I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and everything from the books to the movies to the LEGO-ized videogames to the tiny, but fantastic theme parks are laced with pure joy because once I interact with them, I’m beyond content. Here’s some photographic proof too, of Tara and I enjoying some frozen butterbeer on our honeymoon, even if it’s probably overpriced:
I think the world and lore and workings of the Harry Potter universe are stellar, with J.K. Rowling going the extra seventy-seven miles to make sure that everything clicked and made sense in a magical manner. She even made up her very own sport, which, contrarily to what you may believe, is not a simple task: you need rules, goals, strategy, players, teams, fields, designs, logos, tournaments, history, and so on. Quidditch is no Calvinball.
Quidditch is a mix of soccer, basketball, and football, with the most striking difference being that it’s played by witches and wizards on brooms and not on the ground. There’s a lot happening at once, with multiple balls to pay attention to: the Quaffle is a large red ball used for scoring points by tossing it through an opposing team’s hoops; Bludgers are angry, enchanted balls that Beaters hit away or at other players; and the Golden Snitch is a small, golden ball the size of a walnut that, when caught by a team’s Seeker, rewards that team with 150 points, ultimately ending the match. It’s fast-paced and anyone’s game all the way down to the Snitch.
And so it’s strange that, for all these years of Harry Potter’s growing popularity, there’s only been one videogame take on the magical Quidditch. I mean, what with the big push of online multiplayer and socializing these days, I find it amazing that Quidditch hasn’t been bundled in with the latest Harry Potter game as a multiplayer option. Instead, we just have Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, and Game Boy Advance. Recently, as I searched high and low for PS2 games to add to my collection, I found the Ps2 version of Quidditch World Cup for $2.99 and said, “Bloody brilliant!” Well, no, I didn’t actually say that. But if Ron was with me, surely he would’ve.
The game’s okay. You start out doing some broom challenges, which teach you the basics of passing, shooting, stealing, catching the Snitch, and so on. Then you pick a House team, and it’s off to try to win the Hogwarts cup. I went with Ravenclaw since that’s the House I belong to, and I found beating Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Gryffindor to be extremely easy. Like, they never scored a point against me. Maybe I was just really awesome at virtual broom-flying? Nah, that’s not it. After the Hogwarts cup, it’s on to the Quidditch World Cup, and I chose Japan, dueling it out with good ol’ USA. The spike in difficulty was sharp, and the game was super close, ultimately coming down to whoever caught the Snitch first. Thankfully, Cho did her thing, and we won, a victory surely earned unlike those back in the Hogwarts days. After that intense match, I took a break and checked out some of the Chocolate Frog cards I unlocked throughout play.
If anything, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup showed how much of a Muggle I actually am. The game taught me about the Golden Snidget, a small, golden-yellow bird previous used in Quidditch before it became deemed too cruel and unsafe for the animals. I never knew about this backstory to the wizarding sport, and in all seriousness, I just assumed Electric Arts decided to spell Snitch wrong or in a special British way. Go figure.