Remember Those Nancy Drew PC Games from Your Childhood?
You can probably still hear Nancy saying "it's locked."
Between 1998 and the present day, HeR Interactive has released 33 point-and-click adventure games centered around everyone's favorite nosy know-it-all, Nancy Drew. Just in case you forgot about these games, we'll take a trip down nostalgia lane. I'll be focusing on Secrets Can Kill (1998) and The Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon (2005), but all games are valid. Before you know it, you'll have Ned Nickerson's phone number memorized again. And if you've never forgotten it... you won't even be needing a second chance. Love, Nancy.
This iconic song played whenever you opened a game. It's chilling, a little jarring, and puts true gamers on the edge of their seat.
Following the main menu (pictured at the top of the page), most games begin with the image of a letter Nancy is writing to Hannah, Ned, Dad, or Bess and George. This lovely framing device comes back as a "see you soon" letter at the end of the game. There's nothing more exciting than struggling with a puzzle for two hours, then finally being met with this letter to indicate you've won.
The task list was introduced after a few games and allowed for more complex tasks. In junior detective mode, the task list is detailed, but in senior detective mode, you're on your own (or in later games, you're given a very basic task list).
In the first games, there was an inventory bank at the bottom of the screen. This later become a fuller dock you click to open. Here, you held all the items you stole from other people while saying "I might need this later!"
If you're lucky, you'll have some keys in there.
Note: this interface has been updated in later games, but I think there's something special about the older designs.
Iconic Voice Lines from the Sassy Detective
Without further ado, here is a collection of some of the greatest lines.
"You won't get away with this!"
"I need a hint!"
"A hidden passageway!"
"Can't check that off yet!"
"Tell me about your dead mother?"*
And from other characters:
"Don't let the turkeys get you down!"
"Fight the power."
"You got a steady back home?"
"Felicity, the door! The door!
"Watch out for weird people!"
"Semper ubi sub ubi."
"Before I give you that information, please complete this chore for me."*
*paraphrased, but the intention stands
Next, I'd like to show some images of characters/culprits, game locations, and puzzles. These are from various games, and this is by no means an extensive list of any aforementioned category.
The Fandom Lives On
Today, there are still many active Nancy Drew game fans online. You can find ND content on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and Tumblr using #cluecrew or by searching simply for "HeR Interactive"or "Nancy Drew Games."
Lots of gamers stream gameplay, and there are tons of videos on YouTube (which I love watching as I fall asleep)! My favorite channel is Krolmeister Sisters—they stream games and have a podcast! In the podcast, they discuss the games, fan theories, puzzles, and more. All the episodes are on their YouTube channel, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.
HeR Interactive (now simply called Nancy Drew Games) is on Facebook, so be sure to like their page for the latest updates! Game #33 is coming THIS FALL! Here's a link to their website—you can find links to their other social media, Twitch, and shop for games and merch there.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend who loves a good mystery, or perhaps the big sibling you begged to figure out the tough puzzles for you. Thank you for reading. Happy sleuthing!