17th November 2019

Greg, on the How To Drink YouTube channel, made a great video about making Butterbeer that’s regularly referenced/drunk in the Harry Potter series:

There’s something so darn Chistmassy about the Harry Potter films, particularly the first few, that I always thought of them as Christmas Movies, even though maybe they’re not. Well I’m kicking off this holiday season with a hot mug of cheer with this 1588 recipe for Butterbeer. I know there’s a ton of nonalcoholic recipes out there for Butterbeer and those are fine, but honestly, I think this is more in line with what J.K. Rowling had in mind when she wrote the books. For starters, the kids need to grow up from Pumpkin Juice to Butterbeer, implying there’s something more mature about it. Secondly Europe and the U.K. are a bit more lax in regards legal drinking ages, and I’d imagine wizards even more so. Thirdly, Butterbeer is an actual real thing, found in a Tudor cookbook from 1588. Was J.K. Rowling specifically referencing this recipe? I can’t say for sure (unless she wants to answer!) but I CAN say that I was shocked to discover that Nicolas Flamel was a real person, who wrote a book on alchemy and the creation of the Philosophers Stone. They have copies of it at the NY Public Libary reference branch, rare books section. So, she wasn’t strictly making things up with these books. So, this Butterbeer as the official Wizards Butterbeer? Maybe.

I’ve tried the “Butterbeer” that is served at the Harry Potter Studio Tour multiple times, but I assume that it doesn’t compare at all. So I’m definitely going to try and make this recipe soon. I guess I’ll have to order a wooden tankard to drink it from too.

11th March 2019

So, there’s been a ton of new information shared about the upcoming Harry Potter AR game, Wizards Unite. And it’s certainly shaping up to be an incredible game!

Here’s the back story:

A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artefacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these “Foundables,” and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes.

Your journey begins as a new recruit of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, established by the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards for the purpose of investigating and containing The Calamity.

From the story alone, there’s a massive scope for what the game could turn out to be. On one side of the scale, it could have been a simple rip-off of Pokémon GO, but essentially a hide-and-seek game with a Harry Potter theme. But instead, what we’re getting is a much more all-rounded role-playing game!

Image

Of course, at it’s an AR game, one of the key mechanics will be exploring the world, finding some of the “Foundables”, casting spells, and also Portkeys that offer a full 360 AR experience out in the real wold. That already feels to me a more immersive experience than Pokémon GO (And I’m a big Pokémon GO player!).

Where I think the richness of the game will come from, is the things like potion making, challenging other wizards and foes in Wizarding Challenges, and developing your Wizarding skills while specialising in certain professions.

It sounds like a game with many ways to play. You can simply explore the world, while finding “Foundables”, Portkeys, potion ingredients, etc. You can compete with other players by battling with them at Fortresses, but you can also team up with them and compete Wizard Challenges together. And at the same time as all of that, you’re developing your own character, gaining new skills, and just taking your own route through the game.

One thing I’m unsure about though, is the “Spell Energy”. I’ve never found a mobile game that has some kind of perishable energy source to be that great. As there’s usually long waits to refill, mostly with the aim for players to spend money on in-app purchases. You can find food and drinks at “Inns”, which will be in certain places around the world, and will replenish your Spell Energy. Hopefully there’s enough of them so it doesn’t inhibit gameplay.

My other worry is that the game will be too rich. Sure, I wrote earlier that it’s one of the reasons why I like the sound of this game, but maybe other people won’t appreciate it. As not everyone is as well versed in the Harry Potter universe as others (me), and a steep learning curve for a mobile game may not work out well.

But despite how anyone else finds it, I can already tell I’m going to be really addicted to this game.


You can find out more about Wizards Unite on the website, and also find more of the details I mentioned on their blog.

18th November 2018

I’ve literally just finished watching the second film of the Fantastic Beasts series, and I thought I’d try and get out what I thought of it while it’s still fresh. Just for additional information, I watched it in IMAX 2D.

It was incredible in so many ways, but maybe the best part was seeing the wizarding world from a whole new perspective. Everyone remembers Newt Scamander from the original Harry Potter series, but he was only an author of a textbook then. And in the first Fantastic Beasts film we did start to get to know him as a person, but you learn quite a bit more in this film.

I can’t fault anything with the film, but I will have to now go and do some research on everything, because I need a few things cleared up!

The revelations in the film will truly shock you. However, I cannot reveal anything. I already can’t wait for the next instalment.

#ProtectTheSecrets
15th November 2018

Over a year ago, Niantic (the developers behind Pokémon GO) announced a game called Wizards Unite. In their announcement, they celebrated the state of their AR technology, including how successful Pokémon GO already was at that point (November 2017). It meant that they had the ability to expand on that and create an experience for the Harry Potter franchise:

We’re incredibly excited to announce this next step in the evolution of AR mobile entertainment. With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, players that have been dreaming of becoming real life Wizards will finally get the chance to experience J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies. We’re thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WB Games San Francisco’s development team to bring this magical and beloved series to life in a brand new way. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will leverage the full stack of the Niantic Platform while also providing an opportunity to pioneer all new technology and gameplay mechanics.

It sounded really impressive, but I didn’t expect it to take this long. Because we’ve only just been treated to a trailer, and it wont be released until 2019.

The story sounds reasonably interesting:

The Ministry is looking for witches and wizards willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to save the wizarding world from the Calamity. As a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force (a new task force formed in partnership between the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards) you will hone lightning fast wand reflexes, an ability to sniff out the faintest whiff of magical disorder from afar, and proficiency in advanced casting of multiple spells.

But it will all depend on the implementation of the real world scaling, the AR features, and just how it will be played. The idea of Pokémon works very well in this scenario, and Pokémon GO has only proved that. But I’m not sure how you could get a game based around the Harry Potter franchise, that is constantly pulling you in to do more, without it being a fixed storyline.

I’m a big Harry Potter fan, so I’m going to play it no matter what. But I hope it’s something long lasting.

You can find out more information, and also sign up for updates on the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite website.

29th July 2016

Since the first seven Harry Potter books, and the 8 films, we’ve all been dying to sink our teeth into something Potter. Thankfully there’s another film on the way, but there’s also this play – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

The play will receive it’s world premiere in London’s West End on the 30th July, and the book, which is in fact a “Script Book” will be available digitally and physically in print the next day.

This release isn’t the final version, as the definitive version will be released later this year. However, this is the “Special Rehearsal Edition”, and will be whatever the play script it at the time of the play’s preview performances.

If you want to know more about the story, then here is a small description of what you can look forward to:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

I’ve already preordered my copy, as I just can’t miss out on it. You can do the same via the iBook Store, or if you want it for another platform, or even in print, then check out Pottermore for more details.