Memoirs of a Geek: Nancy Drew Games

Out of all the games I played as a kid, Nancy Drew games were the most challenging ones. Not because of the gameplay challenges, no it was those gosh dang puzzles. Sometimes the puzzles and minigames would be fairly straightforward. It might take a few tries before I got it, but it was usually possible to solve the puzzle or beat the game. 

However, it seemed like in every Nancy Drew game I played at some point I would eventually reach the Nope Wall. Now the Nope Wall had different forms in each game. It was puzzle minigames that I could not beat or figure out no matter how many times I attempted it. Other times it was the simple problem of not knowing how to progress the story. On the rare occasion, it was even dying repeatedly due to my own stupidity or the blatant unfairness of the game. 

I’m not here to tell you about how hard these games could get or how ragey I could get while playing. I’ll save that for a Petty Review. Instead today, I’ll tell you about the one and only time I encountered The Nope Wall while playing one of these games and I got past it. After many attempts, I had finally beaten a Nancy Drew game!

My Nancy Drew phase was during late elementary/young middle school. At the time I wasn’t as patient as I am now. Though, even now describing myself as patient seems too generous. Still, I was definitely worse as a kid. I was, however, very stubborn. That stubbornness is what made me able to beat the game.  

The one I completed was Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek. It’s been so many years but I remember those two puzzles in particular that made me almost quit the game. The first one was basically Minesweeper on ice. Naturally, if you got it wrong you would fall through the ice and die. It took many (so many) attempts before I got it right. Each time I failed it reset the locations of the thin ice so I actually had to take my time and not make hasty decisions. 

The second puzzle that almost made me quit I don’t remember as well. It was a puzzle about connecting pipes (I think). Unlike the first, it was not randomly generated. For whatever reason, I had a hard time figuring it out. Eventually, it got to a point when I was finally willing to sacrifice my pride and look up a walkthrough. Which naturally, having the answers in front of me made the puzzle pretty easy. 

Beating the game was one of the most euphoric victories. Not only did I beat the game, but I had also finally succeeded at beating one of the games in the Nancy Drew series. The White Wolf of Icicle Creek was the fourth game in this series that I played. It took me four games before I finally beat one. More than the momentary victory, this was the first game I beat using a walkthrough. It made me realize that while I don’t like resorting to walkthroughs, there’s nothing wrong with using them. The most important part of playing video games is that you enjoy them. There’s no right or wrong way to play a game.

*Image does not belong to me, it belongs to Her Interactive.

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