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.


Elizabeth Pfeffer said...

I agree with you there's nothing wrong in seeing the solution to a puzzle. When I'm playing HOPA games I look in the guide to see the solution to the puzzles and how to solve them. There's nothing wrong in getting help!

Jo said...

I don't believe you have to explain yourself. It's your channel after all! I remember that you received many petitions to do blind playthroughs, so you're doing the best you can to give your audience what they want. If some of them don't appreciate that, that's their problem.
I personally find your videos to be hilariously entertaining (with or without *premature* hints) and I've been watching them for years now.
I hope that you're not discouraged by the small minority of people that complained about silly things to you.

And btw, I also had trouble with solving those puzzles for the exact same reasons you mentioned.

Stephanie said...

That's been my biggest complaint with Nancy Drew puzzles, they're not always explained clearly.
The key pad, door lock puzzles are the worst! I never know if I'm trying to turn the lights on, or off.
The "Seeds of Persephone" in LIE was mind blowing for me.
I took some kind of survey for HeR awhile ago and told them that a little more instruction would be helpful.
Off topic - if Nancy doesn't throw Ned to the curb after this game, I'm through!
Also, a couple of the characters in SEA seem to have "alternative lifestyles", I find that interesting for a Nancy Drew game. While trying to bring the game into more modern times, they're still using dialogue like Ned saying, "Burt's going to be crashing at my pad"...really? Who says that anymore?
Thoughts anyone?

C said...

Sorry, but this is what annoys me about the ND game fandom.

I am NOT a smart person, but on my first playthrough of these games, I play on Master and I don't use hints, spoilers, or anything. And guess what - I can do it.

And I'm not saying everyone should do it this way, this is just a personal challenge for myself, but I find that players scramble to find outside solutions much too quickly.

Perhaps the puzzles are not completely spelled out for you, but ... that's why they're puzzles. I found them all to be perfectly reasonable if one is willing to put, I don't know, more than 5 minutes worth of effort into it. Considering the work that HER puts into these games, I feel we owe them as fans to actually attempt to think a little and not expect solutions to be that mind-numbingly obvious. ALL the puzzles are workable with thought, time, and effort. All of them.

C said...

The crystal puzzle, which didn't specify that white crystals are NOT part of the solution
Yes, it did, the journal stated that four of both colors are needed in each row. That leaves no room for white.

Or that word search puzzle, which didn't specify that all the letters in a word are NOT adjacent
I think this was pretty obvious from the outset, considering that if you try it that way, you won't find words, and also considering that you can click on letters in any sequence that will then show up in click-order next to it.

Or the knot puzzle, which didn't specify if you're working left to right or right to left
Wow, so unclear. So find the solution one way; if it doesn't work, then flip the order.

There WERE some non-intuitive puzzles, but I don't think these examples are really that valid.

C said...

And just so I'm not misconstrued - I'm not saying that using hints or spoilers is bad. Especially since you're playing publicly. I can understand that. But it seems to be a general trend that if a player cannot figure out the solution within a small window of time, the puzzle is then immediately written off as too difficult, unsolvable, un-intuitive, or just plain bad. The quickness of judgment is what annoys me here, and the lack of willingness to put extra time into these games.

Paul said...

Team Life is Short, So Skip a Puzzle Once it Gets Boring.

Emily said...

I'm with you. The first time I play through the same I'm a lot more interesting in the story than anything else, so I'll usually push through all the puzzles as fast as I can (often using a lot more hints than I normally would) just so I can see what happens.

It's not usually until my 2nd or 3rd playthrough that I put my full effort into solving the puzzles, and even then if a puzzle is just really frustrating and annoying I'll go ahead and use hints to skip through it. Not all styles of puzzles are for everyone, and I really don't see why a game you played to entertain you needs to turn into a chore.

LGelevator said...

C - I initially made the same mistake on the crystal puzzle (including white), so it took me a while on amateur mode to fix my mistakes there. I did it quicker my first time on master, when I knew there were no white.

But FREAKING FRAK the toy puzzle was hard on master. I figured it was the same solution as amateur, but couldn't figure out how to get there. Went mostly on memory from amateur.