Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs’ newest augmented reality game based on the Harry Potter universe is available now for both iOS and Android in the US, a day earlier than we anticipated it would launch in the region. The game, called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is similar in style to Pokémon Go, asking players to traverse a virtual map overlaid on the real world and collect magical artifacts.
Three years ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Burbank, California when I was reading an article that the creators of Pokemon teamed up with Niantic Labs, a software company from San Francisco, to launch Pokemon Go. The game brought a new angle to the franchise, giving the player the ability to physically go outside and catch Pokemon on a real map fed into the game via Google Maps. Naturally, I downloaded it and caught my first “real” Pokemon from bed, a Growlithe, just to give a middle finger to the system and the concept of “Go”.
After it’s release, I think we as a country were united for the first time since post 9/11. Every single person I knew was playing and having a blast while doing it. Kids were taking to the streets, finally getting off the couch and aimlessly walking with their head down in front of buses and into the middle of the street to catch endless Pikachus, Charmanders, and Squirtles. It was joyous. A few people even got stabbed because they were playing at 4 am in bad neighborhoods. What a rush.
Fast forward three years and I may be the only one still playing. Not only am I still playing, I have a complete Pokedex. I did exactly what the slogan said and I caught them all.
I even caught a Black Charizard, something I was not aware existed until I caught it.
Now how did I accomplish this amazing feat? By taking the “Go” out of the title and downloading a hacked version of the app that enabled a joystick and let me play from the comforts of my own living room. Sure, it kind of defeated the entire purpose. I could have just played the normal game. Alas, my OCD would not allow this.
So now we have Harry Potter Wizards Unite. I myself downloaded it moments ago and can say it’s already been deleted off my phone. Too confusing, don’t have the time. They did apparently pay Daniel Radcliffe to voice Harry Potter again though so that was neat. That’s about as much as I learned though.
So my hope is that in these trying times we collectively return to the streets and once again unite for the latest craze in mobile gaming. Fresh air, exercise, camaraderie. If you need me, i’ll be in bed playing Pokemon.