Faithful Thumbs readers know that I am quite fond of products from Ubiworkshop, the division of Ubisoft that extends their game worlds into reality by creating game-related merchandise. Most of the larger Ubisoft games with persistent back stories have clothing and other interesting paraphernalia related to the games themselves. Ubi Workshop not only does a fantastic job with the design of their stuff – they are also very good at making (and sourcing third parties to make) high-quality items. Even their t-shirts seem to last forever. While we have covered a few things in the past, I have been remiss in actually writing about one of the best products that I have ever bought from their store: the Assassin’s Creed Leather Belt.
Belkin has continued toward the lofty goal of full home automation with the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set. With a solid modular portfolio that includes wall switches, heaters, a humidifier, cameras and even a coffee maker, the Starter Set seems like a natural progression. I really like the concept of this product as it allows the IP-enablement and remote control of hard-wired electrical light fixtures in your home, without the trouble of rewiring the physical wall switches.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the “internet of things” has caught on in a big way and is gathering momentum with each passing week. Various companies are forging ahead with neat ways to control aspects of your home at any given time, no matter where you might be located – provided you have connectivity to the internet, of course. Some of these internet-enabled devices are not only capable of being utilized remotely, they can also be “programmed” with content from IFTTT (IF This Then That), a web portal that holds “recipes” that tie different services and devices together.
So if you’re looking for something “different” to give as gifts for the holidays…
As a fan of the Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, I look forward to the annual release of the next chapter in the franchise every year. Some may say that this gives me a bias towards the series – and they would be right. However, I would argue that biases are formed for a reason, and while my love of the series makes me somewhat forgiving when something goes awry, it also makes me very sensitive when odd design choices are made and issues exist within the games that I play. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is an ambitious project; incredibly detailed and absolutely beautiful – the first true next-generation Assassin’s Creed. At times, though, it feels as if Ubisoft places more importance on the tech than the story, so the game spends a little time wandering aimlessly (in a sense), leaving the player to truly guide the experience. I have not finished the game yet, and while I do have some negatives to speak of in my review, I am enjoying the game a lot (thus, I wish to take my time). It is a title that demands some patience and understanding, and as a player, you will have to work for your fun; but the game will constantly reward you for your loyalty and persistence, slowly feeding you the story and bolstering the big picture.
For the record, this film is about a historical figure, and so anything written here will probably be a mild spoiler for those who are unaware of the history of Alan Turing. That being said, I feel that after what I have revealed here, readers will still enjoy the movie a lot. You have been warned.
If you are looking for a reason to go to the movie theater this holiday season, you should check out The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightly, the film tells the tale of the Allies’ quest to decipher the mystery behind the Enigma Machine, the device used by the Nazis to encrypt and decrypt all of their own communications before and during World War 2. The spotlight shines mainly on Turing’s efforts in this quest (working with the British military), but it also touches on his personal quirks and addresses his horrible treatment by the British government because of his homosexuality.
Oh, Pokémon – Gamefreak’s little franchise that just keeps chugging along. For a while, there were some issues. They didn’t really use the full power of the handheld systems; it was too much of a grind; and the games all felt way too similar. Fortunately, those working on the series have slowly changed the latter. The addition of a few things here and there makes it feel like Pokémon is finally moving forward; that’s Omega Ruby. While it’s a remake of the 2002 title, it holds within the summation of every small addition from the past, and it is accompanied by some good old-fashioned nostalgia.
I didn’t grow with the Halo series because I didn’t grow up using consoles. My cousins had a SNES that was always a treat to boot up, but my introduction to gaming came through MS-DOS and an Intel 286. It was my brother’s machine, but it set a trend that I never felt interested in changing. I played a spectrum of this and that, but I tended to play shooters before anything else and the standouts were naturally the extended Half-Life and Quake clusters, with some dabbling in Unreal Tournament and others (I think I played through Soldier of Fortune twice.) It wasn’t until well into my university years that I had a gaming console of my own and tried my hand at twin-stick shooters. The learning curve was shallow and irritating, I was too impatient to push through, and I was entering a gaming lull so it all sort of fell by the wayside. In short, this meant that I missed out on Halo along with any other milestone of console evolution.