes, testing games, and basically doing whatever's asked of me. One day I came to my desk to see this task left for me: Design start states for ND22 puzzles...

And another day, Research usage of displaying currency in games...

And once, Play Treasure in the Royal Tower and compare the game to the book...

Actually, I'm a big fan of video games in general, but since I'd never played a Nancy Drew game before, my very first task was to play HAU all the way through. Needless to say, I realized Nancy Drew games are alot more difficult than I thought they were, and even with message board help, it took me at least 8 hours to finish!

Another thing that I get to do, that I hadn't ever done before, was read Nancy Drew books -- that is, go through HI's whole library, and try to find and list the names of restaurants or roads or parks in River Heights, just in case Nancy ever needs to refer to them in future games. I've managed to get through 37 books thus far…only dozens more to go.

Overall, I'm enjoying my job here a lot. Yesterday, though, I found out that many of the people here at HI had wanted to have other jobs when they were really young -- for instance, Designer Mari used to want to become a horse jockey. Some others aspired to be firefighters or policemen, someone wanted to create Lego box sets, and someone even wanted to be a paleontologist/sheep herder!

…I don’t know about you…but I’m rather glad they’re making ND games instead. :D

-Nadine (Production Intern)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Digging up the Past

So I've got an interesting photo for you on this fine Wednesday. Some of you might not know this, but HI used to do games other than Nancy Drew. Although that was quite some time ago. We've been pretty dedicated to our favorite sleuth for a long time now, but I thought I'd give you all a peek at a poster I found in the back of the office.

Now that's old school!

I'll be closing down puzzle #24 tomorrow, it has been a hard fought battle and I'm proud of those of you who stuck with it. As for #25, I've just got this to say.


Each box has exactly two letters you'll need.


Alright, I'm leaving for the day. I've got a special treat for tomorrow so stay tuned. Peace!

- Novel -

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Concerning Contests

It's Tuesday! (oh the excitement)

I hope your Monday was quite rewarding. The office is still bouncing about with activity. We're pretty excited to release our first ever DS game. Though it has been pretty tricky. There's all sorts of processes we had to learn when working with other companies, but I'd say it's been worth it. We've got the stuff! (gratuitous flexing aside)

So about that contest. I want you to know that you all are getting the story first! I'm breaking the news right here before anyone else. :P Though I don't have all the tid-bits, I do know where to complete the puzzle. So here goes:

We're starting a sweepstakes to work with the launch of Resorting to Danger. This contest is going to be a trivia contest that has you answering questions based on RED. So what's the payout? Well, that's the best part. We're going to select one random winner to appear in the next Dossier game. Now I know what you're going to say, but this time, there's a special trick. Since Dossier is done in a particular art style, it means we can't just use a photo. We're going to have our artists use their best skills to transform your portrait into the beautiful painterly style seen in the game! Now that's a handsome prize!

Unfortunately that's all the beans I can spill. All the blah info; dates, times and the trivia; will appear in the next newsletter, which I believe should be out this week. (don't worry, the contest doesn't officially start until then) So sign up and keep your eyes peeled. Adios amigos!