The other day, I was rooting around and happened to stumble across a collection of the computer games my sister and I had growing up.
Magic School Bus, Lego, Wheel of Fortune (which always made tiny Erin sad because she couldn’t understand why she never got the money she won), you name it.
Three games in particular stood out, though. They were my half-hearted collection of the Harry Potter PC games.
In 2001, the same year as the first movie came out and four years after the book, EA Games released Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a video game so all the little witches and wizards could go on their own Hogwarts adventures. I was on that bandwagon.
The game followed the book’s storyline fairly closely, while filling it with puzzles and other goodies. I loved it, and of course I couldn’t wait to get the rest of them.
I never actually managed to finish the second one, but I can speed-run the third one like nobody’s business—and when you spend that much time with a game, you pick up a few things.
Here are my favourite parts of the Harry Potter PC games.
Harry’s climbing abilities
For me, this (and the very ‘90s graphics) was one of the hallmarks of the first game.
Harry may have some brilliant wizarding skills, but there are some ways he reps the Muggles too. His climbing skills are very realistic; he reminds me of myself trying to climb out of a pool on a ledge that’s slightly too high. I appreciated the realism.
The secret areas
The books always talked about secret areas and secret hallways, with the Room of Requirement being the holy grail of them all. It was a really nice touch that EA built several secret areas with rewards into the games for seekers to find.
As a kid who was (and let’s be real, still is) obsessed with forts, it was the best thing ever.
The Draconifors/Lapifors lesson
All things considered, these are some of the more useless spells. They only serve to animate very subtly placed dragon and rabbit statues so you can move them through different obstacles.
However, that makes it one of the more fun spells, too. Backing up as the rabbit was a bit tedious, but it was still fun to hop and fly around—especially through the timed challenges! I had to try them a few times, but once I got them, it was very satisfying.
The Bean Bonus Room
I have to be honest with you here, I have no idea if this was in the second game or not. I suspect it wasn’t.
It was the big motivator to do well in the third game, though, aside from being a completionist and all. I mean, what could be more fun than trampolining around a giant room in Hogwarts, collecting rare candy?
These were the ultimate reward in each of the games, and realistically, they were the main point behind collecting all that candy. It’s not like I could eat it, after all!
The third game played up the drama a little by shading out an “ultimate” card that you could get after you’d gotten everything else, but it really didn’t need to—I was going to collect them all anyway!