Did you ever hope that a carrier owl might swoop in one day and deliver your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Well, this is the next best thing. Hogwarts Is Here is an online game that takes players inside the Wizarding World, and it’s pretty darn close to the “real” thing. Although it’s not new by any means, it was created in 2014 by some innovative HP fans, it’s gotten new traction as COVID-19 has left many people homebound. You’re at home anyway, so might as well live out your wildest Harry Potter dreams?
Here’s the deal: When you first sign up for the game, you start as a First Year at the school. You decide which house you’re going to belong to—Gryffindor or Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw—and you start making magic. As Parents.com wrote, you take classes one of two ways, either by sitting in a virtual classroom and studying topics like Defense Against the Dark Arts or you follow the autodidact route and mess around the library. If you play to compete, you can try to become Head Girl or Head Boy, but you need to be in the top of your classes to do that (and therefore actually take the courses and do assignments). And, as of the time of this article’s posting, virtual Hogwarts even has applications open for people who want to become a “professor” of History of Magic and Potions.
If the classes portion feels like too much of a commitment and you want to play the game more casually, players can also join or create RPG groups that let you mull around the castle and the grounds. If J.K. Rowling’s Twitter presence is getting you down, Hogwarts Is Here feels sort of separate from the now and is an easy, nostalgic way to revel in a childhood love for magic. With the pandemic surging across the country, taking Herbology classes or getting into mischief in Hogwarts might sound like a great distraction.