Jack Thompson Threatens Valve over School Shooting Mod

March 17, 2011 -

We have to write a story about Jack Thompson today. The anti-video game firebrand and former Florida attorney fired off a letter to Valve Software threatening to do something (we're not sure what he is threatening to do because he hasn't indicated the consequences in his letter to Valve's CEO) if the company doesn't do something about the Half-Life 2 mod, "School Shooter: North American Tour 2012."

Before we get into what Valve can actually do about a mod it has nothing to do with, here is Thompson's letter:

ACL Attacks O'Conner for Comments on R18+ Classification

March 17, 2011 -

Responding to public comments from Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor about the desire to have a consensus about an R18+ game classification at July's SCAG meeting, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has come out swinging. The ACL issued a statement saying that the ban on games that require a classification higher than the current rating of R15 should continue as it is.

First, let's look at what Brendan O'Connor said to ABC Australia:

10 comments | Read more

Reminder: Commonwealth Club Video Game Debate March 17

March 15, 2011 -

Just a friendly reminder that the Commonwealth Club will host a panel featuring California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco); George Rose, the Executive VP and Chief Public Policy Officer for Activision Blizzard; and Michael McConnell, the Director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The trio will debate whether playing violent video games leads to violence in the real world. They will also discuss at length AB 1179, the notorious anti-game legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2005 but never put into effect because of a court-ordered injunction. Now the case is before the Supreme Court.

The debate will take place this Thursday (March 17) at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco () at 6:00 PM local time. More information from the Commonwealth Club follows:

3 comments | Read more

Mortal Kombat Classification Appeal Rejected in Australia

March 15, 2011 -

No Mortal Kombat for you, Australia. An appeal by publisher Warner Bros. Interactive to overturn an earlier decision by Australia's Classification Review Board to deny classification has also been denied. That means that the forthcoming Mortal Kombat reboot has been permanently refused classification in Australia, banning the title from official retail release. In an official statement, Warner Bros. Interactive praised fans in Australia and expressed disappointment in the classification board's decision:

"We're obviously extremely disappointed that the refused classification decision has been upheld by the Classification Review Board. We want to thank the thousands of Mortal Kombat fans in Australia and around the world who have voiced their support during the appeal process."

Mortal Kombat's  reboot will still arrive next month in other territories so you can expect fans that want the game bad enough will simply import it from those regions.

8 comments | Read more

Tokyo Gubernatorial Candidate Promises to Ban Games

March 11, 2011 -

Tokyo gubernatorial candidate Shigefumi Matsuzawa says that if he is elected he will ban violent video games because they create murderers. Matsuzawa banned a handful of games he found objectionable as the governor of Kanagawa, but as the governor of Tokyo he would get serious about banning violent games. Matsuzawa sees violent video games as a leading cause of youth violence.

I'm not sure what the murder rate is in Japan, or what the average age of a convicted murderers is, but I doubt there's any scientific data to back up anything Matsuzawa says about video games. Below is a statement from Matsuzawa outlining how he feels on the subject:

17 comments | Read more

UK Therapist Compares Gaming to Drug Addiction, Alcoholism

March 10, 2011 -

A Lancashire, UK-based therapist named Steve Pope has jumped the shark as far as ludicrous statements go related to video games. Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live in an interview last night, Pope said that "spending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces in the brain."

What?! Oh, there's more:

"We're now onto second generation game station players who have always grown up with it," he continued. "Computer game addiction can also spiral into violence as after playing violent games, they may turn their fantasy games into reality."

It's a shame that Pope has no scientific data to back up his ludicrous claims that games are like cocaine and that gamers act out the violence they experience in their games in real life.

20 comments | Read more

Report: Youth Unphased by Vietnam's Online Curfew

March 8, 2011 -

The Vietnamese government see online gaming as the black magic of our time and blame the activity for everything from robberies and violent crimes among teens to bad grades and even the occasional murder. So the government got tough with teens and with Internet cafes that serve up the wickedness to them and the rest of the Vietnamese population.

A curfew was put in place to curb gameplay; now everyone in the country is banned from playing games after 10 PM and before 8 AM. While cafe owners are feeling the bite of lost revenues during those peak playing hours (some report a decline of about 25 percent in profits), teens seem mostly unaffected. This despite the fact that this new curfew has been in place since March 3.

3 comments | Read more

Vietnam: No Online Gaming after 10 PM, says Government

February 22, 2011 -

The Vietnamese government instituted an online curfew and has ordered service providers and Internet café owners to block online game access after 10:00 PM. The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communication has told all ISPs operating in the country to block access to online games from 10 PM to 8 AM. The government has given ISPs and cafes a deadline of March 3 for the ban to be implemented. Those who do not comply can expect to face some serious fines or be put of business.

"Provincial departments of information and communication will inspect on-line games activities nationwide and deal with organizations that violate regulations by cancelling their services," said minister Le Nam Thang.

4 comments | Read more

Texas Law Enforcement Complain About Call of Juarez: The Cartel

February 13, 2011 -

Earlier this week Ubisoft announced plans to publish Call of Juarez: The Cartel this summer. Unlike the previous releases in the series, The Cartel is set in the present day and focuses on a "bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico."

While the description of this mature rated game may not shock gamers, the modern-day setting combined with the title has rubbed law enforcement officials in south Texas the wrong way. Pointing to gang and drug cartel-related violence that is very real to towns in southern Texas bordering Mexico, Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia says that any game involving organized crime "sets a bad example." More from Garcia:

10 comments | Read more

EA Responds to Fox News Bulletstorm Segment

February 9, 2011 -

EA has responded to a recent Fox News story that asked the question "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" and (thanks to one participant) made the amazing claim that the increase in rapes can be attributed to playing games. There were other amazing claims in the report, but the most disturbing words came from Psychologist Carol Lieberman, who insisted that there was a correlation between playing sex scenes in games and rape. She told Fox news:

"The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." Of course, there is no research to back up her claims that we are aware of, but the truth should never get in the way of a good talking point.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Wins WGA Award

February 7, 2011 -

Ubisoft's third game in the popular Assassin's Creed series has won the Writers Guild of America award for games writing. The award winner was announced on Saturday night at a gala event and faced some stiff competition from such games as Fallout New Vegas, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and Singularity.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was written by Ubisoft's Patrice Desilets, Jeffrey Yohalem, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem, Ethan Petty, Nicholas Grimwood, and Matt Turner.

You may recall that, prior to this weekend's awards ceremony, there was some controversy about the requirements to be eligible for the honor. Some developers and publishers complained about the requirements of the award such as having to pay for a $60 membership to the guild's Videogame Writers Caucus, and having to submit a script to judges. 

3 comments | Read more

Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

February 4, 2011 -

The Writers Guild of America is speaking out about criticism that video game writers have to pay money and sign up for a membership to win the Writers Guild Award for games. In an editorial on GameIndustry.biz, the chair of the Writers Guild of America's Videogame Writers Caucus, Micah Wright claims, "you do not have to be a member of our guild to win our award."

"We ask that all entrants join the Videogame Writers Caucus (VWC), but that is not the same thing as being a member of the WGA," says Wright.

The problem is, the VWC does require a $60 annual fee, which buys a membership. The money does give the submitter access to free film screenings and a subscription to the WGA's Written By Magazine, but it's still a fee.

5 comments | Read more

China: Parents Get Power Against Game Addiction

February 1, 2011 -

China, like Korea and other regions in the world, is trying to find ways to combat game addiction and what better way to do it then by letting parents take some control of the situation? Starting next month a new program called "parental watch project" will launch in China. It will require online gaming companies to provide parents access to a special call center and web site that lets parents monitor their children's activities online.

Besides the ability to monitor what their children are doing, parents will have a kill switch, allowing them to limit or ban their kids from online activities.

Child psychologists in the United States suggest that children should not have more than two hours of screen-time per day. The Ministry of Public Security says that children should only have about two hours of screen-time a week or spend more than $1.50 USD on online gaming services.

1 comment | Read more

Editorial: The Terminator vs. the Constitution

February 1, 2011 -

An excellent editorial appearing in the February 2011 issue of Reason Magazine explains quite plainly why it is ridiculous that California is fighting for the 2005 law written by Leland Yee and signed into law by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Writer Jacob Sullum starts the article by pointing out the irony of Arnold signing into a law a bill that bans violent media.

This from the same guy who starred in movies like Eraser, Commando, Terminator 1 and 2, End of Days, Last Action Hero, Predator, Total Recall, The 6th Day, and many more. Most recently, he did a cameo in The Expendables - an ultra violent action movie starring an all-star cast of aging action stars.

9 comments | Read more

AZ State Senator: Violent Culture and Abortion to Blame for Tucson Shooting

January 31, 2011 -

Arizona State Senator Linda Gray recently said that the Tucson shootings weren't caused by lax gun control laws, but a culture of violence.. and abortion. Yes, you have read that right, ABORTION. She later distanced herself slightly from her comments. How abortion factors into the equation I’m not sure, but politicians do so enjoy tying irrelevant things to tragedies to score political points..

"The problem is not the gun, but about respect for all human life, from the unborn, a 9 year old child, a senior citizen or a political leader," Gray told Raw Story, by e-mail. "The shooter had no respect for the value of any these innocent citizens who were injured or killed."

27 comments | Read more

Opinion: Violent Media Culpable in Arizona Tragedy

January 13, 2011 -

In Niall O'Dowd's latest Periscope column he takes a crack at pinning Jared Loughner's senseless act of violence on the influence of violent films and video games. Of course, there is no evidence connecting Loughner to either, but why let the facts get in the way of commentary, right?

O'Dowd opens his column by saying that "other factors" are lost in the discussion of whether or not political rhetoric influenced or inspired the Tucson killer. What influences does he speak of? The culture of violent media that the youth of America are so immersed in, of course. The first target is movies:

14 comments | Read more

Researchers Agree: Too Soon to Judge Influences on Arizona Killer

January 12, 2011 -

An article in Scientific American featuring comments from psychologist Craig Anderson (director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University) and psychologist Christopher Ferguson (Texas A&M International University) comes to the conclusion that many in the media are drawing conclusions with little evidence when it comes to Arizona killer Jared Loughner.

While the media tries to say that Loughner was influenced by heavy metal music, angry political speech, and video games, both Anderson and Ferguson agree that more details on the individual are required to come to any kind of conclusion.

Here's what Anderson says about it:

16 comments | Read more

Huffington Post: Courts Should Protect People, Not Corporations

January 11, 2011 -

Former philosophy professor and regular Huffington Post contributor Myriam Miedzian pens an editorial on Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association urging the court to "protect people, not corporations." Her opinion piece opens with a discussion of Doom:

She then talks about how video games are not the works of individual writers but corporations, and how the Italian mafia and a certain Arizona killer factor into the equation:

32 comments | Read more

Report: Jared Loughner Called a 'Big Video Gamer' By Former Classmates

January 11, 2011 -

Jared Loughner is obviously mentally ill, but the media will not let that fact get in the way of a juicy story. In the hours after the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona when he gunned down twenty people at a Safeway supermarket on Saturday, seriously injuring Arizona congressional representative Gabrielle Giffords, and killing several people including a sitting federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, the media jumped to conclusions about Loughner's motivations and inspirations.

Panorama Producer Defends Game Addiction Episode

December 6, 2010 -

In an interview with GameIndustry.biz Panorama producer and director Emeka Onono, explains why the BBC news program decided to tackle the subject of game addiction. While Onono claims that the program is not "anti-gaming," his comments to GI.biz do not sound game industry friendly.

"What we've said is there's a potential for things in games to be addictive," he explains to GamesIndustry.biz. "There is a potential there. And that's something that the industry's always doggedly denied. The fact is it's there and however small or large that possibility is it needs to be researched and acknowledged."

Onono also accuses a segment of the games industry of being "very defensive" on the issue of addiction:

9 comments | Read more

LA Times Editorial: Fighting the Terminator on video games

December 1, 2010 -

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times penned by Gail Markels (attorney, former general counsel to the ESA, and a shaper of the industry's video-game rating system) and George Rose (executive vice president and chief public policy officer for Activision Blizzard) points out that the California video game law before the Supreme Court (penned by child psychologist, California State Senator, and possibly future San Francisco Mayorial candidate Leeland Yee; and signed into law in 2005 by soon-to-be former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) is trying to accomplish a task that has already been completed.

3 comments | Read more

Gaming Equals Cocaine Quack Back in the News

August 11, 2010 -

UK therapist and sports psychologist Steve Pope, who earlier this year compared playing games for two hours to taking a line of cocaine (in terms of the high it produces), has resurfaced in a Daily Star article, in which he claims that videogame addiction is rampant among soccer players.

In its article, the Star claims that Joe Cole, David James, and Cesc Fabregas have all admitted to “spending hours glued to their consoles,” but notes that “there is no indication they are among those receiving help or that their game has suffered.”

This is where Pope pops in, alleging that players from Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal have videogame addiction problems. Pope, who serves as sport psychologist for the soccer team Fleetwood Town, recounted:

4 comments | Read more

UK Therapist: Two Hours of Gaming Equals a Line of Cocaine

May 24, 2010 -

“Young addicts are skipping meals, playing truant from school and are even stealing money from their parents to buy the latest games.”

This sums up the current state of game addiction in the UK's county of  Lancashire, at least according to an article on the website of the Lancashire Evening Post.

Written with a sense of urgency that was perhaps designed to cast a chilling effect on the reader (but will instead provoke laughs or a disgusted shake of the head from most), the piece centers on the trials of a 15-year old gamer named Jack, who “discarded his friends, neglected his school studies and survived on junk food as he embarked on marathon gaming sessions of up to 48 hours.”

A few quotes from “Jack”:

35 comments | Read more

Island Decries “Video Boxes,” School Organizes Violent Game Drive

December 17, 2009 -

Ah, the Caribbean… home to tropical drinks, sandy beaches, offshore bank accounts and now, a violent videogame roundup.

As part of a holiday push to get its students to avoid violent videogames, the Cayman Island’s John Cumber Primary School is organizing just such an event, in which violent toys and games will be collected and destroyed, this according to a story in the Island’s newspaper.

The school’s campaign against violent games also spawned a list—emailed to pupil’s parents—of games to avoid for the holidays. The list included Resident Evil 4, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, God of War, NARC, Killer 7, The Warriors, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, Crime Life: Gang Wars, Condemned: Criminal Origins, and True Crime: New York City.

School Principal Joseph Wallace stated, “Research has showed…that over time, when these kids play the video games constantly…it desensitises them to the act of violence.”

He added, “But there’s no off button in real life; there’s no restart.”

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush is also on board with the movement, pleading with parents to keep their children away from “the video boxes.”

A local Blockbuster Video store co-owner, Deborah McTaggert, expressed doubts that many games would be culled from the roundup, telling the paper, “I think you’d have to pry them out of the kids’ hands.”

She also commented on blaming games for real-world violence, saying:

If you have no relationship with your kids and they’re locked up in a room with violent video games, I guess you’re probably going to have some problems.

 

Do I think we can attribute this to video games? I mean, I don’t think the really violent games are good, and there are titles that I don’t sell (at Blockbuster). I personally don’t like horror movies…but if I don’t bring them in, will it stop the violence?

Perhaps the Cayman Island school drew inspiration from a similar drive put on in Germany this past October. Germany’s “Killer Game Drive” resulted in a small handful of games being turned in.

30 comments

Capcom: “Absurd” to Blame Society’s Ills on Games

November 25, 2009 -

Capcom has responded to criticism of its Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles by religious leaders with a double-barrel return blast of its own.

Bishop Bryant of Jarrow, Archdeacon Brian Smith and Rt Rev John Goddard accused the game of promoting the occult and violence reports MCVUK. Goddard said about the game, “If we dabble in this area we open ourselves to influences and put ourselves at risk. I would regard any encouragement for children to be drawn into this behaviour with extreme horror.”

Capcom’s Leo Tan fired back, saying, “Most games (and movies) like Resident Evil show characters fighting evil not supporting it. Unfortunately the clergy is showing a lack of understanding of the video games industry and is too quick to splash the holy water and lump video games players into stereotypical boxes.”

He continued:

This is scaremongering and typical religious hysteria. You cannot blame society’s ills on video games. It’s just absurd.

The title, developed for the Wii, is due out in Europe on November 27. It was released in the U.S. last week.


Thanks Andrew!

59 comments

Vietnamese Legislator: "Moral and Mental Erosion" in Online Games

August 19, 2009 -

Vietnamese legislators openly criticized a government minister for failing to act to regulate online games, reports the Thanh Nien News.

Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop (left) addressed the National Assembly last week to discuss plans to manage online gaming. However, representative Nguyen Ngoc Dao claimed that online games caused "moral and mental erosion" and argued that Hop's strategy was insufficient.

Hop told legislators that online games could not be banned and began to speak of their advantages and disadvantages. Those comments were cut short by another representative, Nguyen Van Thuan, who wanted to hear more about enforcement of regulations directed at online games:

The representatives were not asking about the pros and cons of online games but they wanted to know if the ministry was responsible for the current situation.

Management is supposed to include the issuing of regulations and the enforcement of them but the minister hasn’t talked about enforcement.

10 comments

ECA's Halpin: Gamers Must Fight Negative Stereotypes

July 20, 2009 -

Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin debuts a new column for Industry Gamers with a look at negative stereotypes of gamers and how such prejudice can be addressed.

Halpin writes:

Combating the negative stereotypes the gaming industry and gamers themselves face is becoming a daunting task. We’ve allowed people to equate gaming with everything from laziness to isolationism and antisocial behavior, when so clearly it’s the opposite.

 

Because we’ve permitted everyone from anti-games advocates (disbarred attorneys included) to the President of the United States of America to perpetuate those fallacies and said and done nothing, we need to take ownership of at least part of that blame; until and unless we speak up and do something about it. It’s time.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

53 comments

Syndicated Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

April 16, 2009 -

As a gamer, should you be allowed to vote?

Syndicated political columnist George Will doesn't think so.

Into a lengthy whinge about the wearing of denim (slow news day, George?) Will inserts this jab:

Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote.

GP: Big thanks to several readers who tipped us to this story. Now get yourselves to Brooks Brothers so we can all dress like George Will.

206 comments

Tracking the Mainstream Media's Video Game Frenzies

March 25, 2009 -

GamePolitics readers will surely recall numerous incidents of the mainstream media getting its undies in a twist over some video game issue or another.

GamesRadar has a roundup of some of the more memorable dust-ups between the game sector and T.V. talking heads.

The Top 7 Hated Habits of the Mainstream Media is worth a look and will probably be familiar to GP readers since some of the source material for the piece originated here.

15 comments

German Anti-game Backlash Spawns T-shirt, Stops Game Sales

March 19, 2009 -

UPDATED

Some GamePolitics readers have alerted me that our original translation of the German shirt was flawed. It actually reads, I choose no game killers, indicating that gamers won't vote for German politicians who seek to ban violent video games.

That's an important distinction over our original translation.

Thanks to longtime GP reader David Ziegler and our own ace forum mod Hannah for the correction!

-----------------

The blurb beneath the shirt reads (as translated by Google):

With this shirt you can clear position against the one-sided condemnation of gamers as a potential running amok through the established parties.

Amoklauf (running amok) is used in German to describe school shootings.

In related news, a pair of German retailers have stopped selling 18-rated video games and movies. German website PC Games reports that Galeria Kaufhof will no longer carry titles such as Resident Evil 5, GTA IV, Killzone 2 and Far Cry 2. It has been reported that Kretschmer played Far Cry 2 on the eve of his murderous rampage.

GamePolitics regular Soldat Louis (who alerted us to these new developments) also reports that German retailer Saturn is dropping 18+ games as well.

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james_fudgethere's some inside baseball stuff going on in this Andrew - likely some stuff we don't know10/20/2014 - 3:30pm
E. Zachary KnightGreat musical video about online trolling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nS-QeM2ne810/20/2014 - 2:46pm
Andrew EisenBut again, this whole thing is just too damn vague to form an opinion on.10/20/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenWithout the original communication, it's impossible to say if it could honestly be misconstrued as a friendly suggestion rather than an employer directive. However, it appears that subsequent emails should have cleared up any doubt.10/20/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenThose aren't the owner's words, they're Chris Dahlen's. For what it's worth, we do see an email from Gonzalez stating "you've already broken the only rule we set for you!!!!!!!"10/20/2014 - 2:38pm
Michael ChandraSo really the guy's own words strike me as "wah! How dare you disagree with me!" behaviour, which is the sort of childish attitude I am unfortunately not surprised by.10/20/2014 - 2:17pm
Michael ChandraCorrect AE, but then again the owner's own words are about "wishes", not about an order. No "we told him not to", but going against his wishes.10/20/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonyup. sadly that has been true for awhile.10/20/2014 - 2:10pm
james_fudgewelcome to 2014 politics. Increasingly fought online10/20/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightIt is honestly a shame that anyone has to publicly state they are against such vile behavior, but that is the sad life we live.10/20/2014 - 1:46pm
E. Zachary KnightDecided to publicly reiterate my opposition to harassment campaigns. http://randomtower.com/2014/10/just-stop-with-the-harassment-and-bullying-campaigns-already/10/20/2014 - 1:45pm
Andrew EisenMichael Chandra - Unless I overlooked it, we haven't seen how the directive to not talk about whatever he wasn't supposed to talk about was phrased so it’s hard to say if it could have been misconstrued as a suggestion or not.10/20/2014 - 12:35pm
Andrew EisenHey, the second to last link is the relevant one! He actually did say "let them suffer." Although, he didn't say it to the other person he was bickering with.10/20/2014 - 12:29pm
Neo_DrKefkahttps://archive.today/F14zZ https://archive.today/SxFas https://archive.today/1upoI https://archive.today/0hu7i https://archive.today/NsPUC https://archive.today/fLTQv https://archive.today/Wpz8S10/20/2014 - 11:21am
Andrew EisenNeo_DrKefka - "Attacking"? Interesting choice of words. Also interesting that you quoted something that wasn't actually said. Leaving out a relevant link, are you?10/20/2014 - 11:04am
quiknkoldugh. I want to know why the hell Mozerella Sticks are 4 dollars at my works cafeteria...are they cooked in Truffle Oil?10/20/2014 - 10:41am
Neo_DrKefkaAnti-Gamergate supporter Robert Caruso attacks female GamerGate supporter by also attacking another cause she support which is the situation happening in Syia “LET SYRIANS SUFFER” https://archive.today/F14zZ https://archive.today/Wpz8S10/20/2014 - 10:18am
Neo_DrKefkaThat is correct in an At-Will state you or the employer can part ways at any time. However Florida also has laws on the books about "Wrongful combinations against workers" http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/448.04510/20/2014 - 10:07am
james_fudgehe'd die if he couldn't talk about Wii U :)10/20/2014 - 9:16am
Michael ChandraBy the way, I am not saying Andrew should stop talking about Wii-U. I find it quite nice. :)10/20/2014 - 8:53am
 

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