It's not controversial to say that video game adaptations have had a less than steller track record. Bargain bins full of lackluster film-based tie-ins can attest to the general poor quality we've come to expect from cash-hungry, time-constrained developers.
However, there's an exception to every rule, especially for games that have some premium source material to work with. And as far as source material goes, you can't get much better than J.K. Rowling's world-dominating Harry Potter franchise, which has spawned a grand total of 14 interactive adventures!
Believe it or not, some of them were surprisingly good, and are well worth every Muggle's time and attention. For all you Potterheads out there, here are the best Harry Potter video games everyone should play!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Mac OS X, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox.
Why You Should've Played it: The graphics weren't great - even compared to the standards of the era - but it had more than enough charm to make up for it. The bedtime-story-style narration guided players through the original book's major plot points, with enough devious puzzles, challenging enemies and lightening-paced Quidditch matches to keep you entertained right up to the final showdown with Voldemort! I crushed that fool.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Platforms: Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Mac OS X.
Why You Should've Played it: Harry and the gang continued their digital journey by...fighting evil washing machines in the Weasley's garden? Well, that's how I remember it at least. Chamber of Secrets was much like its predecessor in many respects, but it introduced more spells, larger areas of the castle and some awesome one-on-one wizard duels.
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Game Boy Advance.
Why You Should've Played it: It was always gonna happen. Sure, Quidditch was fine in the main games, but the epic sport deserved it's own full title in order to do it justice. This criminally underrated game let you hop on the Comet 260, Nimbus 2000, Kovi Nimbus 2001and even the legendary Firebolt!
You could even compete for the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup, or face up against 9 national teams for the honor of world champion. Though it was a little repetitive, I thought it was a wonderful tribute to the magical pastime.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii, Game Boy Advance, Mac OS X
Why You Should've Played it: After Goblet of Fire's more linear gameplay mechanics, the return to an open sandbox world - allowing you to freely explore the grounds of Hogwarts - was a fully welcome return to form.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
Platforms: iOS, OS X, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360.
Why You Should've Played it: No doubt the best game of the bunch, Lego's treatment of the series was a masterclass in game design. With quirky cutscenes, an endless stream of unlockable characters and raucous co-op play - this one had it all! Smashing Ron to little pieces really never got old.