Wonderbook: Book of Spells Preview
Video game technology has come a long way, and it’s not just about graphics. In addition to motion sensing, there’s the advent of Augmented Reality, which allows video to coincide with the real-world environment. Perhaps the most interesting use of AR can be found in Sony’s upcoming Wonderbook, which is an interactive piece of technology that utilizes the PlayStation Move to bring stories to life…almost literally. And the first title on the list is Book of Spells, which should have widespread appeal.
Based on the world of J.K. Rowling’s tremendously popular “Harry Potter” series, the spell book is a magical textbook that takes you to the expansive Hogwarts library where your training will begin. As you progress, you’ll learn new spells – 20 in all – and gain experience, and the best part is Rowling’s direct participation in the penning of the stories. Evidently impressed with Wonderbook’s futuristic-like capabilities, the author had this to say about being involved in the process:
“Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook. I’ve loved working with Sony’s creative team to bring my spells, and some of the history behind them, to life. This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other.”
Basically, the way it works is that you’ll see yourself on the TV screen, along with the book and your living room (or whatever the background might be). The Move controller is your wand and that too will appear on the screen. You move words from the book to the screen with just a flick of the wrist and the further you go, the more complex the process becomes. Magic is tricky after all. Each spell will be different; for instance, in order to learn the Engorgio spell, you have to make a pumpkin grow on the surface of the book. When playing around with fire, the book will actually catch fire and you’ll have to douse the flames. Sounds entertaining.
That’s just a small sampling of what to expect. It’s about more than the spells, too, as there’s a little quiz at the end of each chapter to insure you were paying attention. See, it’s just like being a real Hogwarts student! Provided the control is accessible to the youngsters, they should have a blast interacting with what appears to be a virtual Hogwarts library and pretending the Move is a magical wand. As for Wonderbook itself, it could be quite the intriguing unit, as more stories will be released for it in the future, so it could pay for itself in no time.
At $39.99, it doesn’t sound like a bad deal, especially because you get the book and Book of Spells for that price. And based on what we’ve heard, a lot more stories are in the works…
7/24/2012 Ben Dutka