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Harry Potter Role-Playing Game Set at Hogwarts on Tap for Spring 2018 Release

Whip out your virtual wands: Another Harry Potter game is coming in 2018.

J.K. Rowling’s multibillion-dollar wizarding franchise will get a new mobile game, “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery,” set to be released next spring. It’s billed as the first game in which players can create their own characters — and experience life as a Hogwarts student.

The game is being developed by L.A.-based mobile games studio Jam City in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment under a licensing deal.

The game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a new label dedicated to J.K. Rowling’s creations. Portkey also is home to the forthcoming “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” an augmented-reality game being developed by Niantic Labs (the company behind “Pokemon Go”).

In “Hogwarts Mystery,” players progress through their years at Hogwarts, participating in the magical classes and activities Potterheads have come to love, including Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions, and Duelling Club. The game is actually set in the 1980s — before Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and friends have matriculated at the wizarding academy — although according to WB and Jam City, Albus Dumbledore and most of the iconic Hogwarts professors will appear in the game.

“‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’ is a mobile gaming experience inspired by J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding lore, and it will be an exciting, fun way for fans to experience the Wizarding World,” said David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City, added, “This game is a labor of love for our developers and artists, who are dedicated to creating the most magical entertainment and game play experience for everyone who adores J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.”

The free-to-play “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” game will be available for mobile devices via Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore. Info will be available on HarryPotterHogwartsMystery.com as well as on the game’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The seven books in Rowling’s Harry Potter series have sold over 450 million copies worldwide to date, while the Warner Bros. film adaptations have grossed more than $7.7 billion at the worldwide box office.

Jam City games include “Cookie Jam,” “Panda Pop,” “Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game” and “Marvel Avengers Academy.” The 500-employee company, formerly called SGN, bought games studio TinyCo in 2016. Jam City investors include Korea’s Netmarble Games and Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions.

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Scholastic Q2 Sales, Earnings Fall

Sales and earnings fell in Scholastic’s second quarter ended November 30, 2017, compared to the second quarter last year, but company chairman and CEO Dick Robinson said the company remains on track to hit its financial targets for fiscal 2018. Revenue declined 4% from a year ago, to $598.3 million, and operating profit dropped 4%, to $107.2 million.

The company expected results in the quarter and year to be below comparable periods a year ago, when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay posted strong sales. While sales in the children’s publishing and distribution group fell 5%, Robinson said the decline was less than expected due to strong sales of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series, and tie-in titles to the popular Five Nights at Freddy’s video game series. Still, trade sales fell 18% in the quarter due to the lack of a new Potter titles.

The group also benefited from a 2% increase in the book fair business. Book club revenue was down 7% in the quarter compared to fiscal 2017, but Robinson said profits at the clubs were higher than last year due to “lower cost digital marketing and improved efficiencies in customer service and fulfillment.”

The improved profitability in the book club division was one result of the company’s Scholastic 2020 program, which aims to lower costs throughout the company by greater investment in technology.

In Scholastic’s education unit, revenue in the quarter slipped to $70.9 million in the second quarter compared to $71.1 million in the prior year period, with slightly better results in classroom books and classroom magazines, the publisher said.

The lack of a new Potter title also affected the international group, where sales fell 3% to $115.6 million in the quarter. The lower revenue in the current quarter, Scholastic said, was mainly due to the higher level of Potter-related sales in Canada and in the export channel in the prior year period.

Sales in the first half of fiscal 2018 fell 13% from the same period in fiscal 2017, and operating income was $5.4 million, down from $49.6 million in the first six months of fiscal 2017.

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Absurd New ‘Harry Potter’ Book Written By Predictive Text Already Has Fan Art

It’s every Muggle’s dream come true: The arrival of a new Harry Potter adventure! Well, sort of. 

Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash is a new short story starring our favorite Boy Who Lived and his fellow wielders of magic. But here’s the catch: It’s written entirely by predictive keyboard. While not exactly as compelling (or rational) as J.K. Rowling’s original text, these four new pages have the best-selling author beat when it comes to absurdist humor. 

Here’s how it works: Botnik Studios, a company that teams up creative people with machines, fed all seven Harry Potter books into a predictive text keyboard. The tool analyzes the text, then “predicts” words based on the grammar and vocabulary patterns. 

Using the suggestions from that keyboard, a team of 12 Botnik contributors put together a downright bonkers but ultimately narratively satisfying new Harry Potter story.

There’s just one chapter—”The Handsome One”— and in it Harry, Ron and Hermione once again save the day from Voldemort and the Death Eaters. And a surprising amount of hot sauce is involved.

Stand-out lines include:

  • “Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good.”
  • “[Ron] saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family.”
  • “Ron’s Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself.”
  • “To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow, and soft bird. Harry did not like to think about birds.”
  • “‘If you two can’t clump happily, I’m going to get aggressive,’ confessed the reasonable Hermione.”
  • “‘Not so handsome now,’ thought Harry as he dipped Hermione in hot sauce.”
  • “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. “The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!”
  • “They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password was ‘BEEF WOMEN,’ Hermione cried.”

The Harry Potter fandom quickly adopted this new story. The original tweet went viral with more than 42,000 retweets in two days. In fact, fans love the new story so much they’re already making art inspired by the text. 

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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile RPG announced

We already told you about developer Niantic’s upcoming Harry Potter AR game, but it seems that’s not the only mobile return to Hogwarts in the works.

Developer Jam City has announced that they are working on a new Harry Potter mobile game called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Unlike Niantic’s app, this mobile game will play out like an RPG. 

Specifically, it will ask you to create a character, embark upon a journey that spans several years at Hogwarts, and “participate in all of the magical classes and activities they have come to love like Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Duelling Club, and more.” The game will also reportedly feature many of the professors from the books, but there’s no word on whether Harry and the gang are going to make an appearance at this time. 

There’s also a great deal of mystery surrounding how the game will actually play. We fill safe in saying that isn’t going to be an incredibly deep RPG experience, but there are some questions concerning whether or not this game will be a collection of class-based minigames or a fully-fledged story complete with combat, character building, and all that good stuff.

If we had to guess, we’d say that this game is going to be a simplified experience designed to appeal to the various age brackets that make up Harry Potter’s global fanbase. However, there is always hope this might be…well, that it might an actual game. 

There’s no release date for this mobile app available at this time.

We’d be lying if we said that there’s been a definitive Harry Potter game released to date. The closest that we’ve come is Quidditch World Cup and the Lego Harry Potter series. The EA games based on the series have ranged from “pretty good” (Chamber of Secrets) to “burn it with fire” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1). 

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A bot has written a Harry Potter book and it’s not a classic

It’s definitely not magic: a computer has written a Harry Potter novel and it is beyond terrible. The tome was produced by Botnik, which, according to the company’s website, is “a community of writers, artists and developers collaborating with machines to create strange new things.”

The outcome is the majestically named Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. Needless to say, JK Rowling needn’t be concerned about the robots jacking her steez any time soon. At the most, the bot-written novel might be adapted into a so-bad-it’s-good movie, but you can be certain that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint would give it a wide berth.

How’s this for an opening line? “The castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.” Some people say that fiction is just a load of bloody hot air – and on this occasion they would be correct.

Sometimes, the bots come up with a plausible sentence or two. “‘Death eaters are on tops of the castle!’ Ron bleated” is actually sort-of not bad, is it? Like, it’s better than anything in Morrissey’s novel. There are lows, though: “The password was BEEF WOMEN,” Hermione cried.” Many readers noted that the Harry Potter books became more textured and layered, more deftly written, as the universe created by JK Rowling expanded through the seven main novels. Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash has, to put it politely, reversed that trend.

Rowling has become big on Twitter in recent years, but is yet to comment on Harry Bot-ter. The ‘bots may become more accomplished scribes over time, and perhaps she’s been spooked by one line in their book: “The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!”

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The Fantastic Beasts Creatures That Are Returning For The Crimes Of Grindelwald

We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out what this Chinese addition to Newt Scamander‘s animal collection is, but the Niffler and Picket are well familiar to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them fans. Resembling a mole, the unnamed Niffler (seen above) is quite the kleptomaniac, stealing anything shiny it can get its little hands on. Turning to Pickett, he is a Bowtruckle, a small, insect-eating, tree-dwelling critter. Newt keeps several Bowtruckle in his suitcase zoo, but he’s taken a particular shine to Pickett, often carrying him around in his pocket to keep him warn and because that particular Bowtruckle has attachment issues. Bowtruckles are good at picking locks, so perhaps Pickett will help Newt out if he’s been chained up by a nefarious individual. As for the Niffler, if it’s gotten loose again, the nearby jewelry shops and banks will be in trouble.

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5 Movies That Had Pretty Dumb Villains

Villainous characters help to put us on the edge in movies because of their complex agendas which can be elaborate enough to wipe off the protagonists in any movie.

Unfortunately however, a lot of the times the villains have their agendas coming back to haunt them because they underestimate the protagonists and get themselves in a ridiculous Web simply because they weren’t smart enough to know when to back down.

As a matter of fact, a lot of movies would not have seen the light of the day if the villains in them were smart enough to have made better decisions.

Check out five of your favourite movies from the past which would not have been if the villains were a tad smarter.

Home Alone (1990)

Home alone
This Christmas comedy movie stars young Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a boy who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation.

The villains of the movie, Harry and Marv aren’t that bring as they are outsmarted by the young Kevin. brightest duo by a long shot. The villains passed through a lot of torture in the hands of Kevin as they are set on fire, burnt by hot doorknobs and scared by fireworks.

What makes it funny is that the duo are supposed to be hardened criminals who have been on the prowl without being captured for long. This makes it funny very funny that they were defeated by a young boy that is practically home alone.

They could just have found a better way such as entering the house while Kevin is asleep and getting the things they needed but their dumb nature is exactly what made the movie a blockbuster.

Blade (1998)

Deacon frost
Blade is an American vampire superhero film starring Wesley Snipes as Vampire-hunter Eric “Blade” Brooks and Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost and is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

Deacon frost as a ridiculous plan to wipe out all humans from existence by turning them into vampires in the first Blade movie. Frost’s intention is bizarre because if he wipes of all humans there would be no food supply for the vampires since they feed on human blood.

As such Deacon Frost’s dream of killing all humans would definitely lead to an extinction of his own kind too.

The Matrix (1999)

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The Matrix is a science-fiction movie starring Keanu Reeves as Thomas ‘Neo’ Anderson, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.

The villainous character of agent Smith could simply have brought a thousand versions of himself to overwhelm Neo and his crew before he had a chance to kill him.

Agent Smith should’ve brought a hundred versions of himself to the original Matrix movie which would have made the movie just one part instead of dragging us through 2 more.

The Harry Potter Films (2001-2011)

Lordvoldemort
This British film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling stars stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as the three leading characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Despite how terrifying Voldemort looks, he’s not the smartest of villains as he had multiple opportunities to put an end to Harry Potter but failed to do so in all.

Sure, Voldemort looks terrifying, but he’s certainly not the smartest villain. How many times does Voldemort have young Harry Potter in a situation where he can easily put an end to him but hesitates because he wants to follow a complex and rigid route to achieve his aims.

This ultimately leads to the demise of Lord Voldemort. If only he had been smarter!

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Tom-Hardy-as-Bane-in-The-Dark-Knight-Rises-HQ-bane-30728009-1065-1600
The movie is the final installment in Nolan’s Batman film trilogy, and the sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008).

Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, and introduces Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), and Bane (Tom Hardy). Bane’s mission is to destroy Gotham City by any means possible, in fulfilment of Ra’s al Ghul’s wishes.

He however threatens to release use nuclear weapons all through the movie when he could simply have used it. He creates a plan to release all the prisoners at Blackgate Penitentiary, trap all police officers underground and take down the banks and the Gotham Stock Exchange.

He simply could have used the bomb in the first place, couldn’t he?

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A Bot Wrote a New Harry Potter Chapter, and It Is Utterly Crazy

“Harry could tell Voldemort was standing right behind him. He felt a great overreaction. Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment.”

Thus transpires the confrontation between Harry Potter and He Who Must Not Be Named in a just-published new chapter, ‘The Handsome One’, from Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. This new tome—of which only the one chapter so far exists—is so not from the mind of J.K. Rowling. It’s not quite from anyone’s, actually. It’s the result of an experiment by the Botnik organization, and it’s hilariously stupid. Naturally, it’s going viral.

Botnik describes itself as “a community of writers, artists and developers collaborating with machines to create strange new things.” Mission accomplished. Botnik’s core members include computer scientist Elle O’Brien, creative developer Joseph Parker, Jamie Brew, former head writer at Clickhole, and Bob Mankoff, who for years was the cartoons editor at The New Yorker, and as such was the main subject of the HBO documentary Very Semi-Serious. Anyone is welcome to join the Botnik community.

‘The Handsome One’ is the product of a predictive keyboard app Botnik developed. Predictive keyboard apps attempt to guess the word or phrase a user is typing so the user can simply tap the displayed word or phrase for entry, instead of typing it out.

Brew has been playing with predictive keyboard creations for a while, with his Batman Loves Him a Criminal posted to Tumblr a while back. Others have created poetry with such apps.

The predictive algorithm in Botnik’s app is based on the language in the actual Harry Potter books. Botnik distributed the app to members for them to experiment with, and their favorite results were submitted for compilation as the insane Harry Potter chapter.

The Handsome One, page 1

(BOTNIK)

Everyone who reads ‘The Handsome One’ will have their favorite passages. Here are some of ours:

  • Leathery sheets of rain lashed at Harry’s ghost as he walked across the grounds toward the castle. Ron was standing there doing a kind of frenzied tap dance. He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family.
  • To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow and soft bird.
  • Locked,” said Mr. Staircase, the shabby-robed ghost. They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password is “BEEF WOMEN,” Hermione cried.
  • Mountains of mice exploded. Several long pumpkins fell out of McGonagall.
  • “I’m Harry Potter,” Harry began yelling. “The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!”

In any event, it looks like carbon-based authors and poets are safe from obsolescence for now. Not so much Voldemort, though, who is a “very bad and mean wizard,” according to The Handsome One’s best friend.

Read the full chapter over at Botnik.

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Predictive text AI writes its own Harry Potter story filled with dancing, Ron magic & cannibalism

Artificial Intelligence has some pretty useful functions, from powering your smartphone to an adaptive enemy in a video game. Botnik Studios has been testing its own AI in the form of a predictive keyboard, enabling it to write its very own Harry Potter chapter for hilarious results.

Botnik’s AI was initially trained using all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, consuming all of its data and coming up with its own algorithm as to what it expects a real human to write next. It’s similar to the predictive texting on smartphones but more advanced.

Needless to say, very few humans would have written the text that appears in Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. In fact, so much so that the magical themes of the wizarding world are swapped for a dash of darkness and a whole load of nonsense.

Ron Weasley in particular becomes a bizarre caricature of himself, as a self-absorbed wizard that wears Ron shirts and uses Ron magic, least of all does “a kind of frenzied tap dance” and “eat[s] Hermione’s family.” Then again, I’d say him throwing his wand rather than using it was rather in character to his original self.

While the AI did the brunt of the work in creating this fantastical nonsense, human interaction was needed to clear it up a little for clarity. All of the story beats, if you could truly call them that, remain intact.

It seems that while industry experts like Elon Musk still has concerns about AI technology, it’s nowhere near the stage in which it can comprehend human emotion or true cognitive thought.

KitGuru Says: I’ve avoided spoiling much of the content as I found it a hilarious read on two separate occasions. If this is Chapter Thirteen, I want the other twelve and beyond but, of course, this might not be to everyone’s tastes. What did you think about Botnik’s AI-powered predictive text?

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JK Rowling mocks defeated Roy Moore: ‘God is a black woman’

JK Rowling has ridiculed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore by suggesting he lost Tuesday’s election because he was being punished by a black, female God.

Mr Moore – a former state judge with strong support among evangelical conservatives – lost the Alabama special election by only a narrow margin, despite allegations of racism and sexual harassment levelled at him.

Democrat Doug Jones claimed victory on Tuesday, meaning the conservative stronghold has its first Democratic senator since 1992.

But despite preliminary results showing Mr Jones led by more than 21,000 votes, Mr Moore still refused to accept defeat on Tuesday evening.

When the vote is this close, it is not over,” he told a crowd of supporters. “But we also know that God is always in control. Part of the thing, part of the problem with this campaign is we’ve been painted in an unfavourable and unfaithful light.

“We’ve been put in a hole, if you will, and it reminds me of a passage in Psalm 40: ‘I waited patiently for the Lord,’ that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Sharing a link to footage of Mr Moore’s speech on Twitter, Rowling wrote: “Narrator’s voice: Roy was right. God was in control. What he didn’t realise was, She’s black.”

Some Twitter users criticised the the Harry Potter author, pointing out black characters did not take primary importance in Ms Rowling’s novels.

Mr Moore, who was backed by Donald Trump during his election campaign, came under fire when he seemed to express nostalgia for America during slavery at a September rally.

When a black man in the crowd asked what Mr Trump meant by his slogan “make America great again,” Mr Moore said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery.

“They cared for one another. People were strong in the families. Our families were strong. Our country had a direction.”

Introducing her husband at a rally on the eve of the 12 December vote, Kayla Moore defended her husband against the racism allegations, saying: “We have many friends that are black and we also fellowship with them in church and in our home.”

The Democrat win in Alabama has nationwide consequences, since it narrows the slim Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49.

Democrats are seeking to build on anti-Trump sentiment to mount a challenge next year to Republican control of Congress.

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