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Security

Hackers may be hiding in plain sight on your favorite website

Security researchers have detailed how domain shadowing is becoming increasingly popular for cybercriminals.

As reported by Bleeping Computer, analysts from Palo Alto Networks (Unit 42) revealed how they came across over 12,000 such incidents over just a three-month period (April to June, 2022).

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An offshoot of DNS hijacking, domain shadowing provides the ability to create malicious subdomains by infiltrating legitimate domains. As such, shadowed domains won’t have any impact on the parent domain, which naturally makes them difficult to detect.

Cybercriminals can subsequently use these subdomains to their advantage for various purposes, including phishing, malware distribution, and command and control (C2) operations.

“We conclude from these results that domain shadowing is an active threat to the enterprise, and it is hard to detect without leveraging automated machine learning algorithms that can analyze large amounts of DNS logs,” Unit 42 stated.

Once access has been obtained by threat actors, they could opt to breach the main domain itself and its owners, as well as target users from that website. However, they’ve had success by luring in individuals via the subdomains instead, in addition to the fact that the attackers remain undetected for much longer by relying on this method.

Due to the subtle nature of domain shadowing, Unit 42 mentioned how detecting actual incidents and compromised domains is difficult.

In fact, the VirusTotal platform identified just 200 malicious domains out of the 12,197 domains mentioned in the report. The majority of these cases are connected to an individual phishing campaign that uses a network of 649 shadowed domains via 16 compromised websites.

A system hacked warning alert being displayed on a computer screen.
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The phishing campaign revealed how the aforementioned subdomains displayed fake login pages or redirected users to phishing pages, which can essentially circumvent email security filters.

When the subdomain is visited by a user, credentials are requested for a Microsoft account. Even though the URL itself isn’t from an official source, internet security tools aren’t capable of differentiating between a legitimate and fake login page as no warnings are presented.

One of the cases documented by the report showed how an Australian-based training company confirmed it was hacked to its users, but the damage was already done through the subdomains. A progress bar for the rebuild process was showcased on its website.

Currently, Unit 42’s “high-precision machine learning model” has discovered hundreds of shadowed domains created on a daily basis. With this in mind, always double-check the URL of any website that requests data from you, even if the address is hosted on a trusted domain.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Walmart Labor Day Sale 2022: Our Favorite Tech Deals

There are a lot of different Labor Day sales to choose from, but nothing quite as expansive as what Walmart has going on right now. With brands like Vizio, Coleman, Apple, Acer, and Dell all getting thrown into the mix, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. If you’re planning on getting some shopping done this weekend, the Walmart Labor Day sale should be at the top of your list. Whether you’re looking for 4K TVs, laptops, furniture, or some sweet clothing deals, we’ve gathered some of the best sales the retail giant has to offer.

HP Chromebook 11.6 — $98, was $199

If the laptop deals that you encounter during the Walmart Labor Day sale are still beyond your budget, you should check out the HP 11.6-inch Chromebook. Chromebooks are generally cheaper than their Windows-based counterparts because they run on Google’s Chrome OS, which relies on web-based apps for low overhead and snappy performance even with low-end hardware. The HP 11.6-inch Chromebook is one of the best Chromebook deals that you can find on Walmart, with its AMD A4 processor, integrated AMD Radeon R4 Graphics, and 4GB of RAM more than enough to handle the basic tasks for work and school. The Chromebook also comes with an 11.6-inch HD display, and durability that can withstand falling off desks and splashes of water. Its 32GB hard drive might not look like much space, but you’ll be using cloud storage with this laptop so that shouldn’t be a problem.

IonVac SmartClean 2000 Robot Vacuum — $99, was $180

The ionvac SmartClean 2000 robot vacuum vacuums the floor of a nursery while a baby lies asleep in its crib.

Most shoppers would be going for Roomba deals if they’re looking for robot vacuum deals, but you should know that there are other reliable brands and products in the space. One of them is the IonVac SmartClean 2000, which features a powerful motor with suction of up to 2000Pa, and a complete cleaning system with side brushes, a roller brush, and a high efficiency filter. Our guide on how to choose a robot vacuum emphasizes the need for sophisticated sensors, and this one comes with anti-collision and cliff sensors to make sure that it doesn’t damage furniture or fall down the stairs. Also, like the best robot vacuums, the IonVac SmartClean 2000 can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network to allow it to work with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. You can use its remote or companion app to start it up and to choose between its cleaning modes, and once its battery is depleted, the robot vacuum will automatically go back to its charging dock.

HP Stream 14 Laptop — $159, was $229

HP 14 laptop with intel Celeron on desk.

For an affordable laptop from Walmart Labor Day deals that’s powered by Windows 11 Home, you can’t go wrong with the HP Stream 14. It’s equipped with the Intel Celeron N4120 processor and 4GB of RAM, which won’t match up to the specifications of the best laptops, but if you’re planning to use the HP Stream 14 only for simple activities such as browsing the internet, typing documents, and watching streaming content, they’re more than enough. The laptop also features a 64GB eMMC for storage, a 14-inch HD screen with narrow bezels to help minimize distractions, and a battery life of up to 41 hours on a single charge so you can work or watch while on the go. HP is one of the best laptop brands in the market right now, and it shows even in its budget options like the HP Stream 14.

Shark Pet Pro Cordless Vacuum — $159, was $299

Man using Shark Dyson cordless vacuum in living room

The best Shark vacuums are well-made products at affordable prices, and this trend continues with the Shark Pet Pro cordless stick vacuum. The best vacuums focus on making it very easy for household members to clean their home, and the Shark Pet Pro makes that happen with its powerful suction that picks up dirt and debris from all kinds of surfaces, and a runtime of up to 40 minutes on a single charge. The vacuum features Shark’s Power Fins, which is a self-cleaning brush roll that provides continuous cleaning contact to dig deep into carpets, while promising no entanglements with all the pet hair that it will be picking up. With Shark’s Multiplex technology, you can bend the wand to reach tight spaces, or fold it for an easier time in placing the vacuum in storage. You can also freely switch the Shark Pet Pro into a hand vacuum for lightweight cleaning, using the same extra large dust cup.

Vizio 50-inch V-Series 4K TV — $298, was $358

People watching sports on the 50-inch Vizio V-Series 4K TV.

If your living room can fit a 50-inch TV according to our guide on what size TV to buy, you should heavily consider buying the Vizio V-Series 4K TV from the 4K TV deals in this year’s Walmart Labor Day sale. Already considered one of the best TV brands, Vizio doesn’t hold back with the V-Series despite the model’s relatively affordable price. It features 4K Ultra HD resolution so that you can watch your favorite shows and movies with breathtaking detail, and Vizio’s IQ Active Processor can enhance HD content into 4K quality so that you can further maximize the TV’s screen. Like the best TVs, the Vizio V-Series 4K TV is a smart TV that runs on the brand’s SmartCast platform, which provides easy access to streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+. The TV also comes with a voice-enabled remote so that you can use voice commands for functions such as searching for content and controlling playback.

Asus TUF F15 Gaming Laptop — $649, was $899

A person using the Asus TUF F15 gaming laptop.

Asus is behind some of the best gaming laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Asus ROG Flow X13, so you know that you’ll be getting top-notch quality with the Asus TUF F15. You won’t have a problem playing today’s most popular games with its 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, and 8GB of RAM, though our guide on how much RAM do you need recommends that you upgrade to 16GB of RAM as soon as you can. The gaming laptop also features a 15.6-inch Full HD display, a 512GB SSD with Windows 10 Home pre-installed and a free upgrade to Windows 11, and self-cleaning dual fans with anti-dust technology to extend the longevity of the machine. The Asus TUF F15 features durable military standard construction, so you don’t have to worry about the gaming laptop getting damaged when you travel with it.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

‘Rollerdrome’ preview: Twitchy dystopian bloodsport is my new favorite genre

Rollerdrome is essentially the video game version of Rollerball, the fabulous 1975 sci-fi film starring James Caan. In Rollerball, monolithic corporations control society and the least powerful citizens are compelled to compete in lethal roller-skating competitions, in the name of entertainment and classism. (Yes, dystopian fiction existed far before The Hunger Games.) The movie is a slow burn of brutality, odd human rituals and shirts with huge collars, and it’s a brilliant time capsule whose themes remain relevant today.

Rollerdrome builds a similarly rich, unsettling world through set pieces, costuming and audio cues, pulling a 1970s aesthetic firmly into the 21st century in the process. It takes place in 2030, in a world controlled by massive companies — the Matterhorn corporation is at the center of a new bloodsport called rollerdrome, where participants are challenged to shoot their way through enemies while completing ridiculous roller-skating tricks. Rollerdrome comes from Roll7, the studio behind the skateboarding series OlliOlli — it just has four more wheels and a lot more guns than those games.

I played a preview of Rollerdrome on Steam, using a controller as recommended. The entire game features bold, comic book-style visuals, with the main character wearing a red jumpsuit and striped white helmet, skates on their feet and a handful of firearms at their disposal. It’s a third-person, single-player shooter with environments ranging from abandoned malls to desert canyons, each one lined with ramps, walls, gaps and breakable windows, offering plenty of opportunities for tricks.

Rollerdrome

Roll7

Tricks are essential to Rollerdrome, and not just because they look and feel super cool. Completing tricks is how you refill ammo, so it’s critical to keep the moves coming. The game supports the classics, like ollies, grinding, flips and grabs, allowing you to spin every which way mid-air to change things up. Roll7’s expertise with fast-moving action is on full display here — it’s fun enough to simply skate along the ramps, building up speed and trying out new tricks, but this is just one aspect of gameplay.

While rolling and flipping through the maps, you have to dodge incoming shots from enemies, manage your health and ammo, and murder every character you see. Killing enemies leaves behind gems of health, there’s a lock-on option for all firearms, and you’re able to slow down time in bursts. All of these factors combine to turn each level into an action movie with a hand-drawn ’70s filter: The main character flips in slow-motion high above the battlefield, shooting down a sniper before landing back in real time, dodging missiles and rolling at full speed into another jump. Dramatic scenes like this play out again and again, as the time-slowing ability refills rapidly and completing tricks quickly becomes second nature, in the name of collecting ammo.

Rollerdrome

Roll7

Enemies have a range of weapons, including sniper rifles, bats, handguns and rockets, while the main character gets firearms like dual-wielded pistols, a shotgun and a grenade launcher. There are tokens hovering around the maps indicating trick challenges, but otherwise each environment is an open, dangerous playground. It’s possible to skate off the edge of platforms and mountainsides, and this results in a 10 percent health penalty, but it doesn’t stop the round. For the completionists of the world, there are specific time- and skill-based challenges in each level, and these are critical to unlocking new levels.

Once you start moving in Rollerdrome, there’s no need to continually press forward to accelerate, freeing up the mechanics for turning, dropping, flipping and shooting. Dodging is one of the coolest parts of the game, especially when multiple enemies have you in their sights — incoming fire is displayed by a blue line that turns white when the shot goes off, and timing a dodge perfectly results in a satisfying sound effect and the opportunity for a temporary damage boost. It’s a thrill to dodge, dodge, dodge and then leap into the air, slow down time and take out the people shooting at you, refilling ammo and collecting health in the process. And all the while, an original synth-forward soundtrack keeps the energy high.

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Computing

The Dell XPS 13 and XPS 17 Are Among Our Favorite Laptops.

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If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you should know that one of the best laptop brands is Dell. In particular, the Dell XPS range offers some of the best laptops you can get your hands on. That’s why we’re so passionate about tracking down the best Dell XPS deals. However, while the Dell XPS 13 has been consistently one of our favorite laptops in recent times, there’s also the Dell XPS 17 to consider. Bigger and meatier in every way, it’s a tempting proposition for the power user. Read on while we check out both laptops and figure out what’s best for which user.

Dell XPS 17 — $2,050, was $2,100

A true powerhouse of a device, the Dell XPS 17 leaves the MacBook Pro in the dust according to our Dell XPS 17 review. That’s fighting talk indeed and we’re not surprised. It’s a beast of a laptop. Starting out with an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 512GB of SSD storage, plus an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, it’s ideally suited for all kinds of things. That ranges from your usual productivity tasks but also plenty of gaming and video editing, too. If you’re keen to play the latest games while on the move, this is the system for you. That’s certainly helped by the fact that it has a 17-inch full HD+ screen with InfinityEdge and AntiGlare technology so it looks fantastic in every lighting scenario. It’s a gorgeous system to as well, with neat features that mean its fans are well optimized and its advanced thermal design delivers amazing performance in an incredibly thin form factor. Everything about the Dell XPS 17 has been made with performance in mind, right down to an EyeSafe display that reduces harmful blue light and maintains vivid color. Check out our Dell XPS 17 buying guide to truly learn every single little thing about it.

Dell XPS 13 — $1,000, was $1,170

Dell XPS 13 laptop at a side angle on a white background.

The Dell XPS 13 is the laptop endgame according to our Dell XPS 13 review and, honestly, it’s a pretty sweet deal. It’s a 13-inch laptop that squeezes itself into an 11-inch form factor so you get all the benefits of a laptop of this size without having to carry extra bulk. Specification-wise, it has an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, plus 256GB of SSD storage. Don’t count on playing many games on this system as it only has Intel Iris Xe graphics but for any kind of productivity task, the Dell XPS 13 is an absolute dream to use. Its 13.4-inch full HD+ display offers InfinityEdge technology as well as AntiGlare so it can cope with any surroundings or lighting issue without you losing focus. Everything about the Dell XPS 13 has been designed to be classy with 100% of the enclosure sculpted by a CNC machining process to look elegant while maintaining high build quality that’s stronger and stiffer than magnesium or plastic. Even its carbon fiber black palm has been inspired by the aerospace industry so it looks extra nice. For true elegance, you can’t go wrong with the Dell XPS 13.

Which Dell XPS laptop should I buy?

Because Dell makes such great laptops, you’ll be happy with whichever Dell XPS you go for. Crucially, the Dell XPS 17 is best for video editing or playing games on the move but that does come at the price of being a little less portable than the Dell XPS 13. If portability and an elegant laptop is what you need, go for the Dell XPS 13. It’s a productivity powerhouse for the price, even if it can’t cope with many games.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Editors’ Choice




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Computing

One of Our Favorite Chromebooks Gets Price Cut at Staples

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The laptop deals that retailers are offering online come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from cheap to expensive. However, if your budget is very tight, you might want to consider Chromebook deals. The Chrome OS-powered devices are more affordable than traditional laptops, and they’re perfect for students and new professionals. If you’re interested, check out Staples’ $20 discount for the Acer Chromebook 311, which brings its price down to $220 from its original price of $240.

The Acer Chromebook 311 is powered by the dual-core Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB of RAM, and Intel UHD Graphics 600, which are more than enough to handle basic tasks such as browsing websites, watching streaming content, and using productivity apps. The device is also equipped with an 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution, a 32GB eMMC hard drive for storage, and a 38Wh lithium-ion battery that promises up to 10 hours of usage on a single charge.

The components of the Acer Chromebook 311 aren’t as impressive as top-of-the-line laptops, but that’s because it doesn’t need high-end hardware. Google designed Chrome OS for Chromebooks to utilize web-based apps instead of installed software, resulting in quick startups and snappy performance. Without the need to install programs, you won’t need much storage space, especially since you can upload your files to the cloud. Chromebooks are excellent devices for everyday use, and the same can be said for the Acer Chromebook 311.

If you’re interested in trying a Chromebook, or if you’re planning to buy another one, the Acer Chromebook 311 is a solid choice. It’s an even more attractive option because Staples is selling it at $20 off, lowering the Chromebook’s price to $220 from its original price of $240. It’s unclear how long the offer will last though, so if you want to squeeze out as much savings as possible in purchasing the Acer Chromebook 311, you should click that Buy Now button as soon as you can.

More Chromebook deals

Several manufacturers have rolled out Chromebooks, so if you’re not sold on the Acer Chromebook 311, there are many alternatives. To help you find the best Chromebook deals from the different retailers, we’ve gathered some of the best offers that you can take advantage of right now.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

The HP Spectre x360 14 Is My New Favorite Laptop. Here’s Why

Over the past couple of years, I’ve reviewed exactly 125 laptops for Digital Trends, and out of all those computers, the HP Spectre x360 14 isn’t just one of my favorites — it’s my favorite laptop, period. There’s a reason it made its way to our best 2-in-1s list, not to mention it’s one of the best laptops for writers.

That last achievement should serve as a hint as to why I like this laptop so much. I’m a writer, and while I use other, more powerful machines when I need them, my writing laptop has its own extremely specific requirements. The Spectre x360 14, which I’ve used for about six months now, meets those requirements and then some.

It’s the Goldilocks of laptops

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As laptops have gotten smaller thanks to tiny bezels, 13-inch laptops have tipped over into being too small. The Spectre x360 13, for example, is an excellent machine with a lovely OLED display available and a very small chassis. But for me, that just makes the palm rest and touchpad too small. The Dell XPS 13 is better thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio that makes for a taller display and more space below the keyboard, but it’s too small for me as well.

That’s where the Spectre x360 14 comes in. It has a 13.5-inch display in the even taller 3:2 aspect ratio, which gives tons of space for a larger touchpad and more palm rest real estate. And yet, thanks to its small bezels, it remains a relatively small laptop. The Microsoft Surface Book 3 13 also has a 13.5-inch 3:2 display, but its bezels are wider and its form makes for a larger chassis.

At the same time, 15-inch laptops are too large to comfortably carry around. Again, tiny bezels have made for smaller machines, like the Dell XPS 15, but I still find them unwieldy for when I want to move around the house or relocate to another environment entirely. As a writer, I don’t like to be stuck in one place. A change of scenery, even somewhere else within my house, helps get the creative juices flowing. And here, the Spectre x360 14 is just large enough to be comfortable to use but small enough to be comfortable carrying around.

Everyone has different preferences, but for me, the Spectre x360 14 is the Goldilocks of laptops. It’s just the right size.

It has an excellent keyboard

HP Spectre x360 14 keyboard view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

For the longest time, HP’s Spectre keyboard has been my favorite. It offers plenty of travel, great spacing and a comfortable key size, and a switch mechanism that manages to be both light and precise with a crisp clickiness. Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its latest MacBooks is also excellent, but in the Windows 10 world, I’d rather type on a Spectre than any other laptop.

The Spectre x360 14, of course, uses the same keyboard and I love it. Coupled with the size and the generous palm rests, it’s the laptop that I enjoy writing on the most. You really can’t minimize the importance of a good keyboard to a writer — it rivals the display as the most important component. We writers don’t want slow machines, but for our primary task, putting words down on a page, it’s the keyboard and not the performance that keeps us humming along.

The display is a dream

HP Spectre x360 14 display view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

I’ve been using the Spectre x360 14 with its optional 4K OLED display. While this is a bright and colorful — and color-accurate — display that photo and video editors would love, that’s not what draws me to it. Rather, it’s the unworldly contrast ratio (374,200:1, compared to the XPS 13 4K’s also good 1,360:1) that makes it particularly special.

Contrast matters to a writer because it determines how black the text looks on a white background. I like text that pops, and the Spectre x360 14’s display puts out some of the best text you’ll find.

The 3000 x 2000 resolution, while not my preferred 4K, also makes for very sharp text. That’s just as important as the contrast because I’ve always found pixels distracting when I’m writing. I like text that’s as close to a quality printed page as possible, and again, the Spectre x360 14’s display delivers.

Let’s not forget the 3:2 aspect ratio, which shows off a lot more vertical content than the usual 16:9 panel. I see more of my writing at once, which greatly enhances my productivity. I can multitask with two apps side-by-side — usually, two web browsers, one for WordPress and another for research — and have more vertical real estate to work with.

The performance and reliability are beyond good enough

HP Spectre x360 14 media mode view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

I mentioned that performance isn’t key for me in my writing laptop, but that doesn’t mean I’ll settle for a poorly performing machine. The Spectre x360 14 is plenty fast enough for my writing tasks, and in those few occasions where it’s the only machine I have and I need a little extra power, I can use HP’s Command Center utility to put the laptop in performance mode.

The Spectre x360 14 boots quickly, opens apps without delay, and keeps me productive when I’m using multiple web browsers for writing and researching. I can keep my other apps open as well without penalty, such as Microsoft Teams and To-Do, and never skip a beat. It’s not the fastest laptop in its class, but it’s plenty fast for me.

The 2-in-1 has also been reliable over the six months I’ve used it. I have not run into a single issue — the Spectre x360 14 goes to sleep when it should, wakes up when I want it to, and hasn’t suffered a single glitch. I can’t say that for every laptop I’ve used.

And that’s not all

There are other reasons why I love the Spectre x360 14 that have less to do with my primary task of writing. It has an elegant aesthetic and a smart, functional design, and while I don’t use it often as a tablet, I do appreciate its media mode for Netflix binging — which looks awesome thanks to the OLED display. It also has surprisingly good battery life given its power-hungry display, letting me put down words for hours without running out of power.

I’ve reviewed enough laptops to know what I like, and what I like best is the Spectre x360 14. If you’re a writer, or really anyone who can benefit from a great keyboard, awesome display, and just the right size, I strongly recommend this laptop over the many others I’ve used. There’s a reason why I gave it a 10/10 score and an Editor’s Choice award in my review. It really is that good.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Pokemon GO Fest code leak shows major fan favorite Mythical release

Intrepid seekers of future data looked at codes delivered with the latest version of Pokemon GO this week and found some secrets. Early peeks at updates to the game can be found if a person knows where to look – and this week’s update to the game included a DOOZY of a leak as such. At this point we’re going to issue a SPOILER ALERT for those of you who wish to remain excited and surprised by what’s coming next.

If you’re ready to be surprised, but want to wait until the event takes place, turn back now! We’re looking at a sneak peek of the game that’ll have its most major in-game event this weekend, complete with a reveal of a Mythical Pokemon that’s not yet appeared in the game in any form.

The Pokemon found by Pokeminers on The Silph Road is none other than Hoopa! Are you surprised? This is the Mythical Pokemon Hoopa, the same Hoopa that had his own Pokemon movie special release. This is the Pokemon whose powers seemed so impossibly top-tier that we thought there was no way he’d be entering the realm of Pokemon GO – but hey! There he is!

Per leaked dialogue from the game, Professor Willow says – or will say – “I was just out on a stroll and witnessed the most incredible sight. Several rings had appeared in the sky, and as I stared up at them, something truly remarkable occurred.” Willow goes on to say, “Legendary Pokémon began emerging from the rings as if by magic!”

Unfortunately, it would appear that Hoopa will not actually be available to capture DURING the event. It’s been suggested by the folks at GO Stadium (as shown in the Tweet below) that while Hoopa will appear at GO Fest 2021, he will not be able to be caught. It’s very likely that Hoopa will play a role similar to the movie, releasing Legendary Pokemon for players to battle. We’re talking wild and generally super-rare Pokemon up in Raid Battles aplenty!

Yes, Ben, it’s not Hoopaning. On the positive side of the situation, it would appear that Niantic remains confident that trainers will one day be able to catch Hoopa, somehow or another. Text in the game suggests that “it doesn’t seem like Hoopa is in the area at the moment. Let’s use this time to prepare to catch it, hm?”

The game also includes not-yet-used text that suggests that “You’ll need your skills at their sharpest to catch Hoopa.” It’ll likely be a situation where GO Fest 2021 sets us up for another major event in the future, an event that’ll bring Hoopa to trainer collections in a very real way. For now, it’s all about the HOOPS.

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Game

My 5 favorite SGDQ 2021 speedruns to stave off the post-GDQ blues

Summer Games Done Quick 2021 wrapped up over the weekend, and while it’s always a bit of a bummer to see these GDQ marathons come to an end, it gives all of us a chance to catch up on any runs we may have missed while the event was live. With more than 150 speedruns performed during SGDQ 2021, it can be difficult to know where to start, so here I’ve listed five fantastic speedruns from SGDQ 2021 that are sure to entertain.

Gone Golfing

For a lot of people, it seems one of the surprises of SGDQ 2021 was the Gone Golfing run by Teddyras with commentary from Jeff! In 3D. While the name of Gone Golfing suggests it’s one of the dime-a-dozen golfing games available on Steam, it’s actually a survival horror game with a creepy antagonist and some spooky golf-themed puzzles. Teddyras and Jeff play it straight the entire time, making for one of the funniest runs of the entire event.

Pokemon Black & White Race

Sometimes, races at Games Done Quick events can be lopsided affairs. After all, these are competitions between speedrunners, so one mistake is often all that needs to happen to give one runner the lead for the entire race. However, that wasn’t the case with the Pokemon Black & White race between PulseEffects and Swiftalu, as it was a close, competitive showdown the entire time. Before SGDQ 2021 kicked off, I said that this race would be one to set aside some time for, and it turns out that prediction was right on the money.

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

There’s nothing particularly special about the Sonic Adventure 2: Battle speedrun because we’ve even seen it numerous times at past GDQs. However, what’s special about this one is its runner, Dage4, who manages to make nearly every risky time-saving trick in the run look effortless. Even Dage4’s commentators are left dumbfounded by the tricks he pulls off during the speedrun. It’s definitely one to watch if you’re looking to be wowed by technical skill.

Halo 2

Like Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Halo 2 is a speedrun we’ve seen at GDQ many times in the past. This any% run is filled with glitches, most notably one called “arbitrary unit possession,” which allows runner Monopoli to glitch into the bodies of NPCs, enemies, and vehicles. It’s a completely broken run that’s super interesting in large part because of Monopoli’s excellent commentary.

Kingdoms Hearts II Final Mix

Being the final run of the event, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix by Ninten was always going to have some level of hype behind it. Even without that, however, it turned out to be a fantastic run full of technical skill and the commentary from SpikeVegeta and JHobz – two very familiar faces for those who watch Games Done Quick regularly – was top notch. The fact that it capped off what was largely a fantastic marathon is just icing on the cake.

How to watch every run from Summer Games Done Quick 2021

The five runs listed here are really just the tip of the iceberg. GDQ has already uploaded each run from SGDQ 2021 to its YouTube channel, so if you’re having a hard time picking a jumping-off point, just start at the beginning and work your way to the end of the marathon from there. What was your favorite run from SGDQ 2021? Head down to the comments section and let us know!

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Game

Fortnite Season 7, Week 4 Challenge Guide: Farmer Steel’s Favorite Places

With the start of Fortnite season 7, week 4, a new batch of challenges is ready for you to complete, giving you plenty of ways to earn XP. Much like last week’s, the new challenges are tricky since most of them require you to visit unmarked locations on the map to find collectibles or visit specific spots. One challenge that might cause you some trouble sends you on a quest to visit Farmer Steel’s favorite places. Of course, the game doesn’t specify where his favorite places are.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to complete this challenge, along with everything else you’ll need to make it as easy as possible. Here’s how to visit Farmer Steel’s favorite places in Fortnite.

Recommended reading:

Farmer Steel’s favorite places

Fortnite.gg

There are three locations you need to visit to complete this challenge. You might not know where to go, but luckily, we’ve got the locations of each. The map above (courtesy of Fortnite.gg) outlines all three locations. You do have to go to all three to complete the challenge, but they do not need to be visited in one match, thankfully. If you play Team Rumble and grab a vehicle, however, you can hit all three before the storm comes.

Since you don’t have to actually interact with anything to earn credit toward this challenge, you can get away with simply driving by in a vehicle. If you’re quick, you can drive close to the landmark, get credit for it, and then drive away before getting shot by any nearby players. If you do get taken out before you visit all three, you can pick up where you left off in another match, so don’t worry if you’re eliminated early.

Below are the specific locations of each spot you need to visit.

Farmer Steel’s favorite place 1

Fortnite Farmer Steel's favorite places.

You can hit these in any order, but we had luck going to the one northwest of Retail Row. It’s found by the small body of water, next to the yellow house. The reason this spot is good to visit first is that you can head to the bridge to the north to grab a vehicle that will help you reach the others in time.

Farmer Steel’s favorite place 2

Fortnite Farmer Steel's favorite places

North of the previous location is the next spot, the pizza restaurant with the tomato on top. If you grabbed a vehicle from the bridge mentioned above, you should have no trouble getting here quickly.

Farmer Steel’s favorite place 3

Fortnite Farmer Steel's favorite places.

The final one is found on the far west side of the map, to the northeast of Holly Hedges. It’s the small house located by a lake. Simply walk up and you’ll get credit for completing the challenge.

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Take a look back at Engadget’s favorite Nintendo 64 games

25 years ago today the Nintendo 64 was released in Japan. It was the company’s last cartridge-based home console before the switch to optical discs and it introduced players to the joys of awkwardly-placed joysticks. And of course there were the games: the jump to a 64-bit CPU meant you could now experience the worlds of Hyrule and the Mushroom Kingdom in glorious 3D. However, while Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and GoldenEye 007 might be the go-to titles when talking about the Nintendo 64, the tastes of the Engadget crew run a little more off the beaten path, as evidenced by the memories our staff shared below. — Kris Naudus, Buyer’s Guide Editor

Diddy Kong Racing

If there’s one Nintendo 64 title I wish would make a comeback on the Switch, it’s Diddy Kong Racing. I spent hours of my childhood on this game and, to this day, it’s the one title that gets me to dust off my Jungle Green N64 and sit too close to the TV.

Though Diddy Kong Racing was critically acclaimed for taking the dynamics of Mario Kart 64 and adding in a story, I have almost no memory of the game’s single-player adventure. That’s because the bulk of my time playing was in multiplayer “battle” mode at the houses of friends (whose older siblings had conveniently played through much of the main story and unlocked the levels already).

Back then, I didn’t care about the game’s story or beating the bosses. The best part of Diddy Kong Racing was battling my friends for the most eggs on Fire Mountain, or to be the last one standing in the Icicle Pyramid. And then doing it all over again. As much as we played, it seemed there was always some new diabolical strategy to try.

Like a lot of Nintendo 64 titles, the controls could be a bit challenging to master and the steering was… imprecise. But those constraints were part of the fun, and made it that much more gratifying when you perfectly aimed a rocket or nailed a well-timed drift. Maybe one day I’ll go back and actually play through the story. But even if I never do, I’ll always be up for a quick round on Fire Mountain. — Karissa Bell, Senior Editor

Harvest Moon 64

Like many games from the N64 era, I discovered Harvest Moon 64 in the pages of Nintendo Power. The magazine featured screenshots that made me fall in love with the art style, saving up my allowance to buy the game when it came out in the winter of 1999.

I wouldn’t have known at the time, but Harvest Moon 64 was in many ways the pinnacle of the series. Gameplay was simple, but in comparison to some of the more modern entries in the franchise, that was the strength of Harvest Moon 64. It never got bogged down in the more boring farming mechanics of its successors, instead focusing on the social elements that stayed with you long after you finished playing. A ticking clock and seasonal events always meant you had something to do away from your farm, and made it so that multiple playthroughs were essential to see everything the title had to offer. 

The isometric presentation did such a great job of selling the charming world of Harvest Moon 64. Ultimately that’s why I kept coming back — there was something comforting about the game that made it the perfect game to play during a sick day or lazy summer afternoon. — Igor Bonifacic, Associate Editor

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

We all know The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece, but I’m here to tell you its sequel, Majora’s Mask, is objectively perfect. Nintendo could have played it safe after releasing one of the most important games of all time, but instead the company created something different. It’s all the ways Majora’s Mask breaks with the Zelda formula that make it so memorable. There’s no princess to save, no Master Sword to recover and, most importantly, you’re not up against Ganon. Then there’s its most controversial element.

A lot has been written about the game’s 72-hour structure in which you’re forced to repeat the same three days again and again as you try to stop the Moon from falling on Clock Town. That cycle is Majora’s Mask’s greatest strength.

Pathos permeates almost every story you stumble upon in the game, including that of antagonist Skull Kid. Majora’s Mask invites you to help out the characters you meet throughout your adventure, even though what little good you perform is undone at the end of the current cycle. Even as a kid, I remember being struck by how Majora’s Mask handled choice and consequence in a way that no game I had played before had. At every moment, it reminds you that there’s a cost to doing nothing. — IB

Perfect Dark

One game my friends and I played often was Perfect Dark. Rare followed up the excellent GoldenEye 007 with an even better first-person shooter. For a 2000 console game, it looks great and plays like a dream. A frantic, action-packed dream.

The multiplayer mode is a precursor to many current shooters. You start each round unarmed, and you need to find weapons — just like many modern battle royale games. There’s a wide array of options for match customization, and it’s always fun to cook up fresh scenarios. I’d always try to make sure there were sentry guns I could deploy to take out my opponents.

Sometimes, we’d frankenstein together two televisions and a signal splitter, turn off the mini map and cover our opponents’ sides of the screen for a real challenge. It was about as close as we could get to a competitive multiplayer experience on a console back then. I only wish I had my own N64, so I could have practiced and not get stomped every time we played. — Kris Holt, Associate Editor

Star Fox 64

Nintendo loves to keep its fans waiting. It’s been 14 years for Metroid Prime fans, but Star Fox players have had it even worse: we haven’t seen a good title in the series since 1997. Yes, there was Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox Zero, but those titles are pale reflections of the glory that was Star Fox 64. I recently played the 3DS version of Star Fox 64, and it is still a great game, but at the time it was mind-blowing. The first Star Fox was innovative, but it strained the Super Nintendo to its limits, and still only managed blocky graphics devoid of texture and detail. Star Fox 64 kept the core gameplay but added detailed environments, hordes of enemies and was the first Nintendo title to feature haptic feedback, courtesy of the Rumble Pack.

The core gameplay loop of “shoot, charge, lock-on, blast, dodge” is still addictive even now. Even the campaign design was innovative. The levels branched depending on your actions in-mission, but this also served as the difficulty level. Do a good job blasting enemies, finding secrets, and saving your squadmates (dammit Falco, get back here!) and the game shunts you towards more challenging missions. On-rail shooters are decidedly old-fashioned, and the space-sim genre in general has seen better days, but until we get word of a new entry in the franchise, I’ll still be here with my 3DS port nailing 100 points in Sector Y to unlock the path to Aquas. — Christopher Schodt, Video Producer

WWF No Mercy

I never owned a Nintendo 64, so my memories of it are really of playing games with my friends when we were kids. During most school lunch breaks, we’d go to one of their homes, fire up WWF No Mercy and play a few matches.

After getting to grips with the controls, learning each character’s extensive moveset was a blast. The reversal system works well, too. You could never be sure whether you’d connect with a devastating slam or powerbomb.

The rich career mode has multiple paths and branching narratives that depend on the match outcomes. Where No Mercy really shines, though, is in its deep customization. Not only can you fine-tune your own character, you can modify the existing roster in almost any way you choose.

It’s still the best wrestling game to date, though WWF SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns are worthy contenders. The blocky character models with their horribly flat faces may look dated, but you can’t beat that No Mercy physics engine. — KH

Gallery: Nintendo 64 25th anniversary | 10 Photos

Bonus Round: Super Smash Bros.

No particular memory to share here, I just really like this commercial. — KN

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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