Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekned Puzzle Time!

I'm hoping for some sun this weekend, how bout you? Even if you find it, be sure and take this brain-bender with you. Puzzle-meister Ben is looking to stump you this weekend, are you up to the challenge? Check it out:

- Puzzle 52 -

06F 001 849 079 001 002 0DE 461 002
457 001 0DE 4BB 0D3 849 4BB 0DE 849 0D4


See you on Monday!

- Novel (ing)-

PR's and Q's

We “wheeled and dealed” with PR (Public Relations) today. It was a glorious verbal foray with only one true goal; How to roll out the red carpet for TOT. There were plenty of good ideas, many of which you’ll begin to see permeating the delicate ecosystem of HI’s virtual home (and in many ways, yours too.) This likely means TOT announcements popping up every so often right up until the package knocks on the front door, freshly delivered and ripe for playing. It’s been far too long I say, but Spring is moving forward and so too are we…

Today I spoke with our Sales Manager, Mo’, who is basically in charge of making sure our games get from our hands to yours! So here it is, your “Blurb of the Week”

With the TOT launch happening soon, I had to meet directly with the president to talk about coordination between HI and its distributors (the companies who ship our games to you.) We have to rally the troops, so to speak, to make sure that when TOT comes out in June, our fans receive it on the day we promised. Other than work diligently on that, this week I had the important task of preparing the monthly order for office supplies and snacks. [slight pause] You have told them what the office is like without snacks right? It’s downright scary.

As much as it pains me to say it, she’s right, without snacks in the kitchen there could be rioting in the cubicles. ^.~ But enough of that, if there was any worry surrounding the TOT launch being earlier than previous years, just know that we seem to have that issue on lockdown already. Thanks for the insight, Mo.

It’s been a good week, there’s a puzzle coming tomorrow, and definitely some more awesome artwork! Cya.


ND Art Contest Submissions #5

Here are some ones that I just think are the bee's knees.  It is pretty awesome to see such hard work and dedication by fans of all ages!  I wish they all could have won.  I will say this though, I'm gonna need more blog space to post all the stuff I'm totally diggin'...

- by Haley C. -

- by Laura M. -

I've got a few more that are just screaming to be shown, tomorrow mayhaps?

- Novel -

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Nancy!

Today we're celebrating Nancy's 80th birthday.  Which is completely awesome!  I mean, how cool is it that our favorite sleuth is turning the big 8-O?  She's still the top of her class, almost a century later.  That's simply amazing. 

Now we haven't thrown a lavish party or anything (cause we're busy with all the TOT hooplah) but you can bet that the atmosphere has been super peachy.  Not to mention the tasty confections that made their way into the kitchen... no real mystery as to where they disappeared to.  :P 

In fact one of our HI staff donated a special gift for the office, a Nancy Drew standee!  It commemorates the 80th celebration and looks totally sweet.  Check it out:

- Nancy is on the case! -

So get out there and celebrate Nancy's birthday.  Maybe solve a mystery or two but above all, have a fantastic day!

- Novel -

ND Art Contest Submissions #4

More art-y goodness from the contest.

- by April H. -

- by Christine W. -

Woo hoo!  I love it. Catch ya laters~

- Novel -

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Answer is, Weeks Away

So the newsletter is up and running. Sometimes the mailman takes a bit longer than we surmise, so if you're not staring at it just yet, give 'er a few moments more. Or, if you just can't wait, you can totally check it out here.  We even managed to get the ol' product page set up in time for the announcement.  There's probably some interesting info to glean, so maybe take a peek or two at the website...

I can't stop gushing over the contest entries.  (You'll be seeing much more.)  But it's certainly got me think about the next big contest.  We've done essay writing, puzzle building, art contests, and photo contests, and I've loved them all!   But hey, we do these things for you all, (and I know I've asked it before, but I'm going to again,) sooooo...
What kind of contest should we run next?

 - Puzzle Solution 51 -

This puzzle has a whole lot of instructions, but you can get through it quite handily with a bit of patience.  I suggest using [ graph paper ] to help chart your progress.  Simply use [ 1 square to account for "1 pace" ] plus it is much easier to [ find and identify your cardinal directions and rotations. ] If not, find a whole lot of [open space and something to mark your movement with (stick in sand, chalk on pavement, etc.) ]

Once you're ready, follow each step precisely [ none should be too tricky, just make sure you're turning and walking in the correct directions ]

Afterward you can [ review the path you walked ] to see a hidden [ word ]  

Place that clue [(candy)] into the URL provided and you'll receive:
[ a picture of "Cow-a-Bubble" - ]


Yes, it is definitely TOT related. In a previous puzzle we mentioned the feasibility of an [expanded KoKo Kringle candy line] and so I've offered you another feature from that. In fact here's something else to chew on...

Yeah, it is pretty sweet!

- Novel -

Monday, April 26, 2010

ND Art Contest Submissions #3

I've got some more awesome entries to share, check 'em out! Also check out today's blog post for some exciting news!

- by Gabrielle B.

- by Maria P.

Excellent stuff, we'll be seeing some more this week. Stay tuned!

- Novel -

Newsletter You'll Like

It must be about that time.  I know you've all been held in suspense for the TOT announcements.  And even so, may be wondering where your April newsletter is.  Well I'm here to tell you that both are one and the same.  And as far as a date is concerned, you'll be elated to hear that tomorrow is the "day of days!"  Yup, that's right, there will be a new newsletter tomorrow with TOT info.  Make sure you're signed up, you don't want to miss it!

I'm glad to see the fanfare surrounding the contest winners.  It is a delight to be able to post so many of these entries.  I've just been posting some that I think are awesome, so don't be surprised to see not just winners (you'll see them anyways in an upcoming ND game)!  Plus this contest was all about you all, so I'm thrilled to be able to showcase our awesome fans in anyway possible. 

The weekend puzzle has met its end already.  It looked like quite a bit of fun to do, and was solved in record time.  We'll be seeing the steps tomorrow, of course, and a small explanation of the answer.  Though I have the feeling that many of you have made the connections...  :P

- Novel (T)

Friday, April 23, 2010

ND Art Contest Submissions #2

Here are a few more images from the contest!

- by Crystie C. -

- by Lana B. -

Awesome stuff!
Have a great weekend, we'll see ya Monday.

- Novel -

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday Puzzle

Today is a puzzle day, and I think this one is going to be pretty good. Check it out:

- Puzzle 51 -


To solve, follow the steps:

1. Face North
2. Turn West and walk two paces
3. Turn South and walk three paces
4. Turn 90 degrees counter-clockwise and walk two paces
5. Turn 45 degrees counter-clockwise and walk three paces
6. Turn Southeast and walk one pace
7. Turn West and walk two paces
8. About face and walk two paces
9. Turn 45 degrees clockwise and walk two paces
10. Turn North and walk three paces
11. Turn 135 degrees clockwise and walk three paces
12. About face and turn 45 degrees clockwise
13. Walk forward three paces
14. Turn West
15. Walk backwards one pace
16. Rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise and walk three paces
17. Side-step to your left one pace
18. Turn Northeast and walk one pace
19. Turn 45 degrees counter-clockwise and walk one pace
20. Repeat the last step
21. Repeat the step prior to this previous one
22. Turn one-hundred and eighty degrees
23. Walk forward three steps
24. Turn Southeast and walk one pace
25. Rotate 45 degrees to your right and walk two paces
26. Repeat step #8
27. Face North
28. Rotate three-hundred and fifteen degrees counter-clockwise
29. Walk forward one pace.


Good luck! ^.^

I'll be posting some more artwork later today, so stop back by at some point. Oh, and enjoy your weekend!

- Novel -

ND Art Contest Submissions #1

As promised, here are a few pieces we received for the recent contest. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

- by Chelsea -

- by Madi -

Great job you two!

- Novel -

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nancy Drew Art Contest Winners

We had a great turnout for this contest and I know the judges had a difficult task narrowing down the artwork submissions to just 30 winners. The ten photo winners were randomly drawn from all the entries we received. Just below you'll find a long list of names for the winners, and for the next week or so we'll be posting a few pieces of the winning artwork each day. (In fact, you'll see some winning artwork later today!) Congratulations to those who won and a big thanks to all who entered!

Artwork Winners:
Alexandra A.
Amelia C.
Amriel S
Anna H.
April H.
Avery S.
Chelsea G.
Christine W.
Crystie C.
Emily I.
Emily S.
Gabrielle B.
Hailie M.
Hannah W.
Kelly W.
Kelsey H.
Lana B.
Laura K.
Laura S.
Lea F.
Lisa C.
Madi L.
Maria P.
Marie G.
Marissa T.
Maxine E.
Olivia B.
Samantha P.
Serena W.
Taylor G.

Photo Winners:
Alana S.
Alexandra A.
Alyssa H.
Emily S.
Ethan R.
Laura B.
Lydia B.
Michael G.
Olivia J.
Rose R.


Kudos to All!

P.S. Winners will be contacted over the next few days! If you've yet to receive a "winning announcement" give it a little time before you flood our poor Webmaster's inbox. After all, they do have 40 people to talk to. :P

- Novel -

Seeing is Secondary

Yikes! It's late already. I've been helping manage some of the contest entries and just completely lost track of time. I think you'll be quite impressed to see some of the work. Now I've just got to figure out how I'm going post them all!

Today is Wednesday, so I did a little sneaking about to find your picture for the week.  Check it out:

- Office of the Prez. -

I totally need a cushy chair like that... plus she's got a better view than I do. Cubicle walls make poor windows.

Tomorrow is a big announcement day, so come on out to the 'ole blog-space for the whole sha-bang. I'll see you then!

- Novel -

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Answers and Answers

Off we go!

We got a few entries right on the wire for the Art Contest, so don't worry if you haven't received your email just yet. As long as it was here by midnight, I'll make sure it gets put in the judging. We had a great turnout and I'm thrilled to be able to post some of them later this week. Kudos to you all!

 - Puzzle 50 Answer -

This puzzle is a [cryptogram].  You'll need to [ substitute letters for the symbols. ]
The key is below:
A = ± 241 B = σ 229 C = ╒ 213 D = Σ 228 E = § 21 F = ^ 94
G = ≡ 240 H = ↕ 23 I = ⌡245 J = ∟28 K = ï 139 L = ε 238
M = δ 235 N = φ 237 O = µ 230 P = ▲30 Q = Θ 233 R = √ 251
S = ⌐ 169 T = Ω 234 U = ≈ 247 V= ¥ 157 W = Φ 232 Y = ∞ 236

The answer for the puzzle is:
Auntie’s Acorns – These chocolate flavored jaw breakers resemble acorns in shape, but reveal a sweet caramel center once its hard layers have been eaten away. Auntie’s Acorns come in a handy re-sealable bag to keep out those squirrelly kids. Kids go nuts for Auntie’s Acorns!



And there you have it. If you're looking slightly puzzled, that's quite alright. This is a small sample, a taste if you will, of the expanded Koko Kringle line you'll find in TOT. Yes, the wonderful and mysterious candy-makers have branched out. And you can bet that we're excited to tell you what's in store!

- Novel -

Monday, April 19, 2010

Off We Go

We're off and running.  It may be Monday, but there is a charge in the office today.  (Maybe it was the weekend sun.)  Either way, everyone seems to be pretty excited. 

Today was the final day for the Nancy Drew Inspired Contest.  The turnout was fantastic!  In fact there were quite a lot of last minute entries.  From what I've seen I know the judges are going to have a hard time coming to some final decisions.  Winners will be posted on Thursday.  Good luck to everyone who entered!

If you looked closely at our site, you may have begun to see the release of ND Convention content.  We've started with just one interview, and intend to gradually produce more of these videos over the next few weeks.  Tomorrow we'll be dropping another short conversation we had with a rather gifted artist.  I think you'll enjoy it very much.

Tuesday has become my "go-to" day for puzzle spoilers, so let's continue that trend. I'm glad you all solved this one. And you'll be happy to know that it is TOT-related!  It may not be character lists or screenshots, but hey any information at this point is very welcome.  I'll give you the "skinny" when I post the solution.  Stop by and check it out.


- Novel (unset) -

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Puzzle L

Thanks for swinging by this week. We'll have some more fun next week. There's interviews to post, TOT stuff to hide in posts, and who knows what else... Be sure to check out this week's puzzle below. Designer Ben is pushing some pretty interesting info your way. Check it out:

- Puzzle 50 -

(click to enlarge)


Your weekend begins today, so get out there and enjoy the springtime!

- Novel (426) -


Sure sure, I've mentioned all sorts of secret things before, but this episode of Blurb of the Week is all about the future! We're in the process of building TOT hype, which can be tricky considering the constriction of information, but that is still the current goal.

I, however, continue my report on the current events of the office (where it doesn't conflict with my manager's instructions, of course). This week, we've got our stand-in Friday Puzzle designer, Rob, on the wire. When he's not trying to stump our readers, he acts as the manager for Localization (translating games to other languages). But as you'll read, his tasks extend out a bit further than that...

- Blurb of the Week -
I'm currently programming puzzles and building scenes for a secret project. The process is done differently from the normal PC games, in that, we're working using an "agile" method of development. It is a much more flexible production environment and one cool part of it is that we create playable versions of the games much earlier. So I've already gotten to play and test some of the scenes I built earlier this week! Unfortunately most of what I work on is "hush-hush" so I can't say much more. I'm kinda like the "James Bond" of HI.

As an aside, Rob may not be aware that we're allowed to mention ND23... but hey, if it makes him sneak around the office in a tuxedo while speaking with a British accent, who am I to spoil his fun. ^.~

The end of the week is at hand, I hope to catch you before its through.

- Novel -

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reveals and Research

Midweek is looking pretty fancy.  We've got the sun on our side today, which is always appreciated.  I've seen a lot of busy co-workers spreading the gossip of future games.  There were some short clips passed around from the convention.  I know you'll be seeing some of that shortly.  There was more talk of TOT teasers, of which I heard only good things.  Not to mention other lingering projects and endeavors.  I took a short walk, taking inventory of our reclusive artists and viewing their current masterpieces (i.e. ND22 or 23 artwork.) Many barely glanced up at my intrusion, instead continuing to dwell in other more fanciful (and artistically inspiring) planes.  I wish I'd had an air-horn... now that would have been a treat.

"Artist Row"

So here are the solving steps for the two puzzles completed this weekend.

- Puzzle 48 -

48 + 61 + 4e + 6e + 102 + 125 =

29b + A3 + 1db + 206 + 1f9 =

This puzzle relies on just one thing [ Unicode ]
If you input the text into a [ Unicode converter ] you'll receive a whole slew of [ letters. ]
While some might have a few extra marks, reduce them down to their [ Roman letter counterparts ] There's no rearranging here:
[ Hannah Gruen ]


And next up we have:

- Puzzle 49 -

This is a [ Rebus ].  I'll break up each image first.
1. First Image = [ Cellphone ]
2. Second Image = [ Ankh ]
3. Third Image = [ Hand ]
4. Fourth Image = [ Cup of Coffee ]

Now you put it all together for [ Phone ankh hand coffee ]
You'll need to use the spaces and make some substitutions to complete the puzzle.
For the first spaces, you'll add [ two letters, F and R] for the second space, [remove the H ] and lastly [substitute coffee for "joe" ]
Now the sentence should read:
[ Phone Frank and Joe ]


That's all for today. Peace out!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


With one man absent you'd think we'd have a back-up writer taking the slack, but alas, the toiling is far too great at this point.  As I was down and out yesterday, there's a suspicious gap in the blog dates.  Let's pretend that yesterday was a mysterious holiday, one through which we all ventured towards recovery and have returned today with fresh minds and charged spirits.

We've got a lot of footage from the convention over the weekend.  Hopefully we can distill that into a quality product.  I've been told there are some excellent fan interviews, convention floor footage, and speeches to be seen.  Our video editor is going to have a full plate for quite some time.  ^.~  You'll definitely get the wire when any of this content becomes live.  I've been itching to release something!

Speaking of releases, on the TOT announcement side, I've heard that this month's newsletter will have some new info.  Though details are still unconfirmed (as are dates) it is a little ray of sunshine in this cloudy forecast. 

Puzzles have been crushed!  I love it!  I'm impressed that you all managed to knock them both out this weekend.  I'll have to grab the spoilers for you tomorrow. 

Novel out!

- N -

Friday, April 9, 2010

Puzzle 49

Here's some weekend fun courtesy of Designer Ben. It looks flashy, but I'm sure you'll take it down in no time. Enjoy!

- Puzzle 49 -


Good luck, and I'll see ya Monday!

- Novel -

P.S. #48 is still kicking. With codes, there are still many unknowns.  Some are tricky, and some are fun.  I'm sure you'll find the right one sooner or later.  ^.~

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Late Thirty

Goodness we're deep into the day here. 6:30 and still running around! It's been a whirlwind here. (nod to TOT) I've gone from work to meeting to work too many times to count. I was fortunate enough to attend two brainstorm sessions for two different games! We've got some fancy ideas flowing, but (phew), if I haven't had much time to sit and think beyond that. I suppose there's always tomorrow.

I'm not the only one though. Jessica, our Marketing Manager, submitted this tidbit for our Blurb of the Week:


Presentations and meetings, that's my week... but I've got to say I'm totally stoked for this weekend. I get to head down to Florida and meet some fans! It's one of the best parts of my job. Now I just need to figure out where the laptop is for my presentation, or I'm going to have to mime the whole thing.


Now that I would totally pay to see! If you're headed to the convention, be sure and swing by to see her.

That's all I've got lined up for today. But tomorrow... puzzle! Cya then.

- Novel -

Message Board Update

Hey all,

I looks like the boards should be back up and running. There are still a few loose ends being tied up, but I know they wanted to open them back up as soon as possible. You should be able to log on again, but it might be a day or two till everything is 100%. The admins have said they'll try to keep everyone up to date on the progress, so I'll leave it in their hands.

Talk at ya later!

- Novel -

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plots of Plot

There was a small discussion of new games yesterday, so I thought it would be pertinent to show you a map I found.

This happens to be a written account of the next ND game. (well part of it at least) The design team creates these large, written snapshots to help arrange everything in the game (puzzles, snooping, interrogations, etc.) They make smaller models to do play-tests with art, production, QA, and marketing to help work out any kinks in the story. I will say that it is a bit unusual to have the next ND game hanging out on some cubicles, but I suppose you've got to start somewhere.

The MB should be up and running soon. I'll do a post as soon as I'm told it's all hunky-dory. Hold out till then sleuths! I'll check the puzzle progress tomorrow and break it if necessary.

Hasta leugo!

- Novel -

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Other Games

Given the response received to the April Fool's Day joke, it makes me wonder if we've ever considered other Nancy characters in a lead role. Now Nancy has the mystery market pretty well covered, so what kind of games would some of the others do?

Bess Marvin's Shopping Sim? Perhaps a sports title burgeoned by George's name. And maybe Ned could be the star in his own adventure series, with Nancy as a phone friend. ^.~ That's to say nothing of the minor characters we love. The possibilities are endless!

After yesterday's post, I realized it might be slightly difficult to coordinate on puzzles given the lack of MB support. Keep going sleuths, I have faith that you can solve it.

Have a great Tuesday!

- Novel -

Monday, April 5, 2010

MB news

Oh hey!

Don't forget, the message board will be updating for the next couple of days. You'll still be able to read and surf the boards, but you can't post. Sorry for the inconvenience, but they assure me it's for some "snazzy new servers." I'll still be buzzing around here if ya need somewhere to holler. Catch ya on the flip side.

- Novel -

Many Things

It was a rainy weekend, but that just means more sunshine in our future, right? We had some good fun last week. I hope you enjoyed our little April's Day prank. We're in to a bit of clowning about here in the office too. We've had all sorts of fiascoes in the past, but this year was a bit tame. Only a few re-arranged chairs and misplaced office supplies. Still the spirit of the office was lively. We're going to hold onto that!

Oh, as an aside... April is National Poetry Month! I'm a big fan of writing, so you know I'm excited. It's an excuse to get out there and create. Speaking of which, we're still running the Nancy Drew Art contest. I'd love to see even more entries, give it a shot!

As for a puzzle update, it looks like you've latched on to a particularly interesting solution.  Unfortunately it isn't the right one.  >.<  I've managed to come up with a small hint for you.

- Puzzle 48 Hint -

To solve this puzzle you only need one code.


Good luck with the puzzle! Adieu~

- Novel -

P.S. I read an interesting post today by a user, Safecracker.  I guess I should say that my mind has been read!  In fact we have already begun production on such an "adventure."  I can't say that you'll see it in a game, but perhaps we've got a few creative uses lined up!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Puzzle Four-Eight

I hope everyone had a fun week! Designer Ben is taking a break this week, but we've still got a puzzle for you to work on. It should dazzle you too much, enjoy!

- Puzzle 48 -

48 + 61 + 4e + 6e + 102 + 125 =

29b + A3 + 1db + 206 + 1f9 =


Good luck, we'll see ya soon.

- Novel -