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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update

Welcome back again.  As you can see, we are starting to populate the site with new content.  There are few new writers and contributors waiting in the wings with new content.  If you are interested

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update, GaMExpo, Nerdvana Con, Life Updates

What to Watch: You Tube

Top 5 YouTube video’s of the past week (with one blast from the past). Each week, on Tuesday, I am going to post 5 videos I think are worth watching on YouTube.  I’d love to hear what you

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What to Watch: You Tube

Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Bac

Welcome back to Killer Betties! It’s been over three years since I’ve made a post, but I am back. Before I get to what I’ve been doing for three years, I want to talk first about The

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Back, TWD, The Bar, and Other Random Thoughts

Football Manager 2017 Review

Football Manager 2017 is a football management simulation video game for the PC developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, it is really fun. You can create

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Football Manager 2017 Review

Volunteers Wanted

Killer Betties is going through some growing pains and we need more bodies (and pens) to keep up with it. If you have any interest in writing video game reviews, previews, interviews or editorials, p

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Volunteers Wanted

Lighthouse To Launch ‘Ship Simulator 2006’

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by on April 25, 2006 at 11:26 pm

Haarlem, The Netherlands, April 25th 2006 – Leading publisher Lighthouse Interactive announced today that it has acquired the rights to the innovative PC game “Ship Simulator 2006”, in a deal with Dutch developer VSTEP.

Ship Simulator 2006 is a revolutionary new game that puts players at the helm of some of the most varied and detailed ships to be found at sea, where they will need to perform a multitude of tasks, all set within a stunning 3D environment. Players will take control of a wide array of ship types, from massive cargo ships to speedboats, yachts, water taxis and even the mighty Titanic. The waters you sail are also as varied as the ships, from the biggest harbours in the world, such as Rotterdam and Hamburg, to the calm aqua marine waters of the Thai Phi Phi Islands. Gamers will experience how challenging it is to steer the Titanic through shallow water, or just how it feels to navigate a cargo tanker or tug boat – including how diverse the controls are.

Ship Simulator 2006 features:

• Play with 8 different ship types, all with individual controls, in 700 km2 recreated harbours (Rotterdam and Hamburg) and tropical scenery (Phi Phi Islands).

• Gameplay includes 40 very different missions, from search and rescue missions, racing a speedboat, to towing a cargo boat through a narrow harbour entrance with your tugboat.

• Create your own missions using the mission editor and drag playable ships and tasks into one of the game environments and populate your harbour with cranes, cargo ships, docking areas, cars and cargo stacks (a total of 100 editable items).

• Exchange your own missions with other players on the special forum at the game’s website.

• Save and upload your mission time scores and compare to the rest of the world.

• Dynamic weather system including wind force and rain adds to the atmosphere.

• Earn credits by finishing missions or lose them by bumping your boat into other objects.

• Walk around on the Titanic. Experience the life of a passenger on board this famous ship. Enjoy the level of detail, modelled after the original design.

‘Maximum-Football’ Version 1.0.139

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by on April 24, 2006 at 1:05 pm

Staten Island, NY, April 24th, 2006 – Matrix Games and Wintervalley Software are pleased to announce the release of the second official update for Maximum-Football.

The v1.0.139 update for Maximum-Football is available for download from the Matrix Games site. This is the most significant update for Maximum-Football to date, incorporating both fixes for important issues as well as user-requested changes. Based on user requests, Maximum-Football now includes a quick simulation option for a single game or an entire week, an accelerated clock for CPU play selection, more user-adjustable data constants, additional camera viewpoints and some play design logic and localization improvements. Almost all aspects of gameplay have been improved in some respect. In addition, there are over thirty general fixes since the first update, which address issues with the kicking game, custom leagues and standings, statistics and many more.

David Heath, Director of Operations at Matrix Games, said, “We’re very happy to bring you such a major update so soon after the initial release. Thanks to the hard work of the Maximum-Football team, this update not only addresses the vast majority of outstanding issues, but also shows a glimpse some of the ongoing improvements that owners of Maximum-Football can expect.”

Maximum-Football gives players total control over every aspect of a team, from drafting and training camp to play design to setting the very rules of the league. Primarily a coaching and management game, Maximum-Football is a robust North American Football game where you can change nearly every single aspect of the rules and features. Use Indoor, Outdoor, Canadian, or American rule sets, or any combination thereof. Utilize the robust play editing system to create your own playbook specifically tailored for the team you drafted and trained in the pre-season. Compete in player run leagues and discover if you have what it takes for a championship ring.

It isn’t just managing every aspect of a team though, Maximum Football also features fully functional 3D coaching and arcade mode where you can watch the action or take the controls to run, pass, block, and tackle. For the complete list of features, please visit the Matrix Games Maximum-Football forum and the Maximum-Football site.

Discover the ultimate gridiron game! Maximum-Football is now available as a US $39.99 digital download and a US $49.99 boxed version from the Matrix Games Online Store.

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‘CivCity: Rome’ Screens

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by on April 23, 2006 at 9:54 am

CivCity: Rome Screens

Created by a collaboration between Firefly Studios and Firaxis Games, CivCity Rome, the innovative city builder inspired by the world of Sid Meier’s Civilization, has just released three new screens from their game. Check them out now and determine for yourself if you give them a thumbs up or thumbs down…Gladiator style.

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‘The Movies: Stunts and Effects’ Screens and Info

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by on April 21, 2006 at 12:17 am

18 Screens From The Movies: Stunts and Effects

Imagine you’re making your seminal film and you need to bring your audience to the edge of their seats. Does your chase scene end in an epic explosion? Does your story shift staging to an exotic new set? Does your leading man freefall from the top floor of an office building…and survive?

With The Movies: Stunts & Effects Expansion Pack, these choices and more are all in your hands. Introduce dangerous stunts, astounding visual effects and impressive new sets to your Hollywood hit parade. Utilize a host of new technologies, sets, backdrops, costumes, vehicles and props. Take home awards in newly created categories like biggest daredevil stunt performer and best stuntman.

Now that you’ve honed your skills as a master movie maker, The Movies: Stunts & Effects Expansion Pack gives you the tools to turn your Hollywood hits into blockbuster industry-shaping events.

KEY FEATURES:
· Film how you want – A must-have feature for The Movies online community, the all new “Freecam Mode” allows you to take control of the camera and create drama like never before. Adjust the camera location, angle, field of view (FOV) and path to create truly unique movies.

· Break a leg – Include death-defying stunts, stunt scripts and new stunt double characters in your movies. From practicing in the “Stuntmen” training facilities to suffering on-the-job injuries, you control the jumps, falls, rescues and battles that can make your movie memorable or take you on a trip to the ER.

· More bang for your buck – With the new particle effects engine, enhance your scenes with incredible visual effects. Fireball explosions, shattering glass, electrical charges, smoke and steam can turn an ordinary action sequence into a cinematic showstopper. And there is more – crush vehicles, create water effects, change the weather and add bullet squibs and lasers for amazing visual impact.

· Ready the set and go – Dramatically expand your studio lot with a plethora of brand-new movie sets and utilizing parallax technologies. A lush jungle landscape, a bustling commercial city street and a military-grade barrack are just a few of the realistic environments, or put your actors on the green screen set and they can appear as if they’re flying across the Sahara in the final cut.

· Small size. Big impact – With the addition of new miniature sets and scenes across several genres, you can go for dramatic sweeping angles and larger-than-life scale. Swoosh through a skyscraper canyon or pan across a galaxy far far away for dramatic impact. Use miniature models of UFO motherships to recreate an alien invasion of Earth or a group of miniature helicopters to fly a platoon deep into the jungle for your war-time epic.

· Give me more – Pick from a host of new backdrops, costumes, props, vehicles and aircraft, to dress each all of your sets and scenes down to the last detail. Plus utilize the updated costume selection menu to make your actors appear older or heavier so they can really get into their characters perfectly.

· Roll out the red carpet – Earn industry awards, achievements and reviews for new stunts featured in your movies. Prepare your acceptance speech because you can win best stunt movie, best stunt man or biggest daredevil stunt performer.

· Make your magnum opus – Building on feedback from The Movies Online community members, you can now add length and sophistication to your celluloid storyline with a host of upgrades in the refined Advanced Movie Making mode.

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Merscom Announces ‘Trainz’/TrackIR Sweepstakes

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by on April 20, 2006 at 3:28 pm

April 20, 2006 – CHAPEL HILL, NC – Merscom LLC today announced that fans of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 can enter to win NaturalPoint’s TrackIR 4: PRO, the optical head-tracking system that enables players to experience real-time 3D view control through head movement. Merscom will draw one lucky winner per month from now until August 31, 2006.

Major retailers nationwide now carry Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 for the PC. Developed by Auran Games and rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 is the most comprehensive railroad simulator ever developed.

The TrackIR 4: PRO system is the latest in view control technology for PC games. The device allows players to control the in-game view and perspective of a game change with the slightest head movement. Great for an array of games such as flight, railroad, racing, and combat simulator environments, the system also boasts a 30 percent larger tracking and movement area, quicker response time, and increased resolution than previous models.

“Considering the highly realistic quality of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006, we feel that TrackIR enhancement is a natural component to help create an even more lifelike end user experience,” said Lloyd Melnick, Director of Merscom. “We are excited to offer the Trainz community support for the one of the most technologically advanced immersion tools on the market.”

“Using TrackIR in Trainz really drives home the reality of controlling a powerful locomotive,” commented Warren E.B. Blyth, Director of Public & Developer Relations for NaturalPoint. “It’s great to have one of the most respected titles from the train simulation genre stand up and support new heights of immersion. Any long established game has to constantly improve and evolve to satisfy today’s savvy gamer.”

In this latest installment in the Trainz series, virtual engineers can run long haul freight services, high-speed passenger runs and challenging yard operations. Players can also design rail systems using over 7,500 scenery objects and operate more than 150 types of locomotives on ready-to-drive routes over hundreds of miles of stunning 3D terrain. A new asset management utility, Content Manager Plus, lets players organize files and handpick new content from over 50,000 assets online.

The TrackIR 4: Pro System retails for $179.95 (USD). To register for your chance to win a TrackIR 4: PRO System. Registration ends August 31, 2006. Be sure to read all contest rules before entering. No purchase is necessary. You may also enter by mailing your name, address, email, and phone number to:

TrackIR Contest
Merscom LLC
Boyd Hall, Suite 330
55 VilCom Circle
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

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Star Studded Panel of Judges For Chrysler in The Movies: Virtual Film Competition

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by on April 19, 2006 at 2:37 pm

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – April 19, 2006 – Entertainment industry icons Paul W. S. Anderson (“Resident Evil”), David Krumholtz (“Numb3rs”), Garry Marshall (“Raising Helen,” “The Princess Diaries”), Guy Ritchie (“Revolver,” “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”), and Brad Silberling (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “City of Angels”) have signed on to be judges for the Chrysler in The Movies: Virtual Film Competition (CiTM).

Created by Chrysler brand in connection with Activision, the competition provides an innovative approach to making movies, with aspiring filmmakers creating unique projects using Activision and Lionhead Studios’ The Movies game. Contestants must submit their finished projects online by April 20, 2006.

“The Chrysler brand stands for innovation and inspiration. These are the same values held by independent film makers,” said David Rooney, director, Chrysler brand. “This competition is a great way to support the craft of filmmaking while showcasing our products among a terrific audience.”

To be eligible to win, Films must be two to four minutes in length and include any of the current Chrysler vehicles integrated into The Movies game – the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Crossfire, Chrysler 300 or Chrysler PT Cruiser.

The celebrity panel will view and judge the top ten films to decide who will receive CiTM top honors and a new Chrysler Crossfire. The competition winner will be announced by David Krumholtz during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2006 in May at the Activision booth, Los Angeles Convention Center – South Hall #1200. In addition, five of the best virtual films will be selected to be made into live action shorts by independent filmmakers participating in the Chrysler Film Project, a contest where filmmakers compete to win a full-length feature production deal on behalf of Chrysler.

“Activision is excited to be teamed up with an incredible lineup of talent for the ‘Chrysler in The Movies: Virtual Film Competition,'” said Dave Anderson, senior director of business development, Activision, Inc. “The Movies game allows Hollywood hopefuls to showcase their movie making skills and we’re eager to get their works of art in front of some of the most prolific names in the entertainment industry.”

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‘The Sims 2: University’ Trailer for Mac – Download to Your iPod

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by on April 14, 2006 at 12:13 pm

The Sims 2 University trailer has been posted to Apple’s website. Electronic Arts’ The Sims 2 University is the first expansion pack for The Sims 2. The Sims 2 University introduces a new young-adult stage of life, 4 new career paths, new influence gameplay and more than 125 new objects.

The Sims 2 University allows players to explore a whole new stage of life as young adults and introduces college-related wants and fears that are ultimately tied to their Sims¹ social life and academic goals. The expansion also introduces influence gameplay allowing players to earn influence points to have other Sims do certain tasks for them such as homework, term papers, cleaning up the fraternity house or even pulling pranks on other Sims. Players will be able to choose from one of 11 majors and open up 4 new career paths as they make their way through University.

Your Sims are now young adults leaving home to live the ultimate college fantasy. Immerse them in college life as they become the Big Sim on Campus. They’ll relish their new-found freedom as they party with friends, join fraternities and sororities and pull outrageous pranks. Your Sims will explore all the campus hot-spots as they frequent lounges, gyms, coffee houses and more. Help them fulfill new lifetime goals to unlock more rewards and reap all of the benefits of their university years.

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‘The Sims 2’ Universal Patch (1.0 Rev D) Released For Mac

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by on April 14, 2006 at 11:45 am

Aspyr Media, Inc. has released a free update for The Sims 2, which allows the game to run natively on Intel-powered Macs and improves graphics performance. The download (30 MB) is available now.

This is an official update for The Sims 2. It will fully update any previous version of The Sims 2 to version 1.0 Rev D. This patch provides Universal support for Sims 2 and provides fixes for several minor issues.

1.0 Rev D changes:

– Adds native Intel support
– Fixes a problem rotating Sims with the mouse in Create-A-Sim mode
– Prevents The Sims 2 and Body Shop from running at the same time
– Adds the “Optimized Rendering” option to non-English preferences dialogs
– Fixes a crash on quit under OS/X 10.4 with certain NVIDIA adapters
– In window mode, prevents selecting a window size equal to or larger than the screen size
– Fixes a problem running the game inside a folder having extended ASCII characters in the name
– Disables the preferences menu after the game is running since nothing can be changed anyway
– Zoom function now works with the “Mighty Mouse” scroll ball
– Corrects terrain colors in the neighborhood overview

In The Sims 2, players pick one of five aspirations that will take them through an entire lifetime, from the cradle to the grave. Players will be able to choose from Popularity, Fortune, Family, Knowledge and Romance which will determine how each Sim will lead their life. With these aspirations, players can fulfill their Sims¹ wants while avoiding their worst fears. Every choice that is made has a relevant and dramatic effect on the life of a Sim. Will players give them a long successful existence or leave their life in shambles?

More life-like Sims, all-new aspirational gameplay, and the ground breaking addition of genetics, with the DNA of Sims passed down through generations, gives players a more vivid, realistic, and in-depth Sims experience. All of this takes place in a new amazingly realistic 3-D world.

Aspyr’s Development and Technical Support teams have been working on Universal binary versions of Mac games for the past several months. In the next couple of weeks, Aspyr will also be releasing Universal patches for The Sims 2 expansions, University and Nightlife. In addition, Aspyr will continue to ship Universal versions of Mac games, like the recently released Quake 4, and with upcoming titles, like Civilization 4 and Call of Duty 2. Universal patches are not necessary for all previously released games, however. The Technical Support Department has been working on a full list of how games Aspyr has shipped over the last few years run under Rosetta, and so far many seem to be working well.

There is no charge for obtaining updates for Universal – DOOM 3, Sims 2, and any older games that can be made to run on Intel machines will have patches released as free downloads.

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Animal Crossing: Wild World Review (DS)

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by on April 13, 2006 at 10:00 am

Animal Crossing: Wild World is a clever and engaging game that has taken the traditional simulation game and transformed it into a ‘personal MMO.’ On Monday, April 10, 2006, 105,833 players logged in and played the game, according to the statistics on Nintendo’s Wi-Fi gaming hub. As of March 5, 2006, over 2 million copies were sold. So what’s so captivating about it?

Animal Crossing is at heart, a simulation game, where you set up your house, garden, furnishings, clothing and museum collections. Your first sessions in this game are likely to revolve around a series of tasks directed by Tom Nook, and the initial pay-off of your initial mortgage. This experience is not much of a grind. You are given multiple options for how to make money (bells) in the game and the first mortgage is set at an accessible level.

In keeping with the life-simulation theme, Animal Crossing is a persistent world. Your village clock follows a typical day. The sun rises and sets. Villagers eventually retire for the night, and the stores close. Sunsets in Animal Crossing are lovely. The game follows the seasons, and in the winter the world is covered in snow. In the spring, some of the trees turn pink, and the fall is speckled with fall color. Weeds grow and you have to pick them. Flowers wilt, although watering them will bring them back to life. It has a peaceful, almost bucolic feel.

The DS version has let go of the series of fed-ex tasks that dominated the play of the GameCube version. On the DS, your relationship with others in the village is ultimately up to you, and there are no obvious penalties for not fostering relationships with townsfolk. If you do, they are likely to reward you with presents, or tips about the game.

The port to the DS has a nice integration with the stylus, and you can choose to use it or buttons. It also takes advantage of the dual screens. On occasion, balloons with gifts will float past the top screen, and you can use a slingshot to pop the balloon. It’s hard to keep an eye on both screens, however, and if you are wandering through the village it’s very easy to miss the balloon as it goes by. The only take-away with the DS port appears to be the inclusion of the old NES games that were present in the GameCube version. Playing those older games was one of the more charming elements, and it’s unfortunate that they do not seem to have been brought over.

One of the nicest aspects to Animal Crossing: Wild World is that it lends itself to 10-15 minute play sessions. In that time, you can accomplish a nice chunk of the day-to-day business of the game, and progress at a reasonable pace.

It is, however, a hard game to rush through (unless you prefer time travel.) The village economy can be encouraged along through orchards bearing non-native fruits. It is well worth exploring the Wi-Fi capabilities early on so that you can gather fruits from other towns, even if you don’t intend to play in other towns very often. Tending to the orchards over the course of a couple of weeks will supply you with a booming economy. You won’t bat an eye at the incredibly high prices for later mortgages. Well, maybe you will, but they’ll translate as time and money and it’s all perfectly doable.

The game does reward diligent attention to ‘taking care of business’ and tending to your home, furnishings, and gardens. This adds a nice cooperative component to the multi-player aspects of the game. Your home will accommodate up to 3 roommates, and they can all assist in paying off the mortgage, furnishing the house, etc.

There are two schools of thought on how to approach Animal Crossing gameplay. Admirers of the Happy Room Academy diligently work to payoff the mortgages and acquire a mansion, attend to their furniture collections and pay special attention to the use of color in their homes. They are consistent donors to the museum, and make sure that the museum has pristine collections of art, dinosaurs, fish and bugs.

Other players take a more “brew your own” approach, and ignore the HRA letters while they create their own environment. You can create tiles using a wide variety of color palettes and tools, and then place the tiles throughout the village. Through carefully planned tiling, you can ‘landscape’ your world to be anything you can imagine.

Is Animal Crossing: Wild World really a MMO? If you consider your village an instance, and open your gates to encourage visitors, it does have a MMO quality. Developing a robust economy would be very difficult if you didn’t visit other towns, and there are some stages of the game that you can only get if you participate in the multi-player aspect (for example, the final upgrade to Nook’s store is triggered after a guest visits and makes a purchase in your town.) It is fascinating to see what others have done in their town, and it certainly fosters a sense of cooperative competition.

All in all, Animal Crossing: Wild World gets 4 out of 5 stars. Our scoring system reserves 5 out of 5 games for those that have universal appeal, and simulation games such as this do not appeal to all gamers. It is, however, a brilliant example and definitely wins ‘best of breed.’ It will be fascinating to see what Nintendo does with the Animal Crossing franchise in the future.

RATING: 4 out of 5
Our Scoring System

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New ‘Zoo Tycoon’ Web Site Roars to Life

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by on April 9, 2006 at 10:01 pm

Microsoft Game Studios announced today that the popular and best-selling Zoo Tycoon franchise is roaring to life with a new Web site. Fans of the franchise can visit for the latest zoo news, downloadable wallpapers,
coloring book pages, ring tones and much more. Gamers can fully immerse themselves in the new Zoo Tycoon world, which features an innovative design that is fun, user-friendly and allows fans to easily access information about current games, including Zoo Tycoon 2 and Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species, and upcoming releases, such as Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure, Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania and Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack.

The Web site also introduces new community features with frequent postings. Ask the Zookeeper answers gamers questions about odd zoo topics and animals, such as “Why are flamingos pink?” In addition, roving rodent reporters, Zoey and Zeek the zoo mice, conduct animal interviews in the new column, “Animal Escapades.” Helpful game tips and behind the scenes developer diaries will also be available.

Zoo Tycoon 2, the sequel to the award-winning Zoo Tycoon, continues to provide the ultimate zoo experience, challenging gamers to design and build the most vibrant zoo possible while working to ensure animal happiness, customer satisfaction and profitability. With Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species and the upcoming releases of Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure and Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania? E10+ rated expansion packs, and downloadable Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack, players can step directly into their zoo where they’ll be face-to-face with guests and exotic animals.

Since its launch in November 2004, Zoo Tycoon 2 has continued the award-winning legacy of its predecessors and has been recognized by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, Children’s Software & New Media Revue, and Scholastic Parent & Child.

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