While the buzz in Myrtle Beach this summer may be all about the new Hard Rock Park, the city is also home to another rather unique attraction called MagiQuest which is located within the massive Broadway At The Beach entertainment / retail complex. The MagiQuest experience is sure to appeal to anyone who has enjoyed the Harry Potter books or films, as your goal is to become a Master Magi by taking on a series of quests with the aid of a magic wand that you can customize to your liking before entering the game world.
As part of the customizing process you can pick one of several different wands that vary slightly by color as well as trim, and then there are various themed “toppers” you can place at the back end of the wand, each representing the various clans in the MagiQuest universe. It doesn’t end there however; as the gift shop is full of other items you can decorate your wand with and clothing items you can wear if you really want to get into it. Once your ready you can decide upon how much game time you want to purchase and set off on your adventure. Don’t worry about buying too much game time however, as you have very little chance of actually completing every single quest they’ve got programmed into the MagiQuest center in a day. This is the reason why you get to keep your wand when you leave, because it is linked to your game experience and will act as a way to save your game until you are ready to return again on another day.
Once your ready to go you will be handed a little mini manual called the Ancient Book of Wisdom which is really a kind of newbie guide to help you along your way with the first series of quests. Keep this book handy and refer to it often, as it will really help you get a grasp of how the first several quests work. Armed with this knowledge you should be ready to enter the pre-game briefing.
Your first stop is actually a little pre-game briefing room where you watch some introductory video clips and are placed within a themed environment where you are free to fire away at will at the various objects with your magic wands. You activate your wand’s power pretty much the same way you see any magician handle their own magic wand. Just point your wand at whatever you want to cast a spell upon and give it a light shake and presto… that treasure chest you were aiming at will open all by itself and reveal it’s contents. Aim it at an unlit candle on the wall and it may light up. You never know just what is going to happen at first and it’s not like you’ve got a limited supply of ammunition or anything, so go ahead and fire away with your wand as much as you want and get comfortable with it. That said, you should be ready to enter the heart of the MagiQuest game world.
Upon first glance, the large two-level “room” that houses the world of MagiQuest can be a little overwhelming. Treasure chests are everywhere, you’ll find a large tree house to one side, a castle structure to the other and pathways to dark dungeons and crypts lie unseen in the shadows. Pay attention to the Stonehenge looking structure near the entrance as this is where you will go first and where you will constantly return to choose your quests. Through a video screen you will pick your first quest and be shown a video briefing of your mission, giving you hints about what you need to go find (and zap with your wand) out in the game world before you can return to earn your experience points and pick a new quest. Interactive video screens like this can be found throughout the game world however, though many serve purposes such as being an important part of one particular quest, though can you also check on the status of your current quest’s checklist of tasks on many of them as well.
As for the quests themselves… some are fairly simple, some are short, and some are just long and complex, sometimes requiring you to not only find and zap a long list of objects with your wand, but sometimes you even have to get them in a specific order. And if the quests weren’t enough there are also the more complex “Adventures” you can select instead, many of which often involve a more climatic ending sequence with a “boss” style character that you have to battle such as a Troll or a Dragon inside of an appropriately themed lair area such as a Crypt, Dungeon or Cavern. Finishing off these boss characters can be a bit of a challenge and you may end up being cast out in disgrace to wait your turn to re-enter and try it all over again. A bit of trial and error gaming mixed with watching how other players take on the boss can help you quite a bit.
Eventually you will run out of time and the game world will no longer react to your actions quite right, so you will be forced to exit the world through the gift shop once again. However in here is one other fun device where two Magi can step up into a platform to perform a one-on-one Magi Duel. This was actually quite fun as well as you both are given a few brief seconds to choose one spell to cast at a time from a selection on a console, both offensive and defensive, and then you see the results and just how much damage was inflicted upon each player. Think of it as a much more complex magical system of rock, paper and scissors as every spell can be countered or beaten by another if your pick your spells just right and every Magi starts out on an equal playing field.
Proud of your accomplishments, eventually you will have to leave MagiQuest and return to the outside world. Be sure to keep your wand handy as you wander around Broadway At The Beach however, as MagiQuest has left a few surprises for you to find out in the “real world”. This great idea allows players to break out their wands in public and start zapping away at real world objects in front of the general public, which generally raises a few eyebrows and generates questions.
Currently the Myrtle Beach location is the first and only dedicated MagiQuest facility in the world, though they have built MagiQuest attractions into other attractions, such as a Japanese amusement park or an indoor FEC style attraction. The most common place you may encounter MagiQuest outside of South Carolina however would be at any one of the numerous Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resort hotels. At this point I believe almost every single Great Wolf Lodge has incorporated a mini version of MagiQuest into their hotel or is working on installing one. What’s next for MagiQuest? There is the obvious possibility of a Harry Potter tie-in of course, but according to their website they are also working on creating some kind of new online adventures that they hope to have ready by the end of 2008. So if you’re in the mood for an entirely new attraction experience, give MagiQuest a try. You won’t be disappointed!