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Tag-Team Reviews
Mario Party 10

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 30th, 2015


The Mario Party franchise has evolved over the years, getting more streamlined and fun with each iteration. Mario Party 10 is no exception, and is fun for folks of all ages. Is it the perfect Wii U game? I wouldn’t go so far as to answer that with an emphatic “yes” – especially if you own more than one other Mario Party game; however, it does a great job in terms of accessibility and fun, and if you have never played a Mario Party game before, it is a worthy addition to your Wii U games collection, thanks to its universal appeal. Sure, there will be others who will utter “been there, done that” under their breath – and while that may be true to some, there are some great new features which shake things up.

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Book Report
Ruby Wizardry
An Introduction to Programming for Kids

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 28th, 2015

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


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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The Order: 1886

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 14th, 2015


‎There seems to be a lot of grumbling about Ready at Dawn’s fantasy-laced, historically-set adventure, The Order: 1886 for the Playstation 4. I suspect that to many “hardcore” players, it’s not quite “gamey” enough; I, on the other hand, see it differently. To me, The Order: 1886 is a great blend of passive and active, mixing gorgeous sequences of storytelling with challenging game-play (that is scalable) to give players of all stripes a worthwhile experience, provided that expectations are set properly at the outset – and no, this is not about lowering one’s standards so much as it is about having an open mind as to what a game can be.

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Keep Your Friends Close…

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 12th, 2015

Photos courtesy of Kiband.

While I don’t personally subscribe to tracking devices for kids, there have occasionally been moments when I wondered about the benefits of having one (honestly, some of the stories on the news can be pretty scary) – but I have never really given it too much thought (I am a firm believer in trust and common sense). A few months ago, the Kiband was brought to my attention. It’s a neat solution that works in tandem with smartphones for people who want to be able to keep tabs on their kids – but set custom distances. Kiband also makes the interaction more active: it alerting the child when they are approaching the perimeter limit; it informs the parent when they leave the set limit or when they are immersed in water. While it may seem like overkill, it has enough flexibility to be used as a learning tool to help children learn about location awareness.

I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Spencer Behrend, CEO of KiLife Tech, about this neat product (which had a successful Indiegogo run).

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Asus Republic of Gamers
Gladius Gaming Mouse

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 6th, 2015


‎It has been a while since we reviewed a mouse – but there are always new offerings to help gamers refine their gaming experience. ASUS has been pushing their Republic of Gamers (ROG) line over the last year (see our review of the G20), with their optical Gladius Gaming Mouse being a promising entry in the interface space. Aside from the testosterone-laden reference to warriors from ancient Rome, the Gladius is a solid contender with great performance and some neat features that enable a fair amount of customization.

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Last Call

By Jorge Figueiredo - February 19th, 2015


It was bound to happen: we have finally reached our limit. Toronto Thumbs will be closing, in a manner of speaking. In our zeal we have made too many friends in the worlds of gaming, technology, and entertainment. Sure, other sites post multiple articles a day and have a decent revenue stream – this is not the case with us.

Toronto Thumbs has always been a labour of love. All of the content-creation ninjas here have full-time jobs; whatever extra time we have is devoted to creating conversations about the things that we like (and sometimes don’t) – and the reasons why. However, the queue is so packed that we are in very real danger of letting articles slip past the point of being “fashionably late”.

Sure, we could attempt to bring on new writers, but I am picky, and ‎have not been all that impressed with recent applicants. Toronto Thumbs could also scale back; but choosing what gets reviewed is not really fair to anyone, as everything deserves a fair shake. We could also consider crowd-sourced funding – but at just over 350K in page impressions (per month), we are not really going to be able to justify getting people (who will most likely be friends – let’s not kid ourselves here) to give us their hard-earned dollars. Finally (and personally), I am also being selfish; I write the lion’s share of the articles, but I also have a full-time job and a family – eventually I am going to just burn out (and frankly, I have been neglecting other personal goals).

Drink of the site all ye can, folks!

So we will work our way through the last part of the queue (20-30 articles) and then call it a day. The site will stay up so that those searching for honest, unbiased, and (mostly) constructive‎ reviews have someplace to go; once the hits start to dwindle, we will shutter the site for good.

So yes. Last call. This title may be a bit melodramatic, since it will take a few months to work through the remaining content (I’m not going to be killing myself with daily posts), but I felt that all of you Thumbs-readers out there should know seeing as you have been supportive for so long. So stay tuned and keep reading until the very end – there may be a surprise or two along the way (and possibly still some contests to enter).