Nancy Drew: A Transmedia Franchise

Like Hannah, the first franchise that came to mind while I read Jenkins “Searching for the Origami Unicorn,” was one from my childhood. Nancy Drew has been owned by the Simon and Schuster, Inc. publishing company since 1984, but the original books were first published beginning in 1930. This franchise has blossomed far beyond the original series, beginning with the Nancy Drew Mystery Series aimed at 8-11 year old readers and the Nancy Drew Files, both of which were published during the 1980s. Some other spin-off series include Nancy Drew Graphic Novels, Nancy Drew On Campus, and Nancy Drew Clue Crew.

According the Jenkins, in order for a franchise to be considered transmedia, there should be multiple points of entry (videos, games, books, etc.) that tell a complete story on their own. This means that a person can begin with any of these media formats without needing prior background knowledge to understand the story (96). In addition to the books, Nancy Drew has been featured in movies and video games. Her Interactive has made video games for the PC, Wii, and even has one mobile game. When I was in middle school, I remember spending hours with my best friend and her older sister playing different Nancy Drew PC games on the desktop computer in their living room. In the games, the player is Nancy Drew and selects from options how she interacts with other characters in the game, in addition to controlling how she travels about the setting and interacts with select objects. The games captured the suspense of the novels well – I remember being afraid to play without the lights on because the background music and sounds were creepy, and to be honest they’d probably have the same affect on me now. I found a video of the exact game I remember most vividly to include!

Final Word Count: 307