I remember when I was in seventh grade, or really any time between sixth and twelfth, I felt like I had to hide everything I loved. Think things like romantic comedies, abercrombie clothing, seventeen magazine and chick lit. Sure, things have changed a bit since then, but my tastes haven’t varied to drastically. My favorite movie is Clueless, I prefer J. Crew to Abercrombie, I’ve moved on to reading Elle magazine and The Princess Diaries (10) is one of my favorite books.
Then there’s that other thing…
I love (and loved) Nancy Drew computer games. I’m twenty years old. What’s wrong with me?
The first time I read a Nancy Drew book—and that should be read in quotations—I was in second grade. It was The Clue in the Leaning Chimney and I remember nothing about the story. I do, however, remember how I chose the book. My mom and I went to Barnes and Nobles and I admired all the gleaming yellow spines. I pulled them off the shelf and marveled at the covers. Some were simple vignettes, whilst others were full scenes. Naturally, I preferred the ones in which Nancy had the best outfit.
My love for the girl sleuth has taken many forms over the years, but my love for the character, her world and the stories has yet to dissipate. Nancy Drew books are the one thing I can ever claim to have collected (the above photo is only part of my so-called collection). I think I am morally obligated to disclose that I own a first edition copy of the Nancy Drew cookbook. The scary thing? I was gifted the reprinted edition and they haven’t changed a single recipe.
Last Saturday, after discussing with my mother how it was necessary to buy the new game for my homecoming in June, I decided to play one. Sure, it wouldn’t be one of my favorites—I have very strong opinions about them—but entering into the fully developed world would provide a relief no matter what.
So, I played a bit of The Captive Curse. And yes, I enjoyed every moment of seeing the gorgeous graphics, hearing the pages turn and having a beautifully thought out story come to life before my eyes.
The reason I like Nancy Drew computer games, why they still hold up after nearly a decade of playing them, is because they create a world and allow you, nay encourage you, to fully inhabit the universe. You are supposed to talk about the characters, think about who is guilty and contemplate what’s going to happen next. You may have to leave, but you get to see another’s mind.
Sure, the world and the mind and completely simulated. There’s not an ounce of realism, though I’ve had more disturbing dreams about Nancy Drew than I would care to admit, but that doesn’t matter. When you play a game you, a little bit of you, are Nancy. You get to feel what it’s like to that bit braver, that bit smarter and that bit more well-traveled.
So, yeah. I’m twenty and I play computer games whose target audience is pre-teen girls. But those girls who play them? They have good taste.
What’s your favorite computer game? Or at the very least, one you recognize?