It won’t be long before you can begin your island getaway in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The much-anticipated simulation game sails onto Nintendo Switch March 20, bringing an end to the eight-year drought of mainline Animal Crossing games. New Horizons will undoubtedly be one of the biggest Switch games of 2020. To celebrate its looming release, we decided to collect all of the best Animal Crossing merchandise in one place. From controllers and carrying cases to plushies and Amiibo, you have a lot of options to pick from to help you show off your Animal Crossing love. There’s even a New Horizons Switch console that might be the cutest Nintendo system ever made.
Plus, be sure to check out all the new Amazon Crossing: New Horizons news that came out of the latest Nintendo Direct on February 20. We learned a lot about the upcoming Switch game, including details about brand-new characters, mobile app features, a much-needed tool wheel, the new terraforming mechanic, and more.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch console | $300
The Animal Crossing Switch console is a beauty. It comes with a pair of exclusive Joy-Con, a dock featuring Tom Nook and the Nooklings, and a back panel decorated with tiny silhouettes of characters, trees, boats, and more, all perfectly scattered across the island setting. If you have a launch model Switch, you might be happy to learn the Animal Crossing Switch comes with the upgraded battery. The launch model has a 2.5 to 6.5-hour range, while the updated model boasts a 4.5 to 9-hour range.
The special edition console releases March 13, one week before the New Horizons launches. It doesn’t come with a copy of the game, though. The Joy-Cons and Switch dock will be sold separately in Japan, but Nintendo hasn’t announced plans to release either individually in the US.
The Animal Crossing Switch is currently sold out at all major retailers, but it may come back into stock in limited quantities before release. You can check out the listings for the Switch at each retailer below.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons pre-order bonuses
Of course, if you haven’t pre-ordered the game itself just yet, you can still do so at every major retailer. Target was offering a cute Animal Crossing journal with pre-orders of the game, but it has sold out on two separate occasions. That said, there’s always a chance that more journals could become available prior to launch (it already happened once). Those who pre-order at Best Buy will get a peel-and-stick Tom Nook badge that can be put on phones, laptops, and other tech, and online pre-orders at Walmart come with a Tom Nook tote bag.
Check out everywhere you can pre-order the game below!
Game and Bell Bag bundle | $65
Best Buy is selling the game bundled with an adorable little bag modeled after Tom Nook’s Bell Bag. The bundle costs $65, so you’re only paying five bucks for the cute bag (as opposed to the $20 the bag costs by itself).
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Official Companion Guide | $30
Animal Crossing isn’t a game you need a traditional walkthrough to complete; on the contrary, the game never ends. But the New Horizons official companion guide will tell you everything you need to know about the island, including a catalogue of every item you can purchase, find, and create. The 432-page paperback releases April 9 and is available to pre-order at Amazon for $30.
Aloha Edition carrying case | $25
An official accessory from Nintendo, the Aloha Edition carrying case releases March 13 for both the Switch and Switch Lite. The case uses the well-known Animal Crossing leaves for its design and also comes bundled with a screen protector.
Game Traveler Deluxe Case | $20
A new Game Traveler Deluxe case celebrating New Horizons releases March 20 alongside the game. This cute case is compatible with both the Switch and Switch Lite, but the Switch will fit more snugly in this hard shell design. The case comes with a game card holder for four Switch games and a microSD case for two cards. There’s an adjustable stand inside the case that props up your Switch or Switch Lite when in tabletop mode.
Power A Enhanced Wireless Controllers | $50
These wireless Animal Crossing Switch controllers from Power A are adorable alternatives to the Pro controller. You can choose between a K.K. Slider or Nooklings design. Each controller is a lovely shade of green and features an Animal Crossing-themed pattern.
Power A wireless controllers look and feel great, but they don’t operate exactly the same as the Pro controller. They use AA batteries for power and don’t have Amiibo NFC support or vibration. They do, however, have an additional pair of triggers on the back that can be programmed on the fly. Both designs release March 10, so you’ll be able to use them to play on launch day.
Nintendo Switch console skin | $20
Maybe you don’t want to spend the cash on the Animal Crossing Switch, but you still want your console to look the part. These officially licensed skins from Controller Gear deck out your console, dock, and Joy-Cons with Animal Crossing designs. Three Tom Nook designs are available, each of which features Tom Nook and/or Timmy and Tommy Nook. Each skin comes with a screen protector as well.
Nintendo Switch Lite console skins | $10
Nintendo Switch Lite owners won’t feel left out thanks to Controller Gear’s console skins. There are three patterns to choose from–Outdoor, Timmy and Tommy, and Woodtone–each of which are $10.
Animal Crossing Amiibo
Nintendo outlined New Horizons’ Amiibo support during its Animal Crossing-focused Direct presentation. Scanning Amiibos while playing New Horizons allows you to invite characters to your campground. A separate mode called Photopia lets you arrange your figures and dress them up for a photoshoot.
As of right now, 16 Animal Crossing Amiibo figures are available to purchase, most of which released around the same time as Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival for Wii U. Unlike some older Amiibo, you can still find most of them for great prices. In fact, the majority of them are available for less than their release price. The three-pack includes K.K. Slider, Cyrus, and Reese and is $11.94 at Amazon. Here are all of the Animal Crossing Amiibo you can currently buy:
New Horizons also supports Amiibo cards, and they offer the same perks as the figures. Though not really display items like regular Amiibos, there are far more cards out there, each displaying one of the cheery denizens of the Animal Crossing universe. Amiibo cards were released in four waves, and each pack comes with six Amiibo cards.
Isabelle Nendoroid | $76
This Isabelle Nendoroid is probably the cutest Animal Crossing product you can buy. Good Smile’s popular Nendoroid figurines come with numerous accessories and a stand. Isabelle comes with musical notes that attach to the stand, a clipboard, and a pen. The only downside here is the price. This Isabelle Nendoroid costs $76. The winter version is even pricier at $112.68.
Isabelle plush | $27
A wide assortment of Isabelle plushies can be found from a quick search. But I have to say, a fair number of them are less than great. This Isabelle plush, which is a Japanese import that’s eligible for Prime shipping, is just about perfect, though.
Tom Nook plush | $17
When I first looked at this Tom Nook plush, I grimaced. It’s not cute. But then I looked at Tom Nook again and remembered that he’s not cute anyway. He’s a hardworking but tired-looking raccoon who wants you to pay him back for those home renovations. Plush Tom Nook can look at you in dismay every time you’re about to buy something you don’t need online (not including this plush).
Nook’s Homes Mug | $12
This Animal Crossing-themed mug shows off your appreciation for the raccoon who makes all of your dreams possible. Is Tom Nook a design expert? That’s up for debate, but he’s all we have to help us make a home that’s large enough to satisfy our hoarding desires. Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out at Amazon.
K.K. Slider T-shirt | $23
We can’t all be as cool as K.K. Slider, but we can celebrate the famous musician with this officially licensed graphic T-shirt. The shirt is available in men’s, women’s, and youth fits and comes in black, navy, olive, dark heather, and heather blue.
Japanese import accessories
The rest of the products on this list are available to pre-order from Play Asia. Shipping costs will vary depending on what you buy, but expect to add a decent chunk of change to the price. You’ll also have to wait longer to receive your order. Items tend to take a few weeks to arrive when ordering from Play Asia, so just know that you’ll probably be at least a month into your New Horizons journey before any of the following accessories land on your doorstep.
Adventure Pack for Switch/Switch Lite | $27
This small Animal Crossing backpack has two pouches, one big enough to fit a Switch, the other designed for the Switch Lite. Whichever pouch you don’t use for your console, you can use for games and accessories. It’s expected to ship on March 31 and costs $27.
Switch storage bag | $30
This accessory features the same print as the Adventure Pack but more space. It looks like a cooler and comes with slots for the console, dock, a controller, and all of the cables. It also ships March 31 and costs $30.
Tote bag | $31
On the outside, it looks like a normal tote bag, but it has pouches for both the Switch and Switch Lite, making this tote a stylish travel bag for all of your Nintendo Switch needs. It’s available to pre-order for $31 and ships March 31.
Playstand for Switch and Switch Lite | $17
For when you want to use your Animal Crossing-themed Switch controller without playing on the TV, this playstand keeps the Animal Crossing vibes going and provides a snug cradle to prop up your console in tabletop mode. It’s expected to ship March 31.
Protector set collection
This silicon cover protects your Switch’s screen and Joy-Con from the elements. You can flip the cover off the screen to play in handheld mode and even leave it on when docking your console. There are two designs to choose from, one that focuses on Animal Crossing characters and another that has a more scenic environment.
Play Asia has a variety of carrying cases, both hard shell and soft, to pre-order for the Switch and Switch Lite.
Switch Lite covers
To protect your Switch on the go while showing off your Animal Crossing love, Play Asia has several cover options that snap onto the back of your Switch Lite.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.
Zoom adds new security and privacy measures to prevent Zoombombing – The Verge
Zoom will soon turn on passwords and waiting rooms by default for all meetings in an effort to help prevent “Zoombombing,” or the recent trend of people disrupting Zoom meetings uninvited and sharing shocking or even pornographic content. The new defaults will add real friction to the process of joining a meeting — a process that Zoom had previously made as frictionless as possible to help spur its growth. The changes will take effect starting April 5th.
Zoom passwords were already turned on by default for new meetings, instant meetings, and meetings you joined with a meeting ID — what’s new starting April 5th is that they’ll be turned on for previously scheduled Zoom meetings as well. And once you’ve joined a meeting, you’ll have to wait for the host to let you in from the new virtual waiting room. The host of the meeting can choose to let people in individually from the waiting room or all at once.
You can see the new changes in this video from Zoom:
Zoom usage has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have turned to the free video conferencing service to stay in contact with friends, family, colleagues, and even their yoga teachers. But that increased usage has also made the platform a target for hacks, pranks, and harassment, often through Zoombombing. The issue has become serious enough that federal prosecutors are now warning there could be serious legal implications for Zoombombing perpetrators.
The service’s new default protections may also address other security issues with the platform. Yesterday, it came to light that some security researchers had developed an automated tool that is able to identify 100 non-password-protected Zoom meeting IDs in an hour and scrape information about those meetings — perhaps Zoom’s new passwords-by-default policy could prevent similar scanning tools from finding meeting IDs and private information in the future.
Yesterday, Zoom announced a 90-day freeze on releasing new features so it can focus on fixing privacy and security issues with the platform.
Google releases location data to show if coronavirus lockdowns working in 131 countries – Deccan Herald
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Thursday published reports for 131 countries showing whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, when many governments issued stay-at-home orders to rein the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Google’s analysis of location data from billions of users’ phones is the largest public dataset available to help health authorities assess if people are abiding with shelter-in-place and similar orders issued across the world.
Its reports show charts that compare visits in recent weeks to subway, train and bus stations, grocery stores and other broad categories of places with a five-week period earlier this year. For some countries, Google charts regional data, such as at the county-level within the United States.
Facebook Inc, which like Google has billions of users, has shared location data with non-governmental researchers that are producing similar reports for authorities in several countries. But the social media giant has not published any findings.
The coronavirus has infected more than 1 million people globally, and COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes, has killed 52,000, according to a Reuters tally.
Infectious disease specialists have said analyzing travel across groups by age, income and other demographics could help shape public service announcements.
Google, which infers demographics from users’ internet use as well as some data given when signing up to Google services, said it was not reporting demographic information. The company said, though, it was open to including additional information and countries in follow-up reports.
“These reports have been developed to be helpful while adhering to our stringent privacy protocols and policies,” Dr. Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer for Google Health and Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president for Google Geo, wrote in a blog post.
Google said it published the reports to avoid any confusion about what it was providing to authorities, given the global debate that has emerged about balancing privacy-invasive tracking with the need to prevent further outbreaks.
China, Singapore, South Korea and other countries have asked residents to use apps and other technology to track their compliance with quarantines, but privacy activists argue such measures can compromise individual liberties.
Data in Google’s reports come from users who enabled Google’s “Location History” feature on their devices. The company said it adopted technical measures to ensure that no individual could be identified through the new reports.
Consultations with officials in California, Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization helped inform data shared, Google said.
The company declined to comment on whether it has received any legal requests to share more detailed data to help with efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default to stop Zoombombing – TechCrunch
Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly shared video calls. Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID, as these may be guessed or reused. Meanwhile, it will change virtual waiting rooms to be on by default so hosts have to manually admit attendees.
The changes could prevent “Zoombombing,” a term I coined two weeks ago to describe malicious actors entering Zoom calls and disrupting them by screensharing offensive imagery. New Zoombombing tactics have since emerged, like spamming the chat thread with terrible GIFs, using virtual backgrounds to spread hateful messages or just screaming profanities and slurs. Anonymous forums have now become breeding grounds for organized trolling efforts to raid calls.
The FBI has issued a warning about the Zoombombing problem after children’s online classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and private business calls were invaded by trolls. Security researchers have revealed many ways that attackers can infiltrate a call.
The problems stem from Zoom being designed for trusted enterprise use cases rather than cocktail hours, yoga classes, roundtable discussions and classes. But with Zoom struggling to scale its infrastructure as its daily user count has shot up from 10 million to 200 million over the past month due to coronavirus shelter-in-place orders, it’s found itself caught off guard.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologized for the security failures this week and vowed changes. But at the time, the company merely said it would default to making screensharing host-only and keeping waiting rooms on for its K-12 education users. Clearly it determined that wasn’t sufficient, so now waiting rooms are on by default for everyone.
Zoom communicated the changes to users via an email sent this afternoon that explains “we’ve chosen to enable passwords on your meetings and turn on Waiting Rooms by default as additional security enhancements to protect your privacy.”
The company also explained that “For meetings scheduled moving forward, the meeting password can be found in the invitation. For instant meetings, the password will be displayed in the Zoom client. The password can also be found in the meeting join URL.” Some other precautions users can take include disabling file transfer, screensharing or rejoining by removed attendees.
The shift could cause some hassle for users. Hosts will be distracted by having to approve attendees out of the waiting room while they’re trying to lead calls. Zoom recommends users resend invites with passwords attached for Meeting ID-based calls scheduled for after April 5th. Scrambling to find passwords could make people late to calls.
But that’s a reasonable price to pay to keep people from being scarred by Zoombombing attacks. The rash of trolling threatened to sour many people’s early experiences with the video chat platform just as it’s been having its breakout moment. A single call marred by disturbing pornography can leave a stronger impression than 100 peaceful ones with friends and colleagues. The old settings made sense when it was merely an enterprise product, but it needed to embrace its own change of identity as it becomes a fundamental utility for everyone.
Technologists will need to grow better at anticipating worst-case scenarios as their products go mainstream and are adapted to new use cases. Assuming everyone will have the best intentions ignores the reality of human nature. There’s always someone looking to generate a profit, score power or cause chaos from even the smallest opportunity. Building development teams that include skeptics and realists, rather than just visionary idealists, could keep ensure products get safeguarded from abuse before rather than after a scandal occurs.
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