Desperate for more words from one of Britain's favourite wordsmiths? Then Sony's recently announced PS3 peripheral Wonderbook is for you - the launch title is The Book Of Spells, an allegedly Restricted Section-only textbook (partially) written by J.K. Rowling. How this isn't bigger news is bewildering. Possibly because the title doesn't have “Harry Potter And…” in front of it.
Contrary to their damn misleading advert, which makes it look like Star Trek’s Holodeck, the Wonderbook uses a combination of Augmented Reality, the Playstation Eye and the included physical book to allow you to interact with the book and take part in minigames. Students will be able to cast magical spells (“cast a sideways figure-8 to live forever” - they can have that one for free) by waving the Playstation Move around and their results will appear on screen.
The thing that will baffle most players is not the game (which looks like nothing more than a glorified tech demo) but why a textbook that will most likely contain very tame spells is in the Restricted Section in the first place. Can you see this book/game telling you to cast “Avada Kedavra” and to laugh as your opponent’s lifeless body falls to the floor? Thought not.
As AR technology is nothing new, the main selling point of this launch title seems to be the contribution of J.K. Rowling. Time will tell if there’s any merit to this device (and indeed, this game) beyond the addition to another book to the Harry Potter expanded universe. One thing's for sure: based on this, the traditional printed word is safe for another couple of years.
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