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It's a little hard to stomach this, but the original PlayStation release of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was released 19 years ago. It feels like just yesterday I came home from Blockbuster in the back of my mum's car, excitedly thumbing through the manual and getting a head start on some of the spells I'd be using on my first digital trip to Hogwarts. It feels strange to think there was a time when the word "Flippendo" wasn't seared into my consciousness.
It's nearly two decades later, and I think I might have to accept that maybe that first Potter game wasn't very good. I remember despising the Quidditch stuff, and I don't think I ever worked out how to beat Voldemort at the very end - although I was pretty young so maybe it was actually super obvious.
Either way, the real beauty of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone seems to be that it will live on forevermore in memes. Rather than being remembered for being a genuinely good game, people remember savage Malfoy ("nice earmuffs Potter, did your mum make them for you?"), the weird low-poly models in the audience at Quidditch matches, and PS1 Hagrid.
I suppose it's really PS1 Hagrid, not the game itself, that I wanted to honour today. He also celebrates turning 19, after all, and I think that he might just be one of the most relatable video game characters of the last few decades. They say the eyes are a window to the soul, and it seems to me that if you stare into the low-poly peepers of the gruff groundskeeper for long enough, you see your true self reflected back. Forget the Mirror Of Erised, I have PS1 Hagrid.
Why is it that so many of my generation have been captivated by this strange, fuzzy beast? With his vacant expression and mournful, poorly defined features, he's doomed to wander the grounds of an increasingly obsolete video game for the rest of his life. Does he know this is the life he's been fated to? Does he suffer in silence as Harry runs around the school collecting jellybeans and chocolate frogs?
We may never know what exactly goes through the head of PS1 Hagrid, but I do know that I can look at his worn old face and think to myself without hesitation; "yep, that's a whole vibe right there". Don't ask me how or why, but I just know that PS1 Hagrid has captured the essence of being 100% done with everyone else's crap, and I respect that. So Happy Birthday, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone. Thank you for the memories, and bless you for the gift that is PS1 Hagrid. May he live in our hearts forever.