PU writes: “Do you know of the computer game Wizard 101? My 20 year old daughter has been playing this game for many years and insists it is just a fun game. I was wondering if there are actual spells in this game like there are in the Harry Potter books. And how innocent is this game?”
Yes, there are spells in this game but they are fictional and appear to be based in fantasy. However, they are used extensively throughout the game. In fact, Wizard 101 is described in the gaming industry as “an elaborate 3D virtual world in which magic and sorcery come to life . . . ”
In a nutshell, this is a multi-player online role-playing game created for preteens that is based in the fictional universe of the Spiral. There are several worlds in this universe and players access them by purchasing crowns or a membership that gives them unlimited access to all areas of the game. (This is one of the biggest complaints I’ve read about the game – how expensive it is to play. Although there are free areas, no one is ever satisfied with them for long.)
As the game describes players aim to be wizards who duel with monsters and other enemies in the strange worlds of the Spiral and can join forces with other online players. Players attend “Magic Schools” where they learn spells and other “skills” in order to prevent the “forces of evil” that are threatening to destroy Ravenwood Academy.
Players are taught that “Magic plays a huge part in the . . . world of Wizard101. Although magic existed before the written word, it derives from well-known sources. The magic of Fire, Ice and Storm comes from ancient Titans that ruled the world in the Days Before. The magic of Myth, Life and Death come from the power of the mind, body, and spirit of the Wizard casting them. The magic of Balance combines all of them.”
Each school of magic in the Wizard101 multiplayer world is very different and “has its own philosophy, rhythm, and nature that combine with the elements of the universe,” the site explains. “Wizards are free to choose a school of magic that reflects their personality and goals in the game.”
Most of this is fantasy magic; however, one aspect of this game is real and is an authentic occult item. It’s called an athame (dagger) which is used in the game to increase a character’s stats. In real life, an athame is a ceremonial dagger used to direct energy.
While the game is very fun and amusing, this reviewer says the chief concern of most parents is in the spiritual elements that are presented within the game.
“Although Wizard101 waters down the spiritual elements in the game to a more fantasy based system, it is possible that some children might become interested in learning more about the magic in which the game models its schools after. Therefore, we recommend that parents who allow their children to play Wizard101 be sure to regularly communicate with your children about their experience in the game and the concerns that you as a parent may have.”