Wizardry in your living room? Playstation’s Wonderbook puts you in the game

Flux Review Wonderbook for Sony Playstation PS3

With the arrival of the new Wonderbook for Sony Playstation 3, you’re in the game – visually, conceptually and metaporically.

Attending the launch of the Wonderbook: Book of Spells was a treat in itself in the opulent, neo-gothic surroundings of London’s Freemason’s Hall, after a smooth train trip down from Manchester in first class. Surrounded by dress-up characters from school masters to circus performers to knights in armour, welcomed by a huge owl at the foot of the twisting stone staircase, old-time photobooths, Victorian sweetie stalls and shadow puppet theatre set the scene for the latest must have for all Potter addicts.

In contrast to the olde-worlde tension of the launch surroundings, the Wonderbook is modern and exotically new. This is the most fun interactive, engrossing computing I’ve seen in ages. Book of Spells is based around a story created with J. K. Rowling about a 200 year old spellbook that has been hidden in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library. The book assists young wizard wannabes on their journey to becoming an accomplished magical master. The Book of Spells guides students through a world of magic, teaching and practising spells and then using them to complete some exiting tasks at the end of each chapter.

The Wonderbook works in conjunction with the Playstation Eye camera that perches on top of your tv screen, and the Playstation Motion Controller – which for the Book of Spells is transformed on screen into your very own a wand. The player’s image and living room comes alive within the game on the screen, opening up a myriad of possibilities with this combination of hardware. For Book of Spells, it’s a world of wizards, spells and magic best aimed at kids. But we can’t wait to see what’s next for this platform whose creative use of interactivity surely has the gurus at Sony salivating.

The Wonderbook itself avoids any temptation to be a physical Book of Spells, which means that it’s clear hieroglyphic pages act only as a conduit for the CD you are running at the time. The beauty of the set up is its pure interactivity. It places your world and your real-time actions on screen right there in the game using the motion controller to see where you are and put you at the centre of the action.  You are in a 3-D world on screen – in the foreground, in the background; so the engrossment factor is high. As you move, on screen you move through – in the Book of Spells – the world of Hogwarts, but obviously this could be just anywhere .

The technology is just amazing, using the combination of the Playstation Eye, the Playstation Move and the Wonderbook itself to open up a whole world of interactivity and it’s great to be on board at the beginning. Live in a story for a couple of hours anyone? Yes please.

Further information about Wonderbook and Wonderbook: Book of Spells can be found at www.playstation.com.



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