Monday, November 30, 2009

Shopping For Stuffing

I hope everyone had a good holiday! With the turkey eaten, and leftovers chilling in the fridge, we're ready to start off the new week. The winter spirit is building so keep an eye out for even more specials. We'll be posting new ones on our homepage as we get one. In fact, you might be seeing a new one soon (wink, wink).

So have you started your Holiday shopping just yet? Last Friday, AKA "Black Friday" was one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and today is sometimes referred to as "Cyber Monday" in regards to it showing a high increase in online purchases. I guess that means a lot of people have already started to get in the swing of things. I'm a bit of a procrastinator, so I've yet to hit the stores. What kind of gifts do you think a teenage, super detective might need? ...Perhaps a new magnifying glass. :P

- Novel -

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No Foul Intended

It's midweek, but the office will be shutting down today for Thanksgiving. We've released a most excellent special for one of your favorite games, Secret of Shadow Ranch. Be sure and check out the homepage for more details. Plus this is just the start of a bunch of holiday specials...

More importantly though is... food! Yup, that's right, we had our own little celebration here this morning. Nope, no turkey just yet. For us it was another round of delicious pancakes. (what can I say, we're breakfast lovers) What kind of things are you all planning to make for Thanksgiving? just plain turkey? or are you going wild with Turducken? or maybe even Tofurkey? Whatever you have, I hope it's a happy and merry one!

Oh and a little aside; crafty and cunning designer Ben pointed out a lovely flaw in his Monday hint... "I think I meant to say 'three words make four'..." oops. Quality control is killer... but he's promised to make it up with an extra tough puzzle next week. Enjoy the time off and we'll see ya Monday.

- Novel -

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last Minute Stuffing

So if you don't know, we're starting a promo tomorrow on our website in preparation for the holidays. (All of them.) We're going to be doing a whole slew of things this season. I'll make sure you all get the heads up on this stuff. As far as the announcement for tomorrow goes, we'll be changing the news on our main page. If you've been following our facebook page, you might have heard that it's 50% off a particular title, but which title? Well if you want to burst that surprise a little bit early, you'll be pleased to hear that it is the solution to puzzle #33! Now how's that for a hint!

Tune in tomorrow.

- Novel -

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks on the Way

Hey Everyone!

I've returned from my short time away. I'm much obliged to the wonderful lady who filled my shoes while I was gone. It looks like she posted some fun stuff. (btw, I've fixed the KoKo Kringle picture post ^.^) A big thanks to her, and be sure to check out the Dare to Play blog that she writes on!

So it looks like we've got a short week on us, so we'll try to cram in as much as we can. We've got specials starting this week, pictures to post, plus puzzles to finish, and all before the turkey comes calling. Let's start with a hint from designer Ben.

-- Puzzle #33 Hint --

"Three words make five."


Cya tomorrow!

- Novel (28) -

Friday, November 20, 2009

Breaking Friday

Whew, it's finally Friday - time to head off for the weekend! But, before we head off, here's the weekend puzzle #33.

5, 6, 7

Solve the puzzle to find out what we are going to feature in our big Thanksgiving Special next week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

KoKo Kringles

Occasionally you'll see a Koko Kringle bar in our Nancy Drew games - stuffed in a drawer, hidden in a desk - they're Sonny Joon's favorite chocolate. Nancy is also a fan of the chocolate bar, and so are our fans apparently!

A fan wrote to us that wanted to create a Koko Kringle bar by replacing the wrapper of a normal Hershey's chocolate bar with the KoKo Kringle wrapper. She gave us the exact dimensions of a 4.5oz bar and requested the wrapper art. One of our artists, Zach, took it upon himself to make the wrapper for the candy bar life sized.

We thought we'd share this life-sized wrapper with the rest of our fans in case they were interested in making their own Koko Kringle bars. We'd love to see pictures if anyone decides to use the wrapper!

Click on the image to print it full-sized.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dare to Play blogger filling in for Novel today - he referred to me as his "lovely assistant" huh? HARDLY!
Some of you guys might have seen this picture from an interview we did with Adventure Classic Gaming back in 2000 floating around, so I thought I would go into our own archives and pull out a picture from way back when as well.

This is Hidden Valley Guest Ranch in Cle Elem, Washington. We stayed on this working dude ranch and it was the inspiration for Secret of Shadow Ranch. This is just one example of how we draw from our real life experiences in our games. And just for fun, here's a picture of two of us playing some ping pong. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tues. too much

What better way to hit day two than a big rush of writing! Blogs, bios, and bonus content. Today looks like a FIN day, with some slight showers of CLK, maybe rounded out at the very end with WAC.

We're constantly working on keeping the website up-to-date and bursting at the seams with information on all thing Nancy Drew. Course it's a pretty big job, and sometimes we make little errors here and there on the site, though we like to keep that to a minimum. :P Course if you happen to spot one, don't hesitate to tell us (that's certainly not a challenge ^.^ ) And sometimes we're looking to add new screens or character shots.

Have you ever thought there was something missing, or do you think we've managed to summarize the games in good way? If you could add even more to the site, like info or screen shots, what would it be? Think on it and give me your input.

Oh and I'll be passing the pen to my lovely assistant for the remainder of the week, but worry not, we'll have an excellent puzzle by Friday. Stay amazing!

- Novel -

Monday, November 16, 2009



S' a good start to the week already, full of promise. ^.~ I've been looking at MHM assets for a bit and going through some cut-scenes in SHA. Yup, we're gathering some materials to help keep rounding out the website. Plus we're gearing up for some specials (still hush, hush) so we've got a lot to do this week.

I'm excited that you all knocked out the puzzle this week. I spent a good deal of time trying to devise some crafty hints for each of the clues, designer Ben was a big help as well. Looks like I can spoil this for you all.

-- Puzzle 32 Answer --

Since all clues lead to the same answer, let's look at each clue individually and see how to get there.
Mg + Be = you might want to wait before taking a stab at this one
To get to the answer for this clue you'll need to review a [periodic table of elements] in particular the [relative atomic masses]. Mg = [24] and Be = [9] if you add them up, you get [33.] The hint uses [wordplay, with wait and weight being heterographs]

Robinson Cano + millesimal fineness standard = it's about who he is now, and that's fine with us
This clue refers to sports star, Robinson Cano's [jersey #] and the [slang name] used in fineness standards. Cano = [24] and millesimal fineness standard = [9] added up they equal [33]. The hint refers to [Cano's current player number and the fineness standards, or "Nine" standard]

Second Baseman + Saturn (rounded down) = this one is about being in position even after running all the way around
You'll need knowledge of [baseball position numbering] and the [time for a single trip around the sun for Saturn.] 2nd baseman = [4] and Saturn = [29] The sum of these two numbers is [33] The hint refers to [numbering the position] and [running all the way around, the sun]

XL - 111 = there's two sides to every #; some are static, and some are roaming
Here you need to use [Roman numerals] and [binary] to solve this clue. XL = [40 in Roman numerals] and 111 = [7 in binary] You can find that the difference will equal [33.] The hint again uses [ wordplay, with roaming (for Roman)] and [two to signify binary.]

So the final answer for "How many people does it take to make a Nancy Drew game?" [33]


Phew... that's a lot of explaining. Well I hope everyone enjoyed the puzzle, we'll have a new one this Friday! See ya soon.

- Novel -

Friday, November 13, 2009

Egging You On

We've now worked through most of Friday, and with the weekend here it's time for some good 'ole relaxation. Next week will be full of preparation for up-coming holiday deals, the craziness of strategy guide writing, and lessons in localization. It'll be nice and busy, but for now, I think we're due some quiet time!

-- Puzzle 32 Hint --

To keep you going, I want to say that many of your thoughts are on the right track (particularly one concerning Wednesday's hint) but just in case, here's a few pointers for each comparison to help out:

Mg + Be = you might want to wait before taking a stab at this one

Robinson Cano + millesimal fineness standard = it's about who he is now, and that's fine with us

Second Baseman + Saturn (rounded down) = this one is about being in position even after running all the way around

XL - 111 = there's two sides to every #; some are static, and some are roaming


Hasta luego!

- Novel ("quoted") -

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lightly Coddled

The newsletter went out, I hope everyone has had a chance to read it. I've got to thank Cathy for sharing all her secrets with us, we look forward to more of her work in the future. If you haven't had a chance to read all about her input on WAC, check it out here.

This morning, someone in the office sent around an interesting video. It's an interesting clip from the Today Show, broadcast sometime in 1990. (Yup, that's a very young Katie Couric co-hosting) The hosts are interviewing two members from a game company called American Laser Games...

If that doesn't sound familiar that's okay, but if you follow HI's history back far enough, you'll run headlong into American Laser Games. It's been a long time since then, and as a company we've certainly headed towards different interests. The industry has changed a lot, and I'm glad that our expertise has changed into creating educational and family oriented experiences (as hinted to in the video.) But it certainly makes me wonder where games will be 20 years from now. ^.~

- Novel -

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Approaching Poached

So I've just been informed that the newsletter will be dropping tomorrow, so make sure you're signed up to receive it.

We've been lucky enough to be free from rain for the day, so I grabbed a quick shot of the office with blue skies (ya know, for proof.)

It's such a nice day, I think a few of us might try to find an excuse to work outside. ^.^

- Novel -

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunny Side

So I had a short sit down with the designer of our the PC series, Cathy. She was more than happy to answer a few questions I had about WAC. I even managed to squeeze in some from fans! Our marketing team will be whipping up a short editorial to be displayed in this month's newsletter, so be sure to sign up.

I've seen some pretty good theories concerning Puzzle 32, keep at it. Designer Ben was more than obliging to give a little hint for you all.

-- Puzzle 32 hint --

All 4 answers should end up the same


See ya tomorrow!

- Novel -

Monday, November 9, 2009

Over Easy

I hope everyone had a nice exciting weekend. The winter grind continues here in the office. We're busy hatching secret plans for the holidays. Mwahahha!

I seem to recall offering to spoil puzzle Thirty One today, so I'll do my best as it tends to get a bit complex (Rob's a tricky kinda guy.)

-- Revealing Puzzle 31 --

So you're given four code words with a groupings of characters following it.
You'll want to use [ the grid from last week's hint ]
In fact, you'll want [ a separate grid for each code word ]
Next you'll need to [ place points on the grid and draw lines for the groupings ]
An example of this would be to [ mark a dot on c2 and draw a line to c3 ]
Repeat this process for all groupings and all of the code words
[ with each code word use a different graph. ]
After you've finished you'll have
[ 4 graphs with a lot of random lines on them. ]
So take those and
[ place them on top of one another and rotate the graphs to spell a phrase. ]
The final answer is: [ Five Black Cats ]


When I saw this puzzle, I was blown away by its difficulty. I'm totally floored that it was solved, congrats to everyone who worked on it. Oh and as a little aside, [ Five black Cats ] refers to a series of hidden objects we placed in the Hardy Boys: Treasure on the Tracks DS game to promo WAC. Now that's a fancy bit o' trivia!

You're also doing well on Puzzle 32, I'll check back in tomorrow. Right-O!

- Novel (1/2) -

Friday, November 6, 2009


First Friday of this winter month... awesome. Though a tad much on the rain.

I've seen a newsletter in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for that next week.

I'm impressed that you all solved the weekend puzzle, that one was really difficult. I'll give you a detailed list of instructions on Monday, for now why not bury your thoughts in another mind bender.

-- Puzzle 32 --

How many people does it take to make a Nancy Drew game?

To find the answer, find the connection:

Mg + Be
Robinson Cano + millesimal fineness standard
Second Baseman + Saturn (rounded down)
XL - 111


See ya next week!

- Novel -

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Nibbles

I think the beginning of November is fantastic, why you ask? The left-over candy. We've got tons of it here at work. I think the office is going to need to have a few extra hack sessions this winter. ^.^

Still the slow grind towards the end of the year has us working on some interesting projects. Nothing I can spoil at the moment except maybe that I just had to play through The Final Scene a couple of times. ^.~

Don't forget, I'm going to be doing an interview with WAC's designer, so send me some excellent questions for her! (

Oh and Rob has finally handed over the next hint for your puzzle. This one's going to be interesting...

-- Puzzle 31 Hint --

Catch ya tomorrow!

- Novel -

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November in a Nutshell

Ahhh, the midweek. We've hit our stride and are rolling right along. I've been walking the office trying to get a feel for what's coming up. We're deep in the "holiday triumvirate" which I'm certain means something's gonna happen...

I thought I'd get your input on an interview I'm going to do. I'll be sitting down for a little Q and A with the designer of WAC, Cathy. If you could ask her one question what would it be? Send me your ideas at:
with the subject line "WAC Interview" and I'll try and pick one or two good ones. I'll be doing the interview early next week, so try to have them in by Friday.

So where will this lovely discussion be displayed? Ohh hoho, now that's the real mystery. ^.~

- Novel -

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November's Novel

We're pretty slow in the news department today, so I thought I'd share with you all a fun little activity a few people in the office are doing this month.


Yup sounds like gibberish, I know, but it's actually short for "National Novel Writing Month," occurring every November. Pretty fantastic, eh? You spend the entire month trying to write a story of at least 50,000 words! They've got support materials, writing groups, and a whole bunch of other literary help at their official webpage ([they've also got resources for younger writers looking to participate (]; all-in-all a pretty cool set up.

This year a few others HI employees and myself are going to try our hands (though a some have told me they've done it a few years running.) Mostly it's just for fun and to help writers... write. But even if you aren't a writer, the message is great! So I say, for November, get out there and do what you love, whether it's art, sports, or any other crazy activity you're totally into!

For my entry, I'm imagining a suspenseful mystery-series, starring an intelligent and resourceful young heroine... whaddya think?

- Novel -

Monday, November 2, 2009

November's a Marvel

I hope everyone had a great holiday this weekend, Halloween is one of our favorites (yes, I know we're just a tad too candy-crazy.) So now, our quiet office is filled to the brim with candy, candy, and more candy. We may just survive the winter. ^.~

I saw some good work on the weekend puzzle these past few days. You all have made some great guesses. I managed to get a hint to share with you all today. Let's see...

-- Puzzle 31 Hint --

"I see there are lots of ideas floating around, just make sure you do end up grid-locked."


Decent hint, I'd say. But will it help? I'll just add, Good luck!

- Novel -