The Nancy Drew PC games have been a big part of my life for years. From the time I discovered them around 2000 until 2015, two games were released each year, one in winter and one in summer. Only one game has been released since then, but I live in hope that more will follow. And until then I can repeat the more than thirty existing games at any time.
If you too want to (re)play these wonderfully detailed and educational Nancy Drew games, you can play them in order, or you can shake things up by playing by season – the games aren’t as closely related as you are I get too confused this way, I promise. The company behind the games, HeR Interactive, encourages this to some extent by offering ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’ game packs for purchase. I didn’t look at these bundles before making my selections, instead deciding to categorize the games as I felt best. And I’ve also added spring and fall categories so you can now play all year round!
Some of the picks were obvious – the one where you’re snowed in at a castle turned ski resort is clearly winter – while others I’ve categorized by mood rather than objective evidence. Feel free to rearrange the game order according to your own taste, perception and memory if you wish. The main thing is that you have a good time!
The Mystery of the Old Clock
Not only is this a symbolic spring as this game is based on Nancy’s earliest adventures, but it also takes place on a very pleasant sunny day. Perfect for miniature golf!
Trail of the Twister
In the US, tornado season generally runs from March through June, so this is definitely a spring game.
The spooky carousel
I used to go to Disney World in May so this amusement park game reminds me of spring.
maze of lies
The myth of Hades and Persephone is (literally!) at the center of this game, set in a Greek museum. Since Persephone traditionally returns to her mother Demeter in spring, this game reminds me of that time of year.
The Phantom of Venice
I suppose Venice is nice to visit in spring. And one of the songs they play in the background as you roam the city is the “Spring” part of Vivaldi’s The four Seasons.
Danger by design
This one is for the very stupid reason that it’s set in Paris, in the spring section, and the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Paris is a line from an old song: “The last time I saw Paris, Were their trees dressed for spring…”
Legend of the Crystal Skull
We have an exact date as to when this game will take place in New Orleans: May 31st. Technically spring, but it would also go well with summer!
The Secret of the Shadow Ranch
Brave triple-digit temperatures to capture a saboteur and his ghostly horse — and to pick vegetables for the ranch’s picky cook. (Seriously, bring in too many unripe veggies and it’s game over.)
The Haunting of Castle Malloy
One of your tasks in this game is to pick flowers for a friend’s wedding bouquet. Most of these flowers bloom in late spring or summer, making this a probable to definite summer game set in a half-ruined Irish castle.
Ransom of the seven ships
What better way to spend the summer than sailing and swimming in the Bahamas?! Admittedly, the fact that your best friend is missing is a bit of a downer…
The shattered medallion
I’ll be honest and say that this is the only Nancy Drew game I didn’t particularly like. BUT there’s a nice summer feel to it when you’re wandering around New Zealand as a reality show contestant.
The Creature of the Tapu Cave
You and the Hardy Boys can roam the jungles and beaches of Hawaii collecting shells, fishing and identifying local insects and plants. Oh, and something about a legendary monster and a dying pineapple crop?
Mystery of the Scarlet Hand
The focus on the ancient Maya who inhabited tropical climes led me to place this in the summer category.
Shadows at the water’s edge
Spend the summer holidays teaching Japanese kids English… and let a ghost haunt you at the ryokan you’re staying at. (The voice actors’ accents are perhaps the scariest thing of all…)
Ghost of Thornton Hall
During a muggy night in the Deep South, Nancy unearths dangerous family secrets — including exactly the kind of secrets you’d expect from a powerful southern family.
Danger on Deception Island
Summer is the perfect time to help a lost orca off the Washington state coast! You can also go kayaking and learn about whales at a museum dedicated to them.
Alibi in Ashes
In this game, Nancy spends most of her time in prison, so her friends in her hometown of River Heights have to do the detective work (and eat lots of ice cream).
The silent spy
Spend a summer in Scotland as Nancy uncovers deadly secrets about her late mother and enters the world of espionage!
Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
The trees here are all green, but somehow the rustic cabin you stay in gives me an autumn feeling.
Stay tuned for Danger
The TV season traditionally starts in the fall, so I’ll put this game there as Nancy investigates death threats against a selfish soap opera star.
The last scene
You spend the entire game in a rundown theater looking for a kidnapped friend. Something about the once great rundown old place gives me autumn vibes.
The prisoner’s curse
Everyone in this game – including Nancy – is dressed like they’re at Oktoberfest (which is in September, thank you!), so this one belongs here. While roaming through some spooky forests, you spend most of your time in an old German castle hunting a monster with a chain fetish.
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
This one vaguely reminds me The Hound of Baskervilles – spooky English mansion, spectral beasts, etc – and since that book retired in October, so should this game.
For more Nancy Drew goodness, check out this Stratemeyer Syndicate story or take this quiz to find out which Nancy Drew sidekick you are!