‘‘The [Harry Potter computer] game will feature a series of challenges, all inspired by the original book's storyline. These include a 3-D roller coaster ride through Gringotts and a flying broomstick chase…They are given the opportunity to explore numerous 3-D environments...[and] many interactive environments, including moving stairways and secret passageways. And players will be able to walk on foot, climb, jump, and sneak…."
That was someone named David Gibbon writing for the "New Media" section of the BBC Web site. To which I can only reply, "You should have been around my house this summer." Talk about 3-D and interactive. We regularly had up to a half-dozen children tromping around our yard all day in bathrobes, with smudges of red marker on their foreheads, waving magic wands (chopsticks stolen from our kitchen), and riding the stick of every broom and mop they could lay their hands on.
There were regular Quidditch games in which, to simulate flight, the players would sit astride their broomsticks on the swing set and aim for the trees. My 9-year-old son put tape on his glasses and assumed the treasured role of "Harry," and all his friends filled the (good and evil) supporting roles. Even kids who had never read the books got roped into the role-play, and at least one of them started reading because of it. We can never find a broom when we need one, and we're down to two sets of chopsticks, but we're not complaining.
My wife, Polly, and I have three children (ages 9, 5, and 1). And, so far, most of the plagues that go through kid culture (from Rugrats to Pokemon) have passed us over. It's not the lamb's blood on the door that keeps them away. It's simple. We don't have cable, and our rabbit ears only pick up PBS. You couldn't coax a Rugrat out of our TV with a crowbar. And that immediately changes life for the better for everyone in the household.