Eagle Forum Founder Blast Videogames

September 9, 2010 -

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the “pro-family” Eagle Forum has authored a column in which she takes a hatchet to videogames, while attempting to outline the fight by both sides in the Schwarzenegger vs EMA case to rally state attorneys general to their respective squads.

A few of the descriptors used by Schlafly to portray videogames in her piece include: “extremely violent and addictive,” “polluting,” “increasingly realistic bloodshed,” “highly disturbing,” “heinous acts of terrorism” and “evil products.”

In case you hadn’t guessed it yet, Schlafly is not a huge fan of games. A sampling of her more inane arguments against videogames follow:

Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played, and parents usually don't or can't play the games.

Lawsuit Seeks to End Border Searches of Electronic Devices

September 8, 2010 -

When the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is forced to log in to her laptop at an airport and a customs official disappears for 30 minutes with the computer, it’s probably a safe bet that some form of litigation will emerge from the encounter.

This is exactly what happened to Lisa Wayne as she was traveling home from Mexico in August of 2008. The incident, according to the National Law Journal, took place at the Houston, Texas airport and eventually resulted in her organization joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

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TEN Releases First Exergame Ratings

September 7, 2010 -

Just a few weeks after a child psychiatrist called for games to feature exercise ratings, a non-profit health advocacy group affiliated with Games for Health has released its own exergame rating system.

The Exergame Network (TEN) came up with its Exergaming Experience Rating System (EERS), which scores games first on their game play, interface and energy expended, and then grades on an additional seven criteria, including customization, accessibility, biometric feedback, intervention capability, socialization, sustainability and safety.

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No Mafia II for UAE

September 7, 2010 -

The United Arab Emirates’ National Media Council has banned the release of Take-Two Interactive’s Mafia II videogame in that country.

Nitin Mathew, of the Dubai-based distribution firm Red Entertainment Distribution, told Arabian Business that the game was banned because of its “excessive violence and nudity.”

Mafia II was going to be released at the end of August, but now it will share the same fate as its predecessor Mafia, which was also banished from the UAE. Other recent games outlawed in the UAE include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV.

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Researcher Ferguson Urges Utah AG to Side with Game Industry

September 7, 2010 -

As Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff continues to decide whether to throw his state’s support behind an amicus brief opposing California’s violent videogame bill at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs EMA, Texas A&M International Associate Professor Christopher J Ferguson sent a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune urging Shurtleff to join the game industry’s side.

Ferguson, best known around these parts for his videogame research, outlined three reasons why Shurtleff should oppose the California bill:

Another MOD Criticizes MOH

September 7, 2010 -

The red phones connecting the world’s defense/defence ministers must be working fine, as yet another member of that group has jumped on the anti-Medal of Honor videogame bandwagon.

This time around Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay took issue with the Electronic Arts game, specifically over the ability to play as a member of the Taliban in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode. MacKay, via the Ottawa Citizen, had this to say about the game:

The men and women of the Canadian Forces, our allies, aid workers, and innocent Afghans are being shot at, and sometimes killed, by the Taliban. This is reality. I find it wrong to have anyone, children in particular, playing the role of the Taliban. I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.

How Gearbox Ended up with Duke Nukem Forever

September 6, 2010 -

Since some politicians somewhere will be complaining about the depravity of Duke Nukem Forever at some point, you might as well know how Gearbox Software ended up with the rights to the game. You may recall, as original creator 3DRealms went bankrupt last year it had a disagreement with Take Two as well and ended up in court - mostly due to investments the publisher made in anticipation of eventually releasing the game.. at some point.

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Stardock Confirms Layoffs in Wake of Elemental Launch Problems

September 6, 2010 -

Brad Wardell confirmed that Stardock was forced to lay off several employees in the wake of the bungled launch of Elemental: War of Magic. On Friday reports from Shacknews and Joystiq said that the company had laid off several employees in anticipation of dwindling sales and a general lack of interest in the game.

Wardell had alluded to this late last week in a forum post on the Elemental boards, taking full responsibility for the sorry state of the game at launch and saying that there would be strong repercussions for the company. We assume these layoffs are one of those repercussions.

Here's what Wardell said in confirming the stories about lay offs in the Elemental Forums:

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EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

September 3, 2010 -

A judge’s ruling earlier last month that Craig Smallwood’s lawsuit against Lineage II maker NCsoft could continue (a suit in which Smallwood claimed he was addicted to the game), could have an impact on End User Licensing Agreements (EULA).

A lawyer at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy named Steven Roosa took to his blog (thanks Slashdot) to discuss the Smallwood case, using the headline “A Software License Agreement Takes it on the Chin.”

Roosa detailed NCsoft’s attempt to stop the lawsuit by using Section 12 of its User Agreement, which is entitled “Limitation of Liability.” The judge eventually only partially granted NCsoft’s motion to dismiss.

Roosa wrote:

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GameStop Stores on Military Bases Won’t Sell MOH

September 2, 2010 -

GameStop announced today that "out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform we will not carry Medal of Honor in any of our AAFES based stores". AAFES, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, is responsible for commercial sales on military posts and often includes outside vendors such as GameStop.

Based on the language reported by Kotaku, it appears that the request actually came from AAFES and is simply being honored by GameStop. From the email to GameStop employees earlier today, "GameStop fully supports AAFES in this endeavor and is sensitive to the fact that in multiplayer mode one side will assume the role of Taliban fighter."

Extra Credits Outlines SCOTUS Case

September 2, 2010 -

The latest Extra Credits video, as seen on The Escapist, takes on the Schwarzenegger vs EMA Supreme Court case, offering a rather complete overview  for those who might not be totally up to speed on what this action could mean for gamers.

Thanks Andrew!

What the Average American Thinks about MOH

September 1, 2010 -

In light of the controversy surrounding the ability to play as the Taliban in Electronic Arts’ upcoming Medal of Honor, Northern California’s Times-Herald solicited reader input on the title, in the form of letters to the editor, and listed them on their website.

The responses range from ambivalent to angry, and probably represent a decent enough cross-section of opinions. Samplings of the responses are shared below, led off with our personal favorite:

Aubrey Cosentino: I don't think they should have even made this game, let alone try and release it. I would never buy it. My brother is in the Navy and served over in Iraq. It's a slap in the face to Americans is what it is; first they want to build a temple, now this game, come on now ...

Linda Peterson: I would NOT buy it -- but I don't play or buy any war games at all. I think the Taliban option is in extremely bad taste. Offensive even.

32 comments | Read more

MS Exec: Kinect Could Help 360 Get to Market in China

September 1, 2010 -

As Microsoft continues to try and get its Xbox 360 to market in China, an executive for the company outlined why Kinect may be a valuable asset in its push and how MS plans to combat piracy in the Asian country.

Simon Leung (pictured), Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO for the Greater China region, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, first noted why China is such an attractive region, if it wasn’t already apparent, stating that China would soon be the world’s largest PC market, while it's already tops in the mobile phone and broadband categories.

Leung indicated that China is becoming a growing adopter of cloud computing, which could help protect Microsoft, as Leung stated, “… you cannot pirate a cloud application.”

Asked about selling consoles in China, Leung responded:

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Understanding the Cycle of Violent Videogame Stories

August 31, 2010 -

Kotaku points us towards an interesting Ted Talk in which David McCandless, a self-proclaimed “data journalist” discusses overcoming information overload by visualizing and designing information so we can focus on what’s important.

After showing a graph a “landscape of the world’s fears”, or a chart showing off popular scares over the last decade, which included Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, the Millennium Bug, Asteroid Collisions and Killer Wasps, McCandless pulled up a slide charting the landscape of violent videogames.

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Utah Paper Against Possible AG Support of Game Industry

August 31, 2010 -

An editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune calls Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s decision to possibly support the videogame industry in the upcoming Schwarzenegger v. EMA SCOTUS case “baffling.”

It appears the paper has sided with pro-life groups and a handful of politicians in condemning Shurtleff (pictured) for a decision he hasn’t even made yet. Titled, “Let it Go,” the editorial stopped just short of labeling Shurtleff a hypocrite, saying instead that opposing the California law was ironic for someone representing a state “that trumpets its devotion to family values.”

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New Zealand Latest Stop for MOH Bashing Tour

August 31, 2010 -

Expect sales of Electronic Arts’ Medal of Honor to do a little better in New Zealand after that country’s Defense Minister Wayne Mapp (pictured) joined his UK counterpart in condemning the title.

Mapp, who is also New Zealand’s Minister of Research, Science and Technology, spoke out against the game because, presumably, of its multiplayer component, where gamers will have the ability to fight as Taliban forces.

In comments carried by GamePlanet, Mapp stated that, “Terrorist acts have caused the deaths of several New Zealanders.” He continued, “This game undermines the values of our nation, and the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform.”

Analyst: Global Games Market Worth $105 Billion

August 27, 2010 -

According to Paul Heydon, an investment banker with Avista Partners, the global games market "cap" has reached $105 billion - including online games. During a talk at Edinburgh Interactive Heydon said that most analysts don't factor in revenues from anything outside of the traditional PC and console sector - which usually hits the $50 billion mark. But when you factor in online games that number jumps to $105 billion. Further, he says that online games - which includes MMO, casual, and social - make up 71 percent of the market.

Here's Heydon's breakdown:

Nintendo – $34.96 billion

Other PC/Console (without Nintendo) – $33.22 billion

Online – $23.46 billion

Mobile – $8.26 billion

Retail – $3.11 billion

Payment Services – $1.37 billion

Distribution/Accessories – $311 million

Outsourcing – $255 million

Source: MCV UK

1 comment

Telegraph Columnist Goes on Fox Hunt Over MOH Comments

August 26, 2010 -

An excellent piece on the UK’s Telegraph website rips Defense Secretary Liam Fox for his prattle about EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor game, while also outlining the impact Fox’s comments will have on game sales and how such attacks by “outsiders” raise the cackles hackles of gamers.

Fox totally missed the boat in his condemnation of the game as he argued for its ban in the UK, claiming that the game was “un-British,” even though British forces do not factor into the game at all.

If Fox wanted to make a reasonable argument about the game, as Nick Cowen explains, he could have chosen a different tack:

Pro-Family Groups Trying to Sway Utah AG’s Schwarzenegger Stance

August 25, 2010 -

As Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff considers submitting an amicus brief that would support the videogame industry side in the Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court case, "pro-family" groups and other legislators from his state held a press conference to try and get him to change his mind.

Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, Laura Bunker (pictured), Chairwoman of United Families Utah and State Representatives Jim Dunnigan (R) and Julie Fisher (R) all gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday, according to a story in the Deseret News.

Bunker stated, “As the most family-oriented state in the nation, Utah should support this law that promotes the protection of children.”

31 comments | Read more

Use of Italian Plaza in GT5 Angers Official

August 23, 2010 -

Piazza del Campo is a historic space in Siena, Italy, famous for being the scene of a biannual bareback horse race named the Palio di Siena. The use of the space as a cart track in the upcoming Gran Turismo 5 however, as illustrated in the accompanying video, has angered at least one Italian official.

Kotaku reports that Anna Carli, CEO of the Consortium for the Protection of the Palio is reaching out to Sony officials in order to resolve this dispute.

16 comments | Read more

W&M Law School to Present Mock Schwarzenegger vs EMA Case

August 23, 2010 -

In what could be a preview of what might happen when the Supreme Court finally addresses the Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association case this fall or early next year, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) at William & Mary Law School will run through the violent videogame case as part of its 2010-2011 Supreme Court Preview.

The two-day event kicks off on Friday night, September 24 and will feature experienced Supreme Court advocates presenting arguments before the IBRL’s mock panel of Supreme Court Justices. Events will conclude in a 9am to 4pm session on Saturday, September 25.

This year’s participants include Lyle Denniston from the SCOTUS Blog, USA Today’s Joan Biskupic, The Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin, the New York Times’ Adam Liptak, University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemrinsky, U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkman and William & Mary School of Law Dean Davison Douglas.

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UK Pol Calls for MOH Ban, Labels Game “Disgusting”

August 23, 2010 -

Upset over the ability to play as the Taliban in multiplayer modes of Electronic Arts’ upcoming Medal of Honor game, UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox has called for retailers in that country to forego selling the game.

Fox’s full rant appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Times, which is behind a pay wall, but fortunately CVG (thanks Cheater87) transcribed some of Fox’s thoughts on the game.

After calling the opportunity to play as the Taliban “disgusting,” Fox continued:

It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban.

I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game.

I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.

Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

August 23, 2010 -

A study undertaken by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicates that near-sightedness (myopia) has increased significantly over a 10-year period in the youth of that region, and handheld videogames were given most of the blame.

The study was actually carried out between 2006 and 2007 and involved over 800 kids between the ages of two and six. Results were then compared to a similar study undertaken in 1996. It was reported that the number of cases of near-sightedness rose from 157 kids to 222, and that the number of children wearing glasses rose from 2.3 percent in the older study to 6.3 percent in the newer one.

Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, Chairman of the school’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences pinned the blame on “playing video games - especially in moving vehicles - and watching television or using a computer for a long time and sitting too close to screens…” according to The Standard.

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Trade-in Games for Food

August 20, 2010 -

Hungry? Have a stack of old videogames? Live near a Tesco store? Then you might be in luck.

MCVUK is reporting that at least 60 Tesco stores are now accepting videogame trade-ins and the resulting store credits can be used to purchase anything in the store. Among a sampling of prices being offered: £12 (approximately $19 U.S.) for 2010 FIFA World Cup on the PlayStation 3, £17 (approximately $26 U.S.)  for Mario Kart Wii and £19 (approximately $29 U.S.)  for the Xbox 360 version of Red Dead Redemption.

The purchased traded-in games will be available for consumers to buy used in the stores as well.

Select the pre-owned games check box on the Tesco store locator to find a location accepting trade-ins near you.


Utah Might be on Game Industry Side in Schwarzenegger Case

August 19, 2010 -

As each side in the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case attempts to lure state attorney generals to sign on to their respective amicus briefs, Common Sense Media Chief James Steyer is turning up the pressure on one particular person.

The LA Times features an excerpt from a letter by Steyer to Utah Attorney General, and a one-time target of a certain disbarred attorney, Mark Shurtleff (pictured). While Shurtleff might seem like a natural to sign on to a brief in favor of the California law—he argued for a ban of the game 25 to Life in 2005—he has also demonstrated considerable backbone, once challenging a proposed Utah law introduced by a now disbarred attorney as unconstitutional.

Rapid Online Discounting of Madden NFL 11 Raises Eyebrows

August 18, 2010 -

In a strange move, online retailers GameStop and Amazon have already instituted dramatic price reductions on Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 11, which has been out for barely over a week.

Michael Comeau, a columnist for Minyanville, noticed the price drops and dubbed the actions “worrisome” due to their timing—according to his recollection, while Amazon typically is a quick discounter, it didn’t adjust the price of last year’s Madden game until 20 days after release.

On Amazon, the 360 version of Madden NFL 11 is now $49.99, a $10 drop, while the Wii version had $3 knocked off to $46.99 and the PlayStation 2 entry received a $7 reduction to $32.99. The PlayStation 3 version is still full price ($59.99).

GameStop matched Amazon’s discounts on the 360, Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of Madden NFL 11 and went two better, knocking $10 off the PlayStation 3 game and $7 off the PSP version, which now sells for $32.99. (GameStop's discounted prices are applicable online only, not in-store)

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Child Shrink: Time for Games to Feature Exercise Ratings

August 17, 2010 -

As the gaming world continues to evolve further into the era of true interactive gaming, one child psychiatrist thinks it’s time for a new ratings system that informs consumers about a game’s ability to contribute to exercise.

Paul Ballas guest-authored a Wired article on the subject following an introduction to, among other things, Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect technology at this year’s E3 Expo. Ballas thinks that if videogame developers focused their efforts on creating games that also provided a cardiovascular workout, “there is a real chance of striking a blow against childhood obesity.”

To that end Ballas outlined the type of content descriptors he would like to see:

Similar to Food and Drug Administration-mandated labels on food, an exercise rating system could estimate the calories burned by the average person in an hour of gameplay. The label could range from Sedentary for lean-back, button-intensive shooting games to Active for games with a calorie-expenditure rate comparable to playing basketball.

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Canadian Ad Bureau Breaks out In-game Ad Revenue

August 11, 2010 -

For the first time, revenue from in-game advertising was broken out in a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB), and the figures were not all that overwhelming.

The Canadian Online Advertising Revenue Survey (PDF) serves up actual 2009 results in addition to 2010 estimates. The report stated that 2009 revenue from Canadian in-game advertising was $3 million, or less than one percent of the year’s total of $1.82 billion.

Videogame advertising, as defined by IAB, “can range from an Advertiser buying some or all of the ad units in or around a game, to a 'Sponsored by' link to a custom-branded Game experience.”

Speaking to The Star, IAB President Paula Gignac called videogames “something of a walled garden” when it comes to marketing information.

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Will Wright On The Evolution of the Games Industry

August 10, 2010 -

In Episode 2 of Game Industry TV's video game show, Game Theory with Scott Steinberg, the topic of lessons learned is front and center. The overarching theme of the show is "has the game industry learned its lesson?"

There's no denying that the game industry is struggling in the midst of a sour economy, declining sales, cutbacks to staff and studio closures and competition from social networks. The show explores whether developers and publishers like Activision, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts are adapting fast enough to survive in the face of growing competition from social networks, downloadable titles and free online games.

One excerpt of particular interest is with Will Wright, creator of The Sims and Spore, who says that the industry needs an evolution not unlike what transformed the human race from primordial ooze to its present state of existence:

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Torchlight and the Power of Digital Distribution

August 9, 2010 -

According to internal figures Runic Games' popular action RPG Torchlight has managed to move an estimated 600,000 units - and most of that movement occurred via digital sales. The company, which was bought by MMO publisher Perfect World earlier this year, was so impressed with sales of the game that it decided that a sequel was a necessary and logical next step. Runic Games is also working on a Torchlight MMO, but the company stresses that the sequel to Torchlight will have a separate design team dedicated to bringing a new game with new character classes, a new story and cooperative play.

CEO Max Schaefer told Gamasutra in a recent interview that he was surprised at the number of digital downloads the game had sold when compared to retail sales:

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james_fudgeprh99: Whether you agree with the article or not, fighting alleged censorship with censorship is hella lame10/02/2014 - 4:27am
james_fudgewhoever made that decision at Intel will regret it later on down the road. Boycotts are tricky business.10/02/2014 - 4:26am
prh99The unflattering characterization "They don’t know how to dress or behave." & "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
prh99http://intel.ly/1tjh1AH http://bit.ly/1rGPHOY http://intel.ly/Zu6go9 it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
Andrew EisenWow! Intel dropped Gamasutra due to GameJournoPros? Over Matt Matthews? The only Gamasutra guy in the group? Who hasn't written a single thing about #GamerGate at the site? Where did you read that?10/02/2014 - 12:32am
Neo_DrKefka#WriteAKotakuArticle "#GamerGate is responsible for breaking millions of Intel powered macbooks after angry SWJ hipsters slam them shut" or "How Toxic Processors from Intel causes sexism. "10/02/2014 - 12:15am
Neo_DrKefkaSo Intel has dropped Gamesutra due to there support of your Gaming News Cabal Fudge. Anti GamerGate article soon? Or like your e-mails are you hoping this narrative dies down soon?10/02/2014 - 12:14am
Andrew EisenWell, time to eat some dinner and work on the Hyrule Warriors guide until bedtime!10/02/2014 - 12:11am
Andrew EisenJust finished my stream. That... could have gone better. Technical issues prevented me from playing a console game so I instead played and bitched about The Walking Dead for two hours. Oh well, the folks watching still seemed to enjoy it.10/02/2014 - 12:09am
Matthew Wilsonwe all know valve can not cout to 3.10/02/2014 - 12:08am
MechaTama31Who cares? Gimme Portal 3!10/01/2014 - 9:38pm
quiknkoldAndrew : Mostly I decided there were better people who could explain what was going on, or fight any battles that may come up. so I decided not to talk about it anymore.10/01/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI don't recall you promising that. GamerGate is not a taboo discussion here. Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting.10/01/2014 - 8:47pm
quiknkoldI know I promised to not talk about Gamergate again, but Intel just pulled sponsership from Gamasutra over it http://techraptor.net/2014/10/01/gamasutra-intel/10/01/2014 - 8:40pm
quiknkoldP.T. is a game I just cannot play alone. I puss out hard on it. need somebody with me when I play that. Kojima was right. it is Pants Shittingly Scary10/01/2014 - 6:17pm
quiknkold@james_fudge not playin all the way through. P.T, Silent Hill(Not sure which), Resident Evil Gamecube Remake, Alien Isolation, Ghostbusters, Outlast, Super Castlevania 410/01/2014 - 6:04pm
james_fudgeI wish I could like that last shout.10/01/2014 - 5:48pm
 

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