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Mario Kart makes the Switch

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Get ready to put your foot down as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches for the Nintendo Switch across Europe and South Africa later this week.

Start your engines, put the pedal to the metal, and get ready for the kind of thrilling racing action that only Mario Kart can provide, as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches across Europe and South Africa this Friday for Nintendo Switch. Whether racing with family on the TV in the living room, playing a quick race in the park with friends, or visiting a friend’s place and playing online together, Nintendo Switch lets players enjoy Mario Kart in more ways than ever before.

People of all ages can play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together, with several play styles to accommodate all experience levels. With the new, optional, Smart Steering feature, players can focus on enjoying the action and not worry about driving off-course, keeping the action enjoyable for everyone. Motion controls can also be enjoyed via the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Wheel, available in pairs and releasing across Europe on Friday.

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, familiar and fan-favourite Nintendo characters including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Link from The Legend of Zelda, and the newly-included Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from the Splatoon series, and compete across 48 race tracks inspired by familiar Nintendo franchises, from the Super Mario series to Animal Crossing, and even the world of Hyrule in a track inspired by The Legend of Zelda. Some of these circuits will be familiar to veterans, as racers can experience blasts from the past with revived and updated classic circuits from previous titles, including Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart DS, and Mario Kart Wii.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will allow players to compete in frantic multiplayer races anytime, anywhere, and with anyone they choose. By handing one of the two Joy-Con controllers included with the Nintendo Switch console to an opponent and competing on the console’s built-in screen, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s multiple game modes can take place wherever players choose. Whether it’s played in tabletop mode while waiting for food at a restaurant, in handheld mode in the back of a car, or in TV mode at a party, there are plenty of ways for budding racers and veteran battlers to get stuck into wheel-to-wheel action.

As well as local and online multiplayer racing, players can also enjoy the new and revamped Battle Mode. Players will battle it out in one of eight dedicated arenas, including returning courses from titles such as Mario Kart 7, and engage in game modes returning from Mario Kart Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Wii, such as Bob-omb Blast and Shine Thief, alongside the classic Balloon Battle, and the brand new cops and robbers-style mode known as Renegade Roundup. Players can also make use of the returning Feather item to jump over obstacles in Battle Mode, the Boo to steal items from others, and can once again carry two items at once for more strategic battling and racing.

Joining a strong line-up of Nintendo Switch titles including Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!, 1-2-Switch, and  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has received more perfect scores than any game in Metacritic history*, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has already received acclaim with critics:

  • Metacritic 94%
  • Forbes 100%

Alongside 48 circuits, local and online multiplayer racing and the new battle mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also features five speed classes to choose from, including the super-fast thrill-ride of 200cc mode, plus a wide range of amiibo compatibility. The multiplayer action can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways on Nintendo Switch consoles, with four different methods available to play with friends.

  • Up to four friends can play on a single Nintendo Switch console in TV mode, or in tabletop mode by using the stand at the back of the console and placing it on a flat surface
  • Online multiplayer allows for up to two local racers to get involved in 12-player races with others around the world**
  • Through Local Wireless Play, multiple Nintendo Switch consoles can be connected to each other, allowing up to eight people to play together in the same room
  • Up to 12 consoles in TV mode can be connected via LAN Play***, with one or two players per connected Nintendo Switch for a maximum of 12 players

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the biggest, most accessible and versatile Mario Kart game yet hits the starting grid this Friday, 28th  April on Nintendo Switch.

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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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