It's a Sunday afternoon and I'm sat here with two copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in front of me and £150 down. I've pondered my life decisions up until this point and whether it was all worth it - I've concluded it was. Those few seconds are the only time I've questioned my decision, but ultimately it was a great one, and a feeling that quickly diminished after popping in the disc, drinking a cup of tea, and reliving my childhood years where I would replay these games constantly.
What a time to be alive.
Perhaps some context is needed. You see, I absolutely love the Harry Potter video games - even the rubbish ones. I've played both Deathly Hallows games and they're awful, but every time I jump into a Harry Potter game I'm reminded of my childhood years, when I was sat on my PS1 for hours upon hours exploring the world of Hogwarts and collecting Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. There's just a charm to each one that wraps around me like a comfort blanket. I've managed to secure each one, but always pushed back getting Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on Xbox. For some reason it's always been the hardest to track down and the most expensive.
About a year ago it was roughly £25 to pick up pre-owned, which for an original Xbox game of that ilk is fairly overpriced. By comparison, I picked up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for a fiver. Well, I quickly learned my lesson this week as a trip to my local pre-owned store had the game's price over double at £60! The reason for the inflation? I have no idea, but there was no chance I was going to get bitten by another price hike, so I bought it and drove straight home to play it. Except in my excitement I forgot one very important fact - you can't play these games via backwards compatibility. D'oh!
To give some reasoning for my next decision, albeit not very good reasoning, I'll need to go back to Christmas 2003. All I wanted was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on Xbox. It rereleased in that year for both the original Xbox and PS2 and was essentially a brand new game to the PS1 version. As the Potter nerd I was (and still am), I needed it like a horcrux. Months I spent ensuring my parents knew which version to get, as I already had Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I honestly think they may have regretted introducing me to the franchise by this point.
Christmas Day came and I unwrapped all my presents, leaving that suspiciously looking game case till last as the excitement built up inside me. I'd dropped enough hints, basically given a PowerPoint presentation on which is the correct version, and took every opportunity to hammer it into their brain. I think all of my efforts may have beaten them senseless as I unwrapped the present to find my heart shattered into a thousand pieces (I was 10, I was allowed to be melodramatic).
It was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
What followed was a Christmas break of travelling to various stores to find the game, but alas it was out of stock. Eventually I got it and it lived up to those massive expectations my ten year old cranium had built up, but fast forward 18 years and I've lost it. So here we are, present day, with a £50 game I can't even play. I'm not giving up, I thought to myself, so instantly went back to the store to see if there was a PlayStation 2 copy, and to absolute disbelief, there actually was... for £90. I have no idea if there's some black market that works in dealing Harry Potter games, but obtaining this one is like gold dust. It was kept in the shops window securely, away from all the other PlayStation 2 games that are roughly £3-£8 each. This was the real deal.
To throw a Lord of the Rings reference in here, my conscious was split into two. Half of me felt like Aragon telling Gandalf and the Fellowship: "We must turn back!" The other half of me (and the one I ultimately followed) was Gandalf, beckoning back a thundering "no!" So I did it. I purchased it, and I have no regrets. £150 may have been dropped, but now I have I finally have the complete collection of Harry Potter games. It's a personal victory for sure, and perhaps one many people are questioning me over, but we all have childhood memories we cling onto. This was mine, and in my eyes, was worth every penny in revisiting.
If you've never played this series, I perhaps don't recommend you dropping £90 on a single game. Pick up one of the cheaper ones and lose yourself in the fantasy adventure. You get to go to classes, learn spells, complete puzzles, and explore the world of Harry Potter. They're the definition of cosy entertainment and a huge guilty pleasure. There's a reason so many people are excited for Hogwarts Legacy next year. These titles hold a special nostalgic place in many hearts - mine being one of them - and you can't put a price on that.
Do you have any fond memories of the Harry Potter games? Let us know in the comments below.