Nancy Drew PC games have been a big part of my life for years. From the time I discovered them circa 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 hope more are on the way. And until then, I can replay over thirty existing games whenever my mood strikes.
If you’d like to play (again) these wonderfully detailed and educational Nancy Drew games, you can play them in turns or turn things upside down by season – the games aren’t so tightly linked that I’ll be very confused that way, I promise. HeR Interactive, the company behind the games, encourages this to some extent by making “winter” and “summer” game packs available for purchase. I didn’t look at these packs before making my selections, instead choosing to categorize the games the way I think best. I’ve also added categories for spring and fall, so you can now keep playing all year long!
Some of the choices were obvious—where you snowed at a castle-turned-ski resort was clearly winter—others I categorized based on more vibration than objective evidence. If you want, feel free to arrange the playing order according to your own taste, perception and memory. All that matters is that you have a good time!
The Secret of the Old Clock
Since this game is based on Nancy’s first adventures, it takes place not only on a symbolic spring, but also on a very pleasant sunny day. Perfect for mini golf!
Hurricane season in the US is usually from March to June, so this is definitely a spring game.
I used to go to Disney World in May, so this amusement park-centric game makes me think of spring.
Labyrinth of Lies
Set in a Greek museum, the legend of Hades and Persephone (literally!) takes center stage. Since spring is traditionally the time when Persephone returns to her mother, Demeter, that’s the season this game makes me think of.
Ghost of Venice
I assume Venice is nice to visit in the spring. And one of the songs they play in the background while walking around the city is Vivaldi’s “Spring”. Four season.
Hazard by Design
This is in the Spring episode for a very stupid reason to take place in Paris, and when I think of Paris, a line from an old song comes to mind: “The last time I saw Paris, the trees were dressed for spring…”
The Legend of the Crystal Skull
We have an exact date for when this New Orleans-based game will be played: May 31st. Technically it’s spring, but it’s also pretty appropriate for summer!
Shadow Ranch’s Secret
Brave three-digit temperatures to catch a saboteur and his ghost horse and harvest vegetables for the farm’s picky cook. (Seriously, bring in too many unripe vegetables and it’s game over.)
Fairy of Malloy Castle
One of your tasks in this game is to collect flowers for a friend’s wedding bouquet. Most of these flowers bloom in late spring or summer, making this game set in a half-ruined Irish castle probably a definite summer game.
Ransom of Seven Ships
What could be better than spending the summer sailing and swimming in the Bahamas?! Admittedly, it’s a little depressing that your best friend is missing…
I’ll be honest and say that this is the only Nancy Drew game I don’t really like. BUT as a reality show contestant she has a nice summery vibe touring New Zealand.
Creature of Kapu Cave
You and the Hardy Boys will wander the jungles and beaches of Hawaii collecting shells, fishing and spotting local insects and plant life. Oh, and something about a mythical beast and a dying pineapple crop?
The Secret of the Red Hand
Focusing on the ancient Maya living in tropical climates prompted me to put it in the Summer category.
Shadow by the Water
Spend your summer vacation teaching English to Japanese kids and being SUPER haunted by a ghost in your ryokan. (The voice actors’ accents can be the scariest thing…)
Ghost of Thornton Hall
On a steamy night in the Deep South, Nancy investigates dangerous family secrets, including the kind of secrets you’d expect a powerful Southern family to have.
Danger on Deception Island
Summertime is the perfect time to help a lost orca off the coast of Washington state! You can go kayaking and learn about whales at a museum dedicated to them.
Alibi in the Ashes
In this game, Nancy spends most of her time in jail, so her friends have to take a nap (and eat lots of ice cream) in their hometown of River Heights.
Spend a summer in Scotland, where Nancy uncovers deadly secrets about her dead mother and immerses herself in the world of espionage!
Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
The trees here are all green, but for some reason, the rustic cottage you stay in makes me feel like a fall.
Watch for Danger
The television season traditionally starts in the fall, so I’m putting this play here in which Nancy investigates death threats against a selfish soap opera star.
You spend the entire game searching for a kidnapped friend in a dilapidated theater. Something about this once big, rundown old place gives me an autumn vibe.
Everyone in this game – including Nancy – is dressed as Oktoberfest (which September, vielen Dank!), so it belongs here. Wandering through some spooky forests, most of the time you are chasing a monster with a necklace fetish in an old German castle.
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
It vaguely reminds me Hound of the Baskervilles — spooky English mansion, ghostly creatures, etc. — and since that book was set in October, so should this play.
For more Nancy Drew goodies, check out this history of the Stratemeyer Syndicate or take this quiz to find out which Nancy Drew sidekick you are!