Demobulus: Lego Harry Demo Out Already

By John Walker on November 2nd, 2011 at 10:16 pm.

The pan of DOOM.

Egad, there’s a demo of Lego Harry Potter: Years 5 – 7 all of a sudden. Why the surprise, you ask? Because you haven’t been paying attention to Adam and me, when we’ve told you over and over how great the first Lego Harry game was. And as I’ve mentioned before, I’m saying that as someone who would rather eat his own shins than read one of those illiterate books. Honestly, I tried to read the first one and just wanted to mark it with a red pen. Does she even have an editor? Anyway, the good news is the Travellers’ Tales games are brill, and the Harry Potter one was exceptionally good. And I suspect this one could match it. Naturally the game is out in American a week earlier than in the UK, what with Harry Potter being a British book, and the game developed by a company in Britain… hang on, what? At least we can all get the demo at once. Warner? What are you doing?

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69 Comments »

  1. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    John Walker spends his days marking children’s books with red pens. True story.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      “… Harry Potter one was exceptionally good.” – John Walker

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      :D

    • Shadram says:

      the Harry Potter one was exceptionally good.”
      It’s fine.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      The joke

      —–>

      Shadram’s head

    • Shadram says:

      Apparently so. Still can’t see anything other than a failed attempt to correct John’s grammar…

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Yes, that’s why you missed the joke, it’s not an attempt to correct grammar. Think about it for a couple of months.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I’ve only flipped through the HP books to see what the writing was like, and the bits I skimmed didn’t seem to be offensively poorly written. I can’t say much about the narrative structure or anything but the language itself seemed reasonable for something aimed at pre-teens (as opposed to Twilight which seems like it would be suited for illiterate 7 year olds).

      Anyway, when I was a kid I fell in love with Douglas Adams, HG Wells, and Arthur C Clarke, so I find the current trend of young adult books (which are inevitably tied into franchise-oriented merchandising with little in the way of cultural or intellectual significance) to be fairly insulting to children. HP may be an exception, I don’t know. If a kid can enjoy HP, I don’t see why you couldn’t get them into Tolkien or Hitchhiker’s or something meatier.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      @Shadram: Look, if he said ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, I would have quoted that…

    • nimnio says:

      The joke is that Raiyan is quoting John out of context. Compare:
      John: “I’m saying that as someone who would rather eat his own shins than read one of those illiterate books. … Anyway, the good news is the Travellers’ Tales games are brill, and the Harry Potter one was exceptionally good.”
      Raiyan: “… Harry Potter one was exceptionally good.” – John Walker

      Raiyan’s mistake was replying to his first comment, which was “John Walker spends his days marking children’s books with red pens. True story.” Shadram mistakenly assumed that these two comments were related, that Raiyan was somehow making fun of John’s grammar, but Raiyan was actually just making two distinct jokes in the same comment thread.

    • Shadram says:

      Yes, silly me for assuming that when one sentence follows another, there is some kind of progression of thought.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Tolkien, meatier? Oh, my sides!

      Get him some ursula le guinn, dont cram him full of every fantasy setting cliche at once, please. Also, i find Hairy red headed muscular gnomes wearing axes in prairies, a bit… freudian.

  2. The Tupper says:

    I’ll perhaps give the game a look, but I weep that a generation of children appear not to know the difference between their arse and their elbow. The Harry Potter franchise is an abomination.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I don’t quite think Harry Potter is to blame for that.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      At least kids read these days. I don’t remember children’s literature selling 400 million copies ‘back in the days.’

    • Jikid says:

      @ The Tupper

      Do tell what the kids should be reading instead then?

    • The Tupper says:

      Harry potter is to blame for everything. Everything, I tell you.

    • The Tupper says:

      I honestly think that reading nothing is better than material that is no more than PR pamphlets publicising the next film from Warner Brothers. At least when they (young readers) find a book they won’t mistake it for the same medium.

    • Shadram says:

      That’s odd, because I distinctly remember reading the first 2 books (at the age of 20…) before they even announced they were making the films.

    • The Tupper says:

      @Shadram

      I am well aware of the timeline. Simply because the first two sausages in the machine were priming the pump doesn’t, I think, detract from my point that the whole corporate machine is a monstrosity.

    • westyfield says:

      @ Jikid
      They should be reading the Mortal Engines saga, which is the best series of children’s books ever.

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      @The Tupper

      Are you sure you haven’t magicked yourself into talking a load of old quidditch?

    • NieA7 says:

      @ Jikid

      Pretty much anything by Diana Wynne Jones. If nothing else at least Harry Potter finally got the publishers to reprint DWJ’s books.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ ThinkAndGrowWitcher

      Hehe. As always, that’s a distinct possibility. Maybe I’m a denier. Mrs The Tupper certainly thinks so, but she married me, so I doubt her decision-making abilities.

    • skinlo says:

      I’ve never really understood this almost militant hate by some people for Harry Potter. They aren’t amazingly written books, but they have still captured the imagination of millions of children and opened up reading to other books.

      I think its just cool to hate it, be anti the popular thing.

    • The Tupper says:

      That’s the first time in a LONG time anyone’s accused me of being cool.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ skinlo

      Additionally, the argument that Rowling has opened up childrens’ eyes to literature is simply false. While the basic ability to read is (naturally) to be valued, I don’t think that’s the function of novels.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Yes, Harry Potter could never achieve the intellectual heights like the books I read as a child such as Goodnight, Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.

    • The Tupper says:

      @Ultra-Humanite

      The comparison that you make underlines my point: Rowling’s writings are the worst kind of exploitative doggerel, but they are undeniably novels. The sort of early-reading books that you refer to are a different category all together and are, I feel, far more honest in their aims.

      Anyhow. Apologies to all for dragging comment away from a game that may well be worth playing.

      If it wasn’t for bloody boy wizards.

    • arqueturus says:

      @NieA7

      Amazing, I thought I was only one trying to get kids to read DWJ books. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dull one. I’d love to see them made into films, even at the risk of them being ruined.

    • aerozol says:

      I always read MAD Magazine, and I turned out ok ™.

    • JackShandy says:

      Exploitive? doggerel? Only made to advertise films?

      Maybe I’m crazy, but I remember them being nice little books about magical high-school adventures. Must have missed the bit where they led to the downfall of society.

    • smartalco says:

      @Jack

      I’m about as confused as you are. The first four books (that would be the majority for those who can’t do math) were out before the first movie was released. They have a decent story. There is actually a lot of lore in the world (that was later apparently fleshed out even more by an outside-the-storyline book I didn’t read). The movies are also some of the few that didn’t completely fusk the tale in the book. An overall positive I’d say.

    • iteyoidar says:

      I remember reading the Harry Potters years ago and thought they were well written, I had no idea they got so much hate. They’re kids books, they aren’t supposed to be pulling a bunch of literary tricks a la Pynchon or Joyce or whoever. also the themes were pretty good for children’s books, even if they were later commercialized to hell. Certainly better than the mountains of Goosebumps books and Star Wars novelizations I used to read!

    • Limey says:

      The Harry Potter novels are great and you’re all just withdrawing into silly elitism.

    • Kleppy says:

      The Harry Potter books are fucking awesome, you need to calm down. They’re well written (for children’s books anyway) and actually have some pretty good morals for the kiddies. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think HP has anything to do with corrupting our youths etc.

    • Harlander says:

      I’ve long suspected that the extreme hatred is a form of hype backlash; the HP series was a little over-egged as being the saviour of modern youth literacy. There’s a tendency I’ve noticed in some people whereby there are only two possible ratings for any item: transcendantly amazing, or utterly terrible and without any redeeming features. Faced with the widespread assertions that the Harry Potter books were sliced messiah on toast, but contradicted by reading them and finding them only hovering somewhere around ‘mediocre’, ‘tolerable’, ‘good’ or ‘entertaining’ depending on tastes, they were forced to place it in the lower bucket.

      It occurs to me that the above may be a load of old twaddle. Oh well! ONWARD

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      The writing in Harry Potter is awesome. Here’s quote from Dumbledore:

      “Is it a sin, should a man feel like faggarting a sun or a thousand? Why should the suns heave through the void, if not to be skewer’t bypon ourn fagpoles?”

    • westyfield says:

      “Sliced messiah on toast” is my new favourite phrase. Thank you.

    • Jikid says:

      Some pretty good replies here, should remember the names for the future (although the last book of the Mortal Engines left a bad taste in the mouth despite the brilliance of the previous two). :D

      And The Tupper – I’m not sure if you are a troll or just a zealous anti-potter fanatic. Not reading is better than HP? Really? Why? How exactly is Potter so bad for the children? And please – no “downfall of the society” or “corporate greed” (or you’d have to presume Rowling’s hardship at getting the first book published was just a corporate lie – and do you really want to walk that path?) stuff, be precise.

      And regarding your function of the novel – I don’t think the function of HP is to draw children to literature, it’s just an unintended side-effect and again I’m not sure why it’s to be disliked. HP books (like other children’s books) might be the first books to show young people why reading is such a fascinating thing. School literature will have much harder time doing the same since it’s obligatory and hence not nearly as enlightening.

    • RandomGameR says:

      As a person who started about a month ago and just finished up the seventh book in the series two nights ago I can safely say that the Harry Potter books are overrated but not the downfall of society. The Tupper, have you read them all? The first two books are decidedly childish but the writing grows up as the characters do which was about the only “stylistic” thing you can say about them. They’re novels that should be read for their entertainment value, and they’re reasonably entertaining at that.

      Why do I then think that they’re overrated? Well, because the main characters are a bunch of boiled dicks. Harry spends most of the books yelling at his friends for no reason. Hermione is unbearable for the first four books, and I would have summarily ended my friendship with her at the point where she ran to a teacher when I received an anonymous gift of a fantastic new broom. Ron’s not as bad as the other two but his constant “I hate being poor” bullcrap was pretty annoying. Neither he nor Harry do much successful magic throughout the books.

      On the other hand the school is full of characters that deserved to be the focus of attention. Neville grows from bumbling idiot into bad-ass resistance leader over the course of the seven books. Luna is beyond awesome as is Ginny to some extent. Even the teachers should have been given more focus.

      Alas, I’m glad I read them but still.

    • The Tupper says:

      Bloody hell! I go away for a wee bit and then find myself misrepresented as claiming JK Rowling’s scribblings to be a portent for the downfall of society? I merely said that her books are an abomination.

      Edit:
      And Jikid, as I said earlier, the trouble I see with the franchise is that it changes childrens’ perception of what novels should be: it’s like a McDonald’s Happy Meal menu writ large. When the kids grow a bit older they graduate to what they assume is ‘real food’, but it’s invariably something like the ‘Twilight’ series. That’s a quarter pounder with cheese, that one is.

      No downfall of society required. If anything, the blandness and unchallenging nature of the HP series ensures the continued status quo.

      My rather pessimistic appraisal doesn’t apply to all kids, of course, but it’s what I’ve seen more times than I’m comfortable with. Many, many millions of people (evidently) disagree, but that’s okay. I’m often wrong.

  3. Navagon says:

    Time to beat Warner with the No Oceans Stick of Justice, John.

  4. GallonOfAlan says:

    Fuck this, more endless traipsing around Hogwarts.

    Lego Dr Who NOW

    • The Tupper says:

      Now yer talking.

    • The Tupper says:

      What you suggest is a brilliant idea. For years the BBC has tried to do something interactive with the good Doctor that would be true to the concept while not scaring the pent-up hatred horses of the Daily Mail. Everything they’ve come up with so far has been hampered by their fear of offence and therefore ends up intolerably bland.

    • Delixe says:

      @The Tupper No the games are technically hamstrung by having to run on even the most basic of machines. The budget even by BBC interactive standards is extremely low and worst of all they had completely broken game mechanics. I tried all four of the poxy things and I had to pay for them not being a citizen of the crown. Horrible games.

    • HermitUK says:

      Actually, it’d have to be “Character Building Dr Who”.

      http://www.character-online.com/products/Character-Building/Doctor-Who/

    • jezcentral says:

      Awesome idea. Doctor’s one to eleven, and Peter Cushing and Paterson Joseph* as unlockable doctors.

      *Yes, I want him as The Doctor. He would be disturbing and physically powerful in a Tom Baker kind of way (i.e. not the last two stick insects. Eat some pies for crying out loud!). Not only could he out-think you from here to infinity, but he could totally beat you up whilst doing so. Even if you were a dalek. See Marquis de Carabas for Doctor-like Xanatos Gambit details.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Delixe

      I wasn’t particularly referring to the recent titles. There’s a long, ignoble tradition of ghastly Doctor Who games going back over twenty years.

  5. simonh says:

    Even greater news: Your RSS feed is showing pictures properly again!
    Thanks! :D

    • PodX140 says:

      I was about to say, this is loads more important than the demo :D

      I’m glad to see the pictures, but more importantly the text is formatting properly again, so no more reading intro text then suddenly randomly changing tones!

  6. Mr_Day says:

    Tried the demo, was annoyed that I couldn’t set up me video resolution until after I had started the game.

    Also, was annoyed that the level is called Lovegood’s Lunacy, but is a part of the story where you can’t play as Luna. I love that crazy girl.

    I managed to get as far as the 2d section featuring the three brothers, but couldn’t get past the second manifestation of Death – I can move a pumpkin a tiny bit, then it drops back down. The whole section is quite depressing and gives me an existential crisis panic attack*, which probably isn’t the intention of a demo, but there you go.

    My favourite appraisal of the HP books remains This, if anyone cares.

    * “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage – Existential Crisis Panic Attack! Crap music, but best band name ever!”

  7. roguewombat says:

    Maybe you read an unauthorized translation? I’ve read and enjoyed the HP books and haven’t ever been distracted by grammar and spelling mistakes. I dare you to try them again.

  8. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I prefer Discworld myself…reminds me to get Snuff, as soon as I have the money

    • Harlander says:

      Discworld isn’t generally aimed at kids though. Didn’t stop me of course, back in’t day. (And Pratchett’s young-audience books are also very good)

  9. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    I read Tolkien and hitchhiker before I read HP, and I loved them all. The films and the commercialism is awful, true (though the last three films was a bit of a catch-up, though not a big one), but the stories in themselves are quite enjoyable. I might remind you that the LotR films were quite stupid too.

  10. Saul says:

    All this bloody elitism. The story may not be for you, and they may have been over-hyper by the corporate “entertainment machine”, but it’s my view that HP is one of the best children’s stories ever written, comparable to the best work of Roald Dahl. I didn’t adore the first two books, but once you get past that point, and the whole thing takes a darker turn, the whole thing is just extraordinary. Even the best of the films is absolute rubbish in comparison.

    Having read all of the books both for myself and out loud (and listened to Stephen Fry’s readings), I have to say that the language in them is simple, but engaging and quite beautiful. As much as I love Terry Pratchett and Tolkien, they don’t hold a candle to Rowling in terms of writing technique or storytelling ability, and I say this as a qualified book editor.

    Having already converted the biggest HP hater I’ve ever known, I consider my evangelism work on the subject pretty much done, but it does sadden me that a lot of otherwise intelligent people can be so stubborn as to not allow themselves into the one of the great adventure stories of our time.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      It’s quite hilarious how people claim Harry Potter is rubbish, and then swoon over everything WH40K, which in turn has a universe that feels like is written by a 13-year-old.

      Orks in Space!
      Marines like Tanks!
      Space Demons!
      Immortal King Who Kills Millions Everyday!
      No Happiness, GRRRR, like Marcus Fenix!
      Girls? Yuck! Icky!

      I guess those people would love Harry Potter if Thirty Hs was canon.

      (Can’t blame them, though, I love it myself.)

  11. Simon Hawthorne says:

    I’m going to wait until both this one and the last one are in the bargain bin.

    Then I’ll pick them up for a quid-each.

  12. v_ware says:

    Harry Potter is great.

  13. Berzee says:

    Ok, but look here — I’ve tried the demos to two Lego Star Wars games, the first Lego Harry Potter game, Lego Batman, and some other Lego game…and I never really found any of them very captivating.

    Are the demos just a really poor representation of these games, or are they not my kind of games?

  14. Berzee says:

    Regarding Harry Potter, I read the first one when I was like 17 or 18 for a Children’s Lit class at college, and promptly postponed all other assignments so that I could read the next two books as well. So the grammar never really bothered me, mostly willing suspension of criticism I suppose. The books do a good job of presenting a steady stream of over-the-top wizard-alternate-world details…and then from the end of book 4 onward the grimdark takes over and the characters get angsty and never learn from their mistakes and…well, I don’t think Rowling should bother with grimdark. o_O

  15. Syra says:

    the control scheme is entirely aweful, even editing it all, cant use the mouse to move the stupid spell aiming thing? what the fuck is going on.

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