Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 38

So what if you bought Mirror's Edge for $60 and then completed in less than six hours. Does that mean it wasn't worth it? Didn't you have fun? So how long must a game be before it is worth the price tag? Instant message us during tonight's show and join in on the conversation. You can listen to ICP Live! tonight at 9 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio.

On tonight's show:


• 8-bit civil disobedience, vintage cereal and 90-minute demos.

• Also, music from Metal Slug 3, Beyond Good & Evil and Devil May Cry.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's retro best and worst power-up.

• And we discuss whether video games are worth the money.


If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity. You can also subscribe to the IP Live! podcast and be alerted when a new show is posted or even listen in on your iPod.

alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 38
[Download The Podcast]

Make sure you check out DJ Kestral every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on UltraWorld Radio.

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News: Rocksteady isn't a bad company

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group announced on Tuesday of their purchase of a majority stake in London-based developer Rocksteady Studios. Batman: Arkham Asylum, which so far has sold over 3 million copies worldwide, is clearly a serious Intellectual Property for both WB and Rocksteady.


From the Gamespy web site news posting:

"Rocksteady demonstrated its professionalism and extraordinary development abilities with Batman: Arkham Asylum," said Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. "This arrangement is a great strategic fit and we are very pleased to solidify our relationship with this talented development team."


Warner Brothers has two other developers under their wings, Snowblind Studios and TT Games.
Snowblind Studios hasn't produced anything of note of late. Their last few known titles were the Baldur's Gate PS2 games. But that might just be independant of when they were aquired by WB. TT games is most recently known for the Lego series of games.

As a huge fan of this game, I can't wait for the sequal that was announced at this years Spike VGA's. Only two things I can really hope for from the second game. First is to make the boss battles not suck. That was the only real negative in the game. Yea detective mode made some things too easy, but you didnt have to turn it on most of the game. Second, and most importantly, is to give it the Anti-Lucal treatment. Meaning WB leave Rocksteady the hell alone and let them do what they did to make the first game so awsome.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

IPlay! Battletoads

Incoming Pull's Tim Young tackles one of the coolest games on the NES, Battletoads. And in a change of pace, tries not to yell obscenities at the game. At least he tried.







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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Funny: Janosz Dog

There is some crazy stuff in this world. But there's one group of people you can call — no, not the guys at Incoming Pull — the Ghostbusters. Case in point, hit the jump to see the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian possess Nate's dog.



First, here's the video (in a foreign language) where Dr. Janosz Poha — Dana's boss at the art gallery — shows the evil eyes of Vigo. It's at the end of the video (around the 1:00 mark).



Now, check out this recent picture that Nate took of his dog. Tell me that this dog doesn't belong on a "mountain of skulls, in the castle of pain... on a throne of blood!"



Looks like it's time for me and my wife — Nate's sister — to hide our baby.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 37

World of Warcraft :: Everquest as Bayonetta :: Devil May Cry. Torchlight :: Diablo as Dante's Inferno :: God of War. There's no getting around it, everywhere you look, there are clones waiting to spin off of some great idea. But is this a bad thing? Instant message us during tonight's show and join in on the conversation. You can listen to ICP Live! tonight at 9 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio.

On tonight's show:


• Rare NES games, the end of Halo and zombie genocide.

• We rock out and play some sic video game remixes.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's retro best and worst power-up.

• And we discuss the affect that clones have on the video game industry.


If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity. You can also subscribe to the IP Live! podcast and be alerted when a new show is posted or even listen in on your iPod.

alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 37
[Download The Podcast]

Make sure you check out DJ Kestral every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on UltraWorld Radio.

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Preview: Tron movie teases

As a long time nerd with an even longer standing love of the movie Tron, the announcement of the sequel to Tron at last year’s San Diego Comic-con was a huge deal. Combine that with a seriously kick ass teaser trailer, fans which are apparently have been dubbed “Troniacs” are eagerly awaiting any new information on the movie.

The web site, Flynn Lives, is now updated with some magazine images which gives away some of the plot direction of the upcoming movie.

*** MINOR SPOILER ALERT***



Ok, what is being insinuated from the magazine pictures is that the character Kevin Flynn has been missing for several years. Essentially a geek version of Elvis, there has been sightings of Flynn in various locations, but essentially he has been MIA since 1989. Also, the company that the Flynn character took over at the end of the first movie has been getting by on his unfinished ideas. This lead to the Alan Bradley character (Bruce Boxleitner) leaving the ENCOM.

Probably the coolest thing from the web site is the binary BIT countdown page. The countdown, which is roughly Feb 24 at some time (my binary clock reading skills are not perfect), will let everyone know what’s going on. It’s easiest the coolest flash countdown clock I have ever seen.

Notably absent from the cast list so far is Cindy Morgan’s character of Lora/Yori. Although not listed in the cast, she was at the 2009 Comic-Con with a Flynn Lives shirt, so she probably has some involvement with the film, but it’s not clear what at this time. There is a character called Young Mrs. Flynn. Since the actress, Amy Esterle, is a very attractive blond woman, it’s clear the Lora character dropped Bradley and reunited with the Flynn character at some point.

Going back through the cast list of the original movie, a couple of names jumped out that I never knew. Peter Jurasik, probably most known for his role on Babylon 5, was part of the movie, though he and Bruce Boxleitner never shared screen time in Tron. Also, Michael Dudikoff had a bit part. He had a few Ninja movies in the 80’s. Not a big star, but just something that you think back and say, “Wow, he was in that?” Both of their characters were killed off, so neither is in the new movie.

Regardless, I simply cannot wait for this movie to come out. I might even take a couple days off work and trek up to the nearest IMAX theather.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Bayonetta, a misogynist's wet dream

I use as much tongue in cheek in the title of this review as Sega did when developing Bayonetta. However, there is a bit of truth to the title when you get down to the bare essentials of the latest Devil May Cry knockoff.

Bayonetta (which I played on the Xbox 360) is a mixed bag for me. The game excels at providing players with a solid combat mechanic. There are a ton of combos to utilize, making combat fun, engaging and a challenge. The art style is fantastic. The gothic design of the bosses are some of the best that I've seen in a long time. Each fight felt larger than the screen and made for a real tight sense of accomplishment when I was able to take down one of these divine creatures.

However, the pros ends there.

Bayonetta is the only game I have ever played that when I finished it, I still had no idea what the game was about. Something about angels fighting witches as a means to control a balance of... blah, blah, blah. The story and cinematics are as trite as it gets. Most of the time, I wanted to skip the cinematics just so I could get to the good part of the game, the combat, but I wanted to try to understand the game. Turns out that I still don't understand it. The cinematics, especially near the end, tend to drag on for much longer than they need to. The story sucks. There's no need to have cutscenes that are more than 5 minutes long if the story is balls.

The music is another part of the game which was a let down. There's nothing that says blasphemy like taking Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon" — popularized by Frank Sinatra — and remixing it with J-pop. It's atrocious and a musical train wreck. In fact, all of the music wreaks of bad cheese.

But maybe that's the point of Bayonetta. Maybe it's supposed to be "bad." Then again, by how much story the game was attempting to cram down my throat near the end, I'm stuck thinking that Sega thought they were actually making a serious game here.

Now, let's get to the misogyny. I'm not one to throw that word around a lot. For instance, lots of people like to read into Bladerunner as a misogynistic text. Not, I. However, Bayonetta is dripping with the afterthought of some developer's wet dream towards librarians with giraffe necks.

If it's not her constant stripper dancing as she spreads her legs, or her bending over showing her ass, or the way she can pick up an enemy's spear and use it as a stripper pole, or the way her infernal hair demons force her to shed most of her clothes, then Sega makes sure you understand what Bayonetta truly represents with her dancing on a pole during the credits. Make no mistake, this is juvenile at best.

There is a difference between showing a woman proud and confident and showing the male fantasy of a proud confident woman. Chloe in last year's Uncharted 2 is a proud confident woman. She's appealing, but her looks and mannerisms do not overshadow her character. Unlike Bayonetta, which is also appealing, but about as deep as a petri tray. And that's being generous. She isn't real. She's a wet dream.

Now, I'm not going to say that Bayonetta doesn't have a place in the video game industry. If every other entertainment medium gets off on objectifying women with misogynistic representations, then why should video games be any different? I'd like to think that Sega was pulling a Suda 51 by developing a game built on satire, but I doubt that's the case.

The worst part of all of this is that Bayonetta is an extremely fun game to play. It's just a shame that a game with such an engaging combat mechanic is filled with characters and a story that you would find etched in the door of a men's public toilet.

Take it away, Yahtzee:




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Monday, February 15, 2010

News: Possibly the most useless gadget ever

Engadget is reporting on a new device that could quite possibly be the most useless item for your pet ever invented.


Called Puppy Tweets, this device from Matel "is pledging it can detect 500 different activities and turn them into 140-character witticisms like: "It's not the catching of the tail, it's the chase," and "Guess what I'm licking right now."" The device itself is a small microphone and an accelerometer that you hang around your dogs neck and it turns movement and sound into tweets. The article doesn't say how the device accesses twitter, whether its wireless, or some other method.

All I can say is..Seriously???




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IPlay! Contra

Incoming Pull's Tim Young plays through one of the most legendary titles to ever hit the video game industry, Konami's Contra for the NES. He was a bit rusty. Good thing he remembered the infamous Konami code.





Watch live streaming video from incomingpull at livestream.com


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Friday, February 12, 2010

Quarter-Note Corner: Wily's Requiem

This week's Quarter-Note Corner goes metal with a little Mega Man — no pun intended. One of the franchise's best, Dr. Wily's stage from Mega Man 2 has been the source material for many aspiring artists, but few do it as well as Justin "Nekofrog" Jones.

The original piece drives the player into the final stages of the epic side scroller and Nekofrog excels at recapturing this excited feeling with face-melting guitar riffs and some great double bass. Also, there is a sick guitar solo at the end that will make your grandma's panties fly off. You've been warned.

OC Remix creator, David "djpretzel" Lloyd, had this to say:

"Things intro with some quick stick clicks then jump right into a thick mix of sick... chugs. What strikes me immediately is the speed and tightness of the whole thing: it's mean, it growls, and it's got balls, but it's also really sharp and locked in. As Eddie Izzard would say, very Prussian."


Follow this link or click below to hear Nekofrog's Wily's Requiem.




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Thursday, February 11, 2010

IPlay! Ghosts 'n Goblins

Incoming Pull's Tim Young braves the underworld in this spooky edition of IPlay! Things started off so well /sarcasm. And then they went so bad. In fact, to prove how much Satan spawn this game represents, it possessed my recording and made me turn this one file into three separate videos. Things got really bad for me during the third video. In fact, I kind of forgot this was being broadcasted to the world. Oops.





Watch live streaming video from incomingpull at livestream.com

I died as soon as the video cut off.


I was able to get the last couple of hits in on the boss when that video cut off.

Watch live streaming video from incomingpull at livestream.com


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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 36

So what exactly is the big deal about Mass Effect 2 anyways? I mean, so what if BioWare made a kickass dynamic story, filled with intense combat, a stellar soundtrack and top notch voice acting? Does that make a good game? Yeah, you're right, ME2 kicked ass. Instant message us during tonight's show and join in on the conversation. You can listen to ICP Live! tonight at 9 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio.

On tonight's show:


• Everquest 2, Diablo 3 and Sonic 4.

• We rock out to some sweet video game covers.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's retro best and worst power-up.

• And we discuss Mass Effect 2.


If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity. You can also subscribe to the IP Live! podcast and be alerted when a new show is posted or even listen in on your iPod.

Take note that this is our first of many episodes that is not posted in our Gcast/GarageBand.com podcast. If you have been keeping up with our podcasts using that service, you will need to resubscribe using one of the available links in the right sidebar.

alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 36
[Download The Podcast]

Make sure you check out DJ Kestral every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on UltraWorld Radio.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

News: Diablo 3: Blizzard Reveals the Female Monk

Since the announcement of the Monk class for Diablo 3, there has been speculation by the boat load about what the female version of that class will look like. Will she look Asian or Middle-Eastern? Will she have long or short hair? Will she be stacked?

Ok, well, maybe not so much of that last one, but definitely the other ones have made their rounds on the Interwebz.

Diablo 3 fans, wait no longer!

Using the official Diablo Twitter page, Blizzard asked the gaming community for their opinions a while back and then they posted a forum post that compiled the links for all of those submissions in one place. I spent some time looking through all of those images and my personal favorite was this one. Though I'd prefer her to have longer hair and maybe have an extra 5 years of age on her, I think that was the best of the fan submissions.

It appears, to me, that you can find elements of each of the player-created art options in the released version. I'm not sure if that means that Blizz was waiting to see what the fan base wanted to see, or if the fan base is just that in tune with the Diablo 3 art team, but either way the final product is upon us.  

This... is the official female Monk for Diablo 3:



You can see her in motion on the official Diablo 3 website. What do you think?

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IPlay! Silver Surfer

Incoming Pull's Tim Young turns up the dial on masochism as he attempts to play through Silver Surfer, arguably one of the most difficult games in the NES library. Editor's note: I was dealing with a head cold so I apologize for the sniffles and voice cracks. You can make fun of me in the comments section. Also my camera cut off the top of the screen for some reason. Sorry.



Watch live streaming video from incomingpull at livestream.com


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Monday, February 8, 2010

IPlay! Top Gun

Incoming Pull's Tim Young takes to the skies in Top Gun for the NES. You won't believe your eyes when he puts Maverick to shame.





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Friday, February 5, 2010

Quarter-Note Corner: Sugar, Water, Purple

This week's QNC highlights one of the hippest jazz improvisations I've ever heard. Samuel Ascher-Weiss, a.k.a. Shnabubula, tested the limits of his ivory when he let loose on this sweet remix of Metroid's Norfair level. Hit the jump to hear it.

There's a reason I hold jazz musicians above classically-trained musicians. The ability to play music beyond the page is not something that everyone can do. Jazz improvisation is the voice of a musician's soul. Ascher-Weiss' perfect piece encapsulates this way of thinking. His ability to dance around the main theme, while maintaining free form jazz is quite something to behold. If I was wearing a hat, I would tip it.

Shnabubula writes:

"I think the Norfair theme from Metroid I is pretty awesome. I missed out on this game as a kid, I was too busy playing guardian legend and zelda to get to play as a spacefaring chick that can turn herself into a chrono trigger style roly poly to fit through cracks. When I did play the game, it was via emulator, and when I got to Norfair hahahah I certainly noticed the music. Immediately I had to stop playing and f!@# around on my keyboard. When you hear something exciting, it's an itch that must be scratched to take it to the piano. Anyhow... I had lots of fun with this one."


Follow this link or click below to hear Shnabubula's Sugar, Water, Purple.




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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Teaser: Fallout New Vegas

It’s no secret that Fallout 3 is one of my top 5 games the current generation. I played the game quite a lot. I put way more hours into Fallout 3 than any other game that I own, even more than Mass Effect 1. ME2 might trump it eventually, but I just started with the game. Regardless, it’s a game that’s shown greatness in an island of mediocrity. Now Bethesda and Obsidian upped the gameplay with the official announcement of the next title: Fallout New Vegas.

There is a new teaser trailer out, and while it doesn’t give a whole lot of details about the game, the video does show a few things of note:

1: The robot doing salvage has a cowboy on the video monitor. This is most likely a reference to Vegas Vic, but I am not sure if it’s part of some type of karma system or some affiliation. My bet is on the karma system, because if you look close the cowboy eyes switch from looking evil to looking kind.

2: Electrical power is clearly not an issue. When the video pans back far enough you can see the city lit up quite well. The only landmark I recognize from modern day is the Stratosphere. Oddly enough making that building would make sense. The Eiffel Tower was used for radio communications in World War 2, so having that type of building makes sense. Satellite communications, line of site, scouting, and many other options become available. Especially when you consider Las Vegas is in a valley.

3: The person in the video has the number 7 on his helmet. Not sure if this is a reference to Vault 7, since he is wearing a long overcoat, and no other vault clothing is apparent. It does look like some version of a Pip-Boy is on the left arm, but that’s about it.

4: The flag is from the state of California, which makes things interesting in the Fallout universe. California is where the Brotherhood of Steel, The Enclave, and the New California Republic come into play. Although the flag is the actual state flag, and not the NRC flag, it does give you a sense of where they are coming from.

Regardless, the fall 2010 release can't come soon enough.


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Review: Mass Effect 2, the pinnacle of immersion

Immersion is a word that gets thrown around a lot when talking about video games. While its usage is warranted in some instances, most of the time its meaning is misrepresented. In reference to BioWare's epic space opera, Mass Effect 2, immersion is in the details. (Editor's note: the only spoilers for Mass Effect 2 will be events that occur within the first 10 or 15 minutes of gameplay.)

For us to begin using the term immersion, we must first understand what it means. To be immersed means to be engaged wholly or deeply in a subject. MMORPG players are the worst culprits when it comes to falsely using the term immersion. They often see having their avatars sit on a boat dock for five minutes before a zepplin come by to pick them up as being immersive. But immersion can be more than just a measure of time. It is an emotional response from being absorbed absolutely in the subject matter. Remember in Tolkien's "Return of the King," when the outnumbered forces of Minas Tirith storm the battlefield against Sarumon's horde and you get that chill down your spine. That's immersion.

The Mass Effect franchise is focused on building relationships with the characters in the game. The genius in this is that the developers saw fit to continue the relationships from the first game into the second. These games are centered around a dynamic story — as opposed to a static story a la Final Fantasy — where the actions of the player truly affect, not only the characters around him or her, but the entire galaxy.

I found myself fully immersed in Mass Effect 2 because of the details. There were many times when I would stumble upon a character in Mass Effect 2 who I had briefly interacted with in the first game. It almost felt like running into an old schoolmate in real life. Likewise, there were some voices that I found comfort in. It was a great relief the first time (in game) that I encounterd the helmsman for the Normandy SR1, Joker, since up until then I was surrounded by questionable strangers.

It's that emotional response that allows for the high level of immersion. Within the first few minutes, players have to watch helplessly as the Normandy SR1 is destroyed. It's a terrible sight for anyone who spent hours in the vessel in Mass Effect. There's an emptiness that happens and players are correct when they make the assumption that Mass Effect 2 is a much darker game than its predecessor. It's a very low point to start the game off. The feeling of hopelessness and dread abound.

But then the game unveils the Normandy SR2 shortly after. All of a sudden, the hopelessness is replaced with ambition, conviction and the realization that success may be possible after all. Remember that spine chill I mentioned earlier? Yeah, if it didn't occur when the SR2 was revealed then you are too distracted to be playing a game like this.

Immersion also comes in the form of the decisions that you make. If you played the first game, you are well familiar with the weight that your decisions play on your conscience. In most cases, the decisions strike at the player's morality. In this vein, causality is the vehicle for immersion.

All choices — even the smallest one — will have an effect on the galaxy around you. It's tough not to feel anything at all after making certain decisions in Mass Effect 2. You know immersion is happening when you make a decision in game and you actually feel bad about it or you hope you will get a chance to redeem yourself. This is the essence of immersion. It's the invocation of an emotional response.

Mass Effect 2, just like its predecessor, excels at invoking emotions in the player. When the player begins to realize that every decision counts and that even the smallest choice that he or she made in the first title will haunt them in the upcoming Mass Effect 3, that is when the impact of immersion is felt the greatest. When this realization happens, many games that you felt were immersive will begin to pale in comparison.

Mass Effect 2 is not just the pinnacle of immersion, but the evolution of the role-playing game genre. I can say without a doubt that Mass Effect 2 has been the greatest single-player experience of my gaming career.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Radio: IPL! Ironman Gaming Challenge Results

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch our first ever IPL! Ironman Gaming Challenge. Our first venture into live desktop streaming was not without its faults, though. Luckily, we were able to remedy that fairly quickly.

The first video is basically the introduction and statement of rules, with the second video encompassing all but Bunkai's playthrough of Super Mario Bros. 3. Congratulations goes out to Robert Allen, who ended up scoring 22 points for the win. Nate came in at second with 18 and Bunkai rounded out the cast with 14. It was anyone's game going into the final game of the night.




Watch live streaming video from incomingpull at livestream.com


Despite all of Nate's bitching during the Street Fighter 2 portion, we all enjoyed the competition and look forward to doing it again soon. Got ideas for an old school game you'd like to see us tackle next? Leave it in the comments or email us at incomingpull@gmail.com.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Radio: IPL! Ironman Gaming Challenge

This Wednesday, the hosts of Incoming Pull Live! will be putting their money where their mouths are with the first ever IPL! Ironman Gaming Challenge. This mixture of 8-bit and 16-bit PvP will determine who amongst the IPL! crew has the most game. The event will be shown live right here at 9 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. CST Wednesday, Feb. 3 on Incoming Pull. Don't miss the action. You wouldn't want to be the only one standing around the water cooler on Thursday morning with nothing to say about the event.
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