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Huoshen

Game Room Feedback

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This year has probably been one of the most disappointing game rooms ever at an anime convention for me, and considering that the Otakon game rooms have been my biggest draw to attending the convention up to this date, this has a great impact on my decision on whether or not I should attend next year.  The arcade cabs not being available was disappointing, but that's being addressed in another post, so the only point I'll add to that is that it was not very good of Otakon to completely ignore DDR, as it tends to be one of the more populated games throughout the weekends from my previous experience.  At least a set up with soft pads would have been okay, but instead there was nothing for most of the weekend.

 

While it was very nice of Otakon to at least try to keep up with the latest games, it's very disappointing when no effort is made to update or patch these games.  When characters are completely missing from a game, it can be very disappointing for someone who might have been looking forward to playing fellow attendees with their character that they may have been practicing with.  Making sure that the games have character DLC and patch updates change the experience greatly for a lot of the people who would attend Otakon for the video games.

 

Probably the biggest disappointment, however, is the tournaments and the TVs that the tournaments are ran on.  Several of those TVs are larger plasma TVs, that suffer from ~60ms display on the average (I don't remember the exact brand of TV) when they are on game mode, as can be seen for sites that do testing (such as HDTVtest), but it seemed like all of the TVs were not put on game mode for the weekend.  In games where fast decision making like fighting games, 5+ frames of lag can severely impact decisions made and people's ability to play, and for tournaments that should not be acceptable.  Every time I see a tournament that I want to enter, but I see it on those terrible TVs, I skip out and look at other things to do.  In addition, these tournaments are limited to a very small group of people (32 or 64 people) for such a big convention it is very disappointing.

 

While it seems like the TVs are not going to be going away anytime soon (if their use for the past nearly 10 years indicates anything), my suggestion for the last point would be to have a specific area set aside for video game tournaments.  It would be far less effort to update 8-16 systems with all of the content than it would to update the whole game room, and they could be ran on good monitors (such as the Asus VH236 with 2ms display lag), which would make the tournament experience a whole lot better.  This would also give folks passing through the area specific to the tournaments a chance to look at the tournament play in the games they might be interested in, and the overall tournament experience for those players trying to compete would improve greatly.

 

One other note of interest, I've noticed a lot of anime conventions start to utilize streaming in showing off the tournaments through Twitch.Tv services.  It would be a great way for Otakon to show off their video game room to outside viewers of the games being played at Otakon, and it could be very useful in generating interest in future attendees who would decide to attend after seeing the games on stream.  As for getting help for running these tournaments, Otakon has access locally in the Baltimore area to two different gaming groups that run events and activities (Baltimore Area Fight Club and Xanadu Games) as well as access to one of the biggest Smash streamers in the nation in VideoGameBootCamp's own GimR, who has experience running streams effeciently for major gaming events across the nation.  The resources to run a great tournament experience are available.

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While I am not interested at all in tournament play, I do agree that this year's game room was severely lacking. The lack of any kind of DDR presence was extremely disappointing- obviously having the arcade machines back would have been best, but even something at all would have been better than the nothing we got. I don't know about the relative popularity of both, but surely DDR is more relevant to an anime and Japanese culture convention than Rock Band, no?

 

Here's another big problem I had with the game room- it was utterly impossible to stop in and play a game if you were trying to follow a schedule, unless the game was old and/or unpopular. I really wanted to play Mario Kart 8 for the first time at this con, but every time I stopped in, the line was ridiculously long. Adding a big problem to the length of the line was the fact that the players were allowed to play an entire circuit, which I believe is 4 races (maybe it's more, but it's definitely more than one). If you have a game that popular with a line that long, I don't see why staff wasn't enforcing a more simple 1 race system, where the four players get to play a single race and that's it, with only the winner staying on and the other three having to give up their controllers. I thought that was a fairly common sense way of doing things, but apparently I was wrong.

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Since I also attended Otakon and haven't given feedback yet, I figured I should go ahead and give it now. This is my fourth year attending Otakon and I enjoy the hell out of it every time but the gaming room has been consistently terrible every time. The amount of lag from those large screen TVs is hardly acceptable to play casually, let alone play in a tournament. Some of the best Blazblue players in the country were at Otakon this year and they didn't once play in the gaming room - they played on TVs in their own room on their own setups that actually had all the unlockable characters and (free) 1.10 patch. Why even bother running tournaments when the lack of updates and 10000 frames of lag severely handicap competitive play? 

The tournament caps were a complete joke this year in particular too. Under Night In-Birth was incredibly popular, having just come out, but the tournament for it was capped at EIGHT ENTRANTS. I thought it was a joke or mistake until I tried to enter 5 minutes after sign-up started and got denied. Could y'all seriously not handle more than an 8-person tournament before the next one started in 2 hours?

Honestly, this year in particular helped me realize that I enjoy the convention much much more if I never step foot in the gaming room. I have yet to attend a large convention that's remained so resistant to improving their gaming experience for such a long time. 

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This is the first time I stepped into the game room with a couple friends (mostly because we were curious about the Vocaloid game) and we ended up spending a little bit playing a couple of random, silly rhythm games. I didn't pay attention to any tournaments or the fighting games, but the biggest thing I noticed, at least in the section we were in, was that there was a general lack of courtesy. My biggest pet peeve was standing behind someone waiting for them to finish their game to have a turn, only for them to start playing it again. It's one thing if there's no one behind you waiting for a chance, but if you're playing a game and there are people behind, you should at least turn around and ask them if they want a chance to try it out before starting another game. We got to try out most of the games we wanted to play and had a good time with them and got to watch some really good players play one really hard game, but it was a definite annoyance.

 

It also does seem odd that they wouldn't have DDR, even just the soft pads, as someone said previously.

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From /index.php?showtopic=26187">this thread:

 

The party that provides the machines, The Save Point in TownMall of Westminster, was not able to come to an agreement with Otakon this year. To make up for it, all of their machines were available to play for free since last Wednesday and will still be free to play until tomorrow.

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I know you are excited to hype up the fact there are arcades an hour away from the convention, but I don't think suggesting anyone who wants to play games at Otakon should drive an hour away to do it is a practical solution.

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I can't speak to the quality or content of the Otakon game room this year, but my overall dissatisfaction with it over the past 4-5 years ultimately ended up being a factor in skipping Otakon this year and from the sound of things, it hasn't improved at all. To the people running it: PLEASE learn how to run tournaments properly (I second everything in Huoshen's post above) and PLEASE stop using giant, laggy TV's. A lot of people in the competitive fighting game scene attend Otakon and immediately see the flaws in how things are ran. Consider reaching out to them for feedback, as opposed to how it has been for the last 4-5 years.

 

Understood, there's not much you can do about the arcade games, but with all those console set-ups, you probably need to extend an extra 5-10 percent effort to make the experience a fun and engaging one instead of a frustrating one.

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Last year it was mentioned that there's nothing else to do with the massive space that the game room currently occupies.  I remember that during my first Otakons the game room was almost as crowded as the dealers' room and game setups were all over the floor but for the past few years it has been so devoid of both games and people that I expect to see tumbleweed blowing through.

 

If only there were something else that could be done with that space as it is immense and the long-moribund game room only takes up a fraction of it.

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For this to be "one of the biggest east coast conventions" and still have the game room at a steady decline, it's really sad to see.

 

I've been to Otakon from 07 - 10 (I believe 2010) and my first year going in 2007 the Game room was great. The walls were filled with arcade machines and there were loads of japanese import games from your usual crazy wacky differen Japanese game to a bullet hell shooter, to a fighter. There was a mix of everything there and there was ALWAYS something to play because there was a chunk of games to try if you've played before or not. As the years went on, the game room just started declining and IIRC the guy who usually runs it (Jeff I believe) stopped doing so in 2009? (possibly 2010 I don't remember). Everytime I hear from others how the game room turned out, people weren't impressed. Last year I saw Benami invasion come as they're usually big supporters of MAGfest. I don't know what happened this year but to see they didn't come back and miss out on more rhythm games that easily draws a crowd/players/etc is kind of huge.

 

I can understand the lack of arcade machines because it's a lot to carry and travel about with. (which was one of the main reasons they slowly disappeared after 07 Otakon.) but it's really sad to see that the improvement of the game room hasn't changed one bit. I don't mind the welcoming of new age technology with the flat screens but if you're going to bring those huge setups, at least make sure they have a game mode or are on game mode if they do have them. At this point it seems constant I hear complaints on the TV from both casual gamers to actual competitive ones. (and from my own experience playing on them back in 2010, they lagged)

 

The tournaments at Otakon have always.....ALWAYS annoyed me because it's a first come first serve (already bad for others possibly waiting in line for another event or doing something already) and if you guys are still doing that whole line up nonsense to get a ticket (lining up almost 15-20 mins before handing out the tickets mind you) it's very flawed and has always been at otakon. As soon as the line starts, if you either haven't heard the call or know of the tournament signup times, you've probably missed out already. It's ok to do a written signup list. It's better than having con goers waste almost 30 mins of their time in a line.

 

I simply can't speak for this year's convention but it doesn't look like much has changed since you guys started bringing in the big flat screen TVs. It took a few years for you guys to actually realize people will bring their arcade sticks to play. I also heard that people weren't allowed to bring their setups to the game room. I'm not sure why considering most of the time there's more than enough room in that huge hall that a few extra setups will only make things better for con goers trying to play a game. I guess it also doesn't help that you guys have the new games (fighting games in general) then not have them up to date or have all the characters. (Some may see this as not a big deal but you can't say that to the guy cosplaying Terumi trying to play Blazblue only to find out Terumi isn't on any of the consoles.)

 

There's just a lot that Otakon's game room could offer if it's in a gigantic hall like that. (stream, decent tournaments run by either the staff or help from actual players willing to run a tournament to make sure it goes smoothly and actually fun for the attendees, more setups if con attendees are willing to bring them and be near them for as long as it's there.) I know you guys are always asking for feedback on what can be improved but I'm not sure if you guys are even listening or attempting to do anything. (I know at least Jeff was trying when he ran the game room.)

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I know you are excited to hype up the fact there are arcades an hour away from the convention, but I don't think suggesting anyone who wants to play games at Otakon should drive an hour away to do it is a practical solution.

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I've been attending Otakon since 2003. To me, the biggest draw was also the Game Room. The entire hall was littered with Arcade Cabs, DDR Machines and many consoles to play games on. I even remembered there was a Neo-Geo in there back in the day. Also in 2003, when SVC: Chaos came out on Neo-Geo I remember some guy was on a 70+ Win Streak using Kim Kaphwan and all of the matches were projected on the back wall. It was just so hype that I didn't want to leave and after that, I was sold on that experience from the convention (I didn't know about EVO until years later). 

 

Things were good up until the 2010's. Then, the arcade cabinets graduallly disappeared (I understand the reasoning for this), the hall that normally hosts the game room had more empty space than games and DDR become non-existant. DDR has always been a staple at Otakon and the fact that it wasn't there this year was not only sad, but a showing of the times.

 

It's very sad to see what has happened to the game room in the 12 years I've been attending this convention. For me, it went from being very immersive to down right disappointing. I have never seen the game room in worse shape until this year and the fact this is the 2nd biggest Anime convention in the country just makes it even more bitter.

 

Here are just some of the concerns I have:

 

  • Massive space being under-utilized.
  • Lack of punctuality. In years past, it ALWAYS opened up on time at 10:00am on Friday with the hall fully stocked with games. For the past few years now, it is scheduled to open at 10:00am but then gets pushed back to 11:00am or even 12:00pm (happened this year). What's with the delay if you have far less games to manage?
  • If you play a game on an unoptimized setup, you're going to have a bad time. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3/Ultra Street Fighter IV running on PS3, a laggy TV and no patches applied? I'll pass.
  • The amount of games dramatically decreasing over time. Surely, now paying $80 for pre-registration could justify more games in the game room...right?
  • The TV's. Just because the TV's are bigger doesn't mean they are better. For the cost of one of those 60" LG televisions, you could have obtained at least 4-6 22" monitors with very little lag (1-3ms).

 

Here are some improvements I would suggest:

 

  • Reach out to the local Fighting Game Communities. For example, Huoshen, Shin Oni & I play FG's on the regular and we have knowledge on what setup is needed for the majority of fighting games out there. Streaming wouldn't be a bad idea at all for some of the tourneys and it would be a good way to generate even more interest in the convention.
  • Check out different vendors for Arcade Cabinets. Save Point isn't the only Arcade place around. I understand there aren't many, but there are some around in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeastern corridor in the U.S.
  • Consider more retro tournaments. I was more excited for the Sonic 2 tourney and anything else in the game room. Wound up getting 2nd but it was still a lot of fun.
  • If you have to get TV's, consider using www.displaylag.com for your research. It will save the convention time and even money to obtain low latency TV's just by researching the website and knowing what to get.

 

I truly hope that you guys take everyone's feedback seriously. With the rising costs of the convention and the continuing disappointment for one of the biggest aspects of it, I'm seriously considering not attending Otakon 2015 unless it gets its act together.

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I was also dissapointed there was not any DDR or Pump It Up machines.  I REALLY hope they will have some next year!

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The game room didn't have what I was anticipating which is Typing of the Dead. Every time I go there I always expect to play it but yeah that didn't happen this year. Add to the fact that I didn't see any arcade machines nor a ton of games like the previous years. The game room felt desolate seeing as how they didn't have a lot of the games people wanted.

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The game room didn't have what I was anticipating which is Typing of the Dead. Every time I go there I always expect to play it but yeah that didn't happen this year. Add to the fact that I didn't see any arcade machines nor a ton of games like the previous years. The game room felt desolate seeing as how they didn't have a lot of the games people wanted.

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Curious, since I wasn't there this year, were there many Japanese import games?

 

I mean usually DDR or rhythm games (such as pop n music or even the PS2 Taiko drum or beatmania import copies) bullet hell shooters, fighting games, other old school games were there in the past. But not hearing even soft pad setups of DDR makes me wonder just what did the game room consist of? I'm not a fan of soft pad DDR setups but a lot of folks just love to play with friends or jump around for the hell of it (and the audience).

 

That's the one thing i've always liked about Otakon's game room. The game hall is massive and could only get better. But it's going backwards.

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I also need to express my disappointment in the Gaming Room for this year. For me the Gaming Room is my late night experience for Otakon. I have zero interest in the Rave and most of the time; I have little interest in the 18+ panels that are presented for the late night programming. So I usually spend my time in the Game Room playing other people and shooting the bull. This year, I was very happy that the hours got push back to one in the morning that was awesome. I was delighted about that, but the game section this year was less than stellar. As people have mention, a lot of staples in the Gaming Room were missing and there was no arcade game presence.

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Also, I know I have this beef every year but it seems to be a recurring issue that Staff does not want to seem to handle. I am not very particular about the attitude that a lot of these high-and-mighty fighting game "pros" seem to carry around the game room. I find it outrageous that there are actually people who will refuse to give up the controller just because they want to act like some kind of entitled elitist. When I confronted a group about this situation, their argument was literally "Well, that's how it works in the arcades." This is not an arcade, this is not EVO, you are not paying per play and you have nothing to prove here. We all know you have the game at home, anyway. God forbid two casual players who don't own a particular game walk up and want to play the game with each other at a convention they paid $80 to attend. Unbelievable.

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pretty sure that's why they have 4 stations where 2 were pretty much casual stations and the other 2 were for people wanting to be serious.

 

I don't know about being elitist but general rules with fighters anywhere is winner stays on. That goes for anyone playing casuals or serious. (well to be fair that goes for ANY game in some sense.) If people want to play against their friend, just ask. I've seen many people do it in the past when it's "serious players" winning or on a win streak and people are willing to just get up. It's not that serious.

 

i'm trying my best not to throw out the "$80" argument because this can apply on so many fronts. But it looks like we're going that route.

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Curious, since I wasn't there this year, were there many Japanese import games?

 

I mean usually DDR or rhythm games (such as pop n music or even the PS2 Taiko drum or beatmania import copies) bullet hell shooters, fighting games, other old school games were there in the past. But not hearing even soft pad setups of DDR makes me wonder just what did the game room consist of? I'm not a fan of soft pad DDR setups but a lot of folks just love to play with friends or jump around for the hell of it (and the audience).

 

That's the one thing i've always liked about Otakon's game room. The game hall is massive and could only get better. But it's going backwards.

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pretty sure that's why they have 4 stations where 2 were pretty much casual stations and the other 2 were for people wanting to be serious.

 

I don't know about being elitist but general rules with fighters anywhere is winner stays on. That goes for anyone playing casuals or serious. (well to be fair that goes for ANY game in some sense.) If people want to play against their friend, just ask. I've seen many people do it in the past when it's "serious players" winning or on a win streak and people are willing to just get up. It's not that serious.

 

i'm trying my best not to throw out the "$80" argument because this can apply on so many fronts. But it looks like we're going that route.

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Yes, the general rule of "winner stays on" has applied to virtually all fighting game sessions I've been involved with. But if BOTH players refuse to give up the sticks or controllers, you need to loudly call next.

 

The term for this in the FGC is "first to infinity" and the only way to break the monotony is to call next and do it loudly enough that everyone around hears you. A slightly less confrontational way to do it is ask the players what they are playing to (the set count that they, in theory, are supposed to be playing to). It's an indirect way of calling next. That is something the Otakon staff probably has little to no control to moderate and will vary from station to station, in all fairness to them.

 

For me personally, if its a game I'm really into, I tend not to get off unless someone behind me either calls next or asks for a set count, and I consider myself pretty fair in regards to turns.

 

*cough* Fresh vs 4thstar...just sayin. tongue.png

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I'm aware of these rules. Unfortunately, the people I had the pleasure of interacting with at the KI station on Saturday just pretended to not hear me. I've pretty much given up on the game room at this point; I'll only be spending any actual time there if they decide to make arrangements with arcades or other machine vendors like they have in the past.

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If you had issues with attendees not following the posted Video Game Hall rules, you should be able to inform a staffer to have the situation resolved.  From what I have seen staff are always on hand on the elevated stage across from the entrance to the hall.

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Generally i'll let people have their 2 - 3 more games but if it's to the point i'm waiting and there are OTHERS waiting then yea I step in either saying can I get next or can I get in? I know people get caught up in games because it's fun and even more fun when it's free, with others and around others. It's just common sense, being nice, and letting others enjoy the reason they're in the game room to begin with.

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I have been attending anime and gaming conventions since 1999, and I must say this was one of my most disappointing experiences in a game room to date. 

 

Huoshen, Shin, and Needle covered many of my issues with the room, but I would like to add a few of my own.

 

  • There was very little moderation/organization.  At events like this, one of the reasons people come into the room is to try new games.  Most of the setups were surrounded by silent clumps of people.  That can be pretty intimidating to a newcomer.  Either get a few volunteers to help people understand what is going on/maintain order, or get one of the companies that rents out the cabs staff the machines/stations (Bemani Invasion is excellent about doing this).
  • I will reiterate a point I've seen in this thread already:  yes, I know the arcade rule is that 'winner stays and plays'.  An anime con game room is not an arcade.  You will miss out on the opportunity to expand your gaming groups if newcomers can't even try the game.  Even Magfest doesn't implement the 'winner stays and plays' rule for the most part..  Heck, on the dance machines, they even set the rounds to two songs to faciliate moving the lines quickly. If you don't have official volunteers by the time the con starts (and I doubt this would happen if you opened the position), I guarantee you'd find people in the room during the con who would be more than willing to help.  Lots of us come almost exclusively for gaming, and we're pretty erudite when it comes to these protocols because we have lots of experience running setups/tournies/etc.
  • Please bring back import games!  Even for those of us who own lots of home console kits, we like to try games out for ourselves. Surely your status as the second largest anime convention means you could set up some kind of sponsorship with one of the numerous game import companies.  You get money, they get sales, we get to play neat new games and have a great time laughing with friends- everyone is happy! 

I'll be honest: at this point, I do not feel inclined to return to Otakon.  I'd rather spend my time and money going to other conventions, even if they are smaller.  I think it would take very little effort to create an exciting atmosphere. and at $80 a ticket + >30,000 attendees(relating this to the availability of human capital), I believe it is more than feasible for to do so. 

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The game room didn't have what I was anticipating which is Typing of the Dead. Every time I go there I always expect to play it but yeah that didn't happen this year. Add to the fact that I didn't see any arcade machines nor a ton of games like the previous years. The game room felt desolate seeing as how they didn't have a lot of the games people wanted.

 

Typing of the Dead was set up the entire weekend on a Dreamcast near the back of the room.  Sorry that you were unable to find it.

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Also, I know I have this beef every year but it seems to be a recurring issue that Staff does not want to seem to handle. I am not very particular about the attitude that a lot of these high-and-mighty fighting game "pros" seem to carry around the game room. I find it outrageous that there are actually people who will refuse to give up the controller just because they want to act like some kind of entitled elitist. When I confronted a group about this situation, their argument was literally "Well, that's how it works in the arcades." This is not an arcade, this is not EVO, you are not paying per play and you have nothing to prove here. We all know you have the game at home, anyway. God forbid two casual players who don't own a particular game walk up and want to play the game with each other at a convention they paid $80 to attend. Unbelievable.

 

 

We have the "three consecutive win limit" rule for a reason.  If anyone finds someone who is breaking this rule or any other rules, Video Gaming staff are not hard to find, come to the Video Game Operations table and inform staff that there is an issue.  We cannot actively police every station in the room, but we are there for issues to be brought to our attention so that we can handle them; we do not ignore the attendees.  I personally handled a handful of these situations last weekend.

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Also, I know I have this beef every year but it seems to be a recurring issue that Staff does not want to seem to handle. I am not very particular about the attitude that a lot of these high-and-mighty fighting game "pros" seem to carry around the game room. I find it outrageous that there are actually people who will refuse to give up the controller just because they want to act like some kind of entitled elitist. When I confronted a group about this situation, their argument was literally "Well, that's how it works in the arcades." This is not an arcade, this is not EVO, you are not paying per play and you have nothing to prove here. We all know you have the game at home, anyway. God forbid two casual players who don't own a particular game walk up and want to play the game with each other at a convention they paid $80 to attend. Unbelievable.

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