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TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Snakebird Primer’

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Snakebird Primer

Noumenon Games launched their brilliant puzzler Snakebird on desktop back in 2015, and then about a year later they brought it to iOS where it felt even more at home on the touchscreen. While Snakebird has a devout set of fans, and has won many accolades over the years, it also has gained a reputation for being incredibly difficult. A reputation that was in fact well deserved. Some people love that kind of difficulty, but it can also limit the appeal to a broader audience. In an effort to make a puzzler that’s more accessible to more people, Noumenon Games released Snakebird Primer ($7.99) and have struck a much better balance of difficulty.

This is by no means just an “easy Snakebird” however. There are more than 70 brand new levels to play through and a non-linear progression so even if you do end up stuck on a particular puzzle there will be others you can jump over to for a break. There’s also a new yellow snakebird to join the red, blue, and green snakebirds we know and love. It’s basically a sequel. I always felt like the original Snakebird was a criminally overlooked puzzler by too many people, and with Snakebird Primer and its much more manageable difficulty curve now a whole new audience of all ages and gaming proficiencies can experience what a wonderful treat this is, and that seems very Game of the Week-worthy to me.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/03/01/toucharcade-game-of-the-week-snakebird-primer/…

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‘Radiant One’ Episode 2: The Secret Review – Does The Subscription Model Work?

I truly enjoyed Radiant One (Free)when it came out; in my review I gave it 4.5 stars and praised it for the narrative involving mental illness, astral projection, and the supernatural. The developer then announced the game was turning to a subscription model, and I cringed. Based on what I played though – which is now episode one, The Awakening – I wanted to give this new model a chance. The future of gaming is kind of up in the air, with some companies wanting to turn to a Netflix-like model, so it’s not an unreasonable thing to do. The second episode, The Secret, is now available, and I was anxious to dive into it (ironic, based on the narrative).

Jared has already detailed the subscription model, but briefly: the subscription is $2.99/month. If you bought the first episode, the second should unlock for free. For a limited time you can purchase the first two episodes for $4.99; otherwise, each episode sells individually for $5.99. This is where I had my first problem: I had to pay for a subscription to access The Secret, despite already owning the first episode. Still, I did it for the sake of… I don’t know, science? I also have a hard time with change so try to push through that, which is what I’m trying to do here. Each episode takes an hour or two to play through; personally, I find $2.99 is reasonable assuming one episode is actually released per month; otherwise, for an hour of playtime, $6 seems a tad expensive.

This episode centers around Rachel, who wakes up in a mysterious mansion filled with dark shadow monsters. She needs to avoid the monsters while solving puzzles with little to no mistakes, or the monsters will take over. The game is essentially a point-and-click adventure with puzzle elements. Rachel struggles with anxiety over being perfect at her job, and seems to sacrifice fun for the sake of it. Prior to her arrival at the Mansion, which was a last-minute call from work, she was in Hong Kong.

Whereas The Awakening involved astral projection, The Secret takes its cues from time travel. The supernatural is still heavily present, as mental illness manifests in physical forms that make life, and mere existence, seem impossible at times.

Radiant One: The Secret is completed through environment puzzle-solving. Think escape room plus shadow monsters. For example, in the first level Rachel has to find the key to a drawer (the right key, as there are several) to pry wood off a closet, take a spray bottle from inside to extinguish a fire and crawl through the fireplace to an alcove. The level continues like that, as do the later ones. The further you progress, the more difficult it becomes to avoid the monsters that have manifested from your mind.

At times, Rachel has to concentrate to do something. A white bar shows up at the bottom that you have to try and follow by touching the marked area and staying over it – the mechanic it reminds me most of is fishing in Stardew Valley. I call it the concentration bar because it appears when Rachel needs to focus all her energy on one task, …

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‘Vista Golf’ Creator’s Charming Flower Gardening Game ‘Sprout: Idle Garden’ Looking for Beta Testers

Shallot Games, the creators of the colorful and serene mini-golf series Vista Golf, is looking for beta testers for their forthcoming title Sprout: Idle Garden. Similar to the Vista Golf games Sprout features clean and colorful visuals and allows you to build out your floral garden how you see fit. As Shallot explains, they wanted to utilize similar upgrade progression to other idle games but without a strict linear progression path. You be able to unlock a huge catalog of increasingly more valuable flowers and then upgrade them to increase your profits. Dump those profits back into your business by building homes in your garden for villagers to move into and to buy a variety of decorating items like ground tiles, new types of pots, and more.

Sprout: Idle Garden is set for release on March 12th for iOS with an Android version to follow sometime after. Ahead of that launch the team at Shallot is looking for some beta testers to smooth out any last-minute issues, so if you’re interested in taking Sprout for an early spin then head over to the thread in our forums to find a link to the public Testflight beta and a link to Shallot’s Discord server if you want to get in and chat with other Sprout-loving folks. You can also pre-order the game on the App Store right now if that’s your thing, otherwise look for Sprout: Idle Garden to arrive in just under two weeks on March 12th.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/03/01/sprout-idle-garden-beta-test/…

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‘Arena of Valor’ News: AoV Folds, x6tence Kicks Butt, And Envision Joins The Team

With Mobile World Congress now pretty much over and done with, we’ve got a little bit of tech to talk about in this week’s Arena of Valor roundup.

On top of that, it’s skins, eSports, and presenter talk this time around, while people on Reddit prove once again that they can’t read by complaining about the new quarterly AoV Prime reward.

Huawei Mate X Folding Phone Handles Arena of Valor Well

If you’re playing a mobile game as much as Arena of Valor, you probably like hearing about the latest and greatest smartphones. It’s a rapidly advancing market, and the focus this year has undoubtedly been on the idea of the folding phone. While Samsung may have taken the spotlight with their less than stellar approach and price tag, The Mate X from Huawei is clearly the one to watch for Arena of Valor players at this point in time.

Why? Because we’re already able to see how the world’s biggest mobile MOBA performs on the new tech. Fans of Tech YouTuber Dave Lee were treated to this snippet of the Chinese version of Arena of Valor being played on the device.

In it, things seem pretty normal as the game is played in the fairly standard widescreen format before the user folds out the rest of the phone’s bendy display, causing the game to immediately switch to a far taller aspect ratio to fill up the additional screen space. It’s completely seamless in more ways than one, but by god is it expensive at $2,600.

This isn’t something we’re urging Arena of Valor players to go out and buy; it’s just nice to see our favorite game being used to demonstrate the kind of tech that’s about to revolutionize the mobile/wearable market.

Sakura Fubuki: Full Moon Airi Makes A Surprise Appearance

Sakura Fubuki Full Moon

Shown off between practically every match at last year’s Arena of Valor International Championship, Airi’s Sakura Fubuki: Full Moon skin release date was confirmed this morning. It’s out now, basically.

A recolored version of Airi’s original Sakura Fubuki skin from last year, this one swaps out the pink/red/blue charm of the old version for pink and gold with a hint of baby blue in her hair ribbon. Though do please note that I’m partially colorblind, so that basic description could be 100{c4f60b86d58bd0bb42d7d202d81274380459a85a5d81d139dd8bd0c48cc6a02e} incorrect. Just look at the comparison image above!

Now for the bad news. You can’t buy it. The “good” news, however, is that rather than being a Pendant Shop exclusive or buried deep in the Magic Draw thing, the Sakura Fubuki: Full Moon skin comes from the Lucky Draw – so you have about a 5{c4f60b86d58bd0bb42d7d202d81274380459a85a5d81d139dd8bd0c48cc6a02e} (or 2.5{c4f60b86d58bd0bb42d7d202d81274380459a85a5d81d139dd8bd0c48cc6a02e}?) chance to grab it. Ok, that’s not good news for those who’re somehow hoarding pendants, but it’s a better deal for those without one.

Violet Gets TWO MORE skins While Amily Gets Her First

Violet Academy skin AOV release date

Speaking of the Pendant Shop, the Trigger Happy: Golden Dragon alternate skin released from Violet around the New Year has made a grand reappearance as a Pendant Shop buy, giving players with deep pockets another chance to grab the game’s first animated character selection skin.

Onto another skin that wants your hard-earned money, Violet’s “First Love” skin – and the last of the …

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Bethesda Announces a “Closed Beta” for ‘Elder Scrolls: Blades’ and an “Early Access” Launch for Spring

There have been so many twists and turns surrounding The Elder Scrolls: Blades, Bethesda’s mobile entry in their legendary Elder Scrolls series, since its original announcement at E3 in June of last year that I’d sort of forgot it even existed by now. Originally slated for a September launch the game has been pushed back a couple of times, most recently in late November when it was pegged for an “early 2019″ release.

Well today Bethesda has put out a little bit more clarification on where things are at with The Elder Scrolls: Blades. They’ve tweeted that they’ll be running a closed beta for the game on iOS only, and once that beta has finished they’ll be releasing the game in “early access” this spring for both iOS and Android. So how does one get access to this closed beta? Well you may remember you’ve been able to sign up for early access through the official Elder Scrolls: Blades website since the game’s first unveiling, and so Bethesda will be prioritizing beta invites for those who have signed up the earliest and based on what type of devices they need to be tested. Which is kind of strange because, well, there’s a pretty high chance that a lot of people that signed up on the website more than 8 months ago have a newer device by now, so it’ll be interesting to see how Bethesda is able to handle that.

So then, what of early access? Bethesda has posted an FAQ on the Blades website that breaks everything down. Basically the closed beta is NOT the same as the early access, and as I already said it will be iOS only and will be under NDA which means anyone who gets in on the beta won’t legally be able to discuss or post about it. When that beta ends, then the early access launch will happen, and this will be for both iOS and Android and will not be under NDA, meaning Bethesda will urge everyone to share their thoughts about Elder Scrolls: Blades during the early access period.

The pre-order page on the iOS App Store still shows a March 31st release date, and although this information has already changed multiple times in the past, it’s my feeling that Bethesda will run the beta for a few weeks during March and is targeting the end of the month for that early access launch. And since there really isn’t an early access functionality on the iOS App Store, I also think this just means they’ll launch the game on iOS like normal, but it will be considered by them to be in “early access” so any bugs or problems can be chalked up to that. Fallout 76 says hi. That’s just my speculation though, but the important thing is that the wheels are continuing to spin if every so slowly for The Elder Scrolls: Blades and if you haven’t already you can still sign up for the early access on the official site and hey maybe you’ll even end up in that closed beta thing.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/03/01/elder-scrolls-blades-closed-beta-announced/…

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SwitchArcade Round-Up: Pauline Comes to ‘Mario Tennis Aces’, ‘ToeJam & Earl’ and Today’s Other New Releases, Ubisoft Sales and More Discounts, and More

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 1st, 2019. We’ve got a huge number of new releases to look at today, along with a mind-boggling bunch of sales to look at. As usual, I’ve got summaries of all the new games and a completely disorganized list of discounts for you to digest, along with a couple of news nuggets. Let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?

News

Pauline is Now Available in ‘Mario Tennis Aces’

Mario’s first girlfriend has been having a pretty good go of things in the last few years. She had an important role in Super Mario Odyssey, and now she makes the scene as a playable character in Mario Tennis Aces, an outcome that is almost entirely due to fan demand. Mmm, awkward tension on the court. Now that’s the kind of tennis I remember. Anyway, update your game, fire it up, and go and add her to your roster. There will be more playable characters coming in the future, too.

‘Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy’ Arrives April 9th, Digital Only

While we haven’t seen a lot of new stuff from Capcom on the Switch, the company sure isn’t shy about getting its classics on the system. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy already released on Switch in Japan last week, so we knew it wasn’t going to be too long before it came out in the West. We now have a date, and it’s April 9th. The game will be available only as a digital version, and it will cost $29.99. That said, if you really want a physical copy, the Japanese version does have full English support and is region-free. You don’t even have to wait for it. Well, I’ll leave it up to you.

New Releases

Space War Arena ($14.99)


So hey, remember Spacewar!? You know, one of the first video games ever? Well, this game is inspired by that. It obviously builds on the concept in a lot of ways, though, so it’s certainly its own thing. It’s sort of a deck-building armada-builder strategy game. You can play with a second player locally or you can go through the solo campaign against AI opponents. There are 20 different kinds of ships to build your fleet with, so there’s potentially a lot of room here for interesting tactics. And that’s really as much as I can say at a glance.

ACA NEOGEO The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship ($7.99)

Well, that title probably won’t fit the normal page formatting. Can’t do much about that, I suppose. Anyway, we are getting to some deep cuts here as far as NEOGEO games go. This is a soccer game originally released in 1996 and sometimes known under the title Super Sidekicks 4. It’s the final game in said series on the NEOGEO, though whether or not it’s the best is an exercise best left to the reader. It’s a fine little arcade soccer game regardless of its standing in the series, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll get it here with all the usual Arcade Archives features.

Treasure Stack ($19.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

If you’ve been waiting 25 years for a follow-up to Wario’s Woods, this is …

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Captain Marvel (and Nick Fury) Take ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ Higher, Further Faster as New March Characters

Whether you’ve been playing Marvel Contest of Champions (Free) religiously for several years or come and go from the fighting game, you likely already know that its developers keep it supplied with a steady stream of new characters. Fairly often, the latest champions are tied into a Marvel film or other big happening of some sort, so with Captain Marvel due in theaters soon, you probably shouldn’t need any help from the thinking face emoji to determine who is arriving in the game this March if you don’t already know.

Marvel Contest of Champions

If you guessed Captain Marvel herself, Carol Danvers, you got it on the first try. And yes, there are multiple versions of Carol already in the game and likely even on your roster, but this is a movie -influenced iteration, with her own set of abilities and an Event Quest that plays off both the core conceit of Marvel Contest of Champions and some classic Marvel characters to explain why there are so many Carols flying around. To further avoid confusion, the pre-existing Danvers is now Captain Marvel (Classic), and she’s wearing a mask while the new one is not. A small but important difference.

Marvel Contest of Champions

In any case, the new Captain Marvel has a Poison Immunity passive, plus Super Strength and Energy Absorption, both very true to the character. But her most interesting abilities are Binary Ignition, which activates when she stores up enough Energy Charges and increases her Attack power and Armor Break percentage while allowing her to deal extra energy damage, and her Binary Durability signature ability. That one makes her temporarily indestructible and gives her a regeneration buff to boot. Fitting for Earth’s mightiest mortal.

Marvel Contest of Champions

(Whoops, that is the DC Captain Marvel. Mea culpa.)

You can look for Captain Marvel the first full week of March, but joining her later in the month will be the man with the eyepatch himself, Nick Fury. The SHIELD leader (sometimes, anyway) also plays a part in the Battlerealm Under Siege Event Quest, along with getting his own Nick Fury’s Recon Initiative quest line. Because you don’t become the top super spy without being able to get people to gather some of your intel for you.

Marvel Contest of Champions

Comic fans will really appreciate Nick’s signature, Life Model Decoy. Think you’ve knocked Fury out? Nope, that’s simply his LMD, so he returns to full health along with a Fury’s Fury buff and Stun Immunity. Before you can cry out “OP!” you should know that the Infinity Formula only goes so far, and Nick begins to degenerate quickly until he is down to 30 percent health or less. It’s still a nifty trick that you’ll enjoy. Unless you’re playing against him, in which case obscenities are more likely to follow.

Marvel Contest of Champions

Fury also has some nice-looking visual effects, like an energy shield in the shape of the SHIELD logo when he blocks. Plus he’s Nick Fury, darn it, which means he’s simply cooler and more in the know than you. He’s slated to hit Marvel Contest of Champions on March 21. No word on Goose the Cat, but we can always dream.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/03/01/captain-marvel-and-nick-fury-take-marvel-contest-of-champions-higher-further-faster-as-new-march-characters/…

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Captain Marvel (and Nick Fury) Take ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ Higher, Further Faster as New March Characters

Whether you’ve been playing Marvel Contest of Champions (Free) religiously for several years or come and go from the fighting game, you likely already know that its developers keep it supplied with a steady stream of new characters. Fairly often, the latest champions are tied into a Marvel film or other big happening of some sort, so with Captain Marvel due in theaters soon, you probably shouldn’t need any help from the thinking face emoji to determine who is arriving in the game this March if you don’t already know.

Marvel Contest of Champions

If you guessed Captain Marvel herself, Carol Danvers, you got it on the first try. And yes, there are multiple versions of Carol already in the game and likely even on your roster, but this is a movie -influenced iteration, with her own set of abilities and an Event Quest that plays off both the core conceit of Marvel Contest of Champions and some classic Marvel characters to explain why there are so many Carols flying around. To further avoid confusion, the pre-existing Danvers is now Captain Marvel (Classic), and she’s wearing a mask while the new one is not. A small but important difference.

Marvel Contest of Champions

In any case, the new Captain Marvel has a Poison Immunity passive, plus Super Strength and Energy Absorption, both very true to the character. But her most interesting abilities are Binary Ignition, which activates when she stores up enough Energy Charges and increases her Attack power and Armor Break percentage while allowing her to deal extra energy damage, and her Binary Durability signature ability. That one makes her temporarily indestructible and gives her a regeneration buff to boot. Fitting for Earth’s mightiest mortal.

Marvel Contest of Champions

(Whoops, that is the DC Captain Marvel. Mea culpa.)

You can look for Captain Marvel the first full week of March, but joining her later in the month will be the man with the eyepatch himself, Nick Fury. The SHIELD leader (sometimes, anyway) also plays a part in the Battlerealm Under Siege Event Quest, along with getting his own Nick Fury’s Recon Initiative quest line. Because you don’t become the top super spy without being able to get people to gather some of your intel for you.

Marvel Contest of Champions

Comic fans will really appreciate Nick’s signature, Life Model Decoy. Think you’ve knocked Fury out? Nope, that’s simply his LMD, so he returns to full health along with a Fury’s Fury buff and Stun Immunity. Before you can cry out “OP!” you should know that the Infinity Formula only goes so far, and Nick begins to degenerate quickly until he is down to 30 percent health or less. It’s still a nifty trick that you’ll enjoy. Unless you’re playing against him, in which case obscenities are more likely to follow.

Marvel Contest of Champions

Fury also has some nice-looking visual effects, like an energy shield in the shape of the SHIELD logo when he blocks. Plus he’s Nick Fury, darn it, which means he’s simply cooler and more in the know than you. He’s slated to hit Marvel Contest of Champions on March 21. No word on Goose the Cat, but we can always dream.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/03/01/captain-marvel-and-nick-fury-take-marvel-contest-of-champions-higher-further-faster-as-new-march-characters/…

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NetEase’s ‘LifeAfter’ Hits the App Store

For some reason, I recently decided to get back into watching the TV show Walking Dead which has kicked off an entire bender of consuming other zombie-related content. (Like, did you know 28 Days Later has a sequel? Apparently I missed the bus on that one.) So, in my life, I’ve got a zombie TV show, more zombie movies than I could ever watch in one lifetime, which leaves zombie games as the next thing I need to get super obsessed with. Thankfully, NetEase just released LifeAfter (Free) which is set in a post-apocalyptic universe where a virus has caused almost everyone to turn to zombies- In this world, the only way to survive is through mastering a surprisingly in-depth crafting system where you’ll be harvesting, collecting, and combining all sorts of materials to create all the tools (and structures) you’ll need to survive.

While you’re doing all your hunting and gathering to survive, you’ll be completing all sorts of other missions to try to make some sense of the zombie hellscape you’ve found yourself in. Interestingly enough, like a lot of zombie scenarios, zombies aren’t your only threat. It turns out humans can be pretty terrible too. When you meet other survivors, you really never know if they’re going to attack you and try to take your stuff, or offer you a new mission and a share of some loot. Oh, and unlike the zombies of the Walking Dead universe, these zombies actually move pretty quickly and are quite threatening- Particularly when you encounter larger boss-style zombies. In a way, this component of LifeAfter reminds me a lot of Left 4 Dead.

One really neat thing that immediately stands out is when you start the game and create your character, you also get a customizable animal companion. You get to name your dog and everything, and this animal companion sort of works like having Dogmeat following you around and helping you out in a Fallout game. While we’re making game comparisons, if you’ve spent any time playing NetEase’s Knives Out (Free), you’ll be right at home with how the game controls and how the menu systems work. Whether intentional or not, it seems like they’ve borrowed quite a bit from Knives Out (which is a really good thing).

What’s really surprising about LifeAfter is that it’s free. This is the kind of game that had it been released in a different time period of the App Store, it would’ve easily been $9.99 all day long. Since we live in a world where few things make sense in mobile games anymore, LifeAfter is free. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first downloaded LifeAfter, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how full-featured this game is. The crafting components are weirdly cool, and survival games are super in fashion right now so LifeAfter is pushing a lot of our buttons. Definitely check it out.

Sponsored ContentThis article is sponsored content written by TouchArcade and published on behalf of NetEase to promote the latest update to their free to play zombie survival game LifeAfter. For questions or comments, please email ads@toucharcade.com

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/02/28/neteases-lifeafter-hits-the-app-store/…

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‘Pigeon Wings STRIKE’ is a New Endless ‘Pigeon Wings’ that’s Looking for Beta Testers

What started out as a small two month project between two indie developers back in the summer of 2015 actually ballooned into a two YEAR project called Pigeon Wings ($2.99), which launched back in August of 2017. Pigeon Wings is a side-scrolling racing game that plays like a cave flyer mixed with a shoot ’em up, and it’s extremely awesome. We loved it in our review, chose it for our Game of the Week when it released, included it in our Top 100 Games of 2017 list, and I picked it as one of my personal favorites of 2017. So yeah, it’s pretty good. Unlike most cave flyers Pigeon Wings is a level-based game, but a few months after its release an update added a cool endless mode to the game, which fans had been requesting. The only problem was that, according to the developer’s own analytics, hardly anyone played that endless mode. Enter: Pigeon Wings STRIKE, a brand new fully-featured endless follow-up to Pigeon Wings.

Pigeon Wings STRIKE will include many of the features that the developers had wanted to include in the original game’s endless mode but didn’t have time to implement. It’ll feature brand new unlockable characters like Cunningham the hotshot hamster and Presto the “literal fish out of water.” There will also be a local multiplayer mode so you can party up with friends IRL and get your Pigeon Wings on. Finally Pigeon Wings STRIKE will feature more enemies, more layout parts, more achievements, and is basically a full sequel to the original game. Pigeon Wings STRIKE is only weeks away from release but the developers could use some beta testing help to iron out any last minute issues, so if you’re interested in that then head over to our forums and register your interest and look for this one to launch in the very near future.

from TouchArcade https://toucharcade.com/2019/02/28/pigeon-wings-strike-beta-testing/…

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