Friday, July 30, 2010

Sixty-Fifth Puzzle

And now for your weekly brain-training!

- Puzzle 65 -


It looks like we might end up with a variety of interpretations on this one... tricky, tricky. Good luck to everyone!

- Novel -

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All Told

Wheee! Nothing but fun and sun today... though no beach. Still, let's settle on simplicity for the time being. So, I'm turning right to it.

I had a good conversation with the designer of our Nancy Drew Adventure games, Cathy. She told me all about what’s been going on this week.

-Blurb of the Week-
Although this sounds silly, I’ve been playing through ND23 for the first time this week. Over the past couple of months I’ve played it on paper, but this is my first official walkthrough on a computer. I have to make sure that the design works well and is implemented correctly… which has been a bit of chore. I help report and fix any bugs I come across. So far I’ve been working on the same play-through for a day and a half, and I know all the puzzle answers! I’m also helping the Marketing team by doing write-ups and design documents they can use to hype the ND23 release; like creating mini-games or determining the scope of the demos. There has even been meetings detailing the barest beginnings of Nancy’s next adventure, but I can't say any more about that. Besides, I’m so excited to be able to see just how awesome ND23 is turning out! I can’t wait for everyone to play it… well, once we get it working just right.

Oooooh quite exciting! Not to point any fingers, but Madam Designer, knows pretty much all the secrets of HI. She's got a line to all the future cues of Nancy. It's always a pleasure to speak with her. (oh and she's loves hearing from you all too. ^.~ )

Aaaaaand for those inquisitive minds...

- Puzzle 64 Answer -

To start you need to [ translate the words ]
You can tell which [ language ] you need to use by the
[ letter after the text ] The list is:
F - Finnish
M - Malay
C - Catalan
H - Hungarian
G - German
N - Norwegian
T - Turkish
Each set equals [ New Features ] but we know the answer is three words. So the next step is to think of it as [ a rebus puzzle ]
So the final answer would be:
[ 7 new features ]


As you can guess, we're still deeply seeded in Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED. You do know pre-orders are just around the corner, right? I thought so. :)

- Novel -

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Today was a hefty mail day... contest entries, magazines, office goodies. Many HI workers send packages here, for convenience-sake, I suppose. It does make for some interesting times though; lots of cool books and toys show up randomly. Every now and then it feels a little like Christmas, what with all the mystyery boxes being handed about.

Of course sometimes we do order things for the office, like say more games for our back catalog...

- That's a whole lot of mystery! -

Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon is a pretty popular title, so it's no surprise that we'd have a veritable tower of them in the office.

Puzzle 64 has been solved! That's right, you all performed magnificently! I'll spill the goods tomorrow though, cause I think I hear the sun calling. Toodles~ ^.^

- Novel (6) -

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Out to Lunch

We have a few new faces in the office. Testers. Their sole job is to bend and break all the work we've done so far on Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED and Shadow at the Water's Edge. It's weird to think about. We pay them to play our games to a point of non-function... granted that's a pretty simple version of what they do. There are rhythms and charts to follow, tasking their work to an expert level of precision, and make no mistake, it is greatly appreciated.

So there was pizza. Cause nothing fosters group communication like everyone diving for a slice. I approve.

I've got a hint for Puzzle 64, but I think it'll let you solve it out right. We shall see.

- Puzzle 64 Hint -

Translate the words, then what do you have? (Think like #49)


Oh hey, the contest is almost at an end, keep sending submissions in! We're loving the stories. :)

- Novel (first) -

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clerical Errors

I've been battling the Forces of Grammar today. Normally I'm not such a stickler for rules (see: Previous blog posts) but in certain aspects of my job it helps to stay on top of proper spelling and the sort. You have no doubt seen the occasional error beaming out from the page (web, print, and otherwise). We control it as much as possible, and every so often I take the better part of a day to ensure the quality of a variety of our "out-puts." Packaging, Strategy Guides, web pages, etc., have all felt the unquenchable wrath of my 'editor's pen.' We sometimes receive corrections from you all! It's a mighty task, and some days are wordier than others I suppose. But I have to say, that's just fine by me. :)

Oh hey, I had another silly thought in my brain.
If we had to re-make another game, which one would you want us to do? And would you change anything?

Puzzle 64 is on the right track, you just need to sort out the final answer. I'll provide hints tomorrow if its solution remains unfound.

Sunny-sides till then!

- Novel -

Friday, July 23, 2010

The 64th Weekend Puzzle

Say goodbye to the week and hello to the weekend. To help cross that threshold, I give you puzzle 64. Good luck!

- Puzzle 64 -

Translation aside, what is this:

Uusia piirteitä - F
ciri-ciri baru - M
noves característiques - C
Új jellemzői - H
neue Eigenschaften - G
nye funksjoner - N
yeni özellikler - T

Hint: The answer is three words.


See ya next week. ^.^

- Novel

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Did you see the new trailer? It looks a lot prettier than I remember. ^.~ I'm hoping for some gameplay footage soon. Secrets Can Kill and Stay Tuned for Danger are the only games I've yet to play all the way through, so as you can expect I'm pretty excited about this one. Now I did get the chance to mess around a little bit in the early stages of development, but I haven't played since before beta... I'm super antsy by now.

People are starting to drift back into the office from Casual Connect, brains full of new ideas. There's only a few discussion panels left and I can't wait to hear what new things we learned from the industry's experts!

After being warned not to “spin” any of this interview as some kind of political “office smear campaign” I was able to get some pretty excellent information (with pictures!) from one of our most talented 2-D artists, Zach.

- Blurb of the Week -

I’ve been preparing for the next Nancy Drew game by reading environment descriptions from the design team. Then I work on concept sketches and do research concerning real world objects that will appear in the scene. For instance, in TOT [art below] I created a “Jackalope Machine” that incorporates many traditional [and realistic] elements of old museum displays, such as the building materials, diorama appearance, and coin-operated machinery. Each of these elements are clearly visible in the concept, and were translated into the final art. We can also use this method to help bring more realism to imagined/fabricated items. The concept drawings set up a check system that ensures both cultural and design components are represented faithfully in the creation of the 3-D art. As a final step, I play test those environments [after 3-D artists have created them] and make sure everything looks extra snazzy.


Awesome! Thanks for the interesting interview (esp. the pictures). I'll be excited to see more of your work in ND23.

I'm concerned the Puzzle 62 may be in need of explicit hints, but I'm considering letting it hang there, unanswered. We'll see. There's bound to be a new puzzle tomorrow though. For we simply cannot resist.

- Novel -

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Whirlwind Tour

The office has been pretty empty with so many at the "Casual Conference." But that doesn't mean we haven't found time to create some cool new stuff. While I've been busy, I have had time to do some snooping of my own and I've seen the fine trappings of Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED content being expertly passed about the office. It no doubt means a strategic marketing strike is planned. My guess... tomorrow or Friday.

Desks have their own sort of "feng shui" rules. Personal items aside, distribution of material can be clues to the worker's methods (and madness). I think that clutter either implies a busy worker, or a messy one. That line is really really fine though.

- Pic of the Week -

So what are you thoughts on this HI employee? Let me give you a hint; yes, he does in fact have two computers. ^.~

Puzzle 63 has been completed, let's break it down.

- Puzzle 63 Answer -

To start, you'll need to write down all of the
[ capital letters that appear ]. This will give you the following clue
[ N, I, C, E, S, D, M, Z, Z, M, M, Q, J, N ].
Next you're given [ instructions ] in the lines of the puzzle.
[ Add one to each letter ] you've already written down
( i.e. [ A becomes B... G becomes H... etc. ] )
You'll end up with [ O, J, D, F, T, E, N, A, A, N. N, R, K, O ]
Now all you have to do is [ unscramble the letters ]. This will give you the final answer,
[ Not Frank and Joe ]


So it looks like it might be a clue to just who your helpful pal will be in the next mystery. Maybe this week's puzzle can shed some light.

- Novel (mno)-

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's All About You

So there was a very interesting point made at the conference today. A few people spoke in a panel about communities and how they shape/effect your company and the games you make. It was definitely interesting. But one thing they talked about that really resonated with us is how much work your fans will do and the distance they'll go just to show you they care. We've seen a lot of this over the years. We receive pictures of baked goods, fan art, and youTube videos all about Nancy Drew. You all are such a creative bunch, and it's really awesome to see how much we inspire you to get out there and make something amazing! You all never cease to impress. Keep it up and I promise we'll keep trying to make better and better content for you to enjoy. ^.^

About the puzzles... someone sent me a comment with the correct answer for puzzle 63! I've yet to post it due to spoilers. Mayhaps they'll post some info on the MB. Just in case I'll lay down a hint for said puzzle.

- Puzzle 63 Hint -

When we say "one more" we mean, "plus one" ... to everything.


Yup, that right there is a bona-fide, grade-A hint. Let's try and close this one off. ^.~

- Novel -

Monday, July 19, 2010

The School of Casual

It looks like we’re starting Monday with some off-site activity! This week we’ve got conferences and discussion panels to see at Casual Connect. It’s a pretty hip industry event that focuses heavily on causal games and gamers, and it’s being held right here in Seattle. Some of you might be familiar with our offerings in the “casual” category (i.e. Nancy Drew Dossier) and we’d be hard-pressed to pass up an opportunity to learn more and share our own experiences with others. This event allows us to discover all sorts of new things about the casual market including new distribution methods, new platforms, and even new design techniques. It all adds up to more awesome Nancy Drew Adventures! I’m thrilled that we’re able to attend. ^.~

The puzzles have taken interesting turns. It doesn’t look like either has been pinned down just yet, but mayhaps we can change that (one at a time though.)

- Puzzle 62 hint -

If the right side has the keys, then the left holds the ciphers. Just don't forget what you already know.


More hints tomorrow, plus we'll see what other interesting information we can dig up around the office. See you soon!

- Novel (9i)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Puz - Sixty Three

Alright sleuthers, let's get cracking!

- Puzzle 63 -

wheN tasked wIth adding one more Clue
and dangEr lurkS down each anD every hall,
with Many puZZles and Mysteries left to do,
My Question is: Just who will aNswer your call


I'm gonna guess that this will be solved fairly quickly. We shall see though... good luck and have a great weekend!

- Novel -

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tomorrow's News Yesterday

Did you see the newsletter yet? It's absolutely brimming with good knowledge. I know we've just handed you TOT, and I hope your still living it up in the Dust Bowl, but we've got to keep rolling along. Don't fret though, there's plenty of time to solve every case. ^.~

Looks like the office is still feeling the crazy from launching TOT, but there was someone willing to give me a quote for today. Let's see what our "jack-of-all-trades" Office Admin Ben has to say for this week.

- Blurb of the Week -
This week has continued the trend of "Post-TOT Action." I've got tech support questions and orders burying my inbox. I'm handling it, but I've also been put in charge of receiving NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) for some future ND projects. Of course there must be time for the serious missions; Stocking snacks, helping with puzzles for the blog. Oh, and let us not forget the job of "keeping it real"... which we've been doing all week long.

Interesting... to say the least. I'm sure "future ND projects" will become less nebulous in the future, right? Gah, spoiler-free content is just so not fun. >.<

The puzzle 62 thread seems to be heading in the right direction, but can it succeed before tomorrow's next brain-bender? I'm on pins and needles!

- Novel -

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leading The Day

Mid-week wackiness is at hand! It must be that golden sunshine peeking in. We're ready to take flight I tell ya. After months of stormy weather (TOT art) I think everyone is looking for a touch of sun. Ahh well, I stood in the office long enough to grab this snapshot:

The artists can't help but find excuses to draw tasty treats. Though birthdays should come complete with the real deal. Let's hope someone actually showed up with baked goods (editor's note: someone did).

Hint time! Now presented in "rhyming-riddle-form"
- Puzzle 62 Hint -

The order is the order that stands.
Decode the letters only thrice,
And we'll stop to clap our hands
For taking such sound advice.

Remember 'three keys on the right'
and you'll have all the steps you need.
Cipher and key, sitting in plain sight,
put them together and you'll definitely succeed.


More sly behavior, huh? I'm at a loss, but what can you make of it?!

I'm thinking maybe a few more twists and turns to this week. What have you been eagerly awaiting?

- Novel -

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mysteries Are Our Business

I'm wondering where Monday went to. My absence apparently carried over to the blog. Sometimes my lovely assistant (err... manager) likes to take over when I'm missing, but she found herself buried in the continued cloud coverage (i.e. Trail of the Twister launch). Busy is as busy does... She's pressing the new mysteries as we speak, eager to follow up the recent Nancy Drew adventure. We're bursting at the seams with ideas here. I only hope you're up to taking on more exciting cases!

Don't forget that we started a new contest last week! I've already gotten to read a few entries and I'm hankering for seconds. So send them in already. :P

Hot dog, puzzle 61 is done! It looks like it was solved pretty soundly, though I really enjoyed the theorizing.

- Puzzle 61 Answer -

To solve this puzzle you have to use a [ Vigenere cipher .] To break the code you need a key word. The hint is your clue; use [ easy as one two three ] as the key.

You can then decipher the text as follows:

Edison used bamboo and platinum
Daguerre used silver and chloride
Shakespeare's witches used eyes of newt and toe of frog

Each of these lines describes a particular thing... the first is
[ Edison's light bulb ], the second line,[ Daguerre made the camera ] and lastly [ the witches in Shakespeare's play made curses ]. Put them together and you get:

[ Lights, Camera, Curses! ]


As believed, it is in fact the special. I think the marketing department strives to get that in at least once a month. Ah well, at least designer Ben seems to be dealing with it pretty handily. We'll hint at 62 early tomorrow. ^.~

- Novel -

Friday, July 9, 2010

Puzzle 62

Hiyo, hiyo!

New puzzle day! But hey be sure to check out yesterdays Contest posting! Also puzzle 61 is still unsolved, so take a crack at it if you're looking for even more challenges. Enough of that though, on to the main event:

- Weekend Puzzle -

Oqjwcwl tcdpdsmkloqybydy afhqetiie z wi mzg dj c. y;hmbb Z

To give this puzzle,
a little more light,
use the three keys,
shown that are right.

Vigenere |Baconian
Ubchi |Gronsfeld
Bifid |Playfair
Caesar |Atbash


Okay, get those brains a working. Good luck, my peeps~!

- Novel -

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do You Nancy Drew? (The Contest)

Being a super sleuth is tough work! Nancy’s solved hundreds of cases and even more puzzles. She often uses many conventional crime solving techniques to catch culprits in the act. Interviewing suspects, analyzing clues, and even her trusty magnifying glass can be a big help in the most confusing mystery. While you may not have all the gadgets or the blue convertible roadster, you use many of the same crime-fighting abilities as Nancy; attention to detail, snooping, and deduction. We want to hear your stories of sleuthing!

Entry rules:
To enter you need to write us with what you think is the most important skill or attribute a detective can have and then tell us about a time when you used it to solve a mystery in real life!

• Entries must be at least 100 words but no more than 1000 (~2 pages)
• Only one entry per contestant will be judged.
• Entries must be received before August 2nd.
• This contest is open to everyone.

The winners will get their photo in a Nancy Drew game and their story will be posted on the Amateur Sleuth blog!!! Submissions will be accepted until August 2nd.

Email us your stories at along with your name, phone number, email address, and permission to post your entry online, with the subject line "Be Nancy Drew Contest." If you need to mail us a physical copy of your entry, please use the following address:

“DIY Nancy Drew” Contest
c/o Her Interactive
1150 114th Ave. SE, Suite 200
Bellevue, WA 98004

Be sure to also include your contact information with your submission. Any entry sent through the postal system must be received by August 2nd so make sure you mail in your entry early. Winners will be individually contacted upon completion of the contest. We will post the winning entries as well as a few of our favorites on the Amateur Sleuth blog at the completion of the contest.

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Frame Rates

There was some discussion of animation and how smooth and elegant technology makes it seem these days. In our games we work really hard to create life-like motion and realistic effects. Sometimes we succeed. And sometimes it doesn't look completely right. There are a few terms for this, Uncanny Valley, being the 'Big Kahuna' (for character animation.) I'd say we tend to progress forward with our techniques in each passing caper (TOT does have some very slick-looking effects). But don't think of animation as just characters, there's also keen special effects, and object motions, as well as visual elements like snazzy openings and closings. Our artist do wonders, let me tell ya.

Of course our kindly debate focused a lot on noticing the small details and fluidity of animation. Also... I was totally wrong in the discussion... :P

Here's your midweek photo, secretly snapped at an unsuspecting co-workers desk.

- Pic of the Week -
Packages are always appreciated! Particularly when they are this grand. A local printing company made this for our lovely Marketing Producer, Jess. It has sooo many layers; boxes in boxes in boxes. What did it contain in the end? What else, chocolate!

Clues for a puzzle? Yes please!
- Puzzle 61 Hint -

You've gone most of the way, but the final answer is still missing. You'll find it by creating three words, one for each of the three lines.


We'll have a good post early tomorrow. Be sure to stop by and check out the action! It'll be delicious... in its verbal content at least.


- Novel -

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dazzling Display

Did everyone have a lovely weekend? Was there fireworks and barbecue a plenty? We had some rain, but that didn't stop the happy spirit. I will say, Tuesdays make the best Mondays!

The Trail of the Twister launch appears to be running smoothly. *fingers crossed* And we've had a myriad of comments and reviews from fans. Thanks to everyone for posting and emailing your thoughts to us.

We'll be switching gears in a bit to discuss Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED, cause that's our next "baby." But don't think that we've forgotten about TOT. It'll take a while for that storm to fizzle out. Trust me.

I see a few pieces of the puzzle we're solved, but overall, there is still some work to be done. I think you'll sort it all out soon enough. Maybe I can pry a hint from designer Ben for tomorrow.

See ya!

- Novel -

Friday, July 2, 2010

Six and One (or Half-a-dozen plus)

The first TOT weekend... and it's a holiday. Bonus! Get comfortable in those chairs, cause you've got some mysteries to solve. If you're not already racing across the plains, we've got a weekend puzzle to help keep the cranium breathin'.

- Puzzle 61 -

Idaqof ifiw xofifs erd hjalwayf
Zozbvvvi ukcd kwyzxn ogk tlpsrabe
Kvnoxodxhii'w ailahwg hwxz srlj sj reor afr gsx kt yyfk

Hint: The key is easy as one two three


Good luck! And everyone have a safe and happy Fourth!
Cya on Tuesday, I'm outta here.

- Novel -

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wind in Our Hair

We couldn't be more proud of this launch! I mean just check out the homepage. If you've played TOT, you should post your own review of Nancy's latest case. We'd love to hear all about your first impressions. I mean you've been waiting months and months for this, was it all you hoped? Has the twister absolutely 'blown' you away? or is the storm a little lackluster? Post on the boards or send us your email at

Weekly update time! Courtesy of everyone's favorite Nancy Drew writer, Nik. He may have tensed a little when I stopped by for the scoop, but it looks like he's got some fun stuff going on.

- Blurb of the Week -

Normally I’d hint at secret projects I know we can’t discuss, but this week I’ve actually been doing more than re-arranging the toy collection on my desk [ i.e. his ‘secret project’. ] Most famously, I finished up the last post for Pete’s Blog, but I’ve also been working on stuff for ND23. I helped re-record some dialogue and spent a good deal of time writing the 2nd chance descriptions for the game. So… “Good News: ND23 is going to have really awesome writing. Bad News: It isn’t actually written yet, so awesome might become more of a ‘relative’ term.”


Sounds pretty exciting. 'Course I'm still living it up in Oklahoma. Tomorrow's guaranteed to be puzzle-rific.... aaaaand we've got a long weekend to follow. How awesome!

- Novel -