I’m a very active part of the mystery community. I run a mystery party company called Whose Clues (facebook.com/whoseclues), where I write my own mysteries and people come and take part in them to solve a classic “who done it.” But way before I started writing mysteries on my own, I was solving them.
Well, that’s not entirely true. What I mean to say is that I’ve been playing mystery video games since I knew how to use a computer. Like anyone else who’s ever looked for mystery games, Nancy Drew, from Her Interactive, was top dog. They’ve put out over 30 games under the Nancy Drew name, and I’ve played every one of them.
For me at least, it was sort of a silent fandom. I wasn’t really a part of the message boards on herinteractive.com. I didn’t have many friends who had played them—let alone even heard of them. I just played along, quietly, buying the games the day they came out, or looking forward to Christmas, when I would often get one as a gift. It became a tradition.
Well, it’s been several Christmases since I’ve gotten a game. In fact, it’s been over two years since Her Interactive announced their last game, Midnight in Salem (MID). Now, I’m not going to get into that hullaballoo because it’s deep and messy and hard to explain.
What you need to know is this: Midnight and Salem was never released. The company has been pretty quiet since then, but when pressed, they still insist that the game is in the works.
I want to believe them. In a lot of ways, I still do. But! That is not the point I want to make. Amidst all of the negativity surrounding MID, a lot of good has come out too.
For one thing, my sister (another big Nancy Drew gamer) and I have joined some Nancy Drew community groups, tying us to other fans, and giving us a chance to not only gripe a bit over the lateness of the unborn game, but also the revel in the beauty and magic of the old games. We finally can share our excitement and talk about the fun we had when playing these games—and still do have when we play them over and over again.
- Finding Other Games:
In my frustration of not having my normal “two games per year,” that I was used to, I’ve been forced to travel a little outside of my comfort zone and find other games to fit the bill. I’ve discovered Miss Clue, Agatha Chrstie, and a whole host of random mystery and seek-and-find games. Some are very well-done and give Nancy Drew a run for their money (I’m looking at you, Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None). Others have their flaws, but still were fun to play. Some were just as challenging of mysteries as the Nancy Drew ones are. Over all, I’m very glad that I found them. I probably never would have looked for them if Her Interactive had continued to produce their games at the same pace.
- Fans Are Making Games
Out of all the reasons why MID has opened new doors, probably the best one is that I’m watching fans take matters into their own hands. For one thing, people from the Nancy Drew group that I’m a part of, have started talking about making a game of their own. I’m proud of that. I won’t say anything more, because it is a closed group, but I really hope that they do make a game. I will play it.
I also recently ran into a page on Facebook about an upcoming game called the “Alex Hill Mystery.” I don’t know much about it, but from what I’ve read on their blog and on their Facebook site, they are just another group of people who are tired of waiting on MID, and are making the game that they want to play. I admire that.
Lastly, I’ve been wanting for a while to use Whose Clues to make a game of my own. Right now, my sister and I are in discussion to make a visual novel based off of one of my original mysteries. It’s still early yet, so I don’t have much to relate, but we’ve picked the mystery, found a platform to use, and are in the process of recruiting! So if you’re interested, let us know!