Saturday, March 25, 2017

LEGO WORLDS Video Game

 ** A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free to review **
After successfully taking on Disney Infinity and Skylanders in the toys-to-life video game category by creating the highly successful LEGO Dimensions, The LEGO Group has set their sights on tackling another gaming franchise popular with kids and young adults -- > MinecraftLEGO Worlds developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment allows players to explore a galaxy of fantastical planets that contain inhabitants and landscapes made up entirely of LEGO's trademark toy mini-figures and building bricks. Embark on a quest to become a Master Builder within this open-world video game that provides players to power to shape both the environment around them and the scope of their adventures.  In LEGO Worlds your own creativity and imagination are often times the only limitation to the extent of the adventures you can engage in and creations that can be built within the game. 

LEGO Worlds, like its predecessor Minecraft, is what is referred to as a sandbox game which means that players have a great deal of flexibility in shaping the virtual environment they are playing in.  A sandbox game focuses on bringing people's imaginations to life through constructing and customizing a virtual world to play in.  LEGO Worlds takes the fun of playing with real-life physical LEGO toys and expands upon it in an entertaining video game experience.  This game has really been a hit with my kids primarily because they can have fun just being creative doing whatever suits their whims as they are playing it.  Creating world layouts, constructing their own building designs from LEGO bricks, and customizing the appearance of a player's mini-figure character are really what capture my kids attention.


LEGO Worlds begins with a video sequence that shows your character flying a spaceship that is suddenly hit by a meteorite forcing it to crash land on a mysterious planet.  This sets the stage for three tutorial levels players need to make their way through.   In these levels new characters and vehicles can be added to your playable assets  Players also obtain a variety of tools to help them create things and customize the world around them in these levels.  Short instructional video segments explain how to utilize these important tools once they are obtained. Challenges within the level then let a player practice using them.



The game starts with your character crash landing on Pirate World. While exploring this first tutorial level players will learn to utilize the Discovery Tool.  This device allows animals, buildings, mini-figures (both friends and foes), and vehicles to be scanned and catalogs them in a gallery which players can access to place these items within the game whenever they like.

Next players travel to a Prehistoric World where they learn to use the Landscape Tool which raises and lowers terrain.  Rescue several cave men and cave women from dangerous situations to successfully complete the level and move on to Candy World.



The final tutorial level is filled with giant candy canes, lollipops and gingerbread houses and provides players with three more useful items -- the Copy, Paint and Build tools.  Don't want to try and build a structure brick-by-brick? Use the Copy Tool to replicate an already completed building instead.  Want to change the color of a building or the landscape around you? Go wild with the Paint Tool.  If you would prefer building a structure from bottom to top instead of replicating one the Build Tool lets players construct things just as if they were building with real life LEGO bricks.  Note though you start off with a very limited number of accessible bricks to utilize and earn more of a variety progressing through the game.


Once you've completed the three tutorial levels and obtained these important tool options then it is time to jump into your space ship and explore the galaxy.  You'll be transported to randomly computer-generated planets each time your character launches the space ship into outer space.  Planets our family have visited so far include an apocalyptic junk world filled with cowboys and bandits, a swampland filled with alligators and spooky walking skeletons, and a farming community being plagued by zombies.  This game is filled with lots and lots of the quirky, whimsical elements that people associate with LEGO (ride a cow, use a fish as a sword, throw a banana like a boomerang) and love about the brand.


Unlike LEGO Dimensions this game isn't focused on licensed properties like Batman, The Simpsons, or Sonic the Hedgehog.  Rather the content of the game revolves around generic themes from the LEGO toy line such as astronauts, farmers, police, and pirates.  There aren't any physical toys sets that need to be purchased for activating characters in this game like you need to do with LEGO Dimensions.  When it comes to LEGO Worlds as you discover different types of people, animals and vehicles in the game they can be incorporated into your gallery of digital playable items by scanning them with your Discovery Tool.



Players also can earn points as they play LEGO Worlds that can be utilized to obtain virtual reproductions of real-life LEGO classic and current toy sets that can be placed within the game and interacted with.  The goal of LEGO Worlds though isn't to earn points but rather to become a Master Builder by getting your hands on 100 of the elusive gold bricks that can be found within the game.  The more gold bricks players obtain the larger and more immersive worlds they can interact with ranging from small worlds that can be accessed with ten bricks to huge ones that can be visited when you've grabbed eighty.  When 100 gold bricks are obtained players are no longer restricted to visiting randomly generated planets and can construct a world from scratch using their tools any item they've unlocked within the game.  Gold bricks can be obtained by finding them in treasure chests, as rewards for successfully completing a quest, or by snatching one from creatures called a Troublemakers.

The game can be played by two people at once on a console or an online feature can be utilized that allows multiple players to explore each other's worlds together, collaborate on building LEGO creations, and engage in cooperative or competitive experiences.  My kids have played duel player mode but haven't interacted online with anyone.  They've had a lot of fun both working together and harassing each other.  One minute they're getting along together racing on horses through a jungle and the next my son is throwing his sister into a lava filled volcano because her character stole a popsicle from his.  That's kids for you!

The immersive environment of LEGO Worlds which entices kids to engage in imaginative play earns this video game A Geek Daddy nod of approval.  I have to point out though that this game isn't just for kids.  After my children have gone to bed, this 40 something year old dad has enjoyed playing LEGO Worlds to wind down after a long day.  So obviously LEGO Worlds is a fun game for both kids and kids-at-heart.  Based upon my family's own experience playing LEGO Worlds, I recommend adding it to your video game collection.

LEGO Worlds is now available in North America for Sony's PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Microsoft's Xbox One, and the STEAM online PC gaming community.  The game will also be available for Nintendo Switch later this year.  For more information, please visit www.lego.com/en-us/worlds


Friday, March 24, 2017

JOIN IN A ROGUE ONE TWITTER PARTY DUEL ON 3/26

The answer to a question that has been on Star Wars fans minds since the original movie debuted in 1977 was answered last year.  How did Princess Leia get her hands on the Death Star plans that Darth Vader was chasing after in the opening sequence of that movie?  Last December, Disney released its first Star Wars standalone film, ROGUE ONE, which tells the epic story of a group of unlikely heroes who band together on a mission to steal the plans for the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction -- the Death Star. This brand new adventure expands the Star Wars universe in its own unique way yet its plot also nicely wraps into the previous movies enhancing the franchise's overall story.

 I really enjoyed ROGUE ONE when I saw it at the theater (ranking it as one of my top three favorite films in the Star Wars franchise) and have been waiting in anticipation to add it to my home video collection.  Well the wait is finally over!  ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is available TODAY (3/24/17) on Digital HD and will be available to get on Blu-ray or DVD beginning April 4th.


Disney Movies Anywhere and Roku set-up my family to enjoy a fun movie night this weekend by providing us with a free ROGUE ONE Digital HD code and some Star Wars goodies. We'll be watching ROGUE ONE on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT simultaneously along with other social media influencers' and their families from across the country live tweeting as everyone is watching the movie at the same time. I've been designated part of #TeamEmpire and will be engaging in a Twitter Duel against #TeamRebel as we banter about whose side is superior.  We'll also be giving away some great prizes to people who RSVP for this #RogueOneDigital Twitter Party and actively participate in the conversation.

There are 10 prizes in total including the following:
  • 1 Director Orson Krennic Pop! Vinyl Figure by Funko
  • 1 Sergeant Jyn Erso Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure
  • 1 Captain Cassian Andor Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure
  • 1 K-2SO Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure
  • 1 Imperial Death Trooper Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure
  • 1 Imperial Stormtrooper Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure
  • 1 R2-Q5 Mini Metal Action Figure by Takara Tomy
  • 1 C2-B5 Pop! Vinyl Figure by Funko – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Journal
  • 1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Rebel Dossier Book
Winners will be randomly chosen from the RSVP list throughout the Twitter Party and must be actively tweeting using the #RogueOneDigital hashtag when selected to be eligible to win.  I'd appreciate you also using #TeamEmpire while tweeting to help my team win this Star Wars Twitter Duel but #RogueOneDigital is the only one you actually need to use to be eligible to win a prize during the party.

Give in to the power of the Dark Side! Follow @Geekdad248 along with my other #TEAMEMPIRE Twitter Party panelists on Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 7pm ET (4 pm PT) until the movie ends.  The #RogueOneDigital Twitter Party will be full of movie commentary, Star Wars trivia and prizes.  Purchase the Digital HD edition of ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story from Disney Movies Anywhere and watch it along with us as we chat on Twitter.  RSVP to join in the #RogueOneDigital Twitter Party -- it will be a blast!

The Digital HD version in addition to the feature presentation also contains never-before- seen “Rogue One” bonus material that will take fans behind the scenes with the movie’s diverse, dynamic cast and inspired team of filmmakers. An intimate collection of stories reveals how the film came to life, as well as hidden Easter Eggs and film facts that audiences may have missed in the theater.

Bonus features include*:
  • A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.
  • Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.
  • Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.
  • K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.
  • Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
  • Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.
  • The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
  • Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.
  • The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes – back to the screen.
  • Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.
  • Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

COMET TV NOW AVAILABLE TO VIEW FOR FREE THROUGH ROKU & APPLE TV

If you are a science fiction fan and haven't tuned into COMET TV yet you're missing out!  This television channel, which is a partnership between Sinclair Broadcast Group and MGM, is the first first 24/7 digital broadcast network with a focus on science fiction and horror programming.  Viewers in more than 100 U.S. markets can watch COMET TV for FREE just by plugging a digital antenna into their television and receiving the signal being broadcast through the air.  No paid cable or subscription services needed to watch COMET TV!

Unfortunately, Detroit isn't one of the markets that has a local affiliated Sinclair station broadcasting COMET TV so I haven't tuned in as much as I probably would have otherwise (you can also watch the broadcast feed via their website which I've done myself on several occasions).  For those of us who haven't been able to watch the over-air broadcasts using digital antennas there is some good news.  You can now watch COMET TV on your television utilizing an Internet connection through Apple TV or Roku.

Just download the COMET TV app for these devices and begin streaming the television channel's programming for FREE onto your TV set.  Apple TV Generation 4 and Roku 3 & 4 series are compatible with the COMET TV app which provides live playback of the channel's broadcast feed along with an integrated schedule feature that provides information on current programming.  Availability through addition platforms is also in the works and will be announced later in the year.

COMET TV has the broadcast rights to more than 1,500 hours of MGM movies and television show properties.  Feature films being broadcast this month range from 1979's The Amityville Horror to 2005's The Woods.  Other cult classic Sci-Fi movies that have recently aired on COMET TV have included The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Flash Gordon, and Mad Max.  Television series being shown include Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Poltergeist: The Legacy.  COMET TV is also the exclusive broadcast home of the Stargate franchise.

For more information about the channel, visit COMETtv.com


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Next Best Thing to a Real Puppy – PEPPY PETS

Today is National Puppy Day!  A date to take a moment to appreciate the magic and unconditional love that puppies provide to us.  Do you have a special puppy in your life to celebrate the day with?  If not, today would be a great occasion to consider adopting an unwanted puppy that needs a home from an animal shelter.  Click here for some useful tips from the ASPCA when it comes to adopting a pet.

While every child would love to have a puppy, unfortunately there are often a variety of reasons why having one isn't a good fit for a family.  Someone may be allergic to dogs.  Maybe a home just isn't big enough or suitable for a pet.  Busy and hectic schedules may not provide enough quality time for people to spend with a puppy.  Parents may feel their children aren't mature enough to care for a pet.  While puppies are adorable and fun to play with owning and taking care of a real one is a lot of responsibility that isn't for everyone.

If your family wants a puppy but can't have a real one at the moment, you really should take a look at Peppy Pets. Children and parents alike will love the irresistible personality of these adorable toys! The cuddly plush puppy has a spring in its step and when walked by its owner, can run, jump and wag its tail like a real dog.  This toy will walk and run alongside you just like a real pet with no batteries required!  Peppy Pets wiggle waggle walking action is really cool.  Check it out:



In celebration of #NationalPuppyDay, A GEEK DADDY has teamed up with TPF Toys to giveaway one of these great Peppy Pets to one lucky randomly selected winner who completes the entries in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Whether for National Puppy Day (March 23rd), or anytime - Peppy Pets from TPF Toys are a perfect addition to the family.  Ideal for children ages 4+, Peppy Pups are available in soft brown or black and white versions at Toys “R” Us nationwide for $19.99.


DISCLAIMERA Geek Daddy has not been financially compensated for this endorsement or hosting the giveaway but was provided the same items being provided as a prize for personal use. The prize is provided by TPF TOYS and A Geek Daddy is hosting the promotion as a benefit to our readers. Must be a US resident over the age of 18 to participate.  By participating in this promotion you waive any liability of any kind against the publisher of this blog. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. No P.O. Boxes allowed for delivery of the prize. TPF TOYS will be responsible for shipping the prize to the selected winner.  One winner will be chosen at random on, about, or after April 7, 2017, and will be notified via email to confirm. If no response within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be chosen. This promotion is not  sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ROTO-ROOTER TO THE RESCUE

**  Roto-Rooter sponsored this post  **
My wife and daughter both have gorgeous long flowing blond hair they like to comb over the sink which combined with my facial shaving regularly leaves our home's upstairs bathroom plumbing clogged up.  Snaking out the clog is a time consuming messy job that is regularly placed on my "honey do" list which I really hate dealing with.  So when Roto-Rooter® reached out to me about reviewing their new drain care products I was excited to give them a try.

Water was barely draining from this clogged sink before I used the Roto-Rooter Hair Clog Remover that was provided to me on it.  Following the directions I poured 1/4 of the bottle down the drain, waited 10 minutes, then flushed the plumbing with hot water.  Whoosh the water ran straight through the drain and the clog was gone!  

Wow that really was impressive!  No more having to continually pour and flush the drain over and over again as I've experienced with other liquid clog removers in the past or having to spend a half hour or an hour trying to scrape the hair all out of the pipe by hand with a snake.  Using Roto-Rooter Hair Clog Remover was a quick, efficient and clean way to accomplish a task that is normally a pain to deal with.

Roto-Rooter Hair Clog Remover works so well because it utilizes a professional formula with 25% more hair dissolving ingredients than other similar products on the market.  Independent lab studies have shown that tough clogs are cleared up to 50% faster than other national brands when using this product.  Plus no need to worry about your plumbing being damaged by chemicals when pouring Roto-Rooter Hair Clog Remover down your drain as its formula is designed specifically to disintegrate hair and is safe for all pipes and septic systems.



In fact, Roto-Rooter is so confident its line of home drain care products will satisfy you they provide a double guarantee.  If you are not completely satisfied with the product they will refund your money. Plus if you need to call in a Roto-Rooter plumber for help give your bottle to the visiting service tech to receive 10% off your next service call. For complete details on how to redeem a refund on this guarantee please visit rotorooter-products.com for more information.

If you have more stubborn clogs caused by soap scum, grease and other gunk try Roto-Rooter's Gel Clog Remover. It has the precise viscosity to power through what has plugged up your drain.  In addition to being useful in bathrooms this product is also great for kitchen sinks because in addition to not harming pipes it also can be used without worrying about damaging a garbage disposal.  Note though that neither of these products are meant to be used for stopped up toilets or pipes that are blocked by tree roots.

I've been so impressed by my experience using these products, I've agreed to become a 2017 Brand Ambassador for Roto-Rooter Drain Care Products.  Throughout the year, I will be posting sponsored content featuring their different products, providing tips on simple plumbing problem fixes you can do yourself, and hosting some great giveaways.  Whether is it discussing routine maintenance by providing simple steps to protect your pipes or giving an overview about the most common ways clogs occur, A Geek Daddy will be providing a lot of useful information through this partnership with Roto-Rooter Drain Care Products to help you save money and keep your plumbing flowing smoothly.


It is nice that people can now go to the store and buy easy to use diy products backed by America's top name in plumbing, Roto-Rooter, that will allow them to conveniently and economically tackle basic plumbing issues without having to hire a professional for assistance.  Roto-Rooter Drain Care Products are available at a variety of retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Kroger, Lowes, Meijer, Menards and Walmart.  Before you pick some up for yourself make sure to print out a coupon from their website for a $1 off any product.

For more information, please visit rotorooter-products.com


DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy is financially compensated and receives free products to review as a Roto-Rooter Ambassador.  Opinions expressed are honest and my own.  Your experiences may differ.  I am not obligated to write positive reviews and the brand has requested that I be honest in my appraisals of their products.

Free Shipping Available to Mail in Toys for Recycling

Want to feel good about saying bye to broken toys that can't otherwise be resold at a yard sale or donated to charity?  Don't toss them away in the trash because starting TODAY you can recycle them instead. Tom's of Maine, a leading manufacturer of personal care products, and the recycling experts at TerraCycle are working together to put broken toys to good use.  From March 21 through April 28, 2017 ship broken toys directly to TerraCycle for FREE to be recycled into new products as part of Tom's of Maine's #LessWasteChallenge.

Families can send in their broken toys by following four simple steps:
  • Visit www.tomsofmaine.com/lesswaste
  • Enter contact information to receive a free UPS shipping label via email that can be printed out
  • Fill an old box with up to ten pounds of broken toys
  • Attach the free shipping label to the box and drop it off at a UPS pick-up location
“Knowing what to do with broken toys is a challenge because as parents we don’t want to be wasteful and throw them away. We want to show our kids there are better solutions,”  Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine, to A Geek Daddy. “The act of recycling a toy together can be a way for parents to start a conversation with their kids about what we can all do to take care of the planet for generations.”

“Toys are a waste stream people don’t think about that often, but the amount of broken toys sent to landfills is significant and there hasn’t been a way to dispose of them,” added Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle. “Parents can now feel good knowing that broken toys can be 100% recycled or reused, which helps planet Earth.”

Did know that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency the average American family produces nearly 125 pounds of trash every week? While you are Spring Cleaning around the house take advantage of this toy recycling drive.  Beyond toys, consider becoming more actively involved with recycling by ting in the Tom's of Maine Less Waste Challenge which asks families to reduce household waste by one pound per week through the remainder of the year.  


Visit tomsofmaine.com/lesswaste to make the pledge as well as to find suggestions for fun DIY projects that can get the whole family involved in reducing waste to make a personal contribution towards a clean and healthy environment in your community.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Family of 5-year-old Transplant Recipient asks People to have a Heart

Every parent worries about the health and safety of a child.  Experiencing a true life-or-death incident with a child though takes that parental concern and bond up a notch.  That occurred for me when my family discovered my daughter had a severe food allergy after she went into a condition called anaphylactic shock which sent us to emergency room as her face turned red with hives while her eyes and throat swelled shut.  Doctors told us if we had arrived at the hospital just a few minutes later brain damage could have occurred, her organs would have begun shutting down, and she could have even died.  Fortunately, everything turned out alright and she's doing just fine.  We've had to learn about this medical condition and have to take daily precautions to avoid a repeat of the incident but I have to say our situation pales in comparison to getting the news as a parent that your preschool aged child needs a heart transplant in order to survive.

That is the story of the Schultz family who found out that their son Ari would die without a heart transplant.  Ari stayed in-patient at Boston's Children Hospital for 211 days receiving care and waiting for news about whether he'd be able to get a transplant before it was too late.  Then one day the news came:



Ari recently received a new heart and now he's slowly recuperating in the hospital's ICU dealing with some rejection issues his body is having.  Unfortunately, while Ari's mom and dad have been focused on his care they didn't realize that water damage from a storm had caused their family home to become infested with mold.  A mutual friend relayed to me that the Schultz's homeowners insurance will only cover less than half the cost of making the house suitable for Ari to return home to.  To help cover some of the mounting expenses the Schultz are confronting, friends and family of Ari have set-up a Go Fund Me page asking people to show some heart and provide some support.

Making a donation of $10, $20 or more will help Ari get better and will make you feel good.  Every contribution adds up and even making a small donation can have a big impact in helping this family in need.   Have a heart and help Ari out!