Book Report
Ruby Wizardry
An Introduction to Programming for Kids

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 28th, 2015

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Images presented here are from the PDF version of the book.

When I was younger, I used to goof around on Commodore Pet computers in school, learning the basics of programming. This curiosity extended to my home life when my parents brought a Commodore 128 into our home. Sure, there were plenty of great games, but it was fun to make my own small diversions – it instilled a great sense of self-confidence and satisfaction. Even in university I took a few Computer Science courses to address my programming bug. With the accumulation of various responsibilities as I got older, my mindset slowly migrated towards that of a game player rather than a game maker – and with languages being different than what I grew up with, the pull has been minimal.

And it’s not just me; there is so much to consume in terms of apps that the lure to simply play is strong – even in kids. Recently, I was introduced to a programming language called Ruby. This introduction was brokered via a book written for a younger crowd, but is a valuable resource for adults as well. With a simple (yet effective) storytelling style, Ruby Wizardry: An Introduction to Programming for Kids (written by Eric Weinstein, published by No Starch Press) enlightens readers on the basic concepts of programming through Ruby‎, and is engaging and fun enough to captivate and inspire a younger audience.

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In Development
The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 28th, 2015

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While I have a soft spot for indie titles, I have an even greater appreciation of indie titles with a distinct local flavour. Chris de Castro’s The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods is a neat little gem that is currently in development that makes a statement about the way of things in our society. It focuses both on the problem and the solution in such a simple and honest way that I think it deserves a look.

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Reviews
Polar A300
Fitness and Activity Monitor

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 27th, 2015

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Fitness bands have been all the rage for a while now, but most of the time I find that most people, once buying a Fitbit or a Nike+ Fuelband, adhere to their newly discovered interest in getting into shape for a short time, and eventually start to “forget” their new wearable tech on the top of the dresser. I, personally, have never been into the bracelet-style of fitness tracker. When Polar sent us their A300 to check out, though, I was far more receptive to trying it out due to its more traditional aesthetic. Of course, it is a lot more than just a watch, and now I am addicted to it.

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Farewell to Toronto Thumbs
Reflections
Malcolm Inglis

By Malcolm Inglis - March 27th, 2015

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Malcolm is one of the “youngest” members of the site – but his coverage of E3 last year earned him two thumbs up. His perspective is always fun to read, and I hope he pursues and refines his craft! – ed.

I got on board with Toronto Thumbs just under a year ago and what can I say other than it’s been a great experience! I got a chance to play and review some amazing (and not-so-amazing) games, and I also got to go to some awesome events as a representative of Toronto Thumbs – the most notable being E3. Above all though was the chance to communicate with fellow gamers through my writing (and in person) about our passion: videogames. Jorge definitely has a passion for gaming and the industry, and it comes through in the hard work, time and dedication that goes into running something like this. I’d like to thank him and the rest of the team for making me a part of Toronto Thumbs and I wish everyone all the best in their future endeavors.


Reviews
Minecraft
Playstation Vita Version

By Malcolm Inglis - March 27th, 2015

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By now everyone (including your Mom) has probably heard of Minecraft, a game that has transcended beyond what would appear at first glance to be a simple open-world sandbox game to become an international phenomenon. Millions have played it on PC, then on console and now on tablets and handhelds, with the latest delivery platform being the PlayStation Vita.

Despite being playable on almost all gaming devices and millions of YouTube channels full of Minecraft “Let’s Play” videos, I myself have had very limited experience with this title. I had originally played the demo on PC and after a short play-through I kind of found myself at a loss, wondering what the point was. I just didn’t get it; what was the appeal to this low poly-count game with no set objectives? Now, several years later, I’m going to give it another go with 4J Studios’ Minecraft: Playstation Vita Edition to see if I can find the magic behind this game.

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Reviews
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Under the spell

By Seán O'Sullivan - March 26th, 2015

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For ten years now I have been hearing DS fans drone on about how great Kirby: Canvas Curse was – a game designed to show off the capabilities of Nintendo’s first stylus interface. Navigating Kirby through a treacherous world by drawing paths for him to follow wasn’t a pitch that got me enthusiastic enough to try the game for myself, but now that Nintendo has revisited the concept for the Wii U’s Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, I just had to give it a look.

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Reviews
World 1-1
Documentary

By Dana Russo - March 26th, 2015

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Like many people, I had always thought that Pong was the first video game. With its simplistic beeps and boops and green bars, it was known as THE gaming experience of the 70s. There is much debate over which game wins the title of “very first video game ever”, but according to the documentary World 1-1, it was Spacewar!

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