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  • Writer of the Favorites

    Max Holechek was the director and/or writer of Curse of Blackmoor Manor; Danger on Deception Island; Haunted Carousel, Secret of the Scarlet Hand; Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake; The Final Scene; Treasure in the Royal Tower; Secret of the Old Clock; and the Secret of Shadow Ranch.
    These seem to be the fan favorites, and with the way things have been going with the stories in the latest games, I thought it was time to find out why.
    This isn't so much a petition to get him back, because I don't know why he isn't there anymore, and it might be a really good reason. I mostly just wanted to get the word out that the writers have changed, now, with many different writers doing the latest games. Has anyone else noticed the change? Does anyone else wish the new writers could stick to the world that Holechek built up?
    So I guess this is less a petition, and more of a "spread the word!"
    Here's to better writing in future games!
    May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. -Neil Gaiman

  • #2
    I think that HeR should utilize their message board fans more often and make games based off our preferences! (I know, I can keep dreaming!)

    Did Holechek just write the plots to those games and nothing else? Or did he write the other Nancy Drew stories as well?
    You are speaking with an
    Official Member of S.P.I.E.D.

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    • #3
      Hmm...interesting.

      Now that I look at the games you mentioned, they all had very good plots. I feel like the newer games are lacking just a little bit with the mystery and intrigue in the plots.

      Thanks!
      But, Thornton Hall isn’t exactly a breath of fresh air.
      The murky air and the shadows that followed only seemed to muddle my brain more.
      The possibility that Clara’s death was not murder was starting to become more than a plain consideration.
      <<.return home.>> is coming back to the alternate ending boards
      SEPTEMBER

      (in the meanwhile, catch up on chapters 1-9 here)
      stay tuned... ;-)

      mylo

      prayers for the world

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      • #4
        That's a very good find. How'd you find this all out?

        I wonder if the writer of the games has switched more than once...just from my observations, some of the classics (the ones you mentioned were written by Holechek) have a different "feel" to them then say, some of the older-but not oldest games (such as VEN, CRY, ICE, CRE, DAN) I wonder who wrote those, and if the writer of those games was different from the writers of TMB, ASH, CAP, etc.

        While I agree that it would be ideal to try and stick to Holechek's "style" so to speak-- every writer is so diverse when it comes to style that it would be a very difficult feat. I don't know if simply trying to emulate his tactics would necessarily improve the games.

        Either way, I completely agree with what you're getting at. The writing, to me, in recent games has seemed rather sloppy. And maybe the reason Nancy has lost her personality, as many members have said, is because she's been bounced around from writer to writer over the years of making the games. It must be difficult to pinpoint her personality because, I mean, even the books were written by tons of different authors!

        However, I believe measures could definitely be taken to sharpen up the writing of the games. More character and clear plot development would be nice, and restore my faith in the games.

        Some improvement definitely needs to be made, because I'm tired of rampant plot holes/unexplained events and characters that seem hollow, boring and stereotypical. I don't mind the occasional plot hole or maybe one underdeveloped character, but...I don't know. I feel like I'm searching for something in the dialogue and plot in the recent games that just isn't there, that was there before.

        Great thread.
        Last edited by oceanxatlantic; June 27th, 2012, 10:24 AM.
        It's never too late to be who you might have been...[ George Eliot ]



        reviews:TMBxASHxCAPxSAWxRANxHAUxVEN

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        • #5
          To be honest, I'm torn about the writing in the newer games. While I do agree that the earlier plots, most of them Holechek-written, did have less plot holes, tighter scripting, more twists, etc....the newer plots have absolutely epic dialogue. Just listen to some of the speeches in CAP, or even in TMB - in my opinion, the dialogue flows beautifully and has an almost poetic bent at times. (When it's not trying to be comedic, that is.)

          So for me, I would love to have Holechek's more "professional" plotting mixed with that gorgeous dialogue! That would make for some wonderful ND games, in my opinion.
          neverending song
          2008-2018

          So far from me walks your dear self
          So far from me too is your home
          to which I can never find my way
          your fairy tale...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Det.JA View Post
            I think that HeR should utilize their message board fans more often and make games based off our preferences! (I know, I can keep dreaming!)


            I feel the same way! There are so many AMAZING petitions in the boards yet I feel like they all just go waste. The HeR fans should have a bigger voice.

            Comment


            • #7
              You make an interesting point here. It's a lot like what happened with Spongebob, I think. New writers come in and basically it just isn't as good any more. Tsukiakari is right, though; it's hard to imitate another writer's style. But that doesn't mean it's impossible for other writers to create more intriguing plotlines and it doesn't mean "epic dialogue" is a sound replacement for interesting plot. A writer should never sacrifice good plot and developmemt for beautiful diction.
              My Petitions
              Click them, please!:
              Nancy and the Scottish Play
              Nancy Drew @ Comic-Con!!!
              Nancy on the Queen Mary!!!

              You know you play too much Nancy Drew when you call your boyfriend and tell him you "could use a hint."
              <3-Amandy Shrew

              "-Everything we're about to do is exciting! I'm -----EXCIT---ED!!!"
              F--EF-ERI P---EIX-ES!!! Witc)( of Life 38D

              1 Peter 3:3-4

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              • #8
                Hmm...... I no that two of the current writers (Nik and Cathy) also worked on CLK. I know because I actually met them.
                Y'all
                A famous word for us Southerners


                Thanks NDGirl12182 for the hilarious signature! Lol!

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                • #9
                  Sorry I hadn't checked in in a while!
                  I love the points you guys are making. I agree that it's difficult to completely copy another writer's style. On the flipside, I think it's important to keep in mind some of the core things that we Nancy fans have come to love. For me, it's the strong plots with interesting, dynamic characters, learning, snooping, and of course, puzzles.

                  NarniaFan2012, do you know Nik and Cathy's last names? I've been using IMDB for information, and even though it has a lot, it's not as thorough as I'd like. It's also listing Anne Collins as a writer for CLK, as well as ICE, DAN, Blackmoor Manor, and Kapu Cave (sorry I forget the acronyms!).
                  That's really neat that you've met them!
                  But here's the other question... Are the games the way they are due to the multiple writers that work on each one, or one main writing director, or even an overall director (for all departments)? Because it doesn't matter if really great writers are working on games if the director tells them to do it a different way. Again, I don't work there, so I don't know what's going on. It IS good to know that not all the writers have been replaced, though.

                  Does anyone else have any information on other writers?

                  As for tsukiakari, I respect that you find the dialogue poetic in some parts, but I just don't see it. It may just be me, but I find the older games funnier. Remember the "tutorial" where you had the line about the chicken costume? Or telling the birdwatcher (whose name escapes me at the moment) from Ghost Dogs that you only smoke when you're on fire? I guess it depends on different people's senses of humor. I'm glad you're enjoying the new dialogue, though!
                  May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. -Neil Gaiman

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                  • #10
                    Nik Blahunka is the main writer for most of the new games. (That's the last name you're looking for.) I adooooore that man's dialogue. I feel like his characters are so vibrant and real. I agree that there are sometimes frustrating plot holes in some newer games, but half the time that seems to be based on the way the game is played, since apparently there was a lot of bonus material in TMB.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by keeping_mum View Post
                      As for tsukiakari, I respect that you find the dialogue poetic in some parts, but I just don't see it. It may just be me, but I find the older games funnier. Remember the "tutorial" where you had the line about the chicken costume? Or telling the birdwatcher (whose name escapes me at the moment) from Ghost Dogs that you only smoke when you're on fire? I guess it depends on different people's senses of humor. I'm glad you're enjoying the new dialogue, though!
                      To be honest, I agree with you on the comedic points! While the serious dialogue is amazingly beautiful to me, I find that usually at least half of the comedic dialogue falls flat...and I do love that line from DOG, trust me. All in all, I find the older games' humor to be pretty superior to the newer games', in quite a few respects
                      neverending song
                      2008-2018

                      So far from me walks your dear self
                      So far from me too is your home
                      to which I can never find my way
                      your fairy tale...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree. My favorite game is The Secret of Shadow Ranch because I liked the story and the puzzles which took a lot of time and thought. It was based off of the book so Max Holechek didn't write the plot, but I think maybe HeR should make more games off of the books. I think there should be less treasure hunting and more real-life crimes, but that's just a personal opinion.
                        I'm nobody! Who are you?
                        Are you nobody, too?
                        Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
                        They'd banish us, you know.
                        How dreary to be somebody!
                        How public, like a frog
                        To tell your name the livelong day
                        To an admiring bog!

                        ~Emily Dickinson

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                        • #13
                          I agree with keeping mum when it comes to the dialogue of new games, as previously stated. I guess I think the opposite of some of you, because it's not that I think the dialogue is bad, or horrible in any sense of the word--it's just bland to me. I can't remember one line from TMB, for example, and I just played it recently. All of the characters are starting to blend together, especially in that game.

                          Reading the interview that HER held with Nik on their Dare to Play Blog, it sounds a lot like Nik was the sole writer of every character himself. I believe he stated that his job was "to write all of the dialogue." I'm assuming there is not a team of writer then, or if there is, they only contribute ideas but ultimately never get to hold the pen in their hands, so to speak.

                          Once again, and as keeping mum stated, we don't really know how the writing process works at HER interactive. Keeping in mind I have little to know knowledge of their resources, I thought of a couple ways that perhaps would improve the dialogue:

                          1. Have a different person write the dialogue for each character.

                          That way, each character would definitely have an individual voice. It also sounds as if, from the interview, (once again I don't know for sure) that the main writer has to do a ton of jobs, from planning the story line, to reviewing Nancy Drew books, as well as writing all of the dialogue. If they had a different person for each character, that person could really get into the heads of their assigned character. They could do individual research if need be, perhaps create character profiles-- and finally, they could meet all together every so often to test out character relations. It sounds crazy--but I bet talking to each other as their characters (like playing pretend as a child!) would help them to really figure out each character.

                          Once again, I don't know HER's resources, how big their writing team is, if they even care enough to do this. I don't know their priorities. Just an idea that I believe could spice up the dialogue and make it sound more real.

                          2. Give Nancy more dialogue options.

                          I don't mean just more for her to say. Lately, to me, it seems as if Nancy just interrogates each suspect. This also makes the flow of the dialogue seem very, very unnatural to me. Giving the option to question, but also to comment, to react--as some of the classics did-- would make the dialogue flow more nicely.

                          Also, I think that giving Nancy one or two alternatives to pose the same question would be great. This wasn't really included in classic games, it would be completely new, but I think it would add a whole other dimension to the games. Like it was advertised on TMB (though I never found it to be in the game whatsoever): "Carefully Choose Your Words! How you ask questions may uncover surprising answers."

                          Depending on which way you chose to ask a question, the characters would have different responses, some maybe more emotional than others. This, in turn, would make the characters more in-depth (with likes and dislikes, sensitivities, etc.) and make dialogue more engaging, because you'd have to tactfully chose your words to get the best response. It would be like a puzzle, with dialogue!

                          This would also add more replay value to a game: you could replay and try different dialogue options and see what becomes of it! Maybe you run the risk of getting a second chance, or having to wait for a piece of information you need, or offending a character so that they act differently towards you the next time you talk to them!

                          I know this would probably involve a lot more time on the part of the writers and voice actors however. Once again, I don't know how HER prioritizes this type of thing. But I think that just giving us the option to click mindlessly through every single dialogue option just makes a game bland, unless the characters are particularly entertaining.
                          It's never too late to be who you might have been...[ George Eliot ]



                          reviews:TMBxASHxCAPxSAWxRANxHAUxVEN

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                          • #14
                            oceanxatlantic, you make really great points. I think that that's what the thought was with the "carefully choose your words" but I think the execution left us wanting more. I especially like that you bring up that the writer has a lot to do. Again, there may be more to it than we know, but we don't. I like your idea of having different people write different characters. Having all the writers collaborate, yes, like working in the same room, and talking the scenes out, but still having more than one person work on it.
                            Your point about the unnatural way Nancy is now interrogating people is also a good one. There's a fine line between curious questioning, but still being a good relatable character, and just getting questions answered like a robot.
                            I like what the Agatha Christie games have managed to do, which is have just a few (like 2 or 3) alternate endings. I replay those games a LOT, and even though I've gotten all the endings, there's so much to those games that the replay value is amazing. This brings up a point that I found while reading reviews. People kept saying that they love the fact that HeR is trying to keep the games coming, on a 2 per year basis, but they would much rather pay double for one great game, then the normal price for 2 games they won't play again.

                            JustAskBess, you make a good point that the SHA game was, in fact, based off the book. BUT if you have read the book (which you probably have :D) then you'd see that even though there are some similarities, there are also a TON of differences. So much, so, that it really is a different story. While I'm not opposed to having games based on books (CLK was a great game, even if it was WAY different than the book) I would still like to see that same Nancy vibe that we've all grown to love.

                            Tsukiakari, I do actually see how you're saying the more serious portions are, in fact, more serious. They feel less "Saturday morning cartoon" serious and more "cinematic" serious. If that makes any sense. But I think what's missing, for me, is that follow-up in the game. If you say something's dangerous, make it dangerous, don't just talk the talk. SAW did a pretty good job with that, actually.

                            Lady Noliana, I'm really glad you're enjoying the new dialogue! Like I'd said to tsukiakari before, I personally don't see it. I found the new characters (in TMB) to be very forgettable and static (they didn't change throughout the game) with the exception of Jamila. I even forgot Hotchkiss was in the game, which goes to show how the same character, over time, has changed.
                            As for the bonus material, I think I would probably appreciate it more if it FELT like bonus material. Like cut-scenes, or secret tunnels, or alternate endings, but since it just seemed like that was how the game was supposed to go, I couldn't really understand what the bonus material was supposed to BE (besides the pointless phone charms).
                            Like I said, it's a matter of personal opinion, and that's just mine. I'm glad that you're loving the new dialogue! What's your opinion on the old dialogue?
                            May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. -Neil Gaiman

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                            • #15
                              I think the basic problem with the writing that a lot of people complain about is the loose ends. You finish the game and you're like "wait....what happened with this scene, and why did that person behave that way, and why did that part happen at all?" CAP and TMB are pretty classic offenders for this. There are a lot of plot points that are never addressed after they are brought up the first time.
                              I think the reason this is happening is because the writers are taking more liberties with the plot. The earlier games were much more directly based on a specific book from the Nancy Drew line. There were a few plot twists so that those who had read the books would still be surprised by the ending, but for the most part if you were familiar with the books, you could follow along with the game. At least that's how it seemed based on the books I've read that wound up being turned into games. Even CLK, which was based on four different books made it easy to tell which elements were taken from the different stories.
                              The new games, on the other hand, are pretty unique pieces of work. CAP is absolutely nothing like the book it's supposedly based on, and from what I've heard, TMB isn't either. The basic premise, such as Nancy getting framed for a crime (ASH), is taken and then the writers throw in their own twists. Now, I'm all for people being creative and coming up with their own interpretations of this classic character, but I feel like this is what is making the plots harder to follow. There's a lot more focus on creating places for puzzles than creating a story. And sometimes this leaves the games feeling lacking.
                              I also think there are times when the writers go out of their way to create drama, but this only results in confusion. Take the window scene in SAW for example. That was a really great, spooky scene. But there was no explanation for why it happened or what it meant. Frankly, I have argued before, and continue to maintain that you could cut Yumi out of that game all together and not lose anything because here involvement in the plot is so poorly written. These are the kinds of things that make people yearn for the older games. In the old games it would be impossible to cut one of the characters without losing a great deal of the plot, and there weren't random scenes that didn't fit in with what was going on around you. I think the writers work on a game for so long and are so familiar with the elements they forget that those seeing it for the first time will not understand it, and that leads to plot holes.
                              Now, all that aside, I will agree that the characters are much funnier and engaging than they used to be. This has gotten progressively better as the series went on. Granted, some are better than others (I personally feel the characters in TMB left a LOT to be desired).
                              A lot of this has to do with budgeting though. HeR can afford to do more animation now and can pay for more time with the voice actors so we can get more dialogue. In the old games, they had to focus on giving us the basic plot points from the characters and that was all. Now we can have silly conversations or just plain get to know the people, which is nice. I would love to see them expand on this more in the future to help add to the plot even more.
                              Last edited by AStudyInScarlet; June 28th, 2012, 04:07 PM.

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