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Tom Standage

A Game, a Gadget and an App

Join the revolution, fix your posture and celebrate with a meal out

Tom Standage | May/June 2015

A GAME ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY
You know what you’re getting with “Assassin’s Creed”: an opportunity to run, climb, leap and fight your way through intricate cityscapes, stealthily bumping people off as two rival secret societies battle to alter the course of history. This time you’re in revolutionary Paris, beautifully rendered with milling crowds, clanging bells, cafés and marketplaces, and the threat of violence always hanging in the air. The model of Notre Dame alone took two years to create; the streets are so detailed that you can practically smell the sewage, thanks to a new graphics engine that requires an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Bugs marred “Unity” on its release, but they have now been fixed. As usual, the historical action is wrapped in a hokey modern-day plot about nefarious corporations extracting memories from ancient DNA. Ignore that nonsense, and enjoy the chance to step into a stunning recreation of the past. This is video-gaming escapism at its best. The next instalment will be set in Victorian London; I can’t wait.
Assassin’s Creed Unity on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC: around £30

A GADGET LUMO LIFT
Amid the current proliferation of wearable devices, from fitness trackers to smartwatches, the Lumo Lift stands out from the rest. That’s because this tiny, lozenge-shaped device helps to improve your posture. You wear it on your collarbone, fastening it to your clothes with a magnetic clasp that doubles as a control button and makes you feel as if you’re using a “Star Trek” communicator. Double-tap the button to calibrate the device when you’re standing up straight; it can then be set to buzz gently if you slouch, when either sitting or standing. An accompanying app tracks how many hours a day you maintain good posture. (At the moment you need an Apple device, but an Android version is promised.) Lumo Lift may not have the flexibility of the Apple Watch, or the glamour, but it does one thing and does it well. It’s an intriguing example of the potential of wearables to change our lives in subtle ways.
Lumo Lift £80

AN APP UNCOVER
Uber’s magic is that it makes things happen not just on the screen, or in the cloud, but in the real world, summoning a cab when you need one. Uncover does something similar for high-end London restaurants. Just as Uber can show you cars hovering in your neighbourhood when you need to go somewhere, Uncover shows you what tables are free right now, or later today, when you want to eat—and, like Uber, seals the deal fast. Uncover provides reviews and recommends dishes for each restaurant in its curated directory (you can search by area or by category). And because restaurants tell it when they have last-minute availability, Uncover can get you into places that are booked up weeks in advance. The only drawback: the Android version won’t be served until the summer.
Uncover for iPhone free

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