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Lego builds up to the Rowling magic

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released six expansion packs for Lego Dimensions, the Lego toy and videogame hybrid and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced the release of six expansion packs for Lego Dimensions, the Lego toy and videogame hybrid, led by the Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack, just in time for the South African release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ all-new adventure in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

All expansion packs in this latest wave feature Battle Arenas with competitive split-screen local gameplay for up to four players. Lego minifigures included in the expansion packs come with special golden Toy Tags which unlock a free play Adventure World of the corresponding entertainment brand, as well as a battle arena that can be reached through Vorton. Players can explore Adventure Worlds for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemSonic The HedgehogGremlinsE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and Adventure Time, and also play four exciting gameplay modes within the battle arenas, including Capture the Flag, Objective, Base Bash, and Tick, Tag, Boom!. Each arena comes with its own traps, defenses, and special powers that make every Battle Arena unique. Battles can be played competitively or cooperatively in multiple player configurations including 2 vs 2, 3 vs 1, and individually against the system AI to create fun for the whole family.

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack provides a complete movie-based gameplay experience that is full of secrets and surprises. It includes six action-packed levels and new Lego Gateway bricks to build the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) atop the Lego Toy Pad.  Players can build the Newt Scamander Lego minifigure and help him find his escaped magical creatures in New York City using a variety of spells, including DiffindoReparo and Lumos.  The pack will also come with the Niffler, which can be rebuilt into the Sinister Scorpion and Vicious Vulture. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack will be the exclusive Lego construction toy offering this holiday for the exciting expansion of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Fans can also add the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Fun Pack with a Tina Goldstein Lego minifigure. She can cast Aguamenti to help solve puzzles and Protego to keep her safe from enemies. Players in need of rescue can build the Swooping Evil which can be rebuilt into the Brutal Bloom and Crawling Creeper.

With the Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack, players can join Sonic and his friends in an epic battle against Eggman and Chaos and spin into action as they speed through iconic locations including Green Hill, Emerald Coast, Labyrinth and many more to collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Players can build the Sonic the Hedgehog Lego minifigure and use his Acrobat ability to swing off poles and avoid the Badniks, then use his famous grind rails move to make a quick escape.  The pack also includes a 3-in-1 Sonic Speedster which can be rebuilt into Blue Typhoon and Motobug, and a 3-in-1 The Tornado which can be rebuilt into Crabmeat and Eggcatcher.

Players wanting to bring Gremlins to life in Lego Dimensions can add the Gremlins Team Pack which includes popular rivals Gizmo and Stripe Lego minifigures. Each will unlock the Gremlins Adventure World, where players can explore the Cinema, Clamp Industries, the High School, and so much more. Gizmo’s Combat Roll and Dash Attack abilities can be used to get him out of sticky situations and Stripe uses his claws with his Vine Cut ability. Players can rebuild the 3-in-1 R.C. Racer vehicle into the Gadget-o-matic and Scarlet Scorpion and the 3-in-1 Flash ‘n’ Finish into a Rampage Record Player and Stripe’s Throne.

The E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Fun Pack includes an E.T. Lego minifigure with Illumination and Fix-It abilities, as well as special Stealth and Telekinesis skills to make his way around the LEGO multiverse.  With the corresponding Adventure World, players can build new experiences at Elliot’s house and in the suburbs, throughout the park and the forest, on the BMX trail, and even in E.T.’s spaceship. Players can build E.T.’s iconic Phone Home device, then rebuild it into the Mobile Uplink and Super-Charged Satellite for additional in-game abilities.

Fans of “Land of Ooo” can add a Fun Pack based on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time with a Marceline the Vampire Queen Lego minifigure. Players can activate her Sonar Smash and Bolt Deflector abilities using the Marceline Axe Guitar to solve puzzles and battle enemies. They can also build and use Marceline’s Lunatic Amp to make some noise, and then rebuild it into the Shadow Scorpion and Heavy Metal Monster for extra in-game powers.

Developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Lego Dimensions is now available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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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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