The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games

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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Improvements for LIVE Run & LIVE Events

Postby Andrew on Sat May 11, 2019 12:29 am

The Friday Five: 5 Improvements for LIVE Run & LIVE Events

As EA Play 2019 and another preview season loom, we await detailed information on NBA Live 20. We know that the game is coming out and that unfortunately for PC users it will be console-only, but at this early stage, there are still many other things that we are waiting and hoping to hear. While we've already submitted our Wishlist and development is well underway, it's definitely still worth discussing the features and changes that we'd like to see. Not only does it reiterate what we've outlined in our Wishlists, you never know what can be pencilled in for post-release updates.

When I discussed ways to improve the online experience in NBA 2K20, I noted that I have become more interested in online modes in recent games, after years of being an offline gamer. I still believe in the importance of robust offline modes, which is why I compiled a list of ways to improve NBA Live's Franchise mode back in March. The One and its connected experiences have received the most focus in recent years, and I have had some fun with them, jumping on for a game of LIVE Run or taking part in some of the LIVE Events. However, they haven't felt quite as enjoyable or rewarding as the online modes in NBA 2K. Here are five improvements that could change that.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Toxic Behaviours of Online Basketball Gamers

Postby Andrew on Fri May 17, 2019 10:44 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Toxic Behaviours of Online Basketball Gamers

If I'm being completely honest, I haven't had a whole lot of fun playing NBA Live or NBA 2K online this year. I have taken part in some very enjoyable games, and that's kept me from giving up on the online modes altogether, but it's felt like the experience has taken another step backwards. The lack of deep matchmaking and proper balance, gatekeeping measures such as requiring five users per side in Pro-Am, and increased focus on meta-gaming, have made online play a lot less fun in NBA 2K. Meanwhile, input lag and other gameplay issues have afflicted NBA Live's online experience.

It's not just issues with modes and mechanics, however. We gamers also bear much of the responsibility here, as there is a lot of toxicity among those who like to play NBA 2K and NBA Live online. I've discussed toxic behaviour in the community before, and since writing that Monday Tip-Off article, the situation hasn't improved. Various aspects of the games do cultivate a toxic atmosphere and attitudes, as evident by other online gaming communities that are friendlier or more sporting, but ultimately we're responsible for our own actions. To that end, curbing these five toxic behaviours will require a combination of changes to the games, and improvements in our attitudes.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Times PC Gamers Missed Out in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Sat May 25, 2019 1:08 am

The Friday Five: 5 Times PC Gamers Missed Out in Basketball Games

Due to the popularity of the PC platform in our community, it's all too easy to forget that it isn't a priority for sports video game developers. Consoles account for a bulk of the annual sales, making PC sports gamers a niche within a niche. That hasn't stopped us from having a lot of fun with the games that have come out on PC though, thanks in no small part to what our modding community has been capable of throughout the years. Furthermore, if you go back and look at the history of NBA Live on PC, there was a time when those releases could be considered the definitive version.

Unfortunately, playing on PC has sometimes led to missing out on content, or certain games altogether. From a developer's perspective, consoles provide the convenience of standard hardware and digital platforms, as well as more security when it comes to piracy. Developing for the PC is more challenging due to differing hardware, as well as distribution methods. Even when the former hasn't been a barrier to getting a PC release, the latter has prevented it from receiving the same level of support, including downloadable content. We're fortunate enough to still get basketball games on PC, but here are five times that we weren't so lucky on the platform.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

Postby Andrew on Fri May 31, 2019 11:03 pm

The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

Even though we shouldn't tie ourselves up in knots dwelling on the past, it's hard to resist the allure of a fascinating "What If" scenario. What if Michael Jordan didn't retire in 1993? What if he never returned in 1995, or in 2001? What if the Boston Celtics had won the Draft lottery in 1997? What if the Oklahoma City Thunder had never traded James Harden, or remained the Seattle SuperSonics? What if LeBron James had never taken his talents to South Beach? For each of these scenarios, we can debate and speculate as to how history would differ in both outcomes and perspective.

The real NBA provides us with plenty of "What If" scenarios, as there are so many events that have the potential to be pivotal: trades, free agent signings, lottery results, injuries, clutch shots, and fateful decisions in crunch time of the biggest games. For the most part, the history of the virtual hardwood goes hand in hand with the general improvements and progression of video games as a whole, but a few big moments - as well as a few things that didn't happen - have shaped the hobby as we know it. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the twists and turns that basketball gaming may possibly have taken, but they are five "What If" scenarios that I find interesting.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

Postby [Q] on Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:43 am

The NBA Jam what if is an interesting one that doesn't get talked about much. Jam after TE doesn't get talked about much but being an SNES player, I had Hangtime and not NBA Jam Extreme/Jam 99, so I don't really know much about Jam 99 or anything beyond that. I did play Jam Extreme on PC for a little bit but it really wasn't as fun as the Midway games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:38 am

Acclaim's games were definitely a disappointment. Midway's Hangtime was a worthy successor to TE, though Neil Funk couldn't match Tim Kitzrow on commentary.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things I've Stopped Doing in MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:55 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things I've Stopped Doing in MyCAREER

I'm at that point of the year where I'm trying to wrap up most of my business with the current games, maybe try a few other things before I'm completely bored of them, and then get ready for the preview season and this year's releases. I'm more or less done with NBA Live 19 already; although I'm giving it another look in light of the recent patch, I just can't get hooked on any of the modes. I enjoyed Ultimate Team last year, but NBA Live 19's approach to the mode hasn't been to my liking. I'm hoping it'll be a different story with NBA Live 20.

Conversely, I'm still playing NBA 2K19 quite regularly. Despite my desire to get back to franchise gaming and a feeling of burnout when it came to career modes, I'm still going strong with MyCAREER. In fact, I actually have two careers going: one on PlayStation 4 in which I also play online, and a second one on PC. While I am still enjoying the MyCAREER experience, there are a few things that I've stopped doing in the mode. Most of them are admittedly extracurricular, but for several months they were nevertheless part of the MyCAREER grind. That's in the past though, as for the most part, I've taken to shunning the following activities.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Pointless Options in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:48 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Pointless Options in Basketball Games

Generally speaking, it doesn't hurt to have as many options as possible in basketball video games. When it comes to the selection of modes, we want options. When it comes to the controls, we want options. When it comes to gameplay sliders and game settings, we want options. When it comes to customising the game in any way...well, you get the idea. While it may seem intimidating to have too many options, I'd much rather that and simply ignore anything I don't want to tinker with, rather than wish I had the ability to change something.

With that being said, there have been options and tasks in basketball video games that have felt pointless. In the best case scenario they can just be ignored, but they can still be annoying, if only because you can't help but feel that they could (and should) be more useful. They leave you wondering why the developers bothered to have those options in the first place, or why something wasn't done more efficiently. Others may simply be left over from previous games where they had more of a purpose, and some benefit the publishers more than gamers. Whatever the case may be, some options are quite pointless, and these are five that come to mind.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Modes I Haven't Played Much

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:40 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Modes I Haven't Played Much

There's almost too much to do in basketball video games these days. The amount of modes in NBA 2K in particular caters to a wide variety of tastes; whether you prefer competitive online play, card collecting and team building, living the life of an NBA player, or sitting in the GM's seat, you can find something to play. Needless to say, this is a good problem to have. It makes older titles look even more primitive, and as we move forward, stresses the importance of NBA Live being able to improve upon the depth and variety of its modes.

While it's a good problem to have, a bevy of deep modes can leave us struggling to get the most out of a title before the next game is released. As I've discussed, it's a problem that's further exacerbated when there are multiple hoops titles that you want to play. I've spent many hours playing basketball games over the years, and I've built up a substantial collection of titles. However, I can't say that I've been able to get the most out of all them, or spent as much time with some of the modes as I would have liked. Glancing at the modes in recent games, or looking back at older titles, I can think of at least five modes that I feel I've neglected.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Interesting Ways to Play Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:43 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Interesting Ways to Play Basketball Games

As we discussed in last week's episode of the NLSC Podcast, the offseason is upon us, which means we've put in nine solid months of gaming with last season's basketball titles. It's around this time of the year that our habits on the virtual hardwood tend to change. Maybe we start spending time in a different mode, or try to finish up all of our business before this year's games are released. If we're enjoying what we're doing, we may keep playing the current game throughout the preview season. Or, after so many months, we may feel it's time to shelve the games and play something else.

If you are still keen on virtual hoops at this point of the year, you might feel inclined to try something different. For that matter, you may be considering new ways to play in the upcoming games, as it's easy to get into a rut and fall back into old habits year after year. I know that I've often vowed to change things up by trying a different build or doing something out of the ordinary, only to opt for the familiar. There are some ideas that I'd like to try out at some point though, as well as a few that I have tried, if only briefly. If you'd like a different basketball gaming experience, consider these suggestions this offseason, or come NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Interesting Ways to Play Basketball Games

Postby [Q] on Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:55 am

I've always loved doing fantasy drafts ever since Live 98. It was a great way for me to play with the teams whose jerseys I liked and allowed me to get my favorite players on the same team
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Interesting Ways to Play Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:16 am

Hadn't thought of that, but that's definitely a good use for it.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things MyCOURT Needs

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:22 am

The Friday Five: 5 Things MyCOURT Needs

As I noted in a Wayback Wednesday feature, when MyCOURT was first announced as a new addition in NBA 2K15's MyCAREER, I didn't think much of it. My initial thought was that it sounded like a gimmicky premise, another case of adding flash over substance. In hindsight, I was underestimating its usefulness. MyCOURT has not only proven to be an appealing player hub and base of operations for MyCAREER, but is very handy for testing out animations, getting a feel for your player, and earning some extra VC. In NBA 2K17, it could even be used to grind for Cap Breakers.

However, while MyCOURT remains practical and stylish as of NBA 2K19, there are a few things that could stand to be improved upon. Although new functions have been added in the form of mini-games and unlockable items, there are some noteworthy omissions in terms of useful options and equipment. From additional on-court options to menu functions and interactive elements of the environment, these things would allow us to get the most out of MyCOURT. They may not be the most crucial parts of MyCAREER, but having spent considerable time in the mode in NBA 2K19, I feel that these suggestions would spruce up our own private virtual hardwood.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Improvements NBA Live 20 Needs

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:45 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Improvements NBA Live 20 Needs

If NBA Live 20 is to be the big release many of us are hoping it will be, it will need to improve upon an area that's been a perennial weakness since the series returned back in 2013: its modes. The different modes of play are what give basketball games their longevity, and this year's release from EA Sports must add long overdue features and depth to Franchise, Ultimate Team, and online modes. Deeper customisation is also a must. Of course, while these are all vital areas of NBA Live that require attention, it's crucial that above all, the gameplay experience continues to improve.

NBA Live's gameplay has gone through some interesting ups and downs during this generation. NBA Live 14 felt very stiff on the sticks, with animations that looked very "last gen". Since then, improvements have been made to the fluidity, the depth of the controls, and certain animations. Most NBA Live gamers would agree that there is still plenty of room for improvement, and I'm unquestionably in that camp. What are the most important changes and improvements that need to be made to gameplay in NBA Live 20? We compiled some great ideas in the Wishlist that we sent in to EA, but this week, I'd like to discuss five key areas where Live's gameplay must improve.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Improvements NBA Live 20 Needs

Postby [Q] on Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:54 am

I think you make a great point about the shot meters taking too long. The game is played at such a high speed that the extra time it takes to fill up the meter puts you at a disadvantage taking jumpers.

Part of me also misses the older NBA Live games where you would just do your best, shoot your shot, and hope it goes in without having to watch a stupid meter fill up. It was more fun to play than getting mad as I'm turning upcourt to play defense that I filled my meter but it still didn't go in or that my green was taken away by a defender that was so far away from my shooter.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Improvements NBA Live 20 Needs

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:46 pm

A touch of input lag doesn't help either. It makes quick pull-ups difficult to execute. I'd definitely shorten the meter/timing mechanics slightly.

I think there needs to be some precision to shooting. Jumpshots in older games weren't as effective as they should've been, and I think now that the games have established systems with more precise mechanics and feedback on the quality of the attempt, it would be frustrating to go back to the mystery of a dice roll. I get what you're saying though, as it's frustrating when the feedback suggests a shot should've had a much better chance, yet misses anyway.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things I've Learned Playing Jordan Rec Center

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:58 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things I've Learned Playing Jordan Rec Center

Having wrapped up my second season in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER, I haven't felt the desire to play a third year. Since the Bulls went out and signed Ben Simmons, I have thought about playing a few games here and there while simulating the rest, but I've not done so as yet. I have been playing online however, just to see what the scene is like this late in the year. After several sessions in The Playground and Jordan Rec Center, I'd have to conclude that not much has changed since the game was launched. The gameplay, the user base, the overall vibe and atmosphere...it's all the same.

The lack of change has come as a disappointment as far as the Jordan Rec Center is concerned. With team Pro-Am hamstrung by the enforcement of five users per side, the Jordan Rec Center became the online mode of choice for the NLSC squad. It soon became apparent that it wasn't going to deliver the same fun experience that team Pro-Am did for us in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17, and to a far lesser extent, NBA 2K18. At this point, I'm the only member of the squad who's jumping online on a regular basis, so I've been playing with randoms. Here's my take on the Jordan Rec Center after playing it extensively this year, with friends and randoms alike.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Planned Features That Fell Through

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:19 am

The Friday Five: 5 Planned Features That Fell Through

We're in the midst of another preview season, waiting to hear about all the changes, additions, and improvements in this year's games. Of course, one of the perennial worries in our community is that popular features will be ruined by changes or, worse yet, removed altogether. It's particularly frustrating when we look back at some of our favourite games and see features that are no longer available. It especially stings when they were originally implemented in the early days of basketball gaming, yet have been missing for several years.

That's a tough enough pill to swallow, but it's arguably even worse when we hear about great features and content during the preview season, only for it to ultimately fall through. Hearing about plans that didn't come to fruition after the fact also leaves us wondering what might have been, as does discovering the remnants of scrapped features in game files. Features are never axed for malicious reasons; rather, factors such as time constraints, licensing issues, and other unfortunate circumstances are what cause them to fall through. They're interesting trivia notes and What Ifs though, so let's take a look at five of them, including one you won't have heard before.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons I'm Putting MyCAREER Aside

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:11 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons I'm Putting MyCAREER Aside

Since finishing my second season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K19, I've played a grand total of one game in my third. I had still been dabbling with online play, but after a particularly demoralising session, I decided to play the season opener. The new roster was interesting to play with, and the thought of new goals such as reaching 10,000 career points and completing a threepeat has me considering a third campaign. I'd be simulating a bulk of the games - especially with the release of NBA 2K20 a month away - but I'm thinking about it. After that, however, I'm done with MyCAREER.

I know, I know. I said that almost a year ago, and ended up going further than I ever have before in MyCAREER. At the time I thought I was done, just as I do now. The difference is that after another year of playing MyCAREER, I truly feel ready to put it aside. My experience was significantly more positive in NBA 2K19, so I'm not ending my time with the mode on such a sour note. Furthermore, looking ahead to the release of NBA 2K20, I have other incentives to move away from the single player career experience. If you've spent a lot of time in MyCAREER these past few years and are similarly looking to move on, perhaps you can relate to my reasons for doing so.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Theories

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:27 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Theories

Video games are full of mysteries, usually thanks to cut or unfinished content, or some other aspect that is left unexplained. Sports games generally don't hold quite as many of these secrets or causes for speculation compared to other genres, but they do still have their points of interest. Over the years, basketball games have contained traces of planned features, or other signs of interesting development back stories that have been left untold. It's led to a lot of speculation and guessing in our community, but hey, they're just theories; basketball gaming theories!

Ham-fisted references to a popular YouTube channel aside, I've been thinking about a few unusual occurrences and unexplained content in a handful of basketball games. I wanted to offer up some explanations, and since I can't definitively prove them, I was originally going to title this article "5 Wild Basketball Gaming Theories". However, I decided to drop the "wild"; not only because it was a bit clickbait-y, but also because I believe at least a couple of these theories are quite plausible. It would be nice to get definitive answers about these matters one day, but for now, here are five basketball gaming theories for your consideration.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Unanswered Questions in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:36 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Unanswered Questions in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Having completed a season for the ages in Year 2 of my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER, I'm ready to move on from the mode in NBA 2K20. Since writing that Monday Tip-Off article, I have played a few games in Year 3 to see what the roster is like. It's been interesting, but the possibility of a threepeat hasn't been enough of an incentive to play many more games, or even try simulating most of the season. As the NBA 2K20 demo and full game loom on the horizon, I feel done with NBA 2K19 as a whole, let alone a mode where I've finally achieved a sense of closure.

Of course, that doesn't mean I can't reflect on my experiences with MyCAREER, and the concepts that it's explored this generation. For example, I admittedly have a love-hate relationship with the story-driven approach. I believe it has its problems, but it's also been creative and at times thought-provoking. It's invited various theories, and even suggests the possibility of its own cinematic universe. Before I close the book on MyCAREER, I'd like to discuss some unexplained aspects of the story in NBA 2K19. Note that these unanswered questions didn't ruin the experience in my opinion, so this is just me having some fun with plot holes and other oddities.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Odd Mistakes in Old Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:43 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Odd Mistakes in Old Games

Authenticity is the name of the game, especially for sim titles. Over the years, eagle-eyed hoops gamers have proven adept at spotting mistakes, big or small. Whether it's an inaccuracy in a court or jersey, a rating that is way off, or some other error, you can be sure that someone with an eye for detail will point it out. Some mistakes are easy to fix ourselves, while others require some modding skill (and for that matter, a game that is easily moddable). Official updates have also become far more detailed over the years, correcting many minor (and sometimes major) mistakes post-release.

As for why these mistakes occur, the simple answer is that the developers are human, and it's easy to overlook a detail here and there. There are also times when mistakes and inaccuracies are the result of technical limitations, licensing issues, or some other factor. With that in mind, it's no surprise that older hoops games have featured some odd mistakes through the years. We still see inaccuracies in modern games, many of which are addressed by official updates, but they're generally not as weird and quirky as the mistakes in old titles. Here are five of my picks for the oddest mistakes that we've seen in various classic basketball video games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Odd Mistakes in Old Games

Postby [Q] on Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:15 am

What's really odd about the Bulls numbers in 2000 being wrong is that they obviously had it correct in 98 and 99 although if I remember correctly they changed the format of the art files for 2000
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Odd Mistakes in Old Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:33 am

They were wrong in NBA Live 99 as well. Even with the file format changing, no other teams had glaring errors like that, so it was really odd.

The Dickey Simpkins one is weird as well. Playing those old games got me used to the misspelling, and I know I've replicated it in my '96 season mods for other games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Excuses We Must Stop Making For Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:54 am

The Friday Five: 5 Excuses We Must Stop Making For Games

There are times when it's only fair to make excuses for basketball video games. There are limitations to what can be achieved with the technology that's currently available. Issues with likeness rights meant that certain historical players can't be included. NBA games have a brutal development cycle compared to titles that don't come out every year. In fact, you might be inclined to call these "reasons", as the term "excuses" often has negative connotations. It's splitting hairs on the definition in some respects, but it's understandable that some people balk at the idea of "making excuses".

The problem with excuses is that they can easily work against our best interests. If we don't hold developers accountable for certain decisions and design choices, then we'll have no choice but to endure whatever undesirable situation we find ourselves in with basketball video games. Look, I'd like to think that I'm as passionate about the hobby as anyone else in the community, and I also believe in being fair and constructive in our criticism. It's just astonishing how far some people will go to make excuses for the games though, even when an issue is clearly detrimental to them. These are the excuses that we need to cut out, or else we'll continue to suffer the consequences.
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