Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weekend Puzzle #131: End of 2011

The end of 2011 has come! This will be the last Amateur Sleuth Blog post made this month, but no worries, we will be back in action on January 2nd to start off the new year. Here's a look at what we've accomplished in 2011:

What do you suppose is coming in 2012? We have a few ideas up our sleeves at the moment...For a clue to this mystery, check out this weekend's puzzle:

Good luck sleuths, and Happy New Year! ~.^

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Koko Kringle!

Yep, I'm talking about Koko Kringle bars...again. Honestly, can someone get tired of talking about Koko Kringles? Well, maybe, if you aren't a crazed fanatic for them. Take a look here, we squirreled away some candy bars (because we are sneaky like that).

These are meant specifically for the 10 people who will be randomly chosen next week. This is for our Facebook Community, because with your help we reached our goal of 100,000 "likes" before the end of the year. Hooray!!

Also, I was looking in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake and was excited to find Koko Kringles hiding in there. Can you identify where they are located? ;)

Today's other notes:
- There is no Twitter Quote Contest this week since it is another short week for us office folk (New Year's is coming!)
- Tomorrow will be the weekend puzzle.

Until tomorrow!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After Christmas

Welcome back all! Hope you had a great Christmas! It looks like many of you have received some much anticipated games this year, along with those who received a Koko Kringle bar like this lucky fan here:

Speaking of Koko Kringle bars...thanks to your help, we accomplished our goal of 100,000 "likes" on our Facebook page before the new year!! You know what that means? We will be selecting 10 lucky winners next week (from everyone who has "liked" us, both old and new fans) to each receive 5 Koko Kringle bars. Yum! If you haven't "liked" us yet, there is still some time to do so if you have a Facebook account.

As for the weekend puzzle, this one was clearly an easy solve to many of you super sleuths. Guess I will have to make it complicated next time! ;) Here's the solution to weekend puzzle #130:

"On the twelfth day of sleuthing my true love gave to me:
12 Rusty keys
11 Dusty footprints
10 Shifting shadows
9 Second chances
8 Hidden phone charms
7 Extra glowsticks
6 Creepy whispers
5 Koko kringles
4 Suspects
3 Fingerprints
2 Huge clues
1 Magnifying glass to solve the mystery"

Once you have all of the letters filled in, use the numbers to spell out a message. 9.5 references "9 Second Chances", and the 5th letter, which is N. Do this for all the numbers/letters until you get this message: "Next year is going to be full of adventure".

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Contests and Challenges

Last weekend's mystery series puzzle was a contest, and we have selected a winner randomly from all the correct entries. Congrats to Miranda D. who will receive a Nancy Drew silhouette phone charm, a blank Nancy Drew notebook, and a Nancy Drew PC game of her choice!

The correct answers were:
1. [Blue lilac, flowers]
2. [Bavarian Creme donut, or donut]
3. [Evidence is Everything book, or just book]
4. [Blue Sky Burger with bleu cheese, or just burger. Will accept other burgers as well.]

We also have a testimonial of the week winner! Congrats to Shelby N. will will receive a black and white HI Logo coffee mug! If you haven't submitted your testimonial, check out this page for more information.

Unless otherwise noted, all of our weekend puzzles are solely for fun and can be discussed here.
Until tomorrow!
~Little Jackalope~

Weekend Puzzle #130

(*Please Note about last weekend's contest: We will select a winner randomly from all the correct entries by 5pm PST tonight. We will also post the answers then. Stay tuned for another post later today!)

We have a short week here at the Her Interactive office because it's Christmas time! So we are giving you an early weekend puzzle. Enjoy!
If you have trouble reading this, I posted it here:
"On the twelfth day of sleuthing my true love gave to me:
12 R_sty K_ys
11 Dus_y _o_tprints
10 Shiftin_ Sha_ows
9 Seco_d Chanc_s
8 H_dden Pho_e Cha_ms
7 E_tr_ G_ows_icks
6 Creep_ Whisp_rs
5 K_ko Kri_gle _ _rs
4 S_sp_c_s
3 _inge_pr_nts
2 Hug_ C_ue_
1 ma_nifying glass to s_l_e _he mystery



Link*Another note: today's Weekend Puzzle #130 is not a contest. You may discuss this puzzle on the message boards if you'd like, since this round is just for fun. The solution will be posted on Tuesday, December 27th.

Good luck!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hints and Pictures

Hey all, tonight and early tomorrow is the last chance you will be able to submit the answers to last weekend's puzzle contest. Looks like some of you could use a last-minute hint (*Note: you can be generic in your answer):

Detective Ryan took what 4 things with him?:
1) [They are blue and are found in a Floral Shop]
2) [A German-themed bakery treat]
3) [Check out this sleuth book from the library]
4) [What you can get at Hamburger Heaven]

Once you have the answers, email them to with the subject line "Weekend Puzzle".

Check this out! One of our fans posted this image on our Facebook page, isn't this amazing? She looks just like Connie Watson, the character on the cover of Secrets Can Kill Remastered!
Other fans are posting their pictures of themselves with their Koko Kringle bars on our Facebook page as well. Do you have a Koko Kringle picture you would like to share? We would love to see them!

Tomorrow will be the new weekend puzzle as us office workers have a short week for Christmas. Stay tuned!
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Koko Kringle Kalamity

It's not really a big deal, but....
The Koko Kringles for the December Holiday Sale are all out!!! Nooooo! This is distressing news indeed for the general population, except for those lucky sleuths who ordered earlier in the month and have already received theirs, that is (the sale will continue until December 29th, so it is still a great deal to order your missing games for 50% and get the strategy guide for free. After Christmas shopping anyone?).
Ok, so this Koko Kringle situation is perhaps a big deal. I'm trying not to feel too upset because we have a challenge up our sleeves. We are trying to reach 100,000 "likes" on our Facebook page by the end of this year. We could use a little help from all of a you! Here's your challenge: if we spread the news and make our goal of 100k "likes" by or on January 1st, 2012, we will randomly select 10 people who "like" us to each receive 5 Koko Kringle bars! Ready? Let's earn us some chocolate bars! (Or at least, a few of us.)

~Little Jackalope~

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mystery Weekend Contest

We have a couple of announcements and reminders today:

1) The TXT Challenge is still going on. Have you played yet?
2) We have a testimonial winner this week! Congrats to Sydney S., who will receive a Trail of the Twister Mouse pad! Submit your testimonial for a chance at winning something awesome!
3) Facebook Challenge!! If you help us reach 100,000 likes on our Facebook page by January 1st, we will randomly select 10 people to win 5 Koko Kringle bars each! Have you "liked" us, yet?
4) We have an Amateur Sleuth Blog contest! See here:

Here are the rules, read carefully!

1. Solve the weekend puzzle question by reading the 5 parts to the story.
2. When you think you have the right answer, email it to with the subject line "Weekend Puzzle".
3. The prize? A physical copy of any Nancy Drew PC game, a blank Nancy Drew notebook, and a Nancy Drew silhouette phone charm!
4. The time? Contest begins now and ends at 10am PST on Wednesday, December 21st.
5. One winner will be randomly drawn from all of the full correct entries by 5pm, Wednesday, December 21st. (We want to be fair and give everyone a chance.) :) Each contestant may only enter once.
6. This contest is open to everyone.
7. Due to holiday shipping, the prize might not reach your house before Christmas.
The first Weekend Mystery series has come to an end! Read all 5 parts to answer the contest question below.
Part One: "The Threat"
Part Two: "First Clue"
Part Three: "Donut Evidence"
Part Four: "Library Search"
Part Five: "Case Closed"

Contest Question:
"Nancy and her friends went to four places. Detective Ryan regularly visited these locations and took away an item from each place.

Name the four items he took with him."

~Little Jackalope~

Weekend Mystery Part 5 = "Case Closed"

When Nancy was finished scribbling in her journal, she showed her friends a diagram of an analogue clock. At the top of the clock, just above the 12 was the letter A. The alphabet was written out letter-by-letter above the clock numbers going clockwise three times until all the letters were assigned a number. Below the image were the decoded letters: “Ask Joy about big cloud burger.”
Ned looked at the newspaper clipping again and said “I suppose we should check out Hamburger Heaven and find out if there is a Joy around.” Bess’s face turned into a frown. “I don’t remember that burger being on their menu, though,” she replied. “But we should visit them, just to be sure.”

The group then headed to Hamburger Heaven, went up to a nearby waiter and inquired about Joy. “I’m Joy,” a perky young brunette in an apron called from across the room. She walked up to the group with a big smile. “Hi Joy, would you know anything about the Big Cloud Burger and who would usually ask for that?” asked Nancy. Joy rolled her eyes and unenthusiastically answered “Yes I certainly do.” She placed her hands on her hips and looked at the detective. “I don’t know his name but he comes in once a week and always orders the same thing: a Blue Sky Burger with bleu cheese.” George looked confused “But why would he ask about the Big Cloud Burger? I don’t even see it on your menu.” Joy smirked and continued “He asked me to do him a favor: Whenever he requested information about that burger, I was to reply with ‘Check your mailbox above the microwave and radio’, as if it was some sort of code. He always tipped well when I answered, so I kept doing it. Nice guy.” Nancy asked about his description. “He’s a young man with dark hair who wore a plain jacket…I think I spied a badge of some sort behind it. That’s all I can tell you.” Nancy thanked the waitress and the group left.

Once outside, Nancy smiled thoughtfully. “You guys, I don’t think the guy we are looking for is threatening Mrs. Wilkins,” she said. “Who are these ring-around-the-rosy notes for then?” asked an annoyed George. The detective pulled out her keys and beckoned them to her car. “I’ll give you a hint: He’s a trustworthy guy, and I believe he’s been threatening himself about a key.” Nancy then drove to the River Heights Police Station and the team went into the building. “Are we going to report somebody?” asked a wide-eyed Bess. Nancy smiled and went around the corner and up to the desk of Detective Ryan. The young man looked up at Nancy and smiled. “Hi Ryan, could you please explain how this note of yours got into Mrs. Wilkin’s purse?” she handed the young detective the original threat along with all the other hand-written clues. “I was wondering where that went!” he exclaimed. “That was on my notebook the other day. Mrs. Wilkins was in dropping off some papers to the Chief and I remember she set her purse down just next my desk. It must’ve blown off as she walked by and fell in.” Ned gave him a suspicious look “Is this really a note just for you?” Detective Ryan looked guilty “Yes, it’s my own system for helping me remember where I put my key; it’s just over there in my mailbox. But I did find this extra key on the floor yesterday. Do you know whose it is?”

Bess and George nodded. “Well,” Nancy sighed and turned to Ned, “That made for an interesting day. Case closed.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fixing Things: Computers and Stories

When things break, we pretend to be Nancy Drew, get creative and figure out how to fix what is broken. I took a picture a while back of this computer getting fixed. Apparently the sound card wasn't working. Our super savvy techies were on the case!
Another problem solved: A few of us got to sit in on a meeting today to fix a little hole in the latest mystery we are working on. Our lead tester figured out a way to break the game, which is awesome, because that is her job. ^.^ We gathered in the meeting room to hear our designer's solution. The area in the story lacked incentive to continue in the right direction, and therefore needed something interesting applied to lead the player further in solving the mystery.

I'm being very vague, if you've noticed. Perhaps I will take a picture of our meetings and save them for later when the game comes out. I will give you a big hint about what we were talking about: tomb. Yep, that's all I will say. Maybe it will be more of an exciting give-away if I capitalized it: Tomb. Nope? How about italicized, capitalized, and an ellipsis added: Tomb...

Yep, I think that sounds more exciting...

We have an Amateur Sleuth contest happening tomorrow! Come back for a chance to win a prize!
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Koko Kringles and Fan Gifts

It's a drawer full of Koko Kringle bars!! Who's desk drawer do you suppose this is? Unfortunately, it's not mine *sigh*. But wouldn't it be awesome to have a drawer filled to the brim with these candy bars, and every time you open it up the fun Koko Kow would smile back up at you? Oh the dream...
Do you love Sonny Joon? Download the very same desktop wallpaper from Danger by Design! Remember his (and Nancy's) computer background? Now you can have it on your own computer, and also to your phone!Check this out! One of our fans sent in a gift along with 40 Christmas cards! This must have taken her and her sister quite some time to put together. (Thanks, Shanna!) We always enjoy hearing from our fans.
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Party!! Today we had a Christmas potluck and white elephant gift exchange in the office. It was a real feast, and I'm sure there will be leftovers for the next few days (and chocolate, LOTS of chocolate)!There were some pretty zanny gifts going around, including a toy bow and arrow, a stuffed toy shark, a moose in a coffee cup, and other cool gifts. One gift in particular included a scary note which said "...the person who reads this gets Creepy Santa on their desk for one month," which refers to last year's gift seen here:
This Santa's belly bounces as he laughs. It's really funny, but can be a bit annoying when played too many times. >.<

Today's News:
1) Have you tried playing the Nancy Drew TXT Challenge? I got a score of 80 when I first tried it. You could be entered into the grand prize if you participate, so what are you waiting for? ^.^
2) The December Sale is still on! There aren't many days left before Christmas to order a physical game for 50% off and still receive it on time, so hurry and get the game that you are missing!
3) We interviewed one of our 3D artists, John on the Dare to Play Blog today! John has been with us for many years and has greatly contributing to the game environments. Read his interview to learn more about him and a fun fact about what he created for Message in a Haunted Mansion!

~Little Jackalope~

Monday, December 12, 2011

Testing Week = Puzzles!

This week is when we begin some focus group testing, when girls (and guys) come in to test some early puzzles and difficulty levels. This is important information for our designer and programmers. Once we know a puzzle is too hard, or if a common issue arises, we will then identify the problem based on the study, and then properly execute a plan to fix it.

We don't want the games to be too hard, or have any problems, nor do we want them to be super easy that the game takes far less time to solve. I for one like to take my time and thoroughly think through a logic problem, because once it is solved, I feel quite accomplished, and I also learn something. What kind of problem solver are you? Do you like logic puzzles such as translating Mayan glyphs in Secret of the Scarlet Hand? Or perhaps the lucky trial-and-error type of puzzle such as the slot machine in Cappy's in The Secret of Shadow Ranch? Maybe you prefer the simple, fun games like Land Rush from Trail of the Twister? However you like it, we try to incorporate different kinds of puzzles for diversity.

Speaking of puzzles, I'm letting you know early that this coming Weekend Mystery puzzle will be the last in the series, and therefore will be a contest! As a head's up, you will want to study all 4 past weekend mysteries in addition to the upcoming one this Friday in order to properly enter with the correct contest answer (there will be a prize involved). Stay tuned for more info!

~Little Jackalope~

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekend Mystery Part 4 = "Library Search"

Happy Friday all! Today's headliner is a reminder:

“Don’t forget…the December Holiday Sale ends on December 29th. The KoKo Kringles are going fast…so don’t be disappointed and order today. All physical games are 50% off and include a free strategy guide and KoKo Kringle bar.” -- The Her Interactive Team

This is so true, if you want a Koko Kringle bar, you'll need to hurry and place an order before I eat all-*ahem*, before we run out! ;) Oh! And congrats to our testimonial winner, Katrina Q, will be soon be receiving her prize: a Koko Kringle bar soon. For a chance at next week's prize (may or may not be another Koko candy bar...we'll just wait and see), submit your testimonial to

Weekend Mystery #4 below! Good luck!
~Little Jackalope~

Ned and George arrived shortly, and looked at the sticky note that Nancy held. “That looks like an easy one, may I have a try, Nance?” asked George. Nancy handed George a pencil who then quickly filled in all of the blanks with the letters on the back. “It says ‘Check out Evidence is Everything’ and the last part is underlined…what does that mean? Do we need to head to the police station?” Nancy looked carefully at it for a moment and replied “Nope, we are heading to the library to check out a book”.

The team journeyed to the local library and walked in. George began a search on the computer catalog and narrowed the results to find the book titled Evidence is Everything. “It’s just a few shelves down the non-fiction aisle” she said. The group crowded in between the tight row of bookshelves and focused their eyes on the titles and call numbers. “Here it is!” exclaimed Ned in a loud whisper. He pulled out the hardcover volume and opened it up. As the girls peered over his shoulder, Ned flipped through the pages to find a bookmark. Holding it up to the light, they gazed at what appeared to be a newspaper clipping of a restaurant advertisement.

Written over it with green ink was a series of numbers:
A picture of an analogue clock with one hand pointing to the 12 was in the upper left corner.

“Do we need to figure out what time it’s pointing at, Nancy?” asked Bess. “Not quite,” the detective replied. Nancy pulled out her notebook and studied her watch.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Koko Reminisce #2

I'm guilty. There is a half-eaten Koko Kringle bar on my desk. I had very carefully folded up the foil (which is very fragile by the way) and slipped the bar back into the colorful wrapper for trophy reasons. It is soooo tempting! It's like the bright red color beckons to me from the corner of my eye. So I decided to bring in some other chocolate, which isn't as good, but it's enough to distract me from the Koko Kringle.

-Fan Art-
I'm guilty of making myself feel a little sick from eating too much generic chocolate in the effort to avoid my Kringle bar. I don't recommend it. Have you been able to resist in the games where you can eat these amazing chocolates? Beware! Eating too much chocolate can and will make you sick, just like Nancy experienced in Legend of the Crystal Skull.

Spot the Koko Kringle! From which game can you find these Koko Kringle products?
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A New Look + A New Challenge!!

Hey all! After a year of writing to all of you, I thought it was high time for an Amateur Sleuth makeover...if you haven't noticed already. ;) What'dya think? I might let it simmer for a little bit until I find something that needs tweaking, so any suggestions or ideas would be awesome! After all, it's a blog to you, for you. Check out the before and after:

Guess what? We have a new Nancy Drew TXT Challenge for you! Text "Nancy" to 82257 to begin your adventure! You can also hop onto the message boards to get help from fellow members, but just a note: this time we are scoring you! Compete with your friends to see who can get the highest score. Also, if you get 60 or more points, you will be entered into the grand prize drawing, so think real hard because you don't want to get too many incorrect.
Good luck sleuths!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Map in Alibi in Ashes

A while ago I went spying on (with permission) some artist's work for Alibi in Ashes. One particularly large project was the map of River Heights. Our artist put a great deal of time and care into this world, carefully making every building, tree and driveway look nice. She let me snap a picture of her computer at work:

What do you think of River Heights? Have you recognized some of the locations from the books? I got excited about one place in particular near the top of the map: Fenley place. (I loved reading the Nancy Drew book The Double Horror of Fenley Place.) I suggest reading a few books after #56 as there are several that I love, and it's super awesome to see those places placed on the map in the game!

We've got another little something up our sleeves. Come back here tomorrow or be sure to subscribe to our newsletter on our home page to be the first to hear our announcements!
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, December 5, 2011

Koko Reminisce #1

I'm still super excited about these Koko Kringle bars! I'm sorry, but I will be talking about them for a while...they taste so amazing and I'm super thrilled that they have come out of the games and are sitting on our desks at this very moment! And that's where it all started: from the desk of an artist years ago, the Koko Kringle candy bar wrapper was designed and placed in the drawer of Sonny Joon's former intern desk in The Secret of the Scarlet Hand.

Today's free download is the wallpaper from this scene. Get it here and reminisce over the original game location for Sonny Joon's crazy doodles and favorite snack wrapper.

The Koko Kringles can be found in several games...Can you identify which game this image was taken from?
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Holiday Sale!

I'm totally psyched right now! Apparently Sonny wuz here and took over my desk. I know this because 1. He hacked into my computer and wrote my daily post yesterday, 2. I found one of my empty journals open on my desk...which is no longer empty. (I'll have to show you sometime what he drew inside.). 3. I tried the Koko Kringle candy bar he left on my desk...and it tastes awesome!

Because this candy bar is too cool to keep to ourselves, we've decided to share it with you!! There are limited quantities, so here's how you get it: Purchase any Nancy Drew (physical) game during the month of December and you will receive 50% off plus a free strategy guide and one Koko Kringle bar with each order! If you want multiple bars, I suggest trying to place separate orders.
This is a super great deal, so I recommend acting fast, it's not every day you can get any game for half off, and it's an especially rare opportunity to hold a real live edible Koko Kringle bar in your hand. I SUPER excited about this, I keep picking it up to look at it. It's like a dream come true! Or 'game' come true!!

Guess who is also getting a Koko Kringle Bar? Stefanie L. who submitted her testimonial and was randomly selected to win this week's prize: a Koko Kringle bar, of course! Submit your testimonial for a chance at winning the prize next Friday!

~Little Jackalope~

Weekend Mystery Part 3 = "Donut Evidence"

“It’s a semaphore code, when you use flags to signal letters,” replied Nancy. “Although I’m not sure what to make of the answer…” George offered to take a look at Nancy’s decoding. “Bavarian Rosslyn?” she questioned. “Sounds like a funny character you missed seeing on your last trip, Nancy!” giggled Bess. “There could be several places in River Heights that are German-related or perhaps a Bavarian visitor named Rosslyn can be found somewhere,” suggested Ned. “You’re probably right,” replied Nancy. “Let’s split up and try to cover all of the German places we identify, or find someone by the name Rosslyn. Ned, go check out The Royal Hotel and find out if any foreigners have checked in the past few day. Bess, do the same at the train station. George, check out the other hotels: Waterfall and Riverview, they are right next to each other. I’m going to the Applesauce Dinner Theater; they hire all sorts of people with different acts to perform. Perhaps they will know of our character. Post to the wiki on our phones if you find anything.” The group separated and went different directions.

Nancy made her way across town to the theater. Despite the “closed” sign, she went into the building. At this time there were several actors rehearsing on stage. Not wanted to rudely interrupt, she gazed about the dining room until she spotted the janitor replacing the bulb in a wall sconce. “Excuse me,” she called. “Would you know if anyone by the name of Rosslyn worked here?” The janitor looked her way and replied “Well, none that I can recall, and I know just about everyone’s name who has worked here since 1992…wait, that name sounds familiar…hm..nope, can’t say that a Rosslyn was ever here. Sorry ma’am.”

Nancy exited the building. Suddenly, she noticed Bess just down the street coming out of a building with something in her hand. Nancy looked closer at the sign above the door. “That’s it!” she exclaimed and posted a note on the wiki for everyone to meet her. Nancy raced to Bess she caught site of Nancy and tried hiding what she held, but it was too late. “I’m sorry Nancy! I was down by the train station when I smelled these donuts from like, a mile away and I had to have one. I ran down here and boy, it was such a workout!” Nancy ignored her defense and said “I believe you found the place, Bess!” Bess looked bewildered and then cocked her head to look at the building sign which read “Rosslyn’s Bakery”.

The young detective rushed inside and quickly spotted a little A-framed table display with the picture of a Bavarian Cream donut. Stuck to the reverse side of the display was a sticky note with the following written on it:
"C _ _ _ K
_ U _
_ _ _ D _ _ C _
_ _
_ V _ _ Y _ H _ _ _" with the last three words underlined.
Nancy turned the note over to see several letters: TOEESRVETNIHEICENGEI. “What does it say, now, Nancy?” asked Bess.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Koko Kringle - Have a Kow!

I don't have much time to talk, because Little Jackalope might be back from getting some cookies any minute...

I snuck into the office late as most of the workers have already left for the day. I wanted to practice my computer-hacking skills and leave a huge hint about finally sharing Koko Kringle bars with the world, so I left a treat on some one's desk in hopes that others will get the chance to enjoy my favorite snack of all time! Sounds like an awesome plan, I think. Check out my calling card:

Maybe by tomorrow they'd tasted the chocolate and go all crazy like a coatimundi at lunch time, and then decide that this yUmmY, kruNcHy, kOkoLatY bar by Wickford is the real deal. ;) Just maybe they could work something out to share it with everyone...I have high hopes that it will soar like a spaceship over ancient temples and go out of this world.

Oh boy, now I'm super distracted...Little Jackalope has a huge assortment of colored pens on her desk, and like...ten journals! But alas, I have no time to sketch something. :( on second thought...I wonder if she'd notice a journal missing?

Gotta go! I hear the sound of a cellophane cookie bag opening up, until later!

Sonny Wuz Here -- Sonny Joon

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Early Sketches

Sometimes it helps the artists to sketch out their images before they begin on the computer. I rather enjoy seeing their hand work before it comes to life on the screen, and this blog is the perfect place to show you what I dug up. While searching for potential images to use in the Amateur Sleuth Blog re-design, I found this buried in the deep archive:

On the left is the original sketch of the Koko Kringle Kow. On the right is the finished Kow that was first seen on the Koko Kringle candy wrapper in Secret of the Scarlet Hand, found in Sonny Joon's messy desk in the lab. Sonny Joon reflects many of the artists in that their early sketches turned into real in-game doodles.

Check out this early sketch of The White Wolf of Icicle Creek! This is too cool...

I'll be sure to share with you more early sketches in the future. ;)
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I recently realized that last week a year ago I began writing to you all. I'm excited about this. In honor of the Little Jackalope's being here for so long (and yes, I'm temporarily referring to myself in third-person) I plan on updating the look of the Amateur Sleuth blog. After all, it could use an update. Before I begin the make-over, are there any images that come to your mind when you think of Her Interactive, Nancy Drew, the Her Interactive office, or the Amateur Sleuth Blog? I hope to use some imagery, and any bit of help would be great. ~.^
Speaking of beginnings, look what I found! These are early box designs of our first two games, and they cannot be found anywhere, but I'd thought I'd show you what they looked like back in the early days: Until tomorrow!
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 28, 2011

After Thanksgiving + Driveways

If you are reading this today (Monday), then you only have until the end of today (11:59 PST) to purchase a digital Nancy Drew game download for 50% off, and if you purchase any physical product, you will get free shipping. ;) I made a silly decision to go shopping over the weekend when the crowds were better defined as "herds". Might I recommend research and strategic planning for your holiday purchases in order to best save time, money, and stress.

I hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving weekend! After a relaxing break, the Her Interactive workers returned today to start afresh a new week. This is the view we had just as we entered the parking lot:A tree-lined road filled with beautiful orange leaves caked along the sides! It was a little wet, too, but this got me thinking about driveways in several Nancy Drew books. I often imagined a few locations where Nancy drives off of the main road and onto a private driveway that weaved through tall trees overhanging the drive like a tunnel. It would take a moment to finally reach the house or building that was so secluded and backed away from the road. Homes like this that are hidden seem very mysterious and really intriguing. It makes a detective wonder what the owners could be hiding...?

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Hey all!

I just wanted to share a few announcements before the Thanksgiving weekend:
  • The latest Newsletter has just been sent out!
  • Yesterday we posted an interview with our Sales and Operations Manager, Maureen.
  • There will be no Twitter Quote Contest today :(
  • Congrats to our Testimonial of the week winner, Veronica! She will receive her prize, a Nancy Drew Mug soon! For a chance to win a prize next week, submit your testimony to and we will select a winner on Friday, December 2nd.
  • New holiday sale!! Get any Digital Download game for 50% off. Also, any physical product you purchase will have free shipping, only if you order this weekend before the end of Monday, so be quick!
  • The office will be closed from now until Monday for the Thanksgiving holiday (that's why you get to read the Weekend Mystery below a few days early.)
Have a great weekend!
Stay sleuthy!

~Little Jackalope~

Weekend Mystery Part 2 = "First Clue"

“Of course Nancy will take the case! She’s really good at tracking down the source scary notes,” chimed in Bess. “Sure, Mrs. Wilkins, I could take this case for you, as long as it’s ok if my friends can help..?” replied Nancy. “Oh of course!” answered the nervous lady. “Just please hurry, I’m not sure how much time I really have before everyone finds out I lost the key, or when my life will end!”

Bess walked over to Mrs. Wilkins and placed a hand on her trembling shoulder. “There’s no need to panic. We’ll find the cruel author for you and solve this case…right, Nancy?” Nancy wasn’t listening. She was gazing at the note and asked “Where did you find this note again?” Mrs. Wilkins blinked and looked at her hands. “Hmm…I do not know exactly. I found it in my purse as I was walking to the bank. I haven’t gone anywhere else today and have no idea how it slipped into my bag.” Nancy smiled and looked up. “Alright, we’ll investigate the clue in this note” she said.

As the foursome walked away from the town hall, Ned noticed Nancy begin to scribble in her notebook. He turned to her and asked “We don’t have much of a lead, what is our next move?” Nancy smiled and said “We are heading across the river. The numbers in this note refer to the alphabet but not in standard alphabet order. We need to convert these numbers using the “key alphabet”, meaning the letters as they are in order on a computer keyboard. The first few letters on a keyboard are Q, W, and E and so on. This note says ‘Blue Lilacs at RHF’.” George made a face. “What do Blue Lilacs have to do with anything and what is RHF?” she questioned. Ned thought out loud “RHF…River Heights, something.” Bess’s eyes grew wide. “Flowers! Or, Floral! There’s a flower shop called River Heights Floral!”

The group hopped into Nancy’s car and drove to the flower shop. They greeted the owner and inquired about Blue Lilacs. “I sold my last few to a young school girl yesterday, and I don’t remember who else made a purchase before her, sorry.” The florist went back to a table and began tying a bouquet of lilies. Nancy studied the interior of the shop and rested her eyes on a sign propped against an empty vase. The sign was an advertisement of Blue Lilacs. Nancy walked up to it and reached behind the poster. After feeling around, she pulled out a piece of paper with familiar handwriting in green ink. On it was scrawled “Not even flowers will get you out of hot water, but this might help you: Flag this" followed by several jointed lines.

"What do you make of this, Nancy?" Ned inquired. Nancy gave him a knowing look and began to crack the code...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Character Animation

Today I got to attend a super awesome animation meeting! A few animators presented their work on the latest character's movements and lip syncs, so I got to see them for the first time moving along with their speech. It was super cool!

It takes a while to get to this point. Character development is a long process that needs to be taken in care. The first step comes from the Designer, who describes how the character looks: heritage, height, build, hair, eyes, age, facial features, and clothing are noted with the accompaniment of several image samples and references. Meanwhile the writer builds the character: how they behave and talk, decides the voice and accent, what they say and how they say it in response to Nancy's questions etc.

Next, the Character Designer conceptualizes: taking all of the descriptions, he illustrates the characters. After several edits and plenty of feedback, he begins forming the 3D shape, seen here:Next, the animators rig the characters with joints, muscle movements, and assemble figits so they can move like normal human beings.

They sync the dialogue with the actor's voices and when all the animation is finished, the characters are placed in their respective environments, like in this picture here:Then comes a grand presentation time for further critique and comments, which I got to sit in on today. Sadly, I won't be able to share too many details, but I will say that these characters are so cool! (Try identifying where this picture of Bess and George can be found in ASH.)

*Tomorrow will be the second part of the Weekend Mystery series since the office will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Leaves

The autumn leaves are still falling at our office. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I have been looking at a lot of fall-related images, and there are a lot of pretty leaves. Digging into Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, I find several different kinds, such as oak, maple, ivy and one titled "shrub".

~Leaves outside of our office~

Even though DOG feels very autumn-like, it could be that much of the foliage is from deciduous trees (leaf-bearing versus cone-bearing coniferous trees). Warnings at Waverly Academy is a more appropriate game to describe our weather. It feels like day one in the game; we are just waiting for the following day when snow begins to fall.

Until the snowstorm, I wish you an (early) happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate this week:

Looks like you sleuths nailed the weekend puzzle! Stay tuned for the continuation (and puzzle answer) of the weekend mystery!
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Mystery Part 1 = "The Threat"

“Oh, Nancy!” A middle-aged woman waved her arm and scurried up to Nancy and her friends as fast as she could in her tall heels. Nancy, Bess, George and Ned were gazing at the old Town Hall one last time before the construction crew began to demolish it in preparation for the work on the new museum.

The dark, curly-haired lady in a frilly blouse and skirt was hurrying up to the group. “Hello, Mrs. Wilkins!” called Nancy as she and her friends turned to face the clerk who was out-of-breathe and appeared anxious. “Oh Nancy, I’m glad I found you! I need your help”, she stopped to catch her breath as Nancy glanced at her friends with piqued interest. “How can I help you?” she asked. Mrs. Wilkins reached into her purse and pulled out a piece of scrap paper from her large bag slung over her left arm and handed it to the detective. “I found this in my bag yesterday. I think I might be in danger!” Mrs. Wilkins exclaimed.Bess, George and Ned crowd around Nancy as the titian-haired girl looked down at the note. On the torn paper was scrawled the words “If you lose the key, you are permanently done for!” Below the menacing words was written “Redeem yourself by using the key alphabet:”. Mrs. Wilkins gripped her bag with tense hands as she heard the words read aloud. “What makes you think someone is after you?” questioned George. Mrs. Wilkins hesitated. “I have lost an important key to a file cabinet where I work. It’s really embarrassing to admit this, and I didn’t think I’d be in too much trouble, but now I believe it’s a matter of life and death. Will you take this case for me?”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pockets and Coats

Today our writer was walking around with a sub sandwich tucked in his vest pocket. It made me laugh because it looked so random and funny. If someone has big pockets in a coat or vest, one could hide a lot of different things inside.

I particularly like large pockets because I can put my gloves, wallet, and phone all in one place that is safe and easy to reach them. It's also good to put those things in a pocket instead of walking around with a purse or bag, which can be left alone somewhere or get stolen. Of course, you can put the important things in your pockets and just use the purse as a ruse, that way if it gets lost or stolen you wouldn't need to worry too much.

I figured owning a sort of trench coat would be the most Nancy-like coat to own:
This coat has deep pockets that are perfect for protecting cold hands, or phones, or...sandwiches. >.<

Weekend puzzle tomorrow! This time we have a story series to accompany it.
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Left-Over Halloween Decorations

As I was walking around the office today, I noticed a few Halloween decorations that were still up. There are still some crows hanging around, plastic spiders in the snack basket in the kitchen, and in the front office was the ceramic jack-o-lantern filled with candy (this is a good thing). Here is a particularly eye-catching piece for taller people who walk by this cubicle:

~Large skull glaring at passers by...unfortunately it's not made of crystal~

We should probably begin putting up Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed decorations soon...

Twitter Quote contest is today! Head over to see if you know who said the quote!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ned Nickerson

Every once in a while it's good to focus in on Nancy's family and friends. A special one in particular is Ned Nickerson.

The first time we get to see him in-game was as a phone avatar and in a picture in Nancy's room in Alibi in Ashes, but his voice has been around since near the beginning. The voice actor for Ned has done several other voices besides Nancy's boyfriend. He was also Charlie Murphy in Message in a Haunted Mansion, Sherman Trout in The Final Scene, and Henry Albert Daddle in Secret of the Scarlet Hand.
Ned is a very loyal and caring boyfriend who is there for Nancy when she needs to talk aloud her case or when she needs a hint. Some of my favorite quotes are below:

--(Fake German accent) "Hallo – eez dees Marthe Windergrassen? Who eez pleez calling me?" -- Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED.
--"Nothing like a good sneaking suspicion to keep you on your toes, I always say." -- Curse of Blackmoor Manor.

Ok sleuths, here's the solution for the weekend puzzle. The hint given yesterday [binary code] means to translate those numbers using that method. Here's how: [binary code is when you have columns for the numbers (zero and ones only) going from right to left.] The columns represent this worth: [starting at the far right is the 'ones' column. The second-to-right is the 'twos' column, next is the 4s column...]. Each column [doubles as it moves to the left]. You only need to have the columns up to 16, and will look like this: [ 16 | 8 | 4 | 2 | 1 ].

Now place the sets of numbers provided in the puzzle under your place-valued columns. Zeros mean nothing, while a 'one' means that place value. Now add all of the place values. Example: 01010 means there is a one in the 2s column and a one in the 8s column, so you add 2+8. The answer would be 10. Once you've got all of the binary numbers solved, figure out [what letter of the alphabet the numbers represent. A=1, B=2, C=3] and translate to get your ultimate answer.

[10100 = 20 = T
1000 = 8 = H
1001 = 9 = I
10010 = 18 = R
10100 = 20 = T
101 = 5 = E
101 = 5 = E
1110 = 14 = N
111 = 7 = G
1000 = 8 = H
1111 = 15 = O
10011 = 19 = S
10100 = 20 = T
10011 = 19 = S].

Twitter Quote contest is tomorrow! Stay tuned to see if you'll recognize this one. ;)
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 14, 2011

Birthdays in November + Winner

It's always fun when some one's birthday comes around, that's when we get to kindly tease or celebrate with them...perhaps both. What's extra nice is when a birthday treat comes in and everyone gets to partake in the desert.

Today was a production worker's birthday and cake was brought in to celebrate! Yum.

Looks like this weekend's puzzle contest was a bit hard, yes? For those of you who submitted your answer, here is the winner selected today: Congrats to Laura S. for correctly answering! She will receive a digital copy of Curse of Blackmoor Manor. (If you are still stuck and have no clue how she solved it, here's your hint: [binary code]. Although the contest is now over, go ahead and give this puzzle a try for fun, it may be useful in the future.

I will post the answer and solution tomorrow. ;)
~Little Jackalope~