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School's in: Hogwarts sim Academagia is on Steam

Academagia [official site] originally came out seven years ago, when Kieron ‘Funny Pages’ Gillen described it as “a scarily deep Princess Maker with Wizards”. It’s a Hogwarts simulator, in which you play the role of one of the new kids at a school for magical sorts, and have to go to classes, learn magicks and other things, make friends (and enemies), and involve yourself in plots and adventures. Primarily text-based, it’s a massive, complex life sim in which character creation is so baffling and time-consuming that I’ve never actually started the game.

Maybe now is the time. The “definitive” version is on Steam, bringing an interface overhaul, all existing DLC, and plenty of bugfixes.

I hadn’t realised that the game only covers the first year of the new school experience, with planned sequels covering the rest of your student’s time at Academagia. Apparently Year 2 is still in the works and Year 1 isn’t exactly light on things to see and do, but keep in mind that the series isn’t complete. And remember this game was first released in 2010.

Don’t expect much in the way of whimsy. Though it’s not all death and darkness at Academagia, which is a youngster-friendly place, there are lots of numbers. So many, in fact, that my brief dip back into the game just now ended in another bout of decision-paralysis during character creation. Do I want to drop points into magical skills, being a wizard and all, or do I want to have strong social skills so I can form an all-powerful clique of conjurers?

I haven’t the foggiest. There’s a tutorial in the form of letters from a former student, but it confused me more than it helped me. This isn’t a light game, is the point, though it’s probably worth cracking if you’re really into the idea of an education in elemental manipulation.

It’s worth taking a look at Kieron’s thoughts since it’s still the same game all these years later.

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Adam Smith

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