Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge – The Perfect Scary Game for Halloween

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Here’s one more spooky post for the day after Halloween. Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge is a point-and-click mystery game from Her Interactive. I loved this game as a kid and still do! I think it’s the perfect game to play on Halloween because it blends mystery and horror together really well! There’s just enough scary moments in the game to make it scary, but the mystery part of the story helps lessen the horror of the game so it’s perfect for anyone who likes horror or can only tolerate a little bit of horror.


This game takes place in Japan at a traditional ryokan hotel. The game teaches you about Japanese culture since Nancy Drew games also serve as a way of teaching you about different subjects. You also get to solve some really fun number puzzles like Sudoku.


Nancy Drew gets an opportunity to teach kids Japan while also staying at a ryokan hotel. Just like any other time Nancy Drew goes on vacation in these games, something is wrong. In this case, the hotel appears to be haunted by the ghost of Kasumi who died at the hotel while taking care of it. Nancy Drew must figure out if there really is a ghost at the hotel or something more sinister.


Since this is a mystery game, it’s very important we look at the characters or the suspects of the case.


She is the youngest daughter of Kasumi. She is not the next in line to inherit the ryokan after her mother. But, she still wants to take care of the hotel as a receptionist. She seems to be really sweet although also shy.


She is the oldest daughter of Kasumi and so she is supposed to inherit the ryokan. But, she really does not want to. She works at a bento place in the city and lives away from the ryokan.


He is the boyfriend of Miwako. He stays at the hotel and helps repair the hotel. He is a bit clumsy and also eccentric. He gets really excited over anything to do with robotics. He also bought a robotic cat for Miwako.


Takae is the grandmother of Miwako and Yumi. She is traditional and wants the hotel to go to Yumi, not Miwako. She enjoys teaching about Japanese traditions at the hotel and also appears to genuinely believes the hotel is haunted by Kasumi.

What makes the game scary?

This game is scary despite the simple 3D graphics and being a point-and-click adventure game. The horror comes from the atmosphere as well as the ghost itself. The ghost resembles the typical Japanese ghost like The Grudge. 


This game is my favorite not only for the Japanese theme, but also for the puzzles. There’s Sudoku, renograms (make a consecutive chain of numbers from 1 – 25 or more in a box, and nonograms (making pictures based on the numbers of squares you are supposed to fill in within a box). You can practice this puzzles through books with Rentaro and they later appear as much harder puzzles in the game.

There also is the major puzzle or mystery of whether the hotel is actually haunted which is fun as well! The game does have you guessing whether there is really a ghost or not which makes it really fun!

Spooky Fun

I highly recommend this game especially if you like point-and-click games, horror, or mystery games. It is really fun to solve the mystery and figure out who or what is responsible for the ryokan haunting. The story also allows you to learn more about Japanese culture. I love this game so much, I replayed it several times!

What games did you play on Halloween? Have you ever played a Nancy Drew game?

The First Series That Got Me Into Gaming: Nancy Drew

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The Nancy Drew mystery series is definitely not a series you would associate with typical beginner gaming. They are all point-and-click games where you solve mysteries as Nancy Drew. I have played a lot of the games growing up with my last game being Shadow at the Water’s Edge.

My first game was when I was 8 or 9 and it was Message in a Haunted Mansion. The game was featured in the Scholastic magazine because these games are educational. You can learn about anything from the Mayans to Italy to Japan.

This particular game taught me all about Victorian mansions. I loved it because the protagonist was a female and she was so like me. We both were sassy and we both loved puzzles. It felt amazing to be playing someone that I could relate to! So I am going to make a list of all the things Nancy Drew taught me for my first series into gaming!

Lessons From Nancy Drew Games

Women can Enjoy Games

These games’ target audiences were women. They were educational, but they were still fun games that girls of all ages could play. The protagonist was also this strong female character who you could easily envision yourself as. Her appearance is only slightly hinted at throughout the series so you can easily pretend you are Nancy Drew instead of her having a set look.


These games can be tough at times for a kid. Some of the puzzles are tricky and took time to learn. There were also difficulty settings to make the game even harder if you wanted them to be! The earlier games made you take notes on everything while the later entries used cell phone cameras or automatic notes to make things easier.

I remember in Message in a Haunted Mansion, I had to keep notes which I took on computer paper. I would write down passwords or any useful information to solve puzzles. I would be so proud of myself when I finally solved a tough puzzle because I worked hard to figure it out!


Nancy Drew gets herself in all kinds of trouble. The game has so many game over screen from when she gets herself in danger. But, she had courage to see the mystery solved. The games could definitely get scary, but I still worked my way to solve them.

An example would be Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. There’s a scene at the beginning of the game where you stay in a house to solve a mystery when these big glowing dogs attack your house and then you hear them every night! It was so scary as a child and every time I had to play the game at night, I was afraid the dogs would get me.

Still I saw the mystery through and it turns out that those dogs were nothing to be afraid of. No spoilers, but that’s what I loved about those games. If they did a horror game, you would eventually find out that there was nothing to be afraid of!


Nancy Drew helps out so many people throughout her mysteries. You have to talk to people to gather information or help them out. It was so nice when you can solve a mystery and help a family!

I think my favorite example of this is Shadow at the Water’s Edge because you help out a nice family with a ghost. You also learn about Japanese culture by hanging out with the grandmother who teaches you things such as calligraphy and origami. But, the villain is treated with kindness here. Instead of having your typical, mean and nasty villain, this one genuinely feels bad for what they did after realizing the damage they have caused. You even have multiple endings depending on the amount of kindness you show to the villain.

Importance of Bonds

Nancy Drew is never truly alone in these games. You can always ask her friends for help and hints! You can call them whenever you need them and they are there for you. Just by using your friends as guides, the games show that it is important to create strong bonds with others and ask for help when you need it. Nancy Drew wouldn’t be able to completely solve the case without her best friends and boyfriend being there to support her and offer her advice!

Thanks Nancy Drew!

These games were such a great comfort for me which is why I attribute them to what got me into liking video games. I had played other video games long before Nancy Drew, but I related to her the most. She was confident, sassy, and intelligent and I wanted to be like her when I was older! I would say that I have definitely gained confidence and sass, but Nancy Drew has way more knowledge than I’ll ever be able to learn! She is a computer and book character after all so she is much smarter than your average person!

What was the series that got you into gaming? Have you ever played a Nancy Drew game?