Break Time!
An Interview with a Master Model Builder
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 21st, 2014

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Some of you parents may have some time off in the next few weeks in order to hang out with your kids (for those whose child care facilities are on break over the holidays). A fun place that you can go (and you should visit it at least once) is the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto located up in Vaughan.

Last month a new Master Model Builder was appointed. Noel Straatsma seems like a pretty cool guy with great ideas – so even if you have gone to this attraction before before, having Noel around will add some new flavour to the Discovery Centre – so it might be worth going back to check it out, especially if you’re looking for something to do during the holiday break!

We were lucky enough to catch up with Noel and ask a few questions…

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Review
Elegy for a Dead World

By Rebecca Larocque - December 20th, 2014

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Imagine three separate worlds, in which all the inhabitants have disappeared; there are crumbling structures and some statuary left, but little remains to tell you about the culture of these people. Most worrisome of all: you are the surviving member of a mission to find out about these worlds.

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Interviews
Ludia
Dragons: Rise of Berk

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 19th, 2014

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One of the nominees at this year’s Canadian Videogame Awards was Ludia, a Montreal-based developer. Their handheld title, Dragons: Rise of Berk (iOS and Android), went on to win the Fans’ Choice Award for 2014 – and deservedly so.

We are still working on our review of the game (the battle mode was just recently released); in the mean time, we posed some questions to some of the staff at Ludia and they provided us with some answers! Big thanks to Coralie Munier (Producer), Fred Bibet (VP of Production), Mike Kitt (Game Designer), Terry Maranda (Lead 2D Artist), and Matthew Macaskill (Community).

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Holiday Hints
I-Have-a-Few-Extra-Pennies Gift Guide
Ubi Workshop Helps You Keep Your Pants On

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 18th, 2014

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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.

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Reviews
WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set
Belkin

By Sharad Hirjee - December 18th, 2014

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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.

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Holiday Hints
I-Have-a-Few-Extra-Pennies Gift Guide
Smarty-Pants Home

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 18th, 2014

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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…

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Fashionably Late Reviews
Assassin’s Creed: Unity

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 17th, 2014

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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.

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