AICN Games: Monki's Weekly Wrap-Up GDC Edition!!
Greetings humans, Monki here with your weekly swing around the world of video games.
The GDC (Game Developers Conference) was held this week out in California and believe it or not absolutely nothing important was announced...
That's the column folks, have yourselves a wonderful week, I'll see ya'll next time!
...did I say 'nothing'? My bad. I meant to say Sony FINALLY made a valid attempt at gaining some positive footing in this console war. It took damn near half a year, but Sony has finally shown something worth building positive buzz around. I'll delve more into that in a bit, but lemme get to some housekeeping first.
Have you submitted your art for the 8 Bit Contest yet? You've got until the middle of next week to submit your video game inspired art to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, this can be any form of art, painting, photography, music, quilt-making, I don't care. As long as it was inspired by video games, submit it. Oh, and it has to be YOUR original work too!! E-mail me if you have any questions!
Also, the South by Southwest Festival begins today (I'm writing this on Friday). Today brings the Interactive and Film festival portions of SXSW while the Music begins sometime in the middle of next week. Are you in town promoting a video game or video game based movie? Would you like to be featured in an article on Ain't It Cool News? If the answer to both of those questions is 'yes' then you should drop me a line and we can meet up somewhere and after you give me a few hundred dollars, we can talk shop! Or we can just talk, either way is fine I suppose. So, drop me a line, I'll be in town till next Thursday then I'm swinging off to another island in the Atlantic.
That's right, your trusty old simian Monki will be traveling back out to Bermuda for the Bermuda International Film Festival. That being said, I need a couple of recommendations for DS titles to pick up for the trip over the Atlantic. Anyone got any good ones?
We have so much time and so little to cover, here we go!
Press Releases of the Week!
I'm going to talk about the following release a little bit further down, but I figure I'd drop the "official" release before digging in and opening up some discussion. So, read on about "PlayStation Home."
TOKYO and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 7, 2007 - Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today announced the unveiling of a first-of-its-kind 3D online user community service for the PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) computer entertainment system. The service, known as "Home," will enable users to create their own avatar and explore a real-time virtual community, as if they are playing a detailed 3D game for PS3. The service will become available globally beginning in fall 2007.
Home will be demonstrated at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, California on March 7 as a key element of SCEI Worldwide Studios' President Phil Harrison's keynote presentation titled "Game 3.0: Developing and Creating for the 3rd Age of Videogames."
Home is a real-time online 3D, networked community available on the PLAYSTATION Network It allows PS3 users to interact, communicate, join online games, shop, share private content and even build and show off their own personal spaces to others in real time. Home will be available as a free download from the PLAYSTATION Store and will launch directly from XMB (XrossMediaBar) on PS3.
With an avatar uniquely customized according to each user's preference, users can explore the 3D community that is Home – a sleek, modern environment featuring spacious common areas; custom spaces dedicated to specific games; and personal apartments. Each user is assigned an apartment in Home where they can invite others to join them as they show off their own style in an area they can personalize themselves with furniture, art and other items – even a different view from their windows. They can also show their personal video, pictures and other digital media content found on their PS3 hard drives in their apartments. Very rich interactive communication with others is achieved through built in text, audio and video chat, along with sophisticated emotional animations for each character.
Sharing continues in the "Hall of Fame," where users can display new 3D trophies that will be unlocked through in-game achievements, as well as real time score rankings in PS3 games.
"This is a significant step forward in the area of user community services and emergent entertainment experiences," said Izumi Kawanishi, Corporate Executive and CTO Software, SCEI. "While the 3D graphics demonstrate the power of PS3 and the PLAYSTATION Network, the most impressive feature in Home is the variety of ways in which multiple consumers, as well as our third-party partners, can experience the next generation of communication by interacting and sharing among each other. I feel strongly that this unique blend of community, user-generated content, collaboration and commerce will expand the future of computer entertainment."
Home will go into a closed beta test this spring with a full launch targeted for later this year. By having a broad range of business partners participate in Home, along with an expansive catalog of upcoming game software titles for PS3, SCEI will continue to enhance the new world of entertainment and vigorously promote PS3 as the next generation computer entertainment platform.
Soooo much to discuss...must hold off until rant portion of column....keep reading...
Nintendo has created a good thing with the Mii Channel on the Nintendo Wii. It's almost as fun to create characters as it is to play the damn games. Nothing makes me happier than seeing Chuck Norris bowling next to me when I'm trying to break my personal best (249) in Wii Sports. Anyway, a new round of commercials is going to push this aspect of the Wii.
NINTENDO NEWS: NINTENDO PUTS MIIS ON PARADE
March 9, 2007
Nintendo's customizable Mii caricatures for the Wii video game system have taken the country by storm. Millions upon millions of these caricatures now populate Wii systems worldwide and compete in games like Wii Sports and Wii Play.
Early next week Nintendo of America is scheduled to roll out a new round of Wii commercials featuring these popular Mii caricatures. One commercial is set in a living room with a family, while the other takes place in a board room. Both commercials feature the "Wii would like to play" gentlemen from the original commercials and highlight the fun that people have customizing their own caricatures before using them in games.
Numerous Web sites have cropped up to showcase the many ways that Wii owners continue to express their creativity through the creation of new and interesting Miis. People have created Miis dedicated to their favorite fictional characters, historical figures, sports stars and musicians.
For more information about the Mii caricature phenomenon, please visit http://us.wii.com/channel_mii.jsp
I've taken the liberty of placing both of the ads up on my YouTube account so you don't have to go through the trouble of downloading them, unzipping them, and having glorious quicktime installed. Don't say I never got ya nothing.
Pretty Images of the Week!
The GDC brought forth a crap-ton of new trailers and what not. I'm going to pick a few titles that I think look pretty badass. You be the judge.
#1, The Darkness. Based off of the comic book. You are a gangster that has ...special... abilities.
Looks family friendly to me!
#2, the plumber that started it all in his newest title, Super Mario Galaxy.
Looks pretty damn spiffy to me...great music too.
#3, here's another one for the Nintendo crowd. Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS.
I love that you have control over the boomerang and what not. Pretty slick!
#4, Warhound. A game I haven't heard much about, but after watching this trailer, I want to hear more about.
So THAT is how you take a helicopter out of the sky. Ah ha.
#5, Little Big Planet. Along with "Home" Sony showed off this new title in the works.
A PS3 title for a younger audience? Can't be!!
Alright, 5 trailers ought to do it.
Monki's Eight Most Important Stories of the Week!
So, everything went crazy at the GDC, here are a few key stories that I pulled from all over the web. If you want more GDC coverage, check out Kotaku's coverage or Joystiq's coverage or Gamespot's coverage or just do a Google search for GDC 07. You are bound to find stories.
Spielberg + Wii = 49.95 well spent. So THAT is why I saw him at E3!
Open-source SimCity for the $100 laptop project. Now poor kids can hate virtual blackouts too!
The in-game ads are coming...okay, they've been here... but more of them are coming.
The new Star Wars game is going to be insane. Keep reading about it.
In 2007, some people still don't know that things exists called "blogs." And whatever you say will end up on one almost immediately. Moron.
If you see someone outside the female dorms playing with their DS trying to pick up chicks...please hit them for me. This looks cool as hell though.
A LOT of people play on XBox Live. I mean, a shit-ton of people.
Obligatory WoW news article. I do it to please the masses.
$600 Social Networking System of the Week!
Finally. Time to take off my shoes, put on my slippers, and talk about this new-fangled PlayStation Home. For those of you who don't know, watch the video. (Good lord there are a lot of videos this week.)
Pretty neat, huh? I believe my first comment about "Home" to my nearby coworkers was, "Oh shit, finally something interesting on the PS3."
I was taken aback by the amount of detail that went into this thing. The giant open courtyards, the gamer zone place set up, the trophy rooms. The idea of having a giant statue of Tommy Vercetti or whoever the next GTA anti-hero will be adorning my virtual 'apartment' for all to see.
Cool as hell.
But then I started thinking. A social network of nothing but owners of PlayStation 3s. Hmmmm....no sir, I don't like it. How many friends of yours own PlayStation 3s? No, you know what, how many FEMALES do you know that own PlayStation 3s? Seriously.
One of the main reasons that guys even bother with social networking is the idea that they might meet a chick on there, however unlikely that may be. You think MySpace would exist if it weren't for 18 year old emo chicks and their angled-down-don't-look-at-the-camera-cause-I'm-too-damn-emo pictures?
Gamers come in two varieties: A) the casual gamer who would enjoy nothing more than to play a few games of Brain Age on their DS or perhaps some Viva Pinata on their 360, and B) the hardcore gamer who would rather steal a car in GTA and shoot up some demons in Doom 3 before getting anywhere near Nintendogs. Don't get me wrong, I know there are gamers out there that fit somewhere in the middle, but here's the deal: "Home" is built towards a community THAT DOES NOT EXIST ON THE PS3.
Sony has pushed the hell out of 'next-gen' graphics and hardcore this and hardcore that with their waffle iron, completely pushing away someone who may be a casual social gamer. "Home" is an attempt to try to wrangle in that 'other' crowd that hasn't picked up a sixaxis yet.
If Sony would have launched with 'Home' in place this current generation of consoles would have a much much different look to it. But the fact of the matter is, they didn't. Sony was late to the party and brought the exact same french onion dip that Nintendo brought along with more chips that aren't as good as what Microsoft brought. Now, throw your keys into the bowl and get fucked up.
Oh, and before I finish up this bit let me remind you WHO will be on "Home."
A lot of fuckwads. Have you played Halo 2 for more than 15 minutes on XBox Live? Imagine trying to walk through a giant world of nothing but 12 year olds hiding behind that Logitech microphone and voice modulator. Just imagine all the intellectual conversations we will all be having over a game of pool in a virtual pool hall! The future is now!
Sony, I want you to be good. I really do. Give me God of War 3 for the PS3. Give me something that will make me have to go out and pick up a shiny new dust-catching console. Push Microsoft to develop better titles, I dare you. Competition is good for the soul. If I want to play Second Life, I'll play Second Life, no need to drop that into your console. Just stick to what you are good at: violent, realistic, awesome games. Thank you.
I Miss SXSW Wrap-Up of the Week!
This is the first year I haven't had a SXSW badge in a few years and boy is it sinking in. I just got a call from a friend who was standing next to Paul Rudd at the opening night party. I want to high-five Paul Rudd. I want to meet Alan Cumming and give him a high-five.
Having a 'real' 9-5 job, having only so many days off and having to use that time off to go to a different film festival while SXSW is going on is pretty rough but I can't complain a whole lot.
For what it's worth, Ain't It Cool has been a part of my life for about ten years now. I first met Harry in 2000 (after reading the site for a few years) and my first article went up March 11th, 2001 after watching Gingersnaps at SXSW. SXSW is the REASON why I'm on AICN. I've made some really cool friends here at the site and gotten opportunities I would have never of gotten without the help of AICN. So, here's to you dear readers for making the site what it is.
So, if anyone sees me on Sunday, I'll buy the first drink and we can celebrate to six awesome years on AICN.
So, until next time, back up the tree (or into the cage) I go!
AICN and AMODA present 8 Bit at the Alamo Drafthouse!
Monki's Eight Most Important Stories of the Week!
$600 Social Networking System of the Week!
I Miss SXSW Wrap-Up of the Week!
AICN and AMODA present 8 Bit at the Alamo Drafthouse!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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March 10, 2007, 7:43 a.m. CST
March 10, 2007, 7:47 a.m. CST
It's going to compete with Xbox Live and the Mii's and it's pretty darn cool. Also, the PS3 finally has some games worth playing now, and March isn't even over yet. I know the Wii is the best thing since sliced bread, but the PS3 isn't stale either. The 360 is solid as well, I mean each Next Gen Console offers something different to it's users.
March 10, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST
It's strange that considering how underpowered the Wii is compared with the other two I've enjoyed playing it a HELL of a lot more. Wii Sports looks like it was thrown together by a couple of techs over a weekend but it's still fun to play. Zelda is amazing, it was totally the right decision to push it to be a Wii launch title seeing as the Gamecube was pretty much dead. I also really like the use of the controller on Zelda. Even though the controls are basic you still feel more involved than with a normal controller, especially with the Nunchuck being motion sensitive too. And to think that this tech is in its infancy, imagine where it'll be on the next Nintendo system.
March 10, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST
..but thats a bad trailer for Ginger Snaps.<p> Darkness and Warhound look nice though.
March 10, 2007, 9:43 a.m. CST
A gamecube with a pointer controller is not innovative. It's cheap gimmick with good marketing to moms and chumps who don't have any cash.Why the hell Ps3 gets so much crap I have no clue. The Wii is filled with such innovative titles as "cars" and every other crap license available and super rad two year old SSX and Prince of Persia games because the hardware is limited.Damn no one bitches about the complete lack of online play or even desire to do so from Nintendo. Also seeing how you pretty much steal your news from other sources you could have pointed out that Playstation home has been in development for over two years. So do some research before you trash it as a rip off.
March 10, 2007, 10:26 a.m. CST
Then it comes back to remind us how much it sucks. Oh and hardcore gamers play GTA and Doom 3? I guess they play Halo as well...play and MMO and find out what a hardcore gamer really is you fucking n00b.
March 10, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST
by Some Dude
LittleBigWorld looks fun, though. Probably not as much fun as Super Mario Galaxy or Super Paper Mario. Maybe they can tinker with it in the year or so before it is released.
March 10, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST
Do you really have to walk all over to play the other games, like pool? If I wanted to play the games, I want to just hit play, not have to dig out maps like it was some MMORPG and find may way around. I also don't want to have to push my way through all the people just standing in my way. Let's say that HOME becomes a huge hit, and one day you want to meet someone on your friends list. If it gets to say six million users like XBOX LIVE, is there going to be an easier way to find your buddy, even if you know what area he is in? I don't want it to be something like "Hey, I am the one in the red jacket, I am in the arcade" and you show up and everyone is in a red jacket. Maybe I am just spoiled by XBOX Live, (Dashl is also my name on that) where I can just bring up my buddy list, and talk to my friends and play whatever game they are playing. As for that Zelda game, I am looking forward to that because I grew up with the top/down view Zelda games. I hate the N64/Gamecube/Wii versions, I just want top/down view Zelda.
March 10, 2007, 12:50 p.m. CST
I had a DS and I sold it to buy a PSP. Suppose it's all about personal preference.
March 10, 2007, 12:50 p.m. CST
To really get the fun behind Little Big World ya gotta see the demonstration on it. While the vid up here looks nice, its a rather slim part of the gameplay. Its the community part of Little Big that has me interested. Too bad its being written off as a kiddy game. But yea, second home has me worried. What would the area pop caps be at? Even if the areas are separated by region, does that mean I wanna hang out with the local douchebag? Hell no. Zelda, aside from using the fairy to move you looks nice. With mario pumping out more power them most 3rd party releases. Nintendo usually does some great games, but I wanna see some reasonable "clasic" control styles
March 10, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST
by Aphex Twin
And if you try to pick up chicks through online gaming, you must truly be a hermit. In 10 minutes of outdoor activities I have a thousand more chances of getting laid. Go outside cretins! The world is out there!
March 10, 2007, 1:36 p.m. CST
Xbox360 is winning for me. Why? Because I own it. So it must succeed! I'm addicted to Gears of War multiplayer. It's fun to play and I met so many great people there. We have a barrel of laughs every night. What I love about today's consoles. They update with games and demos and movies. There's always something to look forward too. Where before It was up to me to buy games and that was all my options. I look forward to Wednesdays now on Xbox Live for updates. Wii is great too. For the casual gamer. Everyone says wow it has Zelda TP. It's just a Gamecube game. Chill. I actually prefer the controls of Zelda TP on the Cube.
March 10, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST
Let's go on HOME. I'll meet ya on HOME. What homes? PS3 homes. Yeah PS3. what about it homes? You can play online games on it homes. I know homes. No I mean they have a new place called HOME. HOME? Oh homes! That's da shit right there! Wanna play Xbox Live? Ok
March 10, 2007, 4:04 p.m. CST
What you just transcribed sounds like the kind of banter in a normal PSP commercial :(
March 10, 2007, 4:53 p.m. CST
It'll certainly take up a lot of your time! But I like it! I'll defintely try it out, it looks fun and not a boring interface like Xbox Live, even though it does get the job done. And for those of you too lazy to run around, you can use the virtual PSP to jump to whatever area you want and whatever you want to customize etc. can be done through the XMB. Once developers start putting up their 'Home' areas I'll defiantely head over to scout it out. I wonder what a Silent Hill Home might look like? And if Sony puts out tools to let the general public model their own stuff in Maya or Max, then that's gonna be pretty sweet! Though unlikely, but maybe the homebrew community will come up with something...
March 11, 2007, 7:56 a.m. CST
Little Big Planet looks very nice. Extremely polished. I just can't help feel that i've seen it somewhere before, maybe on a Nintendo machine? Pikmin perhaps...anyways it does look good and it's about time PS3 had a title that looked like it was using its hardware to full effect. As for home, i'm still sceptical on that until i get a chance to see it in action. Seeing as their online service should draw millions of players, i'd like to know how they're going to handle those numbers on what is essentially a portal. I would expect a seriously chopped down version when it's released, (sony have had a tendancy to overhype their PS3 stuff lately you know), the emphasis on the "when".
March 11, 2007, 8:15 a.m. CST
by half vader
and Monki's bizarre logic floors me. First he argues that it's stupid to build home because there is no audience (there never will be if you don't BUILD the fuckin' thing first) and then he complains they were late in getting it out. WTF? I think he secretly assumes a handle and is one of the ones that posts here saying "Why do Sony make a machine that's not out of date already! What are they thinking being future proof?" like it's a BAD thing. Same fucked-up logic. To be expected from the "I read the same sites as you all do and just collected it back here after you've all read it anyway. No. I didn't go. No, I haven't played it - but I did read the blurb and I can post a link you've already seen!" guy we all love to rag on. Yeah, I'm jokin' around. Except for the fucked-up Home logic. <p> Personally I think Sony are damned if they do and damned if they don't with this one. Everyone will tear strips off them if they do have a myspace/mii/xbox live thing for being derivative, and they'll ridicule them if they DON'T do something like that. Whatever. <p> The one thing I couldn't guage from other sites was whether Little Big Planet was a PS3 exclusive or whether we can get it on 360 too. ?
March 11, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST
is simply the most fun racer EVER.
March 11, 2007, 2:06 p.m. CST
....i actually got myself a wii because it looked like a ton of fun. i wanted a "new toy", for lack of a better word, not a "next gen" console, mind you. but rather a "new toy", that was fun and diffrent. and i got all of that and more from the wii. <p> now, in a year, or year and a half from now, i'll actually be ready for a "next gen" console, and i figure by that time the PS3 will be all "caught up", and in most cases, far beyond the 360. <p> *shrugs* but thats probally just me, i'm not going to "upgrade" to a next gen console just because sony and microsoft tell me i should. i'm gonna do it when i'm GOOD and ready and not a day before.
March 11, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST
or at least cute. One is even a 32 year old married school teacher I play Gears of War with. On average she gets 10 kills or more on best to 5. I know Chantal (Cliffy B's g/f), Aktrez (Rebecca Young, Tommy Tallarico's g/f). Jessica Chobot at IGN.con. I know another one named Virtualgurl. Who's a model. Manda who looks like the girl from Ghostworld, almost goth with the glasses. I chat with all of them and play games online with them. So yeah girl gamers are out there. Remember the generation that played Nintendo has grown up. Girls are in that mix. Gaming isn't just for boys anymore. Deal with it.
March 11, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST
If ya don't believe me. Find me on Xbox live - Gametag: 'Orionsangel' We can play Gears of War and I'll introduce ya everybody.
March 11, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST
Sony aren't damned if they do or damned if they don't, we're just expecting a little more innovation is all. To be honest, i think the home idea is quite novel if they can make it work right but Sony's word doesn't mean squat to me since they've repeatedly made statements and promises they simply can't keep. There was a time when i eagerly waited for some decent PS3 news, now i just don't bother. As far as they go, i'll just see what comes when it comes and any promises they make from now on just don't carry the weight they used to.
March 12, 2007, 1:51 a.m. CST
by half vader
Maybe that's why they held off and didn't hype Home before the GDC which is the most appropriate venue to unveil it anyway. Maybe even they finally realise how much they've been fucking up. But I agree to disagree. Fan boys'll tear 'em a new one no matter what they do. Note that I never said they didn't deserve it though.
March 12, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST
And what the fuck is up with people screaming about Sony being uninnovative? What the fuck? Hello? Cell processor? Blu-Ray drive? 3D gaming interface called Home? If you don't care for those, then fuck right off! <br><br>Look... give Sony shit when they fuck up. I will give you a few good reasons to bitch: 1. Missing rumble. 2. No upscaling for those with older HDTVs. 3. Your backwards compatability title does not work... yet... 4. If your PS3 stopped functioning properly, and so far, there have been virtually no problems. That's all I can think of that's legitimate. And until those are back you have every right to complain. Everything else isn't a screw-up. No, not even the high price. Can't afford it? Too fucking bad. Wait. Unless you won Sony stock or are involved with them financially, shut the fuck up about the price and owner statistics. No good games out? Then fucking wait, you know they're coming! Get a 360! Just shut the fuck up!<br><br>MOnki, your criticism of Home is contradictory. Half Vader already called you on it. And frankly I've been optimistic about you and the AICN Games section, but I'm getting the impression that you're just as bad as other 'fanboys.' Shit I know I come on here defending Sony a lot, but I fucking hate doing that, not because of any freaking allegience to Sony (thoguh I really think they ought to cut me a cheque for all the times I've had to do so), but because of all the lousy logic and general stupidity and badwagon mentality emerging in the gaming populace. I'm specifically referring to the loud vocal masses of forum posters who just love to bitch about shit that isn't even worth it, or who will just spout some nonsense and comment about some issue without even reading a full article for context or even have the slightest knowledge about business, marketing or even general ethics but talk like they have an expert opinion and are really just repeating some retarded hyperbolic dribble from some random blog. Many people criticize the media for picking on games, but many gamers at the same time behave like the witch-hunting media they so despise. Fuck all that horseshit about games causing violence, a better study we ought to start is about the herd mentality of gamers in general that seems to be popping up. There are enough forum posts out there to hand in as evidence for increasing aggression in gamers when coupled with the internet and disinhibition effect. But as long as it doesn't get physical or taken outside it's all good. Point being, gamers argue over fucking companies and consoles like it was actual politics that effect lives. But that's bullshit! The only thing it'll effect is about $500 give or take in your wallet. It's not worth it.<br><br>Maybe I'm being unfair, after all you can find similar behavior among Mac/PC owners, or even among movie nuts all over AICN, but at least most AICN stuff is in good humor. And lastly gamers are largely a more uninformed impatient biased bunch on a far worse level than movie fans which are more about taste rather than any of the shit we discuss here (but don't get me wrong every group has its idiots), hell while Hollywood can be suggested to be in an uncreative slump, gaming industries are thriving at a greater pace than films! So why all the senseless stupid illogical debates? Is it because there's a larger number of immature and younger people into gaming than film? Quite possibly. Apologies to those gamers who can think straight, be patient and open-minded. For the rest of the masses who simply need a new hobby because they can't wait for companies like Sony etc. to get their shit together, enlist and go to Iraq. Those are the best graphics and physics you'll ever see, maybe you'll get some real achievements. </rant>
March 12, 2007, 4:49 p.m. CST
It's brilliant, not a gimmick. It's not just for moms and chumps with no money. Stop spewing that "Nintendo is for kids and parents" line like a damned sheep. It's fun. Some of us don't care about masturgaming with 12-year-olds online. And some of us prefer actually enjoying what we're playing as opposed to gawking at the perty moving pictures in hi def. Some folks want the better graphics and online gaming and all that--understandable. But just as many are bored with what feel like minor upgrades and needed something totally revolutionary to bring us back into the gaming fold. Nintendo did it. I'll take Wii Sports with real friends over blowing shit up with anonymous online gamers any day.
March 13, 2007, 11:20 a.m. CST
Yeh you're right. Sony are damned. Perhaps they should remember this debacle when they start pumping PS4 and refrain from making promises they just can't keep.
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