Wayback Wednesday: A Trashed Mavs Jersey in NBA Live 2004

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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

The choice of cover players is an aspect of basketball gaming that has become a bigger talking point since the early days of the hobby. The earliest NBA licensed basketball games tended to use photographs featuring a handful of players. Even in the late 90s, not all titles featured a single cover player, and more than a couple of cover players weren't among the league's elite. Since then, landing a big star has become an essential part of a game's branding, and cover players have also influenced bonus content, including special game modes.

Sports game covers in general have their own lore and trivia. The infamous "Madden Curse" has been used to describe a string of misfortune suffered by NFL players who have appeared on the game's cover. Basketball games have generally avoided such superstition, though a handful of players haven't been so lucky. Arguably, it's been their teams who've had the bad run of luck, as several cover players have ended up moving on not too long after becoming the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other titles. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: A MyCAREER Scoop for NBA 2K16

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: A MyCAREER Scoop for NBA 2K16

Back in July of 2015, we were all awaiting further previews and details of what to expect from NBA 2K16. There had been rumours that MyCAREER would include some college gameplay, due to the leaked achievement list and research unearthing a licensing agreement between 2K Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company. As screenshots continued to leak, it seemed increasingly likely that MyCAREER would indeed feature a collegiate career as part of its story. By September, trailers confirmed those details for Spike Lee's MyCAREER joint, "Livin' Da Dream".

Although I was posting rumours and confirmed details alike as they made the rounds, there was one post that I didn't make. An anonymous source sent me a scoop via the NLSC's contact form, offering up snippets of information on what to expect from the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K16. Obviously anyone covering video games enjoys being able to break news and confirm rumours, but I was hesitant, and ultimately elected not to post a bulletin discussing those details. Why did I make that choice? Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Wed May 06, 2020 11:27 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 4)

It's time for Part 4 in an ongoing series for Wayback Wednesday, in which I take a look back at players that I remember thanks to basketball gaming. I've joked about it a few times before in articles and on the NLSC Podcast, but I can't remember a single thing about quadratic equations or pretty much anything else I learned in high school maths. However, I can still recall the "dunk from anywhere" code for NBA Jam Tournament Edition on SNES, the location of bonus barrels and DK coins in Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, and a ton of quotes from classic episodes of The Simpsons.

Oh, and a bunch of lesser known NBA players from the 90s and 2000s. I may have also seen them play in real games, and basketball cards have also played a role in helping certain players to stand out in my mind, but playing video games (and in particular, creating roster updates for them) is what truly embedded them into my memory. As I said, I've got another list of ten players to share today, so let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby Andrew on Wed May 13, 2020 2:20 pm

Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Cover players are an aspect of basketball gaming that has become more important over time. The player on the box and the title screen may not always have much of an impact on the game beyond pre-order cosmetic items in career modes and a card in the team building modes, but they're nevertheless a talking point. After all, the reveal of the cover player generally signifies the beginning of a new game's preview season, tipping off weeks and months of discussion about what we're hoping to see from an upcoming release.

As basketball games have increased in popularity, cover players have become selling points and an indication of a game's brand strength, if not necessarily its quality. Both EA Sports and 2K Sports have sought to appeal to local markets with regional covers that feature a player from the country in question (or in a pinch, have some connection with said nation). They've resulted in the international editions of games becoming collector's items due to their novelty, and are of course interesting trivia notes. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby [Q] on Thu May 14, 2020 3:23 am

Funny, now Japan has a few NBA players currently. It's really cool to see more Asians in the league!
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby Andrew on Thu May 14, 2020 2:14 pm

Rui Hachimura for the cover of NBA 2K21.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 08 Draft Camp & Summer Camp

Postby Andrew on Wed May 20, 2020 3:50 pm

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 08 Draft Camp & Summer Camp

With NBA Live's struggles over the past decade, it's easy to forget - or indeed, not be aware of - just how popular the brand once was. Although NBA 2K received positive reviews since its inception, NBA Live remained the best-selling NBA sim up until the 2009 season, when NBA 2K9 edged out NBA Live 09 in sales. Even then, NBA Live remained competitive and popular among basketball gamers, until the cancellation of NBA Elite 11 changed the course of the series. As such, these days it's NBA 2K that's prominent in pop culture and the cool brand among NBA players and gamers alike.

Around the time of NBA Live 08 however, it was EA Sports that was touting their relationship with NBA players, and bringing them in for events. In fact, during the development of NBA Live 08, EA held two events that served as mo-cap sessions and a source of promotional materials: the Draft Camp, and the Summer Camp. A quick Google search reveals that there isn't much in the way of information about or media from those events, so I thought it'd be fun to chronicle them for Wayback Wednesday. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 2)

Postby Andrew on Wed May 27, 2020 11:09 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 2)

As I said in my first Wayback Wednesday article covering this topic, there's definitely something oddly fascinating in seeing familiar faces in strange places. We often claim that we wish that those stints didn't happen or that we could forget all about them, yet they're burned into our memories. It's hard to forget something that looks strange and out of place, and that certainly describes the image of players wearing the uniform of a team other than the one we associate them with the most. The time capsule-like nature of video games helps us to remember - and also replay - these unusual stints.

I mentioned that there were more examples than the ten I covered in my first article, and to that end, I have another ten to share today. This time, not all of the players were perennial All-Stars, but they are familiar names who ended up in strange places. In fact, a couple of these stints were so brief that the only way to experience them again on the virtual hardwood is to load very specific roster saves - assuming that you still have them, of course - or by recreating them. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Quick Strike Ballhandling

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Quick Strike Ballhandling

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call right stick dribbling controls one of the biggest, best, and most important advancements in basketball gaming. Although we were able to perform crossovers, spins, and other dribbling moves before Freestyle Control made its debut in NBA Live 2003, we were at the mercy of a button press as far as the specific move that was performed. Not only were we in complete control with Freestyle, we could perform moves on command that would've been far harder to implement using the old approach of face buttons for random dribbling moves.

As the years passed, EA Sports expanded on their player control concepts with ideas such as Freestyle Superstars, eventually dubbing their control scheme Total Freestyle Control. In the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of NBA Live 08 however, the controls were revamped once again. Freestyle Superstars was replaced by Go-To Moves, shooting went back to two buttons (a jumpshot and a combined dunk/layup button), and the dribbling mechanics were now called Quick Strike Ballhandling. Although it was a familiar system, it was more than just a new name. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:11 am

Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

It's strange how certain memories will randomly pop into your head. Last year, I whipped up a video illustrating a tall tale that I heard about Michael Jordan many years ago. It's something I hadn't thought about in years, but something jogged my memory, and I felt like reflecting on that ridiculous story. The same thing happens with basketball video games. I'll randomly remember a feature or something that I once experienced, and it strikes me as a good idea for a Wayback Wednesday feature. It's as good of an excuse as any to revisit some old favourites, too.

Of course, our memories aren't always reliable. I've discussed the phenomenon of having false memories of basketball video games in The Friday Five, and indeed, I had enough examples for second column. It pays to double-check, and there are Wayback Wednesday features I've had to amend (and in one case, re-write completely) when I haven't done my due diligence. With that in mind, on this occasion I'm making the research itself into the feature! There's an error that I vaguely recalled encountering in the PC version of NBA Live 96, so this week, I'm going bug hunting. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby [Q] on Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:08 am

I remember playing seasons with the Clippers in Live 95 a few times back then and I remember the Japan games on a generic court but I think they had an accurate court for the Anaheim games. If they weren't going to put a generic court (or forgot somehow) in Live 96, I see the Grizzlies court as being a good court to use as the color scheme was pretty close to the way it was at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim at the time.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:42 pm

Ah, that's the one thing I forgot to do; check the Anaheim games in NBA Live 95 PC as well! I'll have to follow up on that. I'm guessing the Grizzlies court being suitable is a coincidence, since it's used for the Bullets' Balitmore games as well.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:14 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

For as long as we've been able to mod NBA Live and NBA 2K, people have made total conversions that replace the NBA teams. College basketball mods are quite popular, but foreign league projects have also been in demand. The popularity and prestige of Euroleague has made it a mainstay of total conversion mods, not to mention a league that a lot of gamers would like to see receive its own game. There has been an official management game, of course, but we're yet to see a gameplay-oriented Euroleague title.

Of course, we have seen Euroleague teams featured in NBA video games as bonus content. Their inclusion has expanded upon the traditional NBA-oriented experience, but has also drawn criticism due to inconsistent quality. It remains to be seen if any developer sees enough interest and potential profit to produce a Euroleague game, but for now, we've at least been able to get a small taste of Europe's premier basketball competition via a handful of NBA titles. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Saga of DJ in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:53 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Saga of DJ in NBA 2K18

I know, I know. I've talked about the story in NBA 2K18's MyCAREER a lot, from running jokes on the NLSC Podcast to discussing my issues with it as part of my article on the game's legacy. However, there's something really fascinating about it; if nothing else, it provides so many examples of what not to do with the story-driven approach to MyCAREER. Since I've already taken a look back at "Livin' Da Dream" and the tale of Orange Juice, and will no doubt reflect on the stories of AI and Che at some point, it's only fair to give DJ one more moment in the spotlight.

There's another reason why it's worth looking back at NBA 2K18's MyCAREER story featuring DJ. With the servers being shut down earlier this year, it's no longer possible to play a connected MyCAREER save, and unlike in previous games, that renders the story completely inaccessible. For better or worse - and spoiler alert, but I'd definitely say it was for the worse - the saga of DJ proved to be a turning point for the mode. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:14 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

There aren't too many members of our original Forum who are still active, so the legacy and impact of the infamous "I Cannot Believe My Starting Five" thread may not resonate with a lot of people in our community today. I've covered it in-depth in a previous Wayback Wednesday retrospective, and mentioned it as one of the most bizarre moments in the history of our Forum, but the short version is as follows. A member by the name of A.L. made a post describing a lineup they'd put together in NBA Live 2001's Franchise mode, which included Kevin Garnett at point guard.

A.L.'s insistence that point guard was KG's "natural position" unfortunately derailed an interesting discussion about fantasy draft and trade logic, as well as experimenting with a fun idea for an unorthodox lineup, before it even began. The thread quickly turned into a catch-all for jokes and general banter, and became the first thread in the old Forum to surpass one thousand posts. However, as much fun as it was to take part in, it's extremely unfortunate that A.L. felt unwelcome due to the way his post was received. Furthermore, it's a creative idea that's at least worth messing around with, so that's what I'm going to do at long last. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 3)

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:23 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 3)

It's time to once again look back at the various stints of NBA players that we may have forgotten, or at least don't think about too often. We expect to see role players bounce around the league, as teams seek out their services to bolster their rosters. Although it's getting more and more common to see perennial All-Stars changing teams in their prime as well as late in their careers, it's still often a surprise, and seeing them in their new uniform takes some time to get used to. Funnily enough, photos of them wearing their old jersey eventually seem like the stranger image!

As I've noted before, in addition to photos, footage, and records in resources such as Basketball Reference, we've got another way of documenting familiar faces in strange places: video games. Fire up an old video game, and you're bound to see at least a few players on teams you don't remember them playing for, including some big names who were in the midst of a less memorable stint than one that usually comes to mind. I've got another ten examples to share today, so let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Joy of Boot Disks

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:44 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Joy of Boot Disks

Oh, I'm going wayback for this one! Way back to a time long before I worked in IT and could easily troubleshoot PC problems. Back to a time when my understanding of hardware and software was pretty decent for a ten or eleven year old, but certainly nowhere close to what it is today. We're going back to a time when floppy disks were actually a thing, and not just an antiquated image used for the Save icon. It's an era when computers were less powerful than the smartphones we now all carry around in our pockets, and weren't always built for heavy duty gaming.

Today, we're talking about boot disks. These days, boot media - generally in the form of a flash drive, as even optical discs are becoming outmoded - is still around, and is often used for installing and troubleshooting operating systems such as Windows. Back in the 90s, however, they were a way of getting games to run. Indeed, if your PC was getting a bit long in the tooth and the game was particularly demanding - at least by the standards of the time - boot disks were often the only way you'd get to play them. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: 10 Longevity Records in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:17 am

Wayback Wednesday: 10 Longevity Records in Basketball Games

With the Atlanta Hawks' 2020 season officially over, Vince Carter has officially retired after 22 seasons in the league. The player once dubbed Half-Man, Half-Amazing, has certainly had a wholly amazing career. Beyond his breathtaking dunks, 360 layups, and other highlights, Carter set new marks for longevity, not only by playing the most seasons in NBA history, but also becoming the first player to appear in four different decades. Not bad for a player who briefly gained a reputation - albeit one that was somewhat overblown - for being fragile and constantly injured!

Needless to say, Vince Carter's lengthy NBA career has set a few records in video games as well. However, he's not the only player who holds some longevity-based distinctions on the virtual hardwood. I ran through these in Episode #329 of the NLSC Podcast, but I know that audio content isn't for everyone, and it pays to have trivia like this written down as well. These records span many years of basketball gaming, so let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:16 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places

In an ongoing Wayback Wednesday series, I've been taking a look back at familiar faces in strange places; in other words, well-known players and their stints with teams that are less talked about and usually weird to see, and the video games where those stints were represented. This week, I'm inverting the idea and taking a look back at familiar faces back in familiar places; in other words, well-known players who made a return to a team they're most closely associated with, after leaving to play elsewhere in the NBA.

On the surface, this may not seem as interesting as seeing familiar faces in strange places. However, these return stints are interesting in their own right, as they have their own stories. Some of them were brief and essentially retirement tours, while others lasted longer and saw more success. Oddly enough, it can also feel strange to see a player back in an old uniform after we get used to seeing them in a new one. As I like to say, basketball games act as interactive almanacs for these stints of note, so let's use them to take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Vince Carter Gets Booed in NBA Live 10

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:06 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Vince Carter Gets Booed in NBA Live 10

In last week's Friday Five, I mentioned that in NBA Live 10, Vince Carter would be booed by the virtual Toronto crowd whenever he played there as an opponent. As I needed a screenshot of Vince in NBA Live 10 for the article, I fired up the game and my Elgato capture device, and got to work. After deciding to go the extra step and record some footage of the phenomenon, I grew curious. Is that detail still a thing if he gets traded to another team? What happens if he's back in Toronto? It seemed like a good idea for a video feature, so let's take a look back...way back...


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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:54 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 4)

Just when you thought I was done talking about familiar faces in strange places, here is part four in an ongoing series of Wayback Wednesday articles! Not all of these players are Hall of Famers or even perennial All-Stars, but they are nevertheless significant and recognisable, thereby qualifying as familiar faces. They're also players that we grew accustomed to seeing play for one or two teams in particular, so the strange places they ended up in do make for a jarring sight, both in real life and on the virtual hardwood.

Once again, I'm looking at these familiar faces in strange places through the lens of basketball video games, in part because that's obviously what we cover here at the NLSC, but also because it emphasises how games like NBA Live and NBA 2K in particular act as time capsules and interactive almanacs. From past champions and the glory days of the game's brightest stars, to the forgotten and overlooked stints I'm recalling here, those memories come flooding back upon firing up old favourites. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: When Australia Got NBA Live 06 Early

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:27 pm

Wayback Wednesday: When Australia Got NBA Live 06 Early

I'm a proud Australian who loves his country and its culture, and I would say that being an Aussie is part of my identity. However, there are drawbacks to living in the Land Down Under, and it's not just about us having blistering hot summers and more dangerous and deadly creatures than just about anywhere else in the world! As a basketball gamer, living in a PAL region such as Australia has resulted in me missing out on some titles over the years that I'd have really liked to play. I've only recently been able to get my hands on some college games, thanks to now owning a PS3.

Even with games that were actually released here, it wasn't uncommon for us to have to wait until the following week, or sometimes longer, before they were available in Australian stores. As late as NBA Live 16, worldwide releases were often at least a couple of days after the North American launch. However, there was a time when we got a basketball game before the rest of the world: the release of NBA Live 06 PC. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: 10-Man Freestyle in NBA Live 2004

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:11 pm

Wayback Wednesday: 10-Man Freestyle in NBA Live 2004

Over the years, we gamers have become more and more familiar - and thus, more and more obsessed - with the technical aspects of video games. In particular, we concern ourselves with the engine that games run on, and lament it when we feel that a title is using outdated or unsuitable technology. There are times that we probably assume too much knowledge in this regard, but it's not always our fault. Developers are always touting the benefits of the tech they use, especially as we find ourselves on the brink of a new generation (as is the case right now).

Of course, technological advancements aren't limited to next gen launches. During the course of a generation, we'll see engines and motion systems replaced and revamped, with mixed results. A recent example would be the motion system introduced in NBA 2K18, giving the game an obviously different feel to NBA 2K17. We're going a bit further back with the topic of this week's Wayback Wednesday however, as I'll be talking about 10-Man Freestyle in NBA Live 2004. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Another Mistake Unnoticed For Decades

Postby Andrew on Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:33 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Another Mistake Unnoticed For Decades

I won't lie. When I realised I'd overlooked a mistake with Kevin Edwards' portrait in the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition for over twenty years, it blew my mind. You can't imagine how many times I've fired up that game over the years, how many times I've cycled through all the teams' rosters, and yet somehow failed to notice that he has Blue Edwards' portrait instead. It didn't click, even though I also own the Super Nintendo version of the game, and do recall Edwards having a different (and correct) portrait in that release.

Well, it happened again! This time, it was our own Eric (aka Q) that pointed out the mistake to me. The error can be found in NBA Hangtime, Midway's successor to NBA Jam TE. I went back and double-checked just in case it had been fixed in the PAL version that I played, but no, the mistake is definitely there. As with Edwards' incorrect portrait, it hardly ruins the game, but now that I've seen it, I can't believe I overlooked it for all those years. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: A Key Mistake in NBA 2K9 PC

Postby Andrew on Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:44 pm

Wayback Wednesday: A Key Mistake in NBA 2K9 PC

Hopefully, I'm not the only person around these parts with an appreciation for old school adventure games from Sierra and LucasArts. Those two companies took a very different approach to the genre. While LucasArts adopted the stance of avoiding game over situations (and thereby encouraging gamers to freely experiment), Sierra's games could be brutal in the way they punished you for trying the wrong thing or missing a detail. If you forgot to pick up a key very early on in the game, you might find that it's unobtainable much later on, resulting in an unwinnable state. Save early, and often!

Yes, I'm going on a very long journey for an analogy; you might say, almost as far as Guybrush Threepwood travelled by rowboat around the titular location in The Secret of Monkey Island! The point is that you never want to get stuck without a required key, and unfortunately, that's what happened to a lot of gamers who picked up the PC version of NBA 2K9. With that nostalgic and self-indulgent metaphor out of the way, let's take a look back...way back...
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