The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Games With Gold [Xbox]

Quick post today (yes, I know I don’t post often enough) because I’d hate for you to miss this. One of my favourite games is out on Xbox Live’s “Games With Gold”. You can pick it up for free until the 15th of November. You get to keep it after that, but the chance to get it will be gone.

monkey-island-title

Oh yeah, what’s the game? The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition! It’s an Xbox 360 title, but backward compatible on the Xbox One as well.

You can see details, and details of what’s coming next on Games With Gold by clicking here, or check the Xbox store on your console.

Seriously, don’t miss this. I’m still convinced it’s one of the all-time greatest video games 26 years after its 1990 release!

Building a Terry Pratchett Custom Minifig

Terry Pratchett

© Rob Wilkins

You probably know I love LEGO (despite being in my 30s!). I’ve reviewed several kits and recorded time lapse videos of several builds. While the models are absolutely amazing, I’m sometimes more fascinated by the Minifigs than the rest of the kit. I spotted a post on a friend’s Facebook feed a while back about custom Minifigs and thought I’d have a shot at putting one together myself.

Now, one thing to highlight at the start here is that by “custom” I don’t mean designing the pieces from scratch. What I did for this was get the parts from multiple different Minifigs and combine them to make the one I wanted.

So what did I want? Well, I thought it would be cool to make a Terry Pratchett Minifig.

Minifig PartsThe first step was to decide what I wanted him to look like. I decided to go for a black leather jacket, black fedora, and a big bushy beard (as worn in Terry’s later years). Once that was decided on, it was a case of either looking through all the Minifigs I have sitting in the garage or buying the parts fresh. I really didn’t want to face combing through the ones in the garage, so I headed over to FireStar Toys where I was able to select the parts I wanted from their online catalogue.

For good measure (and, if I’m honest, because I’d seen my friend do this too), I decided to buy a protective case and a hanger that can turn the case and Minifig into a Christmas tree decoration.

Place the order, wait a few days, and a package arrived in the post with my Minifig parts in it.

There is, of course, nothing difficult about building a Minifig, so I won’t linger over that. But I did want to show you the result.

Terry Pratchett LEGO Minifigure

There we go! Just a quick and fun little project. What do you think?

Codemaster: Learning programming via board game

I think it’s important to teach children to program computers; as the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology the ability to make that technology do what you want is going to be a useful skill. There are so many ways to teach programming it’s unreal, and this one seems interesting: a board game designed to teach you to think like a programmer.

Codemaster Board Game The game consists of a series of puzzles where the aim is to move an avatar to a portal, picking crystals up along the way. The board itself is a matrix of coloured paths, and you complete the puzzle by selecting a sequence of coloured tokens matching the colours of the paths. If you get to the end of your sequence (or “program”) and you are either not at the portal or crystals still remain on the board, you need to rethink the program and start again.
[Read more…]

Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016

Well, I’m sorry this post is later than I’d hoped. My flight back up home from Star Wars Celebration Europe was cancelled and wiped out the brief window of time I’d hoped to use to write the day up before going on holiday. Still, here we go now.

The weekend of 15-17th July saw the return of Star Wars Celebration to Europe; London’s Excel Centre to be precise. I was there on Friday (the first day) and for my first ever Star Wars Celebration. It. Was. Amazing.

You're a wizard, harryAfter flying into London, I immediately met up with other people going to the Celebration walking from the airport to the conference centre, a German father and son. Quite apart from the fact that meant I was less likely to get lost, it was also just nice to start the day off chatting about where we were going and sharing a joint interest.

Once we got there, my sense of humour was immediately tickled by a chap in a Starfleet uniform and slightly muddled sign! Hey, who says you have to pick between Star Wars and Star Trek?
[Read more…]

Testing the Syma X5SC Quadcopter

Syma X5SC QuadcopterIt’s flying season! Or, rather, it’s meant to be flying season but the weather doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. Despite the fact it’s the summer holidays here in Scotland, we’ve had some impressive downpours lately (no jokes about that being the Scottish summer, please).

Despite weather woes, I’ve been enjoying testing out the Syma X5SC Quadcopter, kindly sent to me by Mobile Fun. You may have seen my previous review of the Syma X4 Quadcopter, and the X5SC is its bigger brother. So let’s have a look at what Big Brother is like. [Read more…]

LEGO Star Wars Time Lapse: Building the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium

I have to admit I love making LEGO time lapses… I was surprised at how well my first one turned out (the LEGO Ideas Doctor Who TARDIS set) and thought I’d make more.

This time, it’s the Lambda Class Shuttle Tydirium from Star Wars, and it’s a beauty.

The music is the Blue Danube and was selected because it brings back happy memories of space travel in the Commodore 64 game Elite.

Enjoy!

Building LEGO Star Wars First Order Battle Pack (Timelapse)

It’s Star Wars Day! So it’s quite apt that we have another LEGO Star Wars timelapse video for you. This time, it’s building the First Order Battle Pack (set 75132)… it’s a fairly small set, so the video is short, but I hope you enjoy it.


Watch on YouTube

Don’t forget we still have the Force Awakens on DVD to give away on our Facebook page. Entries close tonight at 7pm (UK time).

LEGO Star Wars – building Rey in timelapse

There’s a bit of a Star Wars theme emerging here lately… anyway, I thought you might enjoy this quick video of building the LEGO Star Wars Rey figure in timelapse. There’s another tomorrow, so don’t forget to pop back to catch that too.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens giveaway

Star Wars: The Force AwakensHi all,

Just a quick post to say we’re running a giveaway of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on DVD over on our Facebook page. If you’re interested, swing on by https://www.facebook.com/geekspeakuk/ for more details.

 

Syma X4 Quadcopter [review]

Syma X4 QuadcopterQuadcopters, or ‘drones’ as they are often called’ are great devices. I’ve always found them a little easier to control than RC helicopters and, if you have the safety guide on, they’re less likely to cause damage to people or property too.

My son got his hands on a Syma X4 Quadcopter recently; so what’s it like?

In short, it’s good! OK, you want more details. Let’s dive in then!

Features

The X4 is a 4-channel, 6-axis quadcopter. That gives it the full range of movement you would expect (3-channel helicopters, for instance, can’t jink to the side). It has running lights so that you can easily see which side is the front, and it doesn’t hurt that the lights also make it look good when flying it in the garden at night.

The controller is styled to look like an Xbox controller, down to having shoulder bumpers. That made it immediately comfortable for my son, who enjoys the Xbox as well. He’s tried the controller on my quadcopter, which isn’t exactly fancy, but found it a little difficult to get to grips with.

One very nice feature is the built-in flip function. Just press the right bumper on the controller, steer in any direction, and the quadcopter performs a flip! It looks impressive, but it’s actually very easy to do.

Easy to fly

That’s one of the best things about the X4; it’s easy to fly. My son is 7 and has already got pretty good with it. Let’s put it this way… he’s allowed to fly it in the living room now and I’m not in constant fear for the safety of the television!

Now, some of the material I’ve found online shows the X4’s packaging as indicating it’s for ages 14 and up, but the one my son has (which I think may have been repackaged for a particular chain of shops) says 8+. He’s more than able to cope at age 7, so I’d suggest that you use your own judgment to decide whether the X4 is suitable for your own children (of course, they’re also great fun for adults!)

No camera

One other thing I want to mention is that a review on the X4’s listing on Amazon  mentions recording footage. I’m not sure if that’s a mix-up, but the X4 does not come with a camera… it’s just a quadcopter.

Flight time

Battery life is always a frustration with flying toys. No matter how much power the battery holds, it’s never enough! You can expect to get around 5-7 minutes of flight out of the battery in the X4, and a recharge using the provided USB cable will take around an hour. That’s not too bad, but it does mean you won’t exactly be playing with it all day.

Conclusion

The Syma X4 is a decent, simple little quadcopter. It certainly does the job for my son to get to grips with his first drone. If you’re looking for something with a camera, are looking for longer flight times, or are looking for something a little more serious, I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you’re looking for an easy-to-fly entry into the world of quad rotors, however, the X4 is a decent place to start.