Meet 'The Other Bros."

August 13, 2012 -

Kill Screen (a wonderful site that you should read regularly if you don't already) has a story on a game called "The Other Bros.," which re-imagines the story of Mario and Luigi in the 1960's. Naturally they are inspired by those popular Nintendo video game icons and not directly ripping off Nintendo. The company making the game, Michigan-based 3D Attack, describes the Other Bros.

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Watch the Mars Rover Landing on Xbox Live This Weekend

August 3, 2012 -

Barring any technical glitches, the Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to land on the planet Mars sometime this weekend, and with the help of Microsoft and your Xbox Live account, you'll be able to be a part of it.

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BioWare Developing Free-to-Play Ultima Game

July 12, 2012 -

BioWare has announced Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, a free-to-play action RPG coming to the PC and iPad later this year. According to BioWare, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar will feature action RPG gameplay, BioWare-style storytelling, cross-platform play, and a whole lot of other features to be revealed at a later date.

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Massive Game Collection Sells for $1.32 Million on eBay

July 9, 2012 -

I'm not an expert on these sorts of things, so I’ll have to take the word of Eurogamer when they call an eBay auction that sold for a whopping $1.32 million the "biggest game collection" in the world. We'll leave that determination to the officials at the Guinness Book of World Records...

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Mario Marathon Charity Drive Begins June 22

June 20, 2012 -

Beginning Friday, June 22, a group of dedicated gamers in Lafayette, Indiana will host the fifth annual Mario Marathon fundraiser to benefit the Child’s Play Charity. The group has been doing this since 2008, and has managed to raise over $242,000 for Child's Play to-date.

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Canadian Diablo III Player First in the World to Beat Game on Hardest Difficulty Level

June 20, 2012 -

After a little fact checking (on the part of Blizzard) and some discussion about if it was a legitimate claim, Canadian Diablo III player Kripparrian (with help from wizard friend Krippi) is officially the first person in the entire world to complete Blizzard's RPG on the Inferno difficulty level. He did this with a Hardcore character to boot, which means that the game ends if you die.

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Indie Game: The Movie Coming to Steam

May 25, 2012 -

The popular indie documentary about indie game development will be the very first feature-length film to be made available on Steam. Indie Game: The Movie will be available on Steam June 12, but those who buy it early before its release can get a ten percent discount. According to filmmaker James Swirsky, the 1080p video "will be DRM'd as much as any other Steam product/game," which means you'll need to be running the steam client in order to watch it.

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Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

May 21, 2012 -

Venture Beat has a fascinating report on a new Detroit-based startup called Are You a Human, who want to replace that irritating CAPTCHA text people have to use to prove they are human on just about every website on the Internet with playable mini-games. Obviously we endorse any idea that can eliminate CAPTCHA because it's irritating on so many levels...

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Someone Has Already Beaten Diablo III

May 15, 2012 -

How long does it take to complete the single player campaign in Diablo III on Normal difficulty? I have no idea, but it took Level 32 Barbarian Yoshichan 12 hours and 29 minutes to beat Blizzard's freshly released game. This NeoGAF post (thanks Eurogamer) shows off a final shot of the Barbarian character's stats.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 0

April 30, 2012 -

Andrew Eisen, E. Zachary Knight, and I have been toying with the idea of doing a podcast for quite some time, and after much discussion, consternation, and a couple of dry runs with the process of recording and editing one, we've finally come up with our first episode. We're calling it the "Super Podcast Action Committee," mainly because we like the idea of being part of a Super PAC, but without all the red tape and influence peddling.

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Square Enix Audio Launches for Japan

April 11, 2012 -

Adriasang reports that Square Enix has launched a free streaming music service that you can access with PC and Android devices. Though the site is intended for those who reside in Japan, you can get at it directly from your PC by visiting the streaming music website. Most of the site is in Japanese but there is a small bit of English as well - enough for just about anyone to figure out how to navigate around the site.

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Ubisoft Encouraged Swearing in Shoot Many Robots

March 15, 2012 -

What the F@#k? Apparently Ubisoft encouraged developer Demiurge Studios to make their first independent title, Shoot Many Robots, as filthy as possible. According to Demiurge CEO Albert Reed Ubisoft encouraged them to drop as many f-bombs as they liked in the game.

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Carmack Rewriting Doom 3 Engine Code to Avoid Legal Troubles

November 17, 2011 -

To avoid some potential legal problems related to shadow rendering code Creative Labs apparently holds a patent to, id Software has decided to hold off on releasing the code. Rather than risking legal action, id Software co-founder John Carmack has decided to rewrite part of the Doom 3 engine's code. Yesterday it was revealed that id Software had delayed releasing the code to the public because of Bethesda's concerns of potential liability related to the Creative Labs patent.

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DARPA Taps Consumers for New Technology

April 6, 2011 -

The Department of Defense have developed a new simulation technology to help the Navy track enemy submarines and they are testing it by rolling it into a commercial computer game. The Defense Advanced Research Project Arm's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) software simulates tracking the evasive maneuvers used by submarines. The agency says that the software will soon be rolled into the ACTUV program's computers.

But the real kicker is who will get to test this new technique: simulation game players. DARPA has integrated it into the Dangerous Waters computer game by Sonalysts Combat Simulations and has made the ACTUV Tactics Simulator available online as a free download as well.

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Amazon Magazine Subscription Deal

December 16, 2010 -

Consider this a PSA. If you are one of those people that do not want the print magazine to go the way of the dodo, then this Amazon promotion is just for you. Anyone that buys a game through Amazon up until December 31 can get a magazine subscription for 50 percent off. The magazines being offered are Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, Nintendo Power, and PlayStation: The Official Magazine.

Here's how it works: you buy a game from Amazon within the promotion time period. They email you a special code. You visit this promotion page and put the magazine you want into you shopping cart, checkout, enter the promo code and then wait for your subscription to show up in your mailbox.

A year-long subscription is cheap too: $14.95 for PC Gamer, $19.95 for Nintendo Power, $14.95 for Official Xbox Magazine, and $18.00 for PlayStation: The Official Magazine.

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Just For Fun: Zogby Poll on Ghosts and Halloween

October 29, 2010 -

With Halloween right around the corner, I found this Zogby poll about ghosts, the supernatural, and Halloween interesting. According to the pollster, 37 percent of Americans believe in ghosts (human or animal), with 23 percent saying that they have been visited by the dead. Spooky. Around 29 (3 in 10) percent have an interest in the supernatural. Another 20 percent say they have seen or heard a ghost.

Moving from the land of the dead to the living, 87 percent of people with children say their kids dress up in costumes and 71 percent trick-or-treat from house to house. Serial killers (such as Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers) costumes are called the most scary by 35 percent, with the walking dead and zombies next at 22 percent.

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Humble Bundle Eliminates “The Man,” Generates Over $1M

May 13, 2010 -

Any way you slice it, the Humble Indie Bundle being offered by Wolfire Games is a smashing success.

The pay-whatever-you-want bundle includes the indie games World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru and Penumbra Overture. All the titles are DRM-free and will run on Mac, Windows and even Linux. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Child’s Play charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). By default donations are split evenly amongst the two, but users can even control how much of their purchase price goes to each organization.

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Games Help One Person Deal with Chilean Quake

March 5, 2010 -

The earthquake that rocked Chile last weekend killed hundreds and affected the lives of thousands more. Zam has a story on how the survival of a game-related accessory contributed a little hope to one of the quake’s survivors.

A 33-year old woman gamer named Karen, who lives in Santiago, was playing Guitar Hero: Metallica with friends when the quake hit. Many of her possessions were strewn about and destroyed as a result of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake, but the survival of one specific object, a World of Warcraft Blood of the Horde stein, gave her a reason to believe that the rest of her family in Chile had survived the quake intact.

She wrote an email to the Taverncraft, the stein’s maker just days after the disaster, writing:

All i wanna say that you made a good product and little stein give me hope, and have family in Concepcion and the other region that are the most affected for the earthquake and when I see the stein without a scratch for me was like ... yeah maybe my family made it too... that day I couldn't sleep... and only yesterday i have news all my family from the south are alive :)

Karen also told Zam that she and her friends have continued to play games as a way to get through the aftermath of the earthquake.

4 comments

IRS Pilot Inspires 8-bit Game

February 22, 2010 -

Joe Stack, the man who crashed a plane into an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Austin, Texas last week, has certainly made an impact on society as well, with many debating his manifesto in the wake of the incident

Whether you see Stack’s final message as the ramblings of a madman, or as the ramblings of a madman tinged with perhaps a vein of lucidity, Newgrounds has a very short and simple 8-bit styled game up on its site that will allow you to walk—and fly—a few feet in Stack’s shoes.

Entitled Tax Time!, the game begins with users burning their house down before jumping in a plane to their final destination. Along the way, news items converge and users can crash their plane into a car to earn an “Auto Recall” medal. Upon reaching their final destination, the game displays the message “Justice is Served” and awards the player another medal for “Sticking it to the Man.”
 
The title was created by Newgrounds member Falcon who says that he enjoys “making stupid games in 24 hours or less.” The game was submitted on February 18th, the same day Stack flew his plane into the building.


|Via PrisonPlanet|

16 comments

Naughty Dog Backs Its Own Kind

February 18, 2010 -

A Kotaku reader in Long Beach, California happened by his local animal shelter and noticed that a section of it was sponsored by a videogame developer.

Uncharted, Jax & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot developer Naughty Dog apparently donated funds for the upkeep of one kennel in the facility. We agree with the Kotaku author’s take on the lack of pomp and circumstance surrounding the do-gooding:

Know what I like most about this? This is the first I've heard of it. There wasn't a press release issued with pictures of it being built, or a Spike TV segment showing some guy dressed up as Nathan Drake cuddling lost dogs. It's just...something that's been done.

A picture of the Kennel accompanies the Kotaku post.

Good Naughty Dog.

2 comments

Hardcore WoW Playing Senator Announces Run for Lt. Guv of Guam

September 4, 2009 -

We've written before on GamePolitics about Ray Tenorio (left), a member of Guam's Senate who also happens to be a hardcore World of Warcraft player.

But Tenorio has an announcement to make about his next political move, and he sent it here, which is kind of cool:

Hafa Adai (Hello) Game Politics.com.

I hope everyone at GamePolitics.com are healthy and doing well. As most everyone in WoW are eyeing level 85 in the Cataclysm expansion, waiting to take down the Lich King and still grinding heroic Ulduar...

I wanted to let GamePolitics.com know first that I am running for Lt. Governor with my friend, Senator Eddie Baza Calvo, who is running for Governor... 

I want to let your readers know that, among the numerous web sites and related comments to the articles about my gaming life some years ago, I understand the issues faced by the people who write on GamePolitics.com.

 

Perhaps together, we can continue to let people, voters and those in positions of authority know that gamers are the same as those who do everything from clean public parks, fight and die for democracy, conduct intricate procedures in professional careers, and, Yes, even make policy...for our communities, everywhere around the globe. That simple fact is rarely said but is the basis for an even broader discussion on the depth and breadth of people who enjoy gaming and still carry out their responsibilities.

Tenorio's WoW character is Paleray, a level-80 Dwarf Priest on the Silverhand server. He belongs to the Knights of the Marianas guild.

Guam is a territory of the United States and has one non-voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tenorio is a member of Guam's 15-member unicameral legislature.

40 comments

AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

August 7, 2009 -

Yesterday we happened upon AbleGamers, a website devoted to assisting and building community among gamers with disabilities.

Among other services, AbleGamers provides reviews of games and peripherals with an eye toward how effectively they can be utilized by physically challenged gamers. The site was founded by Mark Barlet, who explained his motivation to writer Scott Thompson:

My dearest friend in the world and I use[d] to use games as a way to bridge the distance between us as we grew up and started our own families. The game of the day was Everquest, and the hunt was on Friday nights. Well, one day she and her hubby did not log on. I waited. After about 15 minutes, I gave her a call.

She was crying "Mark, I can't feel my hand, it is not working" and she handed the phone to her husband. 4 months prior to that night, she was told she has Multiple Sclerosis... So I said to myself that there had to be a site about disabled people and gaming... there was none. So I started one. I am disabled myself, and while my disability does not really interfere with my gaming, I could relate.

Barlet points out that things like remappable key bindings, adjustable controller sensitivity and closed captioning for voiceovers can make an otherwise inaccessible game playable to disabled individuals. Why, he wonders, are such features not standard on games?

For a good example of what AbleGames is all about, check out the site's coverage of Microsoft's Project Natal and how it will impact disabled gamers.

5 comments

London Mapped in Warcraft II Style

July 28, 2009 -

For today's geography lesson, we defer to Unterbahn, where Jeffrey Warren found a way to map London in Warcraft II style:

Take a look at this map of London with a Warcraft II theme; I used GSS/Geographic Stylesheets and Cartagen to create a custom map style that displays the entire world as if it were a Warcraft II level. This was done to showcase the abilities of the dynamic mapping framework Cartagen, which is open-source and runs in HTML5's Canvas element. No Java or Flash!

Via: boingboing

3 comments

Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

July 13, 2009 -

In a remarkable game-based social experiment, Robin Burkinshaw is using The Sims 3 to model a two-person homeless family.

The U.K.-based game design student tracks the virtual lives of the father-daughter pair via his Alice and Kev blog:

I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes. It’s based on the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3’s living neighborhood features.

New American Media has more:

Kev is an insane, middle-aged man with a bad temper, who hates children. He often behaves inappropriately around others... His daughter, Alice, is a teenager who is constantly exhausted from school, the part-time job she holds, and the cold hard bench she sleeps on at night. And because she gets most of her meals at school, she becomes worried every time the weekend rolls around. You will usually find Alice desperately trying to find a bed to sleep in...

GP: It's fantastic to see someone addressing a real issue in a meaningful way via off-the-shelf game tech...

11 comments

Greatest Video Game Fireworks

July 4, 2009 -

Just in time for the July 4th celebration, Crispy Gamer has posted a terrific compilation of fireworks scenes from video games.

Check out the video here.

7 comments

Hunting for Video Game Easter Eggs?

April 12, 2009 -

TechCrunch has posted its 10 favorite Easter Eggs, some of which are video-game related.

These include the YouTube vid at left, which shows how to find game designer Warren Robinett's name in Adventure, an early game for the Atari 2600.

GameSpot has more on video game Easter Eggs.

10 comments

Washington State Senate Honors Penny Arcade Guys

March 6, 2009 -

The Washington State Senate has passed a resolution commending Penny Arcade founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik as creative types, businessmen and philanthropists. The legislative body also noted the 10th anniversary of the popular site.

Both Holkins and Krahulik hail from Spokane.

From the resolution:

WHEREAS, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik recently celebrated the comic's 10th anniversary;
and WHEREAS, In 2004, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik launched the first annual Penny
Arcade Expo, a gaming festival... and WHEREAS, The Penny Arcade Expo attracts thousands of tourists from around the globe to visit the city of Seattle...

 

WHEREAS, In 2003, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik created the Child's Play Charity, an organization which raises contributions of money and toys to donate to Children's Hospitals worldwide; and WHEREAS, Child's Play Charity has raised over 4.5 million dollars for sixty different Children's Hospitals since it was established...

GP: Well-deserved!

Via: Kotaku

30 comments

Cory Doctorow Has a Brilliant Idea to Fix EULA Mess

February 26, 2009 -

Writing for UK newspaper The Guardian, author Cory Doctorow offers an eminently sensible fix for those confusing, consumer-unfriendly End User License Agreements:

Here's the world's shortest, fairest, and simplest licence agreement: "Don't violate copyright law." If I had my way, every digital download from the music in the iTunes and Amazon MP3 store, to the ebooks for the Kindle and Sony Reader, to the games for your Xbox, would bear this – and only this – as its licence agreement.

"Don't violate copyright law" has a lot going for it, but the best thing about it is what it signals to the purchaser, namely: "You are not about to get screwed."

Cory also finds irony in the approach which content rights-holder take on the copyright issue:

The copyright wars have produced some odd and funny outcomes, but I think the oddest was when the record industry began to campaign for more copyright education on the grounds that young people were growing up without the moral sensibility that they need to become functional members of society.

The same companies that spent decades telling lawmakers that they were explicitly not the guardians of the morality of the young – that they couldn't be held accountable for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, for gangsta rap, for drug-fuelled dance-parties – did a complete reversal and began to beat their chests about the corrupting influence of downloading on the poor kiddies.

Ditto for the video game industry. As GamePolitics has reported in the past, game publishing lobby group ESA hopes to takes its anti-piracy "education" program into elementary schools.

23 comments

Could Playing WoW Help Conserve Energy?

February 20, 2009 -

Could your addiction to World of Warcraft help green up the planet?

Possibly, according to Prof. Byron Reeves of Stanford. Appearing recently on the Living on Earth radio program, Reeves suggested that Smart Meters, which monitor household electricity usage, could be linked to WoW:

So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before.

 

And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world.

GP: There is, of course, no player ownership of houses in WoW, at least not at this time. The prof was apparently brainstorming possibilities that could be applied to MMOs in general. That's an old screenshot of my WoW character, by the way...

Via: Kotaku

25 comments

Valve's Gabe Newell Disses DRM in DICE Keynote

February 19, 2009 -

Valve founder Gabe Newell did some outside-the-box musing during his DICE Summit keynote, reports Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer.

Among other topics, Newell ripped DRM for games:

Newell believes that [DRM] that is presented as copy-protection gives a game a stink. It leaves customers unsure about how flexibly they can access their games. So they turn to pirates who offer games with fewer strings, he suggested. “There is evidence anecdotally that DRM is increasing piracy rather than decreasing piracy.”

 

Valve’s solution: battle the pirates by providing better services than the pirates do. The effectiveness of pirates, he said, is to get content to people who want it more swiftly and easily than the companies who make the content do. An outfit like Valve, however, can get provide even better service, even by doing something as intrusive as data-mining their customers’ computers — as long as they are transparent about it and can prove to the customer that taking such measures will make the customers’ games better.

GP: Nice... We're adding Gabe Newell to our list of game industry white hats who are keeping the most important person in the business - the game consumer - in mind.

73 comments

 
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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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