The world came into existence again on a large train station filled with throngs of people coming and going their own directions. A stylized font appeared in white letters in the foreground, reading:

"King's Cross Station"

After a second the words faded away with a sparkle, and Harry's viewpoint changed dramatically. It zoomed around, examining the interior walls and stairs, flying past trains and train tracks, and breezing past the crowds before finally shooting into the back of a scrawny black-haired figure dressed in wizard's robes.

Harry yelped and threw his hands in front of his face.

After a second Harry realized he hadn't collided with anything, so he dropped his hands.

Harry exhaled sharply. One of the consoles he had bought was a Playstation 2, so this time around Harry recognized the Full-Motion Video for what it was: a non-interactive cut-scene intended to bridge a gap between interactive scenes.

Harry muttered to himself, "Stupid FMVs."

Harry was back at King's Cross Station, looking exactly as he remembered it from his last time around. Harry looked around. The staircase that had been his exit from this reality stood far off in the distance and a pair of adults in wizarding robes stood several platforms away. Standing next to them was a young boy dressed in the same fashion, and beyond them was a push-cart full of random objects.

As before, there was nobody in the Station besides those three people.

Harry sighed and started to walk towards them. A window popped up in front of Harry, who barely reacted.

*Hint: Check your inventory from the menu to read your Hogwarts acceptance letter!*

"Inventory", Harry called. On cue, the world became dark and a window popped up. The left-hand side of the window was taken up with a list of inventory categories, and the rest of the space held miniature versions of the inventory items. Currently the only category was "Story Items", and the only item was a miniaturized letter written on parchment.

"Hogwarts acceptance letter", Harry said. The letter zoomed out from the window and became full-sized in front of Harry. Harry took the letter in his hands and read it.

"Congratulations! You've been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Your first challenge: Find the hidden entrance to the Hogwarts Expresss!

Don't get lost, now!

P.S. The password is Squiddley-doodlefluffer."

Harry stared, eventually before putting the letter away. "Well, that's new," he said.

As Harry closed the inventory a magical jingle played from nowhere and a short text box popped up in front of him.

New Quest: "Ride the Hogwarts Express!"


*Hint: You can check your active quests from the menu!*

"Okay. Menu."

Character Status
Monster Folio
Load Game

"Character status," Harry said.

Character Name: Harry James Potter

[A 3-dimensional image of a 10-year old Harry Potter wearing his Hogwarts robes. I can't do it justice in text, so you'll just have to trust me that it looks really impressive.]

Transfiguration: 0
Charms: 0
Herbology: 0
Defense Against the Dark Arts: 5
Potions: 0

Relationships: 4 [+]
Leadership: 6
Brains: 2
Persuasion: 1


Current XP: 0 XP
XP to next level: 1,000 XP

"Whoa", said Harry. "That's a really impressive picture."

See? I told you.

"Quests", Harry said. The Character Status screen disappeared, to be replaced by another window:

Active Quests:

* Ride the Hogwarts Express!
** Current goal: Find the hidden entrance.

Harry closed the windows. "Hidden entrance", he grumbled. "It's not like I've never been here before."

Harry walked towards the wizards at the entrance to Platform 9 3/4. As Harry got closer the wizards disappeared into the hidden platform, first the kid and then the two adults. Harry arrived at what appeared to be a solid brick wall. Something caused Harry to pause before walking straight into it. He slowly reached out with his hand to touch the wall, which seemed to be further away than Harry had originally thought. He stepped forward, but his hand still didn't touch the wall. Harry nodded, satisfied that the passage was working as intended, and strode boldly through it. A few seconds later Harry emerged from the other end...

Right where he'd started from, at the empty King's Cross Station. Harry whipped around, only to see the brick wall behind him.

"Oh, come on!" Harry yelled.

Harry quickly strode through the portal again, and again he emerged from the tunnel at the same place he had entered it from.

"Am I going to have to break through this one too?" Harry wondered aloud, thinking back to the trick that had let him out of this video-game reality. But then he remembered reading something about a password.

"Inventory. Hogwarts letter."

"Congratulations! You've been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Your first challenge: Find the hidden entrance to the Hogwarts Expresss!

Don't get lost, now!

P.S. The password is Squiddley-doodlefluffer."

Harry groaned. "I'm so glad nobody else is going to hear me say this. Squiddley..."
Harry faltered, then said in a low, resigned voice, "Squiddley-doodlefluffer."

The brick wall reshaped itself into an archway wrought with steel and gold trim. On the other side Harry could see the Hogwarts Express.

Brief fanfare played and a message window popped up.

"Congratulations!" the text cheerily exclaimed. "You completed your first puzzle! Keep your wits about you, because they only get harder from here!"

*Gained 100 XP!*

Harry groaned and weighed his options, looking back and forth between the archway and the staircase back to reality. After several seconds Harry sighed and walked through the archway. The archway closed up behind him, leaving a solid brick wall in its place.