Monthly Archives: May 2013

Nancy Drew Videos

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These are so fun!  I love them!  Some of these were posted awhile ago…Oh well, I still love them. 😛

This one was back when Phoenix was there (the summer intern last year I believe).  It’s Call Me Nancy, Second Chance Me (based off the second chances in the Nancy Drew games).  It also features Little Jackalope.

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This one was posted just a few weeks ago on the Amateur Sleuth Blog.  It’s with Little Jackalope and the Tech Girl.

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Last one…This is from The Deadly Device. If you remember, Ryan ❤ gummy bears. 🙂 She likes to act out little scenes with them. Here’s some examples of it.

Have fun!

Her Interactive

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The Wizard of Oz

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Wizard of Oz Book Cover

Wizard of Oz Book Cover

L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz was published in 1900.  At the time, this was probably a landmark book because it probably would have been one of the few books that was written for children and incorporated fantasy elements.  At the same time, it probably garnered a lot of controversy because of these fantasy elements.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to the land of Oz in their house by a cyclone.  Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East.  In order to get back home to Kansas, she must journey to the Emerald City.  Dorothy gets the late Wicked Witch’s silver slippers, and the Witch of the North kisses Dorothy upon her forehead.  Dorothy then begins the journey to Emerald City.

Along the way, she meets the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion.  The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion each have their own story to share, and they all wish for something that they are apparently lacking in their lives.  The Scarecrow wishes for brains, the Tin Man a heart, and the Cowardly Lion courage.  The trio has to battle many adversaries on their way to the City, including the Kalidahs and a field of poppies.

Golden Cap

Golden Cap

Once there, Dorothy asks the great Oz for a way home, and the others ask for what they wish.  However, their success is postponed because Oz wants them to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.  He will not give them anything until they do.  So off they go to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.  This witch obviously doesn’t want to be killed.  She sends lots of things for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to deal with.  The Wicked Witch is unsuccessful in killing any of them, so she sends the flying monkeys after them using the Golden Cap.  However, the monkeys cannot kill Dorothy.  She bears the silver slippers, and she was kissed by the Witch of the North.  Therefore, the monkeys carry her to the Wicked Witch of the West.  The Wicked Witch of the West holds them captive until Dorothy melts her with water.  Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion set off for the Emerald City after having killed the witch, but not until Dorothy takes the magical Golden Cap.

Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys

The Winged Monkeys carry them to Oz because of the Golden Cap.  There, they ask Oz for their reward.  However, they discover that the “great” Oz is nothing more than a humbug who pretends to be all powerful so everyone else will think that he is a wizard.

Oz still gives them something that symbolizes what they desire.  He gives the Scarecrow pins and needles in his head to represent brains.  The Tin Man gets a small metal heart in his chest.  Finally, the Cowardly Lion drinks a potion that “gives” him courage.

Oz happened to be from Kansas also, and he came to the land using a balloon, so he agreed to take Dorothy with him back to Kansas.  He was leaving the Scarecrow in charge.  However, a mishap led Dorothy stranded and unable to go home.

Will Dorothy find her way back to Kansas?  What new adventures will Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion have?  You’ll have to read it in the Wizard of Oz.

Wizard of Oz Movie Poster

Wizard of Oz Movie Poster

I would say that the movie seemed to add a lot of scenes that weren’t in the book, such as the thing with Mrs. Gulch.  The movie also deleted a lot of scenes that were in the book, such as China country and the Kalidahs.  I’m not sure why this was done because both the book and movie seem to have the same amount of content.  It’s just different.  The movie really changed part of the plot from the original Wizard of Oz.  My theory is that the book was changed to be more of Dorothy’s dream.  In the movie, the mean Mrs. Gulch changes into the Wicked Witch of the West, and Dorothy kills her.  In the book, Dorothy wondered if the land of Oz was all a dream.  Perhaps Mrs. Gulch was added in the movie to make the plot seem more good vs. evil, and to show that Dorothy was dreaming up the land to defeat the wicked old lady in Kansas.  That seems like a big stretch though.

Because of the huge differences in the book and movie, I would recommend reading the book.  You should also check out a book/movie comparison of the Wizard of Oz at Jill’s Cabana Stories.  This blog provides many more details in regards to the differences between the book and the movie.  I give it 4 stars.

Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

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Do you like dogs?  Do you like ghost dogs?

Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake came out in November 2002.  It’s rated E for Mild Violence, and is for ages 10 to adult.  It’s for Windows Operating System 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.

Nancy Drew is called by her friend Sally McDonald to investigate some dogs at her house.  When Nancy gets there, Sally is gone because she can’t stand another night there.  Apparently her house is haunted by the dogs of Mickey Malone.  However, Nancy starts to think that the dogs have been trained to attack Sally’s house?  Who would do that?  Why?  Is someone trying to scare Sally out of her house at Moon Lake?  Is there more to Sally’s house than  Nancy realizes?

Characters:

There’s only three main characters in this game:

Emily Griffin:  She runs Emily’s Emporium.  She’s the friendliest of Nancy’s neighbors at Moon Lake.  She showcases a lot of things in her store, and she has a lot to tell about the history of Moon Lake.  Does she know more than what she’s telling?

Jeff Akers:  He’s the park ranger of Moon Lake.  He’s mad because he can’t get an assistant to help him out.  If he just had more park land, he would be able to get an assistant.  Jeff also has family ties to the Malone legend, so he could know a lot about the Malone house.  Is he searching for something at Moon Lake?  What would he do to find it?

Finally, Red Knott:  Avid birdwatcher.  He seems to think that Moon Lake is the perfect place for bird watching because there isn’t a decent establishment anywhere around it.  He thinks all the problems in the world could be solved if people weren’t allowed at Moon Lake.  Could he be trying to force Sally out of her house so he the woods are peaceful for birdwatching?

Screenshots

Screenshots

Cons:

I did not like collecting bugs in this game at all.  Why do we have to search for creepy critters that crawl on their bellies?

Because I am a dog lover, I was not happy with the possibility of anyone using dogs to accomplish their own ends.  Dogs are so nice and friendly.  Why would you use them?

I don’t like sorting roman numerals.  It gets so repetitive, and I go cross-eyed.

Pros:

You learned about prohibition history and speakeasies.  That was pretty cool.

You met Vivian Whitmore.  She was pretty funny, and she seemed to have a big story to tell.

This game seemed peaceful in the forest during the day.  You heard many bird calls, and there was pleasant music.  It was like walking through the forest.

Some Interesting Points:

You had to do lots of chores for Emily.  Some of them seemed irritating, like bug collecting.  I guess a detective’s life isn’t so glamorous.

The shed almost burned down!  Someone tried to kill Nancy!  Yikes!

All of Malone’s dogs had the same death date.  Was that just a coincidence?

Each of Malone’s dogs was associated with a color based on their collar.  You saw this in their paintings somewhere…

More Screenshots

More Screenshots

Gameplay Moments:

Your batteries went out right at the moment when you were going to explore something.  Great timing, huh?  Darn.  Back to Emily’s for another task.

Nancy gets knocked out as she sees something on the house.  That reminded me of being knocked out in Treasure in the Royal Tower.

Overall Impression:

This game was just okay for me.  It seemed short, and it involved bugs.  Plus, I didn’t like how the dogs were used in the game.  I can’t say that I want to immediately replay it.

Her Interactive

Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand

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Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

Secret of the Scarlet Hand Cover Art

The Secret of the Scarlet Hand is a Nancy Drew game about the Maya.  It was made in June of 2002 for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.  It is rated E for Mild Violence, and its age range is from 10 to adult.

Nancy Drew is taking a break from cases, and she landed an internship at Beech Hill Museum in Washington, DC.  She starts some basic curatorial jobs, such as rearranging the recordings at exhibits and reorganizing the Mayan numbering system, in preparation for the launching of a new exhibit involving a huge Mayan monolith in the garden..  When one of the museum’s most prized possessions, a jade carving of King Pacal, is taken, Nancy gets thrown into an increasingly complicated mystery involving a mysterious scarlet hand print and Mayan history.  Who took the carving and why?  Who can be trusted?  Is this a single occurrence, or is it part of something bigger involving a serious of thefts?

Characters:

Alejandro del Rio:  Ambassador to the Mexican Consulate in Washington, DC.   He believes that all Mexican artifacts should be returned to their homeland, and that anyone who takes these artifacts are “conquistadors.”  He insists that the jade carving of King Pacal should be returned to Mexico.  Would he steal the carving to accomplish this goal?

Henrik Van Der Hume:  Henrik is an expert at translating Mayan glyphs.  He was working on translating the glyphs on the monolith.  Did he steal the jade carving because he discovered a secret?

Joanna Riggs:  She runs the museum.  She doesn’t really help Nancy in her tasks, and doesn’t appear to have much time for her.  It is rumored that the museum obtained the jade carving and monolith illegally.  Could she have stolen the jade carving to cover this up?

Finally:

Taylor Sinclair:  He sells priceless artifacts to the museum like a shady used car salesman.  He can sell anything given the right price.  Could he have stolen the jade carving to sell it on the black market?

Screenshots

Screenshots

Cons:

The ending is creepy in a gross way.  Yuck.

Nancy was wandering around in circles for me in this game.  She seemed to be waiting for a lot of packages to arrive.  This was hard because I just wanted to continue on in the mystery.  It became frustrating.

Pros:

You learned a lot about Mayan history and culture.  This was the most history-intensive game so far.  You had to do tasks involving Mayan history and culture, and you had to use your new knowledge to solve the case.

It was fun unlocking new parts in the museum.  I didn’t know that museums had so many hidden parts to them.

When you were exploring the museum, it seemed a little frustrating because you didn’t know why you were doing it.  However, it led to a very large moment in the game.  The time seemed worthwhile.

This game seemed like it had multiple parts to it.  You were first finishing curatorial tasks, then finding out what happened to the jade carving, then…something else.  You weren’t exactly sure when the game was going to end.

You met Prudence Rutherford!  She makes me laugh.

More Screenshots

More Screenshots

Some Interesting Points:

“Want a cookie?  They’re from Oaxaca!”  Those cookies looked weird…. They were useful though.

The characters moved a lot in this game!  They moved to new locations in Washington!  I haven’t seen that much moving in a long time.

Gameplay Moments:

Ending.  Ewww.  Majorly.

Exploring the museum felt creepy after a while, especially alone.  I kept feeling some Mayan mummy was going to pop out at me…

Overall Impression:

I’ve been overlooking this game for a while.  I didn’t remember playing it.  However, this is one of my new favorite games.  There’s lots of exploring, snooping, history, and the characters move!  You never really know when you’re going to be done with it.  This really feels like a “classic” Nancy Drew game.  I will definitely play this game again soon.

Her Interactive

Secret of the Scarlet Hand

Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

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Final Scene Cover Art

Final Scene Cover Art

The Final Scene came out in November of 2001.  It’s rated E for Mild Violence, and is for ages 10 to adult.  It is designed for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.  In this game, Nancy’s friend, Maya Ngyen, is kidnapped when she goes in to interview Brady Armstrong in his dressing room at the Royal Palladium movie theatre.  Nancy then has three days to save her because the theatre will be demolished.  Will Nancy save her from the wrecking ball, or will Maya go down with the theatre?

Characters:

Brady Armstrong:  Hollywood heartthrob.  The debut to his new movie is taking place at the theatre before it gets demolished.  Would he take Maya to stop the theatre being demolished to ensure his new movie is publicized?

Joseph Hughes:  He is the caretaker of the Royal Palladium theatre.  He’s been working at the theatre, so it holds many memories for him.  Would he kidnap a journalist to stop the demolition?

Nick Falcone:  He is part of H.A.D.I.T, or “Humans Against the Destruction of Illustrious Theatres.”  He is protesting the demolition, and is rumored to take part in unorthodox tactics to further his agenda.  Would he kidnap Maya in extreme tactics to stop the demolition of the glorious theatre.

Simone Mueller

Simone Mueller

Last, but certainly not least:

Simone Mueller:  Brady Armstrong’s agent.  She thinks Maya’s kidnapping is a great way to generate more press for Brady’s movie debut.  Would she kidnap Maya to create this opportunity for publicity?

Cons:

The culprit.  I have to say, I was not expecting the culprit in this game.  It was somewhat shocking to me, and I don’t like it.  I really wanted someone else to be the culprit.  I’ve even written an alternative ending with my desired culprit.  As you can see, it’s somewhat upsetting to me.

Pros:

Magic!  You get to learn some magic tricks in this game.  Not that I’m great at them by any means, but they were fun.

Harry Houdini!  Okay, who wouldn’t like to learn about the magician.  The game’s plot is revolved around him, so it’s kind of fun.  I liked learning about his “impossible” task, and how he was “compensated” for it…*cough cough*

Lots and lots of snooping and secret passageways!  Wow…there is a lot more to movie theatres than meets the eye.  Every day Nancy found something new!  That was fun.

We got to go in a real magician’s room through a magician’s cage!  How cool is that?!

Screenshots

Screenshots

Some Interesting Points:

Another slider puzzle.  Ugh.  I don’t like slider puzzles.  I don’t see why they have to be in almost every game.  Need I say more.

The kidnapper’s “voice” is creepy!  It made me jump a few times.

Nancy looks like a nutcase in part of the game.  She finds…something…and no one else sees it.  Everyone thinks she’s losing her marbles.  Poor Nancy.

This game had a very intense feel to it.  You really felt it was urgent that you completed the game quickly because you didn’t want Maya to die.  That made the game feel very realistic.

Gameplay Moments:

Like I said before, the kidnapper’s voice is creepy.  When I was walking through the hall in I think the third day, it was really weird.  How exactly was Nancy “wasting time?”  She was trying to find her friend!  How could she have gone any faster!

Okay, at one point, Brady looked really suspicious.  He just happened to be standing at the right place at the right time.  Yeah…Brady, if you’re not part of it, why are you standing here now?

Simone Mueller really made me mad.  Nancy’s trying to find her friend, and all Simone can say is “love ya.”  She was really irritating.

Overall Impression:

I thought this was a fun game.  You got to learn about magic and Harry Houdini, and you explored a movie theatre.  What a fun location for a game!  It’s within my top five favorite games.

Official Trailer:

Her Interactive

The Final Scene

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Film Poster

The movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets closely follows the plot of the book written by JK Rowling.  There are some differences and changes in the movie though, as usual with movie adaptations of books.

In the movie, Harry didn’t do any chores.  The book starts off with the Dudleys getting ready for Vernon’s big meeting with the Masons.  When Dobby starts hitting himself against things, Vernon tells the Masons to not worry about the sound…its just the cat.  That’s a pretty big cat to be making all those sounds….  Speaking of that, I really liked Dobby.  He was so cute, but somewhat pitiful at the same time.  I was really glad when Harry freed him at the end.  Dobby deserved to live better than being Lucius Malfoy’s servant.  Lucius Malfoy is very cruel.

The Weasley boys save Harry with a flying car when he is trapped inside his bedroom at the Dursleys.  In the book, Mrs. Weasey gives the boys a large telling off in the front yard.  In the movie, it is much smaller, and in the kitchen.  However, this does bring me to two of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter movie series:  Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.  I think they’re so cute together.  They make me laugh.  It’s obvious they have a lot of fun together.

Harry travels by floo powder to Borgin and Burkes.  In the book, he witnessed an exchange between the store owner and Lucius Malfoy.  In the movie, there are no Malfoys here.

I did have a question when Harry meets up with Hermione in Diagon Alley.  Why can Hermione fix Harry’s glasses?  They aren’t in school.  Shouldn’t she be getting in trouble here?

While I was watching the movie, I realized that Lockhart was probably histrionic.  Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by excessive attention seeking behavior.  They always want to be the center of attention, and feel comfortable when they are not.  They are lively and dramatic.  They may be shallow.  This, in my opinion, perfectly describes Lockhart.  He always has to be the center of attention.  He makes situations about themselves when they are not.  He likes to act out things he has done, and doesn’t realize how his attention-seeking behavior affects others.  Everything is about him, and he has to make everything about him.  I just found that interesting.

When Hermione is called a Mudblood, Ron doesn’t explain what that means to Harry.  Hermione does.  Also, in a touching moment, Hagrid consoles Hermione because she is understandably upset.

I thought the howler in the movie was smaller.  Mrs. Weasley didn’t scream as long here.  I loved Ron’s reaction though.  It was funny.

Professor Binns is not in the movie.  Instead, Professor McGonagall tells students about the Chamber of Secrets.  I thought her transfiguration was pretty cool.

In the movie, Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t need a note from Lockhart to get access to Moste Potente Potions.  It was in the library.  It should have been in the Restricted Section.  I don’t think first years should have access to that book.  It looks pretty disturbing.

In the hospital wing, Harry is woken by that creepy voice, not Dobby sponging his forehead.  I thought the movie did a good job with Harry hearing voices.   It was creepy.

At the Dueling Club, Lockhart didn’t show Harry a weird wand thing.  He just gave Harry good luck.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione took the polyjuice potion, we only got to see Harry transform.  That was somewhat disappointing.  I would have liked to see all three of them transform.

Ron made me laugh again when he said, “Why can’t it be follow the butterflies?” as he and Harry prepared to follow the spiders in the Forbidden Forest.  I think Ron was cute in this movie in his facial expressions and some of his lines.

There was an interesting moment with Ron and Hermione when the trio were reunited.  Ron didn’t feel comfortable with hugging Hermione.  It was very awkward.  Cool there be some brewing romance there, perhaps?

There is one thing that I like better in the movie than the book:  the ending.  It was so touching seeing all the students clapping for Hagrid.  There really is no Hogwarts without Hagrid.  The books and movies wouldn’t be the same without him.

Overall, my favorite parts in the movie were Lockhart and the ending.  Lockhart made me laugh, and the ending pulled at my heartstrings.  I also really enjoyed Ron’s facial expressions.  He was adorable.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book Cover

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book Cover (US)

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry receives a mysterious warning from Dobby the house elf about terrible events that are soon to transpire at Hogwarts.  Harry ignores Dobby’s warning, and goes to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione.  He finds that he has a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lockhart.  However, it becomes clear very quickly that Lockhart is a waste of time, despite all the books he has supposedly written.

Strange things start to happen at Hogwarts, starting with Filch’s cat being petrified and a note being written on the wall saying that “The Chamber of Secrets has Been Opened…Enemies of the Heir, Beware.”  Everyone starts to wonder who the Heir of Slytherin is.  People are petrified, and Harry is suspected as being the Heir of Slytherin after inadvertently revealing that he is a Parslemouth at the Dueling Club.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to find out who the Heir of Slytherin is.  They follow many leads and hit numerous dead ends.  Some history about the characters at Hogwarts is also revealed, including that of Hagrid.  Someone close to the Weasley family is taken into the Chamber itself, causing Harry to venture it.

Who is the Heir of Slytherin?  What is causing these attacks?  Will Harry survive the encounter with the horror in the chamber?

Find out in the second book of the Harry Potter series.

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I personally didn’t like that Hermione was absent for a part of the book.  Harry and Ron seemed to wander around trying to figure out what was going on in Hogwarts, and they didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.  That started to irritate me after a while when they were constantly trying to come up with new leads.

Having said that, the book revealed quite a bit of history about Hogwarts that will be used further in the series.  It was quite noticeable to me that Rowling was setting up plot points for later books.  I also noticed within this book how she set up the rest of the book in the beginning.  An example is the Weasley’s encounter with Lucius Malfoy, and Ginny’s schoolbooks.

I did have a question though.  What happened to Mr. Weasley’s car after a notable encounter in the Forbidden Forest?  It just drove off.  Will that be developed later, or is that a plot hole?  Just curious.

Overall, this was a solid sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneI didn’t like that Hermione was absent in parts of it, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.  I give it three stars.