Nancy Drew first appeared as a book character in 1930. The world has evolved since then, and so has she.
The modern version of Nancy in the game series developed by Her Interactive uses a smartphone to take notes on her case instead a notepad. However, the timeless grace of the original character still inspires girls around the world to read her stories and play her games.
“It’s now 2015, and my job is to figure out how I can take that gracefulness but also keep her modern and fresh and engage a new generation that didn’t really grow up with the books,” says Katie Chironis, a game writer for Nancy Drew games.
Chironis says every day she has to make decisions on how to keep Nancy culturally relevant but also stay in the original mindset of the character. For example, Nancy drove a roadster in the books but now needs a newer car.
“We need something that says, ‘Hey, I’m classy and cool, but not too cool,’ and it can’t be over a certain cost because we don’t want her to have a six- figure car,” Chironis says.
Although she is the same character, even the way she is portrayed between the books and the games is different. The books tend to make her younger and more naïve. Chironis says people who play Her Interactive’s games are generally in their teens and early 20s, so Nancy is portrayed as an older, wiser and wittier character than in the books or the movie that came out in 2007.
Nancy’s whole philosophy is that you can be feminine and a strong character.
– Katie Chironis
For Chironis, Nancy’s character is different from other female characters she has written in the past because of Nancy’s warmth and optimism. She says a lot of female characters in video games are kicking ass and taking names, but that’s not Nancy’s style.
“Nancy’s whole philosophy is that you can be feminine and a strong character,” Chironis says. “For a lot of characters, you have to sacrifice femininity to be strong. But you can be assertive and dominant. They aren’t necessarily opposites.”