Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sea of Darkness

I got badly stuck, in my walkthrough for Sea of Darkness. You need to collect five groups of photo scraps, and the final photo scraps come from Gunnar. The problem was I could not trigger the big scene with Gunnar!

It turns out that you trigger the big scene with Gunnar, by starting the photo scrap puzzle. You can't finish the puzzle, because you don't have all the photo scraps, but you have to at least start it. So I put down three out of the twenty photo scraps. That triggered the scene with Gunnar being kicked out of the pub.

Then I got stuck, trying to figure out how to get Gunnar back inside. And by "stuck", I mean I did at least twenty minutes of wandering around, trying everything. It turns out that I had to go back to the photo scrap puzzle, and put all my pieces on the board. Remember, I couldn't solve the puzzle to completion. I just did as much as I possibly could. Somehow, this triggered the scene of Gunnar going back inside the pub, which lets Nancy get the final set of photo scraps.

I'm not sure if that's the correct solution. It seems illogical that you have to put sixteen photo scraps in place, before you can get the final four photo scraps from Gunnar. Maybe it's one of those timed challenges, where Gunnar reappears inside the pub after five minutes of gameplay, no matter what you do during those five minutes. (The phone charging puzzle in Ghost of Thornton Hall and the pottery-making challenge in Labyrinth of Lies work like that)

Now I'm wondering if I can take advantage of this gameplay mechanic, for the purposes of a speedrun. Like, instead of having Gunnar's photos be the last ones I get, I make sure they are the first or second ones. Is that possible? I guess I'll have to make a list of where all the photo scraps come from, then try it out.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sea of Darkness

I'm working on my official walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness. The puzzles are a lot more fun when you know what you're doing! Ha ha.

You know the sail puzzle? The one where you identify about twenty different sails, by name? You're supposed to solve that puzzle, based on the clues in the captain's log. It turns out that reading the captain's log isn't necessary. If you already know all about sails, you can solve the puzzle at the very start of the game.

By contrast, there's a numbers puzzle, written in Icelandic. You're supposed to solve the puzzle, by purchasing an Icelandic guidebook and looking up numbers in the "common Icelandic words" section. It doesn't matter if you already know Icelandic numbers, or if you're good at guessing. You can't solve the puzzle without reading the guidebook.

Funny how you can solve one puzzle ahead of time, if you know the answer, but you can't with the other one.

If I try speedrunning the game, the first section will cover everything up to the lighthouse puzzle. Mainly because the lighthouse has that killer 2048 puzzle. Please tell me there's a good strategy for that puzzle, because I always get stuck on it. Senior Mode wants you to make SEVEN white lights, which is almost at the limit of my ability.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Katie is an auditor, and I don't really understand what she's saying, when she talks about business. So I decided to start studying economics. Now I kind of understand what she's talking about.

In the news this week, people were holding a big protest at McDonald's. They want McDonald's to pay all its employees at least fifteen dollars per hour. That's all well and good, but there's no reason for people to protest at my local McDonald's. The one in our town is a franchise McDonald's.

From what I understand, franchises work like this. Let's travel back in time to the 1980's, when my local McDonald's was built.

Dude: Hey, I want to build a restaurant!
McDonald's Agent: Why not build a McDonald's? They're very popular and make lots of money.
Dude: Isn't that illegal? I mean, I don't own McDonald's.
Agent: It's okay. We'll let you call your restaurant McDonalds, and give you permission to use our logo and sell our food.
Dude: Wow, that's really nice of you!
Agent: In exchange, though, you have to follow all of our rules.
Dude: (reads contract) Most of these rules talk about how food is prepared.
Agent: Of course! We want to make sure the food is prepared the same way at every restaurant.

And that's how my local McDonald's was born. McDonald's doesn't directly own that particular restaurant, but they do get a portion of the profits, and they get to decide what's on the menu. (I think they sell some ingredients to that particular store, but I'm not 100% sure.) I guess it's similar to how Her Interactive makes Nancy Drew games, but they don't actually own Nancy Drew. Simon and Schuster owns Nancy Drew, and they're not selling her anytime soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wedding Song

In wedding news, Mom wants this as the son/mother dance.

She had no idea the song is six minutes long, so there's a minor chance she'll pick something else.


In other wedding info, Katie and I are going to be married, according to the Second Edition of the Catholic Rite of Marriage. The Vatican released this rite, in Latin, in 1991. The United States Bishops approved of an English translation in November, 2013. The English-only version of this hasn't been printed yet, although the Latin-English copy can be found somewhere on ICEL's website. (I found it the first time, no problem. The next time I looked, I couldn't find it anywhere.)

This is one of those few times that knowing Latin comes in handy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bailey School Kids #7: Aliens Don't Wear Braces

Bailey School Kids #7 is Aliens Don't Wear Braces. The school gets a substitute art teacher named Mrs. Zork, and she acts strangely. She's obsessed with colors, and the kids begin to suspect she's an alien, sent to steal all the colors from Earth.

This book was pretty good, especially the showdown scene between Mrs. Zork and the vampire teacher.

The kids break into Mrs. Zork's house, and they discover a spaceship. She claims it is a pottery kiln. In the dramatic showdown, Eddie starts pushing all the buttons on the machine to get Earth's colors back. Not long after, there is a huge explosion in the sky. Everyone assumes it was unplanned fireworks, but our heroes know it was the alien spaceship exploding.

The next day, Mrs. Zork has disappeared, and I really hope she was an alien, because if not, the kids just blew up her house for no reason. How unexpectedly violent of those third-graders! There is a full, two-page illustration for the explosion, too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BSC Reviews

I've been doing my Baby-Sitters Club reviews with my cousin's old collection. She had books 1-18, and about 40 other books, scattered throughout the series. I figured I would review the first eighteen books and decide where to go from there.

Little did I know that Books 1-18 really comprise 20 books! Super Special #1 was published after #14, and Karen's Spinoff #1 was published after #15. I bought them both on Amazon for $10.99, which is a tad expensive, in my opinion. Yes, it's convenient to have the eBooks, but when they're priced at $5.99 each, it is always cheaper to buy the used paperbacks.

So my plan is to review all the books, up to #18. I hope I can make my 11 bucks back. After that, I'll decide whether or not to continue. I'd like to review the books in order, but not if it's going to cost too much. Maybe I'll just read the 40-odd books I have, forgetting about the official order.

Of course, this is all just worrying about the vague future. I have several hundred Nancy Drew books to review first, right? Speaking of which, the newest Nancy Drew book just arrived in the mail for me! It was released this month, and it's all about organic farming.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Puzzles, Upcoming Reviews

To follow up on yesterday's blog post, I'm definitely planning on solving the puzzles legitimately, in my official video walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness. No matter how long it takes. Even if it takes me 30 minutes to solve one puzzle, like in Shadow at the Water's Edge, Secret of the Old Clock and Shadow at the Water's Edge (again).

But for my first playthrough? I'm kind of a cheater. You viewers don't usually get to see my cheat-tastic first playthrough of games. I try to play a game twice, before recording it.

None of the puzzles were like the final puzzle in The Shattered Medallion. I just flat-out don't understand how you're supposed to solve that puzzle legitimately. Maybe if I ever play the game for the sixth time, things will finally click, and I'll figure it out.

Anyway! New topic. I'm doing reviews for the 2007 Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys Supermysteries. I reviewed Books 1 and 3-6. Book 2 took an extra month to get to me, because someone doesn't return library books on time.

In my review for Book 3, I made a joke about Frank Hardy having a crush on Nancy Drew, and a joke about Joe Hardy using the word "suck". Those things didn't happen in Book 1. It turns out that they both happen in Book 2! Now I'm wondering if I should mention them in my review for Book 2, or not. It'd be kind of silly to make the same jokes for Books 2 and 3, but it'd also be kind of silly to ignore something in Book 2, just because I mention it in Book 3.

I suppose I could always redo my review for book 3...

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Some people have complained that I was a little too quick to use hints, in my first playthrough of the latest Nancy Drew game.

In general, if I haven't solved a puzzle within five minutes, I think it's perfectly legitimate to hint-spam for the solution. I don't think anyone wants to see a video that's over five minutes of just one puzzle. YouTube's audience retention feature shows that, yeah, viewers skip over the long puzzles.

I kind of felt like the puzzles in this game were not well-explained. For example, the crystal puzzle, which didn't specify that white crystals are NOT part of the solution. Or that word search puzzle, which didn't specify that all the letters in a word are NOT adjacent. You know, like the word search puzzle in Nancy Drew 30, and all the word search puzzles I've ever seen in my entire life. Or the knot puzzle, which didn't specify if you're working left to right or right to left. It looks like you're working right to left, because the final knot pictures are left of the board.

With those puzzles, I had to look at the solution in order to understand how the puzzle works. I don't feel bad for hint-spamming the solution to those puzzles, because I can blame the poorly-done instructions. Although I admit that it's possible the instructions are good, and I'm just bad at understanding them.

There are also puzzles like the ship's steering wheel puzzle or the bilge puzzle, where I knew how to solve the puzzle, and I wanted to give it an honest try. But I also wanted to have the hint button loading, just in case I screwed up and needed a solution. If I do end up getting stuck and needing the solution, I feel disappointed in myself for not being able to do it on my own. If I was playing the game by myself, I would probably take the extra ten minutes and figure out the solution. But I was recording, I didn't want to stop and have the game come to a screeching halt.

And then there are puzzles which I skip because I'm super lazy, and they look super long and complicated. Like the triangle math puzzle, oh man, that puzzle. I don't feel bad about skipping those puzzles, because I can admit I'm lazy.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Twilight Princess

Okay, I played through the opening part of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It took 50 minutes. We were talking about how to split up the videos. As far as I can tell...2008 Michael was crazy when he tried to split up the game into sections.

Here are the sections in the 2008 guide, now with times added.

004a. The Opening Triduum
004aa. Dawn of the First Day – 72 Hours Remain (3 minutes)
004ab. Dawn of the Second Day – 48 Hours Remain (7 minutes)
004ac. Dawn of the Third Day – 24 Hours Remain (25 minutes)
004b. Forest Temple – Getting the First Fused Shadow
004ba. Wild and Wolfy (15 minutes)

With the last one, I played for fifteen minutes. That took me all the way to the scene where Link becomes a werewolf. The game gives you a "would you like to save?" screen at this point. (The other save screen was after 004ab.) Why didn't I split up my guide, at that part of the game? That is a natural stopping point.

So I have no idea how to split up the videos.

I also am not sure when to start posting these videos. My subscribers probably need some time to absorb the new Nancy Drew game first.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wedding Songs

Okay, I tried filling out the wedding DJ form. A number of our songs are not on their song list. Those would be...
  • The Fratellis: Chelsea Dagger
  • The Police: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
  • The Doobie Brothers: Listen to the Music
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: Can't Hold Us
  • Van Morrison: Wild Night
  • The Human League: Don't You Want Me
  • Mark Ronson: Uptown Funk
  • Nick Jonas: Jealous
  • Calloway: I Wanna Be Rich
  • Run-DMC: It's Tricky
  • Billy Preston: Outta-Space
  • Tears for Fears: Everybody Wants to Rule the World
  • REO Speedwagon: Take It On the Run
  • Bananarama: Venus
  • Van Halen: Jump
  • Nena: 99 Luft Balloons
  • Men Without Hats: Safety Dance
  • Survivor: Eye of the Tiger
  • Simple Minds: Don't You Forget About Me
  • Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop
  • Fine Young Cannibals: She Drives Me Crazy
  • Naked Eyes: Always Something There to Remind Me
  • Queen: We Will Rock You (Fast)
  • The Police Don't Stand So Close to Me
  • Tom Cochrane: Life Is A Highway
  • Sister Hazel: All For You
  • They Might Be Giants: Man, It's So Loud In Here
They have fourteen spots for "list any extra songs you want". Which means we have to cut this list down in half. So help us out! Which of these songs do you enjoy?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nancy Drew Ghostwriters

I used the Internet to look up some Nancy Drew ghostwriters from the Supermystery series.

There is no information on Jack Hagee (author of Supermystery 36). Good, now I don't have to update my review for that book.

Larry Mike Garmond co-wrote Supermystery 7. Information on him is scarce, besides for the fact that he wrote a monster series in 2001-2. He let his website's domain expire. I updated my review for this book to mention him and Peter Lerangis.

Peter Lerangis wrote Supermysteries 2, 3 and co-authored #7. His biggest project right now is the 39 Clues series, which is totally amazing. I'm tempted to go to a book signing if he does one near me. He's the most famous of all the authors on this list, and he received honors from First Lady Laura Bush, but probably not for his Baby-Sitters Club books.

Susan and Bill Albert seem to be a married couple. Susan wrote Nancy Drew Files 6 and 11. Susan and Bill wrote Nancy Drew Files 15, 22 and 29. I'm rather surprised that all those books have the same author, considering how different they are. Susan is still writing today; her newest book came out in March. I'm not sure if I want to redo my reviews for those books, just to mention who the ghostwriter is.

Tracey West wrote Supermystery 13. That was her first book ever. She's still writing, and she mostly does books for TV shows like Adventure Time and SpongeBob Squarepants.

Kekla Magoon wrote Nancy Drew Diaries 2. She has a new book called Shadows of Sherwood coming out in August. Her books mainly focus on the civil rights movement.

Kate Angelella claims she's an editor, not an author. She edited Girl Detective #30. A co-worker named Jessica Burkhart says that Kate wrote Nancy Drew Detective #42. (She even includes instructions on how to get your book signed by Kate, but that was five years ago at this point, so I wouldn't recommend it.)

George Edward Stanley is now deceased, but he taught at a university in Lawton, Oklahoma.

There are a number of authors for the original series who are probably still alive, but I did not look them up. Maybe I'll do that later!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness

Here's my video walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness!!!

I'm doing pretty well for someone who is playing the game for the first time. I haven't gotten stuck on puzzles or anything! Maybe my first playthrough will be so good that I won't have to do an "official" walkthrough. That'd be a big timesaver for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness is being released today! I'll play it as soon as I can!

In the meantime, someone has already beaten the game and recorded the preview for the next game. that the new voice of Nancy Drew at 0:33?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Baby-Sitters Club Reviews

I did a slew of Baby-Sitters Club reviews this weekend! Basically, I'm clearing out my backlog to make room for NEW NANCY DREW GAME TOMORROW!!!!

Here's a playlist of all my BSC reviews. I own books 1-18, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29, 38, 39, 42, 45-7, 49, 52, 54, 57, 59, 60, 64, 66, 67, 69, 71, 72, 98, 100, 101, 111, 112, 114, and 120. So, um...I guess when I do another set of BSC reviews, I'll stop at number 18 and decide if it's worth it to buy more books. Most of them are available as eBooks now, so I can save with shipping and handling.