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Tinder users are going on Animal Crossing for their first dates

How to find love at home

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Photo by Leigh, Twitter: @starheavenly

Weeks after it first launched, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has risen above the usual clout of cutesy video games. Across the world, the island life simulator allows individuals to connect with friends, family, and even coworkers.

In a tough era of social distancing, everyone’s looking for an alternative for social interaction, including those who want to spice up their love life. For example, a new Brooklyn couple met through the clever use of a drone and FaceTime. Naturally, prospective lovers have also homed in on Tom Nook’s island getaway.

On Twitter, physically distanced lovers are broadcasting their appreciation for the game, sharing their virtual dates on each other’s islands. For already established lovebirds, a cozy platform like Animal Crossing is already second nature. How about first-time Tinder hopefuls, though?

If you’re on the popular dating app, Animal Crossing might give you the platform you need to get that first date up and running. Newly-mets are also using the game to meet for the first time.

Via Polygon, these first dates narrated the thrill of dressing up their avatars for a date and bringing the game’s prized turnips to another island. Rather than talk about the insanity of the real world, the game allows people to talk about simpler things like fruit prices and favorite pieces of furniture, limited only by their typing speeds on the Switch.

Of course, playing in a family-friendly game doesn’t make anyone immune to ghosting or heartbreaks. In one Tinder date, a woman’s date gifted her 63,000 Bells to pay off her in-game house loan. However, despite the chivalrous gesture, she’s still ghosting him.

Likewise, Tinder users are also including Animal Crossing in their bios. If you needed a new gig for thirsty nights, Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be your go-to until the community quarantine ends. Regardless, a Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming a requirement today.

SEE ALSO: #PlayApartTogether: Embracing lockdowns and social distancing

Dating

Pokémon launched Pikachu-themed wedding rings, but there’s something nasty about them

How big is your love?

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As of late, The Pokémon Company has increased its reach to a lot of other industries outside of gaming, including lifestyle apps and wireless earbuds. Now, the ubiquitous brand has expanded to the most precious catch of them all: wedding rings.

Partnered with Japanese jewelry company Ginza Tanaka, The Pokémon Company has officially launched Pikachu-themed engagement rings and wedding bands. The list of products includes simple platinum and gold wedding bands that come in a PokéBall-style box. Couples can also get their rings engraved with their own personal customizations. (However, the company rightly suggests a variation of “I choose you, [insert name here].”)

Meanwhile, the engagement rings are a bit more ostentatious. One design is a simple silhouette of Pikachu’s face, but the face’s center holds a diamond. Another design has two Pikachu tails holding the diamond in place. Like the wedding bands, they can come in either gold or platinum.

Cute as they are, there’s something awfully weird about them, as The Verge points out. In particular, the ears of the Pikachu rings look particularly nasty. Call us skeptical, but we don’t think Pikachu had *those* for ears. And yes, while they are part of the marriage process, we don’t know if you’d want them wrapped around your finger forever.

However, if you’re not bothered by them and think they’re perfectly innocent and fluffy Pikachu ears, they retail for JPY 346,500 (approximately US$ 3,225). Meanwhile, the wedding bands range between JPY 115,550 (approximately US$ 1,076) to JPY 121,000 (approximately US$ 1,126). The collection also has a keepsake photo frame selling for JPY 13,200 (approximately US$ 123).

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Unite is the very first Pokémon MOBA game

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Dating apps will stop letting you search by race

In response to Black Lives Matter protests

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Since its inception, online dating has always presented an interesting conundrum. To access the services, users are shrinking themselves down to individual nuggets of data focused entirely on who they are. In doing so, they enter a vast lottery of people, searching for people according to their preferences. However, one of these nuggets is unarguably the most controversial topic today: ethnicity.

Though Tinder does not allow searching by ethnicity, other dating apps — Grindr, OkCupid, and Hinge — do, allowing users to search potential matches based on their race. However, Grindr is taking an all-new stand, in response to the ongoing protests happening across America.

Announced on Twitter, the popular dating app for gay, bisexual, and transsexual men supported the Black Lives Matter movement. However, rather than just making its stand known, Grindr has announced the end of its ethnicity search function. In the next update, the app will take the feature out completely.

However, in a statement to Forbes, other similar dating apps will keep the ethnicity search. According to these companies, minority groups still want the search function to find other people like them.

Regardless, it’s an interesting time for dating apps in general. For one, social distancing has put physical dating to a complete halt, necessitating new socially distant matching tools. Secondly, with race turning into a touchy topic for everyone all over the world, how will dating apps respond?

SEE ALSO: Tinder will soon allow you to match with anyone around the world

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Tinder will soon allow you to match with anyone around the world

Global Mode will roll out beta tests next week

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Tinder has always relied on an important feature: geolocation. By using your device’s location, the popular dating app connects you with people in your immediate area (or whatever radius you manually set). Naturally, social distancing has made physically connecting impossible during the pandemic.

As such, Tinder is now testing a new feature that will allow users to match with anyone in the world. Currently on testing, the new Global Mode enters interested users to a much more global agora of daters.

As reported by The Verge, the upcoming feature will still differentiate itself from Tinder’s already existing global functionalities. Currently, Tinder offers a premium service called Passport which allows users to match with other users in a manually specified region.

In comparison, Global Mode will not offer users control over where their profiles will eventually land. It’s a global roulette over which country will find you attractive. Likewise, to differentiate the feature from Passport, Global Mode is completely free.

Since the pandemic, Tinder has tried various features for thirsty daters stuck at home. Last month, the app offered Passport to all its users for free. The app is also testing a new video chat feature, reducing the need for a third-party messaging app.

Global Mode will start rolling out for testing purposes next week.

SEE ALSO: Tinder adds a panic button for dates that go wrong

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