Minecraft Education Edition

Minecraft: Education Edition is Free for Educators to Support Online Teaching

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Schools around the country and the world are closing to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means many students and teachers are using online tools for education. Microsoft is helping teachers and students stay connected by offering Minecraft: Education Edition for free to all educators through June 30.

In order to qualify, teachers will need to have a valid Office 365 Education account, and fill out this form. You’ll also need to make sure your school is eligible. If you receive access, you can download Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac or iOS (iPad). If you don’t have a valid account, or just want to check it out, you can still download the game and try a free demo lesson.

Microsoft has also put together a remote learning toolkit that includes 50 lessons, activities, and projects that educators can use with Minecraft: Education Edition. A new category of educational Minecraft worlds are also available in the Minecraft Marketplace. All of these worlds are free to download through June 30.

“Distance learning requires students to be engaged in content in news ways,” said Becky Keene, Minecraft certified trainer and educator. “As they work remotely, they need to have activities and environments that motivate them to learn. Minecraft supports almost any content area, and students can show me their learning without missing a beat!”

pokemon go

Pokémon GO March Events Include Legendary Raid Weekends

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Mobile Catch ‘Em All Pokémon GO is hosting several special events throughout the month of March, including five-star Legendary Raids every weekend – including Shiny Legendaries.

  • Darkrai Special Raid Weekend takes place March 6 – 9.
  • Altered Forme Giratina Special Raid Weekend is from March 13 – March 16.
  • Cobalion Special Raid Weekend will happen from March 20 to March 23.
  • Lugia Special Raid Weekend is scheduled for March 27 to March 30.

All raids begin at 8 am Friday and end 10 pm Monday, local time.

In addition, a new story event, A Drive to Investigate, will take place March 20 to March 23, featuring the arrival of Genesect. The event will include a limited time Story Event where you’ll encounter Genesect – but tickets must be purchased to participate.

Tickets cost $7.99 and can be purchase in-game between March 20 and March 26. Tickets also include battle passes, incubators, TMs, star pieces, and more research objectives that lead to special encounters, including Durant, Scizor, and other Bug and Steel-type pokémon.

During the special event everyone can earn double Stardust rewards from catching and hatching pokémon. Karrablast and Shelmet will hatch more often from 5km eggs, and Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, and Ice-type pokémon will appear more frequently in the wild.

The following weekend, March 27 to March 30, will see the return of the Psychic Spectacular event. Psychic pokémon will appear more often in the wild, in raids, and from eggs, including Solosis during the day and Gothita during evening hours.

March will also feature hour-long mini events. The Pokémon Spotlight Hour takes place every Tuesday between 6 and 7 pm local time, and features a large boost in wild pokémon. The Mystery Bonus Hour will run Thursday from 6 to 7 pm and offer a login bonus such as Candy, Stardust, or XP.

Pokémon GO is available on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells Is a Match-3 Puzzle Game

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Zynga and Portkey Games have announced Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, a new Potter-themed Match-3 puzzle game for iOS, Android, and Amazon mobile devices, as well as Facebook.

“We are incredibly proud to bring Harry Potter to Zynga’s portfolio and are dedicated to creating a game that’s worthy of the Wizarding World and its legions of fans,” said Bernard Kim, President of Publishing, Zynga. “By combining the ubiquity of mobile and the expertise of Zynga’s development team in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, we are crafting a game that will delight fans of all ages around the globe.”

Puzzles & Spells is the first Match-3 puzzle game set within the Harry Potter universe. Players will be able to create their own witch or wizard and progress through interactive puzzle and daily events to earn experience and unlock new spells, brew potions, and upgrade their skills.

Puzzles & Spells will also feature a multiplayer component. Players can form clubs and join in special cooperative activities.

As an officially licensed Harry Potter game, expect to see lots of iconic moments and familiar characters.

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells has begun soft launching in select areas, with the full worldwide launch coming soon. Pre-registration is available at the official website.

Pokémon Home: How to Transfer, Store, and Trade Pokémon

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With the release of Pokémon Home, trainers finally have the chance to consolidate their pokémon collections that span well over a decade. We’re providing a step-by-step process for bringing everything together, as well as what all you can do with Pokémon Home and the different versions and subscription levels.

Using Pokémon Bank on 3DS

The most exciting prospect for Home is bringing our old pokémon from previous generations onto the Switch generation. For the 3DS era (Gens 6-7), which includes X/Y, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Sun/Moon, and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, Nintendo offered an app called Pokémon Bank, released in 2014. Bank was largely the same as Home, a digital cloud storage space to upload pokémon, in order to bring them into future games.

Bank also supported the older Nintendo DS generations (Gen 4-5) through a free app called PokéTransporter. The DS had a GameBoy Advance cartridge slot, and it was possible to transfer the GBA era (Gen 3) into the DS era using the in-game Pal Park in Gen 4. By using all these methods it’s entirely possible to transfer pokémon who are over 15 years old!

Pokémon Bank requires a subscription fee ($5 a year) in order to transfer, though it’s free to leave them in storage. However, with the release of Pokémon Home, the subscription fee for Bank is currently waived until March 12.

In order to transfer pokémon from these older handheld generations, you’ll need to first set up Bank. Simply download it from the Nintendo eShop on your 3DS, sync it with the game cartridge (for Gen 6-7) or use PokéTransporter, and transfer pokemon from the game box to a storage box. Not that you won’t be able to transfer any pokémon directly from your party – you’ll have to start the game and move them to a box first.

Moving pokémon from Pokémon Bank to Pokémon Home

In Pokémon Bank on the Nintendo 3DS, select the option to Move pokémon to Pokémon Home. Important Note: This is a one way-street. Once moved to Home, pokémon can never return to Bank. Say goodbye to the 3DS era (or start over fresh).

Pokémon Bank will mention a Moving Key. Don’t proceed just yet.

Download Pokémon Home on the Nintendo Switch from the eShop. Home is also available on mobile devices, but we’ll need it on Switch to transfer from Bank.

Make sure you’re signed in as the same Nintendo account as you used for the Nintendo 3DS and Pokémon Bank.

Select the Move option, and Begin Move. Home will provide a Moving Key for Bank that will only be valid for 3 minutes. We’ll want both systems ready to go!

Confirm on Pokémon Home to get the 12-digit key, and carefully enter the key on the now much tinier Nintendo 3DS screen. Both systems should confirm that the key is successful, and that pokémon are transferring.

Pokémon Home will be unusable while pokémon are transferring, but it shouldn’t take long. Within a minute I saw my full roster of 844 pokémon successfully transferred to Home. You can choose to move them exactly as they were in Bank, or re-organize the boxes.

Moving pokémon from Sword and Shield or Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee to Home

Transferring pokémon from the Switch generation is a far simpler process, since they’re directly compatible with Home. Home will automatically detect these games, which you’ll see under the Pokémon screen. Selecting one of them will take you to a simliar screen to Pokémon Bank, with Home’s storage boxes on one side and the game’s storage boxes on the other.

The first thing you’ll notice is that many pokémon aren’t supported in the Switch games yet, as denoted by a red slash circle symbol. No pokémon can be transferred into the Let’s Go series (but they can be uploaded to Home) while Sword and Shield supports a select number of pokémon that equals about half the total roster.

Certain moves are also not supported in Sword and Shield, such as Refresh, Embargo, and Flame Burst, even though the pokémon itself is. These pokémon with unsupported moves will have a yellow triangle exclamation point over the move. You can transfer these pokémon if they have this symbol (and not the red slash circle) but the move will be removed during the transfer. Future Pokémon games may support these moves (as well as additional pokémon) so it may be worth waiting.

What can Pokémon Home do on Switch?

Pokémon Home can do three main tasks on the Switch: Transfer pokémon, view the National Pokédex and Research Tasks, and earn and transfer Pokémon Home Points . Points are earned by depositing pokémon, and you’ll get a big boost of 3,000 points the first time you upload a single pokémon. Points can then be transferred at a rate of 30 points to 1 BP to Sword and Shield (and future core Pokémon games).

BP can be used as currency to purchase special items at the Battle Tower in Sword and Shield, once you complete the main campaign. BP can also be earned in-game by battling at the Battle Tower.

Completing Research Tasks

By entering the Pokédex section of Pokémon Home on Switch, you can tab over to the Research Tasks. Currently there are only two sets available: one for Galar (Sword and Shield) and one for Kanto (Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee). Think of these tasks as optional achievements for uploading specific pokémon from those games into Home.

Note that transferring the pokémon from Bank won’t work – the pokémon have to originate from those specific games.

There are no rewards for completing the tasks, but it’s a fun way to work towards Catching ’em all.

What can Pokémon Home do on Mobile?

The mobile version of Pokémon Home is free-to-download on iOS and Android mobile devices. It’s primarily used for trading, though you can also see your entire collection, and receive any Mystery Gifts offered by Nintendo. The mobile version also includes Challenges, which are a bit like Research Tasks that act as milestone achievements for depositing certain pokémon. Unlike Research Tasks, Challenges do come with rewards in the form of digital stickers.

How do I trade Pokémon in Pokémon Home?

Pokémon Home finally adds the GTS, the global trade system that allows for easy online trades, as well as trading between friends, and the thrill of the random Wonder Trade.

Trading via Pokémon Home is only available on the mobile app, not the Switch app. Certain trade functions will be limited depending on if you’re using the Basic or Premium Plans (see below).

To trade, simply tab over to the Trade section of Pokémon Home, where you’ll find Wonder Box, GTS, Room Trade, and Friend Trade.

pokemon homeThe GTS is the primary place to get the exact pokémon you’re looking for, letting you enter in all the parameters, while putting up another specific pokémon to trade in return. You can also search for pokémon, and what other trainers are looking to trade them for. Premium users can put up to three pokémon in the GTS, while basic users are limited to one at a time.

Wonder Box lets you send one of your own pokémon out onto the digital trading block, and receive a random pokémon in return. It’s a total gamble but can be a fun way to receive new or interesting pokémon. Premium subscribers can have up to 10 wonder trades going at once, basic plans are limited to three.

Trade Rooms are like multiplayer lobbies, with folks jumping into rooms to randomly trade pokémon. Premium users can host and join rooms, while basic users can only join rooms. Specific rooms can be joined via the host’s room ID.

Friend trade is pretty obvious – trade with people on your friends list! Unfortunately Nintendo’s friends list systems are never well-integrated; you’ll need to add friends specifically to Pokémon Home.

What’s the difference between the Basic and Premium Plans?

Pokémon Home is free (Basic), but also includes an optional paid Premium Plan. The Premium Plan costs $2.99 per month or $15.99 per year, a 300% increase over Pokémon Bank. The following chart showcases the differences.

Primarily, you won’t be able to transfer pokémon from Pokémon Bank without a premium plan – but you should only have to do that once anyway. Note that number of pokémon that can be stored, however, from a paltry 30 (a single box) for basic users, or up to 6,000 for Premium. The IV Judge tool is also only available for Premium users.

What happens to my pokémon when my Premium Plan expires?

Don’t worry about your pokémon disappearing, like Pokémon Bank, if your subscription expires, your pokémon will rest safely in the digital storage space. However, you’ll only be able to access the 30 pokémon in your Basic Box until you renew your subscription.

How do I use the Judge function?

The Judge function, or IV Judge, is a way to analyze your pokémon’s individual values, or IVs. Each stat category, including HP and Defense, have a rating from No Good to Best, which can only be seen by using the Judge function. The Judge also provides an overall rating for the pokémon based on their IVs, such as Ok Stats or Good stats.

The IV Judge is available in every game, usually after beating the main campaign. But Pokémon Home Premium users also have the ability to see all their pokémon IVs in both the mobile and Switch version.

In the Switch version, press Y to view the Base Points, then Y again for the Judge. In the mobile version, tap the stat hexagon graph to view the IVs.

Pokémon Home is free-to-download on Switch and mobile devices.

Microsoft Unveils Two New Special Edition Xbox Wireless Controllers

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Microsoft has announced two new Special Edition Wireless Controllers: Phantom Magenta and Arctic Camo. Both controllers are Bluetooth compatible with Xbox One, Windows 10, mobile devices, as well as the upcoming Xbox Series X console this Holiday Season. They’re available for pre-order now.

The Phantom Magenta Special Edition wireless controller is the third in the Phantom series. The ultra-saturated purples, pinks, and black transitions from opaque to translucent. It’s inspired by cyberpunk sci-fi like Ghost in the Shell, and could fit perfectly with upcoming action-RPG Cyberpunk 2077. It’s releasing on March 17 for $69.99 at Microsoft Stores and select online retailers.

The Arctic Camo Special Edition wireless controller is the second Camo series controller, and features a white and grey camo design. The controller uses a frosted transparent resin to appear camouflaged from the inside-out, and features diamond-texture on the triggers. The Arctic Camo Special Edition is launching in May exclusively at Walmart and Microsoft Stores.

Both controllers will also feature optional matching charging stands. Each charging stand includes a battery cover, rechargeable battery, and 6-foot power cord for $49.99. The Phantom Magenta charging stand will be available the same day as the controller, March 17. The Arctic Camo charging stand will release April 27.