Her Interactive, Inc. was founded in 1995 as a division of American Laser Games. At the time, there were no major computer game designers in the United States concentrating on games for girls. Her Interactive performed research studies and gathered focus groups of adolescent and teenage girls to determine what girls wanted in a computer game. Their results found that girls were dissatisfied with violence, secret rules, and lackluster storylines in the existing PC games market. Her Interactive soon published its first titles, McKenzie & Company (1995) and The Vampire Diaries (1997). Two years later, Her Interactive acquired licensing rights from Simon & Schuster Publishing to develop a Nancy Drew mystery computer game series, demonstrating a clear understanding of what would be rewarding for girl gamers while faithfully adapting the Nancy Drew canon. In 1998, Her Interactive released Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill to much acclaim. Several additional titles in the Nancy Drew series were released in the late 1990s.
Her Interactive utilized its in-house “teen advisory board” to make improvements to story ideas and characters; they added varying skill levels, directive statements, and second chances to fix critical errors made during missions. Users and critics lauded smart, adventurous Nancy Drew as an ideal character and role model for girls. Games from Her Interactive were targeted at girls aged 10-15, though the games had broad appeal. Her Interactive continued their focus on creating challenging, fun, and collaborative gameplay, and they have released over 25 games in the Nancy Drew series. Her Interactive has sold more than 9 million Nancy Drew games, making it the number one mystery franchise in the PC game market.
Her Interactive has significantly impacted the computer games industry with their successful development of high-quality, creative games for girls of all ages. They did not simply package their products in pink boxes and declare them “for girls”-- they put great effort into researching what types of games and features would appeal to young female gamers. Her Interactive’s singular focus on games for girls, along with its longevity, has made it stand out from other companies.