December 22nd, 2017

9 Fun Family Game Night Ideas

These days, when nearly everyone seems to have a smart device in their pocket, it can be tough getting the whole family to spend quality time together. But some things never change, and nothing brings families together quite like Games Night!

Happy family playing board games - London Drugs

Need some new ideas for Family Game Night?

Here are nine suggestions in three categories to get you started.

The Classics – with a twist!

 

Monopoly DealA twist on arguably the best known board game of all. Some would say a needed twist. Monopoly, after all, takes a while to play and has lots of pieces to keep track of. Monopoly Deal offers a brand new, streamlined experience. It’s fast, about 20 minutes, but delivers all the financial ups-and-downs and excitement you’d expect.

Star Wars Operation: We all know Operation, the classic game of carefully removing bones from a patient. That zzzz-zap sound still brings back memories, and now you can introduce the fun to a new generation. Star Wars Operation lets you repair Rey’s adorable companion, BB-8.

Ages: 6+ / Players: 1 or more

HedBanz – Act Out!: Charades, arguably the world’s oldest still-popular party game, dates back to at least the 1700s  in France. Your whole family will love this modern twist that sees players acting like the clue cards on each other’s provided headbands. Get ready for LOLs galore, IRL! It’s perfect for birthday parties, too.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-6

Board Games: The Next Generation

Ticket to Ride: Released to award-winning acclaim in 2004, this game sold 4 million copies by 2014. So it has laid more than enough track by now to be considered a true modern classic. Players race to establish train routes between major transit hubs, and to connect their own tracks onward in unbroken chains. Strategy. Secrecy. Subterfuge. This game has it all.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-5

Pandemic: The family that saves humanity together, games together (or something like that). Released in 2007, this game is spreading virally toward legendary tabletop status. Players assume the roles of globetrotting scientists, medics, and logistics experts, working together to stop not one global pandemic…but four. Finished it? Don’t worry, expansions are available to continue the story and the fun.

Ages: 10+ / Players: 4

Dixit: Want a game to set your imagination soaring and help develop your family’s storytelling skills, look no further than this fantastic game. Designed in France in 2008, it has since won multiple international games awards, and the hearts of players around the world. Basically, players take turns creatively describing a famous story and the others try to guess it using the cards in their hands.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 4-6 

Video Games…Can’t beat ’em? Join ’em

Just Dance 2018: The latest edition in a beloved series, it’s available on seven gaming systems. So if your family likes music, movement, or generally having fun: this one’s for you. It has variable difficulty settings, too. So even those with the freshest moves around can play with the rest of us. It’s also a great way to add some exercise to games night.

Rating: E10+ / System: Ps4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, WiiU, PS3, XBox 360, Wii  

Splatoon 2: The follow up to the silly-but-serious WiiU stand-out, players race to splatter turf in ink of their team’s colour. Players also don sweet, swaggy street gear and use a variety of inky weapons and marvelous moves. Families can also play together over long distances with online play.

Really, this is just one of several great family games for the Nintendo Switch, probably the best bet overall current console for family game night.

Rating: E10+ / System: Nintendo Switch

 

NHL 2018: Take to the ice as your favourite team (or try out life as a member of the new expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights). Play locally with family, or expand your competition to online play. You might be surprised at how much Mom enjoys throwing a check.

Rating: Pending / Systems: PS4, XBox One



November 30th, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids (and Parents)

We’ve got just over a month until Christmas. Time to get your shopping sorted!

Starting with last week’s Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Cook, we’re posting gift guides every week until Christmas. Each will be aimed at different groups and include gift ideas from stocking stuffers to show stoppers.

 

This week, our guide has gift suggestions for all the kids in your life that parents won’t mind playing with either! Whether you’re a parent yourself, or you’re buying presents for other kids and parents in your life, London Drugs has plenty of ideas and options.

Board Games are Big Again

Board games have gotten incredibly popular over the last few years. Board game cafes and bars in Calgary and Vancouver can attest to their popularity! Board games are tried and true, and (actually) fun for the whole family. They make great gifts, but choosing between the hundreds of games available can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help!

Modern board games range from serious strategy games like Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan to classics with a twist like NHL-OPOLY. Strategy games tend to be better for older kids, but Dixit is good for kids three and up while still being super fun. Pandemic is a cooperative game, teaching valuable lessons about collaboration while players work together to save the world. Kids and parents alike will appreciate learning new games.

Gift Guide for Kids - Monopoly Deal

Or, you can give the parents in your life some classics from their childhood to share with their own kids, like Twister or Battleship. Monopoly Deal is a great new version of an old classic that is quick to play and won’t cause any family feuds!

Tech Toys

While board games are great, video games are really the modern classic. This year’s ultimate gift is the Nintendo Switch, especially bundled with Super Mario Odyssey. The Switch can be a home gaming system, or a portable device kids can continue playing on for those long car rides.

Gift Guide for Kids - Super Mario Odyssey

Image via Nintendo.com

If the kid on your list is into computers, teach them the basics of programming with this cool programmable robot.

Gift Guide for Kids - WowWee programmable robot

Image via WowWee.com

iPads are incredibly versatile techie gifts, good for young and older kids alike. They’ve got YouTube and Netflix for watching kids shows, tons of easy-to-learn games, and they make it easier to connect with family through FaceTime. There’s nothing better for grandparents, aunts, and uncles than a video chat with excited kids on Christmas morning!

Kid Crafts

For families wanting less screen time, crafty gifts are endlessly fun. Scientifically minded kids will be into these Cool Science Experiments, ranging from invisible ink to lava lamps to hoverboards.

Those who love to draw will appreciate a fresh set of pencil crayons. Pair them with a sketchbook to make a complete drawing kit.

Colouring books are always fun and relaxing. Give them a colouring book with their favourite movie characters (be it Minions or Spider-Man) or opt for beautiful shapes or animals and let the recipient tell their own stories with colour.

Lego

As frustrating as stepping on those tiny pieces can be, Lego is a classic toy for a reason. Get fancy sets for older kids, like this Star Wars Resistance X-Wing, or go back to basics with a  classic creativity set. You can make anything with Lego.Gift Guide for Kids - Star Wars X-wing lego

Personalized Presents

Personalized presents are great for kids—they love seeing pictures of themselves and their family! The PhotoLab can put your family photos on just about anything, but some particularly good gifts are personalized mugs, ornaments, and puzzles.

 

For more gift-giving advice for the kids (and parents) on your list, speak to an LD Expert today. To make a purchase, visit London Drugs in-store and online.

We’ll be back soon with a top gift guide for techies. See you then!

See all of our 2017 Holiday Gift Guides here:

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Techies

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the DIYer

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Music Lovers

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Cook 



November 9th, 2017

XBox One X

With the launch of the anticipated new Xbox One X, there’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of this new model – but is it really worth the wait, or the price tag? Before investing in Microsoft’s latest, greatest console, be sure it’s going to meet your gaming needs instead of ending up just another expensive block in your game of console cabinet Tetris.

Graphics Processing, HDR and 4K Capability
With the Xbox One X, you get HDR and 4K capability… but you got all that with last year’s Xbox One S, and Playstation 4 Pro offers HDR and 4K upscaling as well. The One X is an upgrade compared to the One S and PS4 Pro, featuring an improved GPU and the newest hardware upgrades, but consider whether an incremental improvement here is really worth shelling out when consoles already on the market offer the great colour and contrast you get with HDR as well as the ability to upscale content to incredibly sharp 4K video imaging. You’ll see fewer dropped frames with the One X, but unless you’re fanatically dedicated to the highest imaging quality in intensive games, it may not be worth the cost at the end of the day – and remember, image quality only goes as far as the least-capable hardware in your gaming setup will let it; if you don’t have a 4K- and HDR-capable TV, simply upgrading your console won’t give you the amazing effects you’re looking for.

Virtual Reality
The Xbox One X, with its cutting-edge technology and engineering, is fully VR-capable as a console… but the actual hardware to allow immersive virtual reality gaming with the One X just isn’t there yet. Microsoft seems to be depending on outside developers coming up with VR applications for this console, and with the recent discontinuation of the Kinect interface throwing doubt on Microsoft’s commitment to furthering innovative interactive technology, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually ever see VR games for the One X. Sony, on the other hand, already has a proven, well-received virtual reality application available for use with the PS4 in the Playstation VR, with an impressive catalogue of compatible games.

Backwards Compatibility and Exclusive Titles
The One X features great backwards compatibility, as it’s running on the same software as the Xbox One, and will be backwards compatible with over 400 previous generation titles, including all Xbox One titles. However, Microsoft hasn’t been clear on whether any exclusive releases are planned for this console – while some new titles will be optimized for use on the One X, it currently looks like all new titles will continue to be playable on the Xbox One and Xbox One S as well, meaning you don’t now, and may not ever need to upgrade to the One X to play the newest Xbox exclusives, such as future offerings from the Gears of War, Forza, and Halo franchises.

Portability and Gaming On the Go
If you’re planning on taking your gaming on the road, you may be better off with the Nintendo Switch for the ultimate in console-to-portable functionality. The Xbox One X doesn’t really add any additional options for on-the-go gaming to the existing Xbox lineup – which continues to be strikingly bare of portable options, especially given that competitors Sony and Nintendo have both offered portable options for years.

To Buy or Not to Buy?
At the end of the day, the question of whether to buy into the new Xbox One X boils down to this: Will you really benefit from the improved graphic capabilities of this console?

For the hardcore gamer intent on maintaining the highest frame-rate possible at 4K resolution, the answer may be yes. But if your priorities lie more along the lines of experiencing your games in the most immersive fashion possible, we recommend sticking with the Playstation 4 Pro for its proven VR capabilities and existing catalogue of games. If you’re more into party games, portability, and family-friendly content, you really can’t go wrong with the Nintendo Switch. And if Xbox One-exclusive titles are must-haves, but you just want to get down to business and play your games, it may be advisable to stick with the One S for now, until it’s clear whether you’ll get more than just a boost to graphics with the One X.

View Consoles and more here



October 3rd, 2017

October 2017 New Game Releases

October is upon us! A ton of new games are coming out in anticipation of the holiday season and there isn’t a moment to lose so let’s dive right in!

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for Nintendo 3DS

The evil Beanish witch Cackletta has stolen the voice of Princess Peah! Mario and Luigi have to go on an adventure to the Beanbeen Kingdom to get it back! In this update to the classic GameBoy Advance game you’ll get to revisit the story you love with updated graphics and audio, as well as a whole new story that follows Captain Goomba as he gathers minions and rescues Bowser!

Join Mario & Luigi on this classic adventure again on 6th October!

Pre-order your copy now!

READ MORE



September 1st, 2017

September 2017 New Game Releases

Greetings gamers! Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. September kicks off the back to school season, the start of the sports game season, and the lead in to the holidays. That means a whole bunch of new titles are coming up soon. Let’s take a look!

Lego Worlds for Nintendo Switch


The hit game based on the hit complex interlocking brick system is coming to the Switch! Lego Worlds lets you build in Lego in a variety of procedurally generated worlds. Each world unlocks new quests and bricks to help you get to the next world in the game. Already available on other platforms since this past spring the game will land on the Switch on September 5th.
Pre-Order your copy at LondonDrugs.com!

READ MORE



June 23rd, 2017

E3 2017

E3 2017 is the largest video game trade show in the known world, and through the hustle and bustle of various demos and presentations a few steady themes start to emerge. Whether it’s how we play our games or what we’re using to play them, a few simple truths have permeated the industry and are slowly becoming the standard. Here are a few that we noticed during this year’s expo.

The eSports industry has seen tremendous growth through the last few years, but E3 2017 was the year that eSports and E3’s relationship grew to new heights. Competitive fighting game tournaments in games like Street Fighter V and Injustice 2 were taking place both on the show floor itself and just across the street in L.A. Live, advertising major upcoming tournaments with massive prize pools. Players unfamiliar with these games just passing by got a first-hand glimpse of the glory that eSports can bring, and more than a few might just pick up a fighting game and start to play.

If there’s one combination of letters and numbers that came out of every booth at the show, it’s “4K. 4K gaming has become the benchmark of console gaming, starting last year with the PlayStation Pro and Xbox One S and taken to new heights with the upcoming Xbox One X. Visuals in video games have never looked better than they do in 4K, so now is the time to invest in the technology before the hottest games start to launch this holiday season.

Virtual reality is certainly nothing new, but this year’s E3 saw a change in how VR games are being played. Previously VR focused more on the “experience,” being inside a virtual world and watching the events of a pre-determined scene play out as opposed to playing a normal video game outside of it. That tone has now shifted, instead focusing on playing games entirely inside the VR universe. Games like Resident Evil 7 set the bar for VR, but the selection of games coming to virtual reality in the future may raise it to new heights.

Minecraft made its presence known at E3 with a few new updates, but one in particular if implemented properly could change the entire industry. The Minecraft team announced at the Microsoft press conference that all versions of Minecraft will soon be able to play and communicate with each other regardless of format. Nintendo Switch players can team up with friends on PC, mobile players can talk to the Xbox One, and the list goes on. Should this Minecraft experience work the way Microsoft and Mojang intend, this could prove to be a major step in the unification of players on all gaming formats.

E3 2017 is in the books, but the trends shown at this year’s conference will continue into the coming months. Get ahead of the game at London Drugs today so you’re ready for whatever the gaming industry can throw at you.

Read More – Best of E3 2017

Read More – E3 2017

Read More – E3 2017 – Virtual Reality

Read More – E3 2017 – Call of Duty-WWII

Read More – E3 2017 –  Microsoft Xbox One X

Shop our New Games selection at London Drugs



June 23rd, 2017

E3 2017 – Virtual Reality

After a few years of focusing on the experience itself, virtual reality gaming is starting to sport an impressive lineup of games. Players thinking about taking the plunge into VR got some strong support from small indie studios and major publishers alike, meaning that VR could finally be taking its spot on the mainstream scene. Here are just a few of the titles coming soon to virtual reality.

Archangel places players in the pilot’s chair of a massive mech suit brandishing some serious firepower. A war-torn world is under threat from a corporation bent on world domination, and players will use the mech’s combination of machine guns, rockets, and arm shields to battle the evil and save the world. The studio behind the game Skydance Interactive is no stranger to game development, having developed scenes for Gears of War 4, Fallout 4, and XCOM 2, so Archangel is definitely a VR game to keep tabs on when it launches in July.

Ubisoft’s second major foray into VR after Eagle Flight, Transference is a collaboration between the major game publisher and Spectrevision, a film studio founded by actor Elijah Wood. The game tasks players with sifting through a man’s digitally reproduced memories in order to solve puzzles and discover the truth behind his deranged obsessions. Transference is a psychological thriller taking place entirely in VR, one that will delight those looking for some intensity in their gaming when it launches next Spring.

On the lighter side comes Moss from Polyarc Studios, an endearing tale starring a tiny mouse heroine named Quill. Players will control both Quill and The Reader, a spiritual being watching over the tiny mouse, as they solve puzzles and combat enemies. Quill takes on the bad guys of this world using adept swordsmanship, while the Reader can manipulate the world to create paths for Quill to traverse in order to advance. Moss will surprise players with its depth and unique challenges, making it an essential VR title when it launches during the holiday season.

Finally, if none of these titles can tip the scales in VR’s favor leave it to publishing titan Bethesda to provide the final word. Three of Bethesda’s most popular titles, Doom, Fallout 4, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, are coming to virtual reality in all its forms. Fallout 4 VR and Skyrim VR are new representations of the original games completely retooled for virtual reality, while Doom VFR plants the player in a series of rooms filled with enemies and allows them to move and shoot as fast as they can. With this trio of critically-acclaimed titles coming to the virtual space, it’s hard to no longer see the appeal of jumping in.

Virtual reality has been around for a little while now, but never before has a lineup of titles this strong been coming to this new frontier. Now is the time to get your hands on a virtual reality system, and London Drugs can make that happen today.

Read More – Best of E3 2017

Read More – E3 2017

Read More – E3 2017 – Virtual Reality

Read More – E3 2017 – Call of Duty WWII

Read More E3 2017 – Microsoft Xbox One X

Shop our New Games selection at London Drugs



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