Playing The Hogwarts Legacy Pre-Release

I have only been a fan of Harry Potter since October of 2022, but when I found out about the pre-release of the Hogwarts Legacy video game I immediately pulled out my wallet, logged onto Steam, and purchased the Deluxe PC edition for myself. Since then, I have been counting down the seconds until February 7, 2023, waiting patiently to access my 72 hours of early gameplay. 

So, when the clock hit 11 AM MST Tuesday, February 7th, I launched my Steam client in a rush of double clicks and slammed on that bright green play button. My heart was beating wildly against my chest as the large Warner Brothers logo floated toward me on my screen. “This is it,” I told my friend, who had joined me on Discord to share in the experience, “this is about to be my new obsession.”

First, I had to choose the correct settings for my preferred gameplay experience. The interface was easy enough to understand, but I realized there were many settings I would have to adjust as the game progressed such as spell slots and toggle vs hold. 

After my settings were deemed satisfactory, I moved to the character creation page. My expectations for this game rest in Skyrim’s hands as it is my favorite role-playing game (RPG), so I was ready for some high-detailed, to-the-centimeter type of character customization. I am sad to report that this was not the case instead the character I made was based on a few templates and color scroll bars. My first idea was to create a Malfoy-based witch, but after looking through the four options they gave me for blonde-colored hair, paired with the lightest pale skin they had, I decided to give up my pursuit of creating a Malfoy heir. I then moved on to creating an androgynous character, testing just how far these character creation limits could reach. Sadly, most template options appeared to be either super soft and round or extremely cutting and angular. Also, there were no options for choosing nose, mouth, eye, ear, or jaw shape individually. I could either choose a fully created character and tweak the colors, or I could choose one of about 15 preset faces. The redeeming quality of character creation was the ability to give my character a range of skin detail. There were many options for types of freckles, beauty marks, and complexion types my character could have. I finished creating my witch by adding some dark circles under their eyes to set the tone for the restless journey I knew waited for me on the next screen. 

How right I was!

The game wastes no time at all getting you into their world and the dangers that lie ahead. Don’t expect to relax for too long as the game needs you to be ready and on your feet to solve their starting puzzles and cast your first spells. Luckily you have a guide in Professor Fig who joins you on your first journey. He teaches you your first spells, and the game has made them very intuitive for either a long-time player or a new gamer. Plus, you get lots of practice before taking down your first enemy. What your guide doesn’t tell you is to look EVERYWHERE. I cannot stress this enough, you HAVE TO SEARCH. This world has so much to offer right from the jump, so if you don’t look around you will miss the gifts the Hogwarts Legacy game developers are trying to give you. 

Speaking of looking around, one of the most anticipated aspects of this game for me was the visuals. The trailer alone was not enough, I needed to see for myself the sun’s reflection on the water and the moving paintings along the Hogwarts Castle walls. In this regard, the game did NOT disappoint. I spent the better part of an hour just looking at all of the sights and scenery that were available to me, this included searching every available inch of the Hufflepuff dorms and common room without NPC protest. One thing I did wish for was the ability to transfer from a 3rd person to 1st person’s point of view. While I don’t mind looking at the back of my character’s head while traveling around the castle, I thought it would be a cool way to fully immerse myself in the Hogwarts experience by seeing the world through the eyes of a student rather than the eyes of an observing camera. 

It was now hour three of my early access experience and I was beaten. I had expected to play until the sun went down, but the amount of information that the first few cutscenes and quests provide was putting my brain on overload. I knew that if I continued to play my brain would force me into autopilot, and this is the one game that I want to be fully conscious of as missing even one small detail may alter the course of my gaming experience. 

If you’re on the fence about purchasing Hogwarts Legacy, I would recommend watching videos of first-look playthroughs as they will show you a general idea of what to expect while playing. If you’re just waiting for your chance to play then I wish you good luck, and may your time at Hogwarts be everything you’ve ever hoped for! 

Tiana Penczar

Tiana Penczar


Watching VS Playing Video Games

TheRadBrad, PewDiePie, Ninja, and Pokimane. Whether or not you watch their channels, you’ve probably at least heard about one of these gaming streamers. YouTube and Twitch alike can provide hours of entertainment in the form of a video game “Let’s Play”, a live or pre-recorded session of someone playing through a video game. A 2018 study found that 48% of YouTube viewers spent more time watching video games than playing them, and the site itself tracked over 50 billion hours of gaming content watched over the year. The live streaming service “Twitch” logged 9 billion hours watched on their website ( 

“Cool, but, why would I want to watch someone else play a video game?”

Great question! 

Some gamers will watch a Let’s Play of a game they have already played through. This allows them to watch someone else enjoy a game that they know is fun. Doug McGarvey, a commenter on Quora, explains that watching a Let’s Play is like experiencing the game for the first time through the streamer’s reaction ( Being able to relive your first play-through of a game you love is like being able to read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie for the first time because to the new viewer, everything is a surprise. 

“Yeah, I guess that makes sense, but what if it’s a game even I haven’t played yet? Shouldn’t my first experience be playing it myself?”

Another great point!

While getting to play a game for the first time is a lot of fun, it might not be a lucrative option for some gamers. With inflation on the rise, video games are becoming less and less affordable and for some players, like a deleted user on the r/Gaming4Gamers Reddit thread, some games “have typical gameplay that I’m all too familiar with and already have enough of in my collection of games.” ( So spending the money on a slightly different version of the same open-world quest-based game or first-person shooter isn’t really worth it. However, watching someone else play for free allows interested gamers to experience the gameplay and storyline without needing to crack open their wallet. Plus, popular YouTube and Twitch streamers earn money based on how many views their video gets, so spending your time watching their content not only saves you money but pays their bills in return! It’s a win-win!

“Alright, so I can help streamers earn money while also enjoying the game for myself, but what if I already own the game? Why wouldn’t I just play it instead?”

You should play it!

Another benefit to watching streamers play games is being able to learn from their experiences. This is especially applicable to games that require strategy or puzzle-solving. In games like Valorant, players need to be skilled in first-person shooters and able to use their character’s special abilities in order to slow, harm, blind, or disorient their opponent. There are some strategy plays that are made for specific maps and are foolproof for getting the desired effect on your enemy. These plays can be discovered on one’s own, but if you have the ability to learn from a streamer’s video, why not use it? 

Puzzle games like Portal could stump you on particularly difficult levels, however, there are streamers out there that have put literal days into making a video explaining exactly how to get past a level you thought was impossible. It’s not cheating, you just needed a little extra help! 

If you keep yourself from watching gaming streams just because you think video games should be played rather than watched, you’re keeping yourself from an entire world of entertainment that can not only open doors to new experiences but could also broaden your knowledge of the gaming world as we know it. 

Tiana Penczar

Tiana Penczar


The Female Gaming Experience

Valorant, CS:GO and Call of Duty.

What do all of these games have in common? 

If you said that they are all first-person shooters with a large community and voice-chat abilities, you’d be correct! However, you would be missing a key part of each of these gaming experiences.

Unrelenting sexism.

It’s not uncommon for female gamers, most notably the ones who are brave enough to speak in voice chat, to receive hate just for being women. An article written for Bennett College News interviewed a 22-year-old female Valorant player, Hannah Bowman, where she stated “I won’t solo queue because I’m a girl, even if I do a solo queue I definitely won’t speak.” Sadly this is a common occurrence in many male-dominated games, especially those with voice chats or known toxic environments.

The Rise of Female Gamers: Esports' Underappreciated Fans| Teknos 

When speaking in-game, it is really a 50/50 chance as to whether or not your teammates will be nice or rude, then for women, you can expect to add another 50/50 split between experiencing crude comments against you because of your gender. Not speaking in the chat is one way to prevent rude comments from being thrown your way, but why should women be forced into silence out of fear of being criticized?

The short answer: they shouldn’t. 

Allowing men to bully women into silence over the internet is just another way that women are losing independence and control over the patriarchy. This cycle of women standing up for themselves and then immediately being brought back down will only continue as younger generations join online games. 

I have noticed that when speaking in a voice chat mixed with younger and older players, the younger players will be generally nicer to me until an older player speaks down on my gameplay or gender. This then prompts the younger players to bully me in an effort to impress their older counterparts. Herein lies the problem. 

Not only are we facing a cycle of men putting down women, but we are also seeing a pattern of men putting down women in the presence of boys. The boys, who look up to older men, proceed to treat women in future games with the same kind of disrespect as their elders.

So how can we stop this cycle before it forces women out of the gaming community?

We could start with showing rather than telling. Instead of telling young boys, or men still willing to listen, that it’s not nice to look down on women for their gender we can each take a moment to monitor what we say in voice chat. Instead of yelling insults or slurs, we can give credit where credit is due and include everyone in gaming celebrations. Did they manage three headshots last round? Tell them how dope that was! Did someone say something rude in chat? Call them out on it! Let’s create a gaming environment fueled by positivity rather than negativity. 

I think we’ll all be surprised to see how many people were just following the loudest guy in the room. 

Tiana Penczar

Tiana Penczar


Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom New

Fans can finally stop holding their breath as Link’s adventure in a post-apocalyptic Hyrule will return on May 12, 2023. The game, which has been dubbed, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, will be a sequel to the Critically Acclaimed game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Many fans are rallying in excitement over the future of the game and the franchise as a whole. Even before Coming out, Tears of the Kingdom had already won two separate awards for its anticipation. Awarded the Most Wanted Game by the Golden Joystick Awards and the Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards 2022.

The game will be a sequel to Breath of the Wild, which has been considered by many to be one of the greatest games in the series catalog, if not the best that Nintendo has made. Our beloved Hero, Link, once again has to reprise his role as the hero of Hyrule, except this time, he has amnesia. 

Link has to piece together his fragmented memory while stopping Ganon. The game revolutionized the franchise and brought it into a new era of open-world combat. Not only was it revolutionary for the franchise, but for open-world combat as well! By letting the players fight Ganon immediately after the tutorial, the creators gave nearly total freedom to the players’ Breath of the Wild was a somber but relaxing game in which players could explore a post-apocalyptic Hyrule that had suffered under Calamity Ganon’s wrath for a century. A prequel, The Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors, followed the game. Hyrule Warriors had separated itself from the rest of The Legend of Zelda titles by changing the slow strategic mechanics of the previous games and replacing them with an enthralling Hack and Slash Adventure. 

Many Fans will be pleased to know that the Director of Breath of Wild, Hidemaro Fujibayashi, reprises his role once again to direct Tears of the Kingdom, followed by long-time series Producer Eiji Aonuma. Fujibayashi had directed and Planned out many of the previous Zelda titles, Including Skyward sword and the Gameboy game Four Swords. Both of which are considered some of the best in the series. Eiji Aonuma has worked on the series since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Having served as a director, supervisor, and producer respectfully. So it’s safe to say that Tears of the Kingdom is in very good hands!

Players will be able to find the game on both the Nintendo store and store shelves on May 12, 2022. 

As for the game itself, not much is known about the actual gameplay or story, but various theories revolve around it. However, some details can be deduced based on what we know from Breath of the Wild and what the trailers have revealed.

In the gameplay trailer, we can see that most of the gameplay will have Link taking to the skies and exploring the floating Islands above Hyrule. The game will involve Link going into new dungeons and collecting the “Tears” that will aid him in his quest.

In the game’s trailers, a new mechanic allows Link to change the direction of his fall. Changing from links signature pencil dive to an arched position. Fans of the series speculate that this will tie into another mechanic, a platform shaped like an airplane that will allow players to fly above the skies of Hyrule. The biggest takeaway that most people have seen is Link himself. Link is seen to have a damaged arm from his battle with Calamity Ganon in Breath of the wild, which some players suspect will replace the Sheikah Plate.

Although the gameplay has many essential characteristics, the overall story appears much darker than any previous games in franchise history. Legend of Zelda is never afraid to discuss dark or even grim subject matter such as death and loss of a loved one, and some fans fear for the worst over the fate of the characters in the breath of the wild timeline.

Lachlan McAloon

Lachlan McAloon


Hogwarts Legacy: By Platform

Hogwarts Legacy, a new adventure set in the past of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, will be released by Warner Bros. and Avalanche Software on all major gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Series X. However, instead of releasing on all platforms at the same time, the launch will be spread out over a period of six months.

The release of Hogwarts Legacy, the new adventure game set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is further complicated by an early access option tied to the Deluxe Edition of the game. For an additional cost, players can access the game before its official launch date. The game will officially release on February 10th for PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X, with the standard version costing $59.99 on PC and $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X. 

The Deluxe Edition, which includes 72 hours of early access starting February 7th, costs $69.99 on PC and $79.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and also includes the Dark Arts pack with additional cosmetic items, a mount and access to the Dark Arts Battle Arena.

For Potter fans on PS4 and Xbox One, Hogwarts Legacy will be released on those consoles on April 4. There is no early access period for the PS4 and Xbox One versions.

The Nintendo Switch version of Hogwarts Legacy will be released on July 25.

When will Hogwarts Legacy, the new adventure game set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, be released? Here is a summary:

  • -February 7th: Deluxe Edition early access for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X
  • -February 10th: Standard edition release for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X
  • -April 4th: Deluxe and Standard edition release for PS4, Xbox One
  • -July 25th: Deluxe and Standard edition release for Nintendo Switch.

The Collector’s Edition of Hogwarts Legacy, which includes physical collectibles, will also be released on February 7th, allowing fans who wish to purchase it to play the game early. The Collector’s Edition can be pre-ordered for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X for $299.99 and PC for $289.99.

 However, versions for PS4 and Xbox One are also available for $289.99, but will not be released until April. It’s worth noting that Warner Bros. is not selling a Collector’s Edition for the Nintendo Switch version of the game. However, it appears that the Collector’s Edition is currently sold out at retailers such as Amazon and GameStop.

Brandon Shields

Brandon Shields


Resident Evil 25th Anniversary Celebrated with Limited Edition Beverage Collection by Capcom

For fans of the Resident Evil franchise who have wondered about the taste of the unique herbs in the game, Capcom has partnered with GameFlavor to release a limited edition collector’s box to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series. The box will include 10 collectible drink cans and other bonus items. 

The collection was launched in 2021, commemorating the milestone of the franchise.

GameFlavor has revealed that the collectible cans in the box are inspired by the first-aid sprays and herbs featured in Resident Evil. Each can contains 330ml of a cucumber and lime-mint flavored liquid.

The collection also includes a spray cap inspired by the first Resident Evil game, four ink ribbons containing different herbs inspired by the series, four recipe cards for non-alcoholic Resident Evil-based cocktails, a certificate of authenticity, and an art book.

The Resident Evil 25th Anniversary Beverage Collection box set is limited to 4,750 pieces and is available for preorder at the price of $214. The box set will be launched in the Q3 of 2023. It’s worth noting that the drinks in the collection are non-alcoholic, making them safe for consumption for all ages, so it’s perfect for sharing with younger members of the family.

The Resident Evil franchise has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with the success of Resident Evil 7 leading to critically acclaimed remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, a sequel in the form of Resident Evil Village, and a Netflix series.

Fans of the series who plan to purchase the PSVR 2 next month will be able to experience the horror of Resident Evil Village in virtual reality with a free VR mode. Additionally, a remake of Resident Evil 4 is set to be released on March 23rd for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.

According to Kurt Indovina in GameSpot’s Resident Evil 4 preview, the remake of the game is not focused on revolutionizing the gaming industry as the original did 17 years ago. Instead, Capcom is focusing on the elements that have made Resident Evil 4 timeless over the years, such as its design, tension, and the character of Leon S. Kennedy.

The goal of the remake is to highlight what was great about the game and improve it with the knowledge and experience the franchise has gained in its 26 years of existence.

Brandon Shields

Brandon Shields

Founder | Team Havoc Studios

The Top 7 Gaming Franchises to play in 2023!

Gaming is the #1 leisure activity in the world. We cannot escape gaming; whether it’s hardcore competitive gaming on Fortnite or casual Minesweeper–gaming is here to stay.

According to, “Over 227 million people in the US play video games one to a few hours per week, which accounts for over 75% of all Americans”. Of course, this is only within the US, but worldwide there are nearly 4 billion gamers.

Gaming, which began in 1971–focused on primitive computer-console games that scientists had developed for research purposes. Nowadays, gaming has evolved to hyper-realism. Real life and virtual reality have become indistinguishable, which causes people to live within the digital format more and more as the evolution of gaming progresses.

The demographics of gaming told by are split near 60/40–with the majority being male; however, the difference has increasingly balanced out over the years as it has become more inclusive within the gaming community for new demographics to take shape.

The most popular games of today in esports and mainstream gaming follow a path set in the 2010s, which have become the following: League of Legends, Valorant, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and of course… Minecraft.

We’ve crafted a list of the Top 7 Games in the world based on popularity and accessibility!

#1 Minecraft

The most popular game–Minecraft has held a whopping 12-year growth lead amongst its competitor titles in the gaming world. Minecraft, a simplistic and sandbox-like game has garnered the attention of the globe.

A game that has grown more and more throughout the years from outlets such as multiplayer servers and YouTubers–Minecraft is king. Minecraft, which is available through its Java launcher has since introduced the integrative “Bedrock” launcher. Bedrock allows Minecraft to expand cross-platform through a console, PC, and even mobile.

Minecraft has 141 Million monthly active users and is increasing this number daily because of its inclusiveness to cross-platform.

#2 League of Legends

The second most popular game today is League of Legends. A game that has built most of its notoriety throughout the last decade by running up numbers within the esports genre. League of Legends or “LOL” can be summarized as the most popular esport in the world in 2022.

Why is LOL the most popular esport in the world?

We believe it is because of the universal components that make up the game, which causes the game is popular amongst different cultures and countries. On Twitch, LOL has the record for most unique viewers in an active stream for gaming and also has the record for most all-time Twitch views.

#3 Grand Theft Auto

Particularly the game known as GTA 5, Grand Theft Auto 5 stole the hearts of everyone in 2013 and since then, we’ve seen billions of dollars rack up in Rockstar’s pockets as they delivered one of the most successful and content-driven games of the 21st century.

Since 2013, Rockstar has produced new updates and DLC content for GTA 5, causing people to continuously stick around the platform. There are even people who build customized multiplayer servers that surpass the limits of vanilla GTA.

Nowadays, GTA VI is all the rave. A game that has players begging, it seems that the next edition of GTA will surpass the hype of the last.

#4 Fortnite

The game that broke the internet, is Fortnite. Fortnite is the culture-bomb of the gaming world. The game has broken barriers and bridged the gap between Hollywood and gaming.

We saw the first piece of culture attach itself to gaming when Drake joined a Ninja stream back in 2018, causing the world to take notice of this new and popular franchise.

A game that’s purpose is to throw you into a game as quickly as possible while not charging you to play the base game was a model that many began to copy.

Epic Games’ most popular game of all time would be free to play, but would rack up billions in VBucks and online purchasable content!

#5 Call of Duty

The most storied franchise out of all the games listed is without a doubt–Call of Duty.

Call of Duty got its start in the early 2000s as just a simple computer game, and now there are millions at stake yearly for its championship prize and we continue to see the evolution between the BR component and multiplayer competitive gaming.

In 2020, everything changed as “Warzone” became the meta of gaming. During a time of pandemic isolation and digital transformation–gaming on Verdansk with your friends and family became the way to stay connected. There were more newcomers into gaming than ever before during this time and Warzone took a hefty percentage of the lot.

#6 Valorant

The new kid on the block–Valorant. Mouse-and-keyboard control gameplay shows us that consoles do not rule at all. We begin to understand why PC gaming is king and just why it is so important to have the hardware if you want to become a competitive gamer.

As suggests, Valorant has become one of the most popular FPS games surpassing 13 Million active players per month. Valorant has become increasingly popular as more Esport teams take on the franchise as an extension of their competitive teams. It will be interesting to see how Valorant grows as a true player amongst the giants of gaming.

#7 Apex Legends

One of the most difficult games to master (besides build-mode Fortnite), may be Apex Legends. Apex Legends. Apex has become super popular within 2022, as many huge streamers and content creators have begun to flock to the game. 

We believe people are flocking toward Apex because other publishers like Activision and EA are not adapting fast enough to the player’s needs, and the players have spread their wings to fly away. 

Brandon Shields

Brandon Shields

Shields is the current CEO and Founder of Team Havoc Studios.