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Force Awakens to LEGO

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, The LEGO Group and Lucasfilm have announced LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, marking the return of the LEGO video game franchise.

he game allows players to relive the action from the blockbuster film in a fun-filled, humorous way that only a LEGO game can offer. Launching on June 28, 2016, the game will introduce brand new gameplay mechanics to build, battle and fly through the galaxy like never before, as well as new story content exploring the time between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, providing additional insight about the new movie and its characters.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system, Xbox One, Xbox 360, the Wii U, the Nintendo 3DS family of systems and Windows PC.

“We’re extremely proud of the LEGO Star Wars video games. It is truly an incredible franchise that has sold more than 33 million copies and helped ignite a passion for numerous fun-filled LEGO games enjoyed by countless gamers around the world,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games. “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be pushing the series forward with innovative new gameplay mechanics, while also exploring new parts of the universe that are sure to excite and delight both LEGO and Star Wars fans, as well as newcomers to our games.”

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the LEGO Star Wars video game franchise, which kicked off such a beloved series of LEGO titles more than a decade ago,” said Ada Duan, Vice President, Digital Business & Franchise Management, Lucasfilm. “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens allows players to experience the new film in a unique way that only TT Games can provide, combining signature humour with epic Star Wars action. With exclusive story content exploring new details about the movie and its characters, it’s a perfect fit for fans young and old.”

“We are delighted to return to the Star Wars Universe and continue the journey with the franchise that started it all for LEGO video games.” said Niels Jorgensen, Vice President, Digital Games for the LEGO Group. “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens will offer an amazing gaming experience covering not only the movie but also exclusive content with all the fun and humor you would expect from a LEGO game, while delivering the epic Star Wars adventure fans expect”

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes players deeper into the new film than any other game with all of the heroic characters from the movie, including Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and BB-8, as well as Kylo Ren, General Hux and Captain Phasma, while also exploring iconic Star Wars locales, such as Jakku and Starkiller Base.

This action-packed adventure introduces new gameplay features, including the enhanced “Multi-Builds” system, where players can choose from multiple building options to advance the game. Gamers will be able to engage in intense new Blaster Battles for the first time, utilizing surrounding environments to drive back the First Order. Fans can also experience the thrill of high-speed flight gameplay through arena-based battles and dogfights in space, while utilizing a multitude of vehicles along the way, including the legendary Millennium Falcon.

PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 players will have access to exclusive downloadable content, the Droid Character Pack and the Phantom Limb Level Pack. For information on LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, visit the PlayStation Blog.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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