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Fraidy Cat Gamer 89

Allen Cook, over at Gamers With Jobs, talks about the problems of being a 'fraidy cat gamer'. Horror games are awesome, no doubt about it, but it's really hard to actually play through one if your fear takes hold of you. From the article: "I can watch most horror movies without any problem. The trick has nothing to do with my horror movie constitution but simply knowing the formula. At the beginning of any horror movie, I subconsciously pick out which characters are going to die. It's like a stupidity test. You watch the characters being introduced and whenever a character passes below a certain stupidity threshold you know they will end up dead. Probably at the hands of some supernatural force, a mask-wearing psychopath or some otherworldly parasitic infestation. It's a given part of the formula that most of these characters will die. When it happens, I may be surprised by how they die, but it doesn't emotionally scar me. With horror games though, there's no switch I can pull to stop caring about my character. That's me in there in the inexplicably short mini skirt and tall boots, surrounded by flesh eating zombies. Why the hell did I wear that anyway? Is that standard issue zombie hunting gear where I'm from? It doesn't matter, a zombie just tore a chunk out of my skull."
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Fraidy Cat Gamer

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  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:58PM (#16506971)
    At the beginning of any horror movie, I subconsciously pick out which characters are going to die. It's like a stupidity test. You watch the characters being introduced and whenever a character passes below a certain stupidity threshold you know they will end up dead.

    Simple solution:

    Realize from the outset that you suck at this game and you're going to die.

    • Simple solution:
      Realize from the outset that you suck at this game and you're going to die.


      Hilarious :)

      I have a friend who's affraid of spiders, he's good at that game, except where there's giant spiders, I used to do those levels for him.
      People with phobias are funny.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      Realize from the outset that you suck at this game and you're going to die.

      Ok, now that you've disposed of his real life problems, how about doing the same for his problems as a gamer?

      KFG
  • by MrSquishy ( 916581 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:58PM (#16506981)
    I find that breaking the connection from Player to Character helps.
    If the character in the game is wearing a short skirt and tall boots, I wear a tutu and clown shoes.

    Also, the lines at the arcade seem to be quite short in this attire.
  • The fact you can load/reset/restart, and get a second ending or a win makes even horror games tame. Don't know which game he's refering too, but a lot of the horror games we have now are like that jerk who jumps out and shouts boo, they'll scare you only if you don't know what to expect.

    Personally I don't have many games that really terrify me, maybe I just am not playing the right games, but even back in the day, the resident evils just were annoyingly hard, not exactly "scary".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
      There's not so many games anymore that really draw you in like some of the old ones did. I remember playing Alone In The Dark, and getting really scared at some points. For a game to scare you, it has to really draw you in, so that it's the only thing you are focusing on. I find that I got scared a lot playing Metroid Prime. Not because it had a horror theme or anything, but because the atmosphere of the game really drew you in, and when some enemy jumps in front of you when you are already on edge, you
      • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

        I'll second that. Metroid Prime and Super Metroid are some of the creepiest games ever made. Going deeper and deeper into the Phazon Mines, in which you start encountering giant glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, objects that you can only see in the X-Ray scope (which itself, was really creepy vision) and completely dark rooms just creeped me out. It didn't help that every so often, you were suddenly faced with a giant, mutant space pirate. And to top it off, at the end you face off with Omega Pirate, quite possib

        • Good call on the suspense of the Metroids. Prime had me soiling myself inside of the reasearch centers where the stealth pirates would drop from the ceilings. Using the heat-visor also was creepy if there wasn't any music because it had an unsettling tune of its own, as well as the XRay visor.

          My brother and I both shouted out loud when the SNES boss you mention showed up again, after being disturbed by its trying to swim in the magma.

          The Dark Aether messed with your mind at first, but since you were alway

          • by Simon80 ( 874052 )
            The problem with Echoes was a goofy story (with goofy troop logs), and mediocre music. Metroid prime was very faithful to elements from super metroid, and thus as nostalgic as it gets, while at the same time being somewhat gritty. Echoes was a disappointment because of that - they innovated with the gameplay, but missed the point with the presentation. I blame Nintendo, according to the extras material in the game, they meticulously specified the contents of cutscenes, probably the story as well, but I f
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jaysyn ( 203771 )
      I can't play System Shock 2 anymore. Eternal Darkness & Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth are both pretty damn creepy.

      Jaysyn
      • I was going to meantion System Shock 1, but that was more anticipated fear, than raw horror. But good games, I will say Eternal Darkness really took the "creepiness" to new levels.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Solra Bizna ( 716281 )
      maybe I just am not playing the right games...

      If you can get past the graphics, Marathon:RED.

      Bort... bort... bort... bort... bort...

      -:sigma.SB

  • By all means go ahead and play F.E.A.R. then. It's absolutely formulaic.

    What's the loud noise?!?! Oh, it's just a rat.

    What's that scary shadow?!?! Oh, it's just a coat rack.

    Who's that scary girl?!?!? Oh, it's just the girl from The Ring.

    Powerup on my left? Scary noise to the right.

    As simplistic as the gameplay is, don't play Doom 3! The spooky elements of the level and sound design really get under your skin!
    • by F1_Fan ( 255672 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @04:03PM (#16507071)
      Doom 3 stopped being scary as soon as I learned to walk into rooms backwards.
      • Agreed. The level design was ass.

        "Oh, a new room. Let's see--there's a pillar over there, so there's a zombie behind it. And some other kind of monster will undoubtably spawn or appear from a monster closet behind me when I enter the room."

        Splash damage shot next to the pillar... oh, what do you know, there was a zombie behind it! Step in slowly, look to my immediate left... look, a wall opening up to reveal a room that has no business being there, and another zombie! Wow, so surprised.

        The original doo

    • Wait... am I misreading you or do you think that Doom 3 was _less_ formulaic than F.E.A.R.?

      I had my problems with the latter, but I count it radically higher on the creepy-coolness scale, if lower on the imps-constantly-jumping-out-of-invisible-closets scale.

      Though both have anemic storylines, which I think we've all just come to accept from action games, and movies for that matter ("Must serve the evil god Momentum!" As Joss Whedon almost said).

      After all, Doom 3 was about a mute space marine who possesses
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by spyrochaete ( 707033 )
        The story in Doom 3 was totally stupid, and the gameplay was definitely predictable. However, the levels are very carefully crafted so that creepy ideas sneak in and slowly become the status quo. The first time I played it I thought the game was very ho-hum, but now that I've played it again a year later (on a vastly better machine) I was really impressed by the level design. The increasingly gooey corridors and haunting audio are what immersed me into Doom 3, not the monsters, gameplay, or "surprises".
        • I spent my time in Doom 3 wishing there was more creepy.

          It was too close to the earlier Dooms, which were great in their time but no longer.

          Maybe I'm spoiled.

          (that was my 14, 20, 4 "extended mix" doom 3 haiku)
          • Um, the original dooms were scarier. Especially the resurrection demons. The only thing that creeped me out in D3 were the damned flying babies. Not to mention I never once had an "Oh shit I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die" feeling from D3, while in almost every big monster infested room you got that feeling with the original dooms.
            • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

              Not to mention I never once had an "Oh shit I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die" feeling from D3, while in almost every big monster infested room you got that feeling with the original dooms.

              The main reason you don't have that feeling anymore is because of the strafe command. If you played Doom as your first video game today (after having a friend give you a crash course in game configuration), the fear will be significantly cut down because you can sidestep fireball attacks with ease.

              In this kind


              • I hate to tell you this, but there was a strafe in DOOM and DOOM 2 - and I used it to "pwn" many a fellow player.

                And I myself generally don't play the same scene over and over and over again - I guess I have ADD or something - I tend to play it cautious and take more time getting through the game with minimal reloads.

                I hate doing the same thing over and over and over. Probably why I was never a good guitar player.
                • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

                  I hate to tell you this, but there was a strafe in DOOM and DOOM 2 - and I used it to "pwn" many a fellow player

                  It wasn't configured well - by default, it was ',' and '.' for strafe and arrow keys for walking/turning.

                  A better configuration is the classic 'w', 'a', 's', 'd' and mouse movement, or using 'e' and 'r' as strafe. However, since keyboard configuration had to be performed in an external setup program, it is generally a trial-and-error to find out how you like your keyboard configuation (and you mi

  • I've never been too terrified to play a game...Aliens vs. Predator 2 had some nice surprise moments that made me jump in my seat..but that's about it. Besides, any horror video game or movie can be ruined/de-scarified by simply turning the lights on and having some background noise, like a TV or screaming children neighbors, etc.
    • by Scutter ( 18425 )
      I'm responding more to the subject line than the content here, but "Made ya flinch!" sums up everything that's wrong with the horror genre in general, whether it's games, movies, whatever. It's easy easy easy to scare someone by having something jump out at them. How many movies have you seen where the music builds to a crescendo and then a freaking cat jumps down from a shelf in front of the protagonist and everyone in the audience screams? It takes no effort whatsoever. It's hack. It's not worth my t
      • The Japanese movies aren't scary, though. The first one is. If you haven't seen 'em, watch Ringu or Ju-On or their English translations and they'll be scary. But then you watch the next one, and the next one, and you realize the plots are all the same. It's like the '70s-'80s slasher craze all over again. How many strange cat-girls and distorted mouths and creepy televisions (or computer monitors) do you need to see before you realize it's the same thing, but a different basic plot? About 3.

        A good plot i
        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          You say 'they all copy it', but that's not really true in Japan, except for sequels. It's true in the US, though, so much that they've made parodies (Scary Movie, etc) that the basic plot is a parody of almost every US Horror movie ever made. If you parodied The Ring, you wouldn't have even come close to parodying The Grudge, though... They're just too different.

          For those who are wondering, Ju-On is the Japanese name for The Curse, The Grudge, The Curse 2 and The Grudge 2, and I believe that is the corre
          • It's not the plot and backstory that's similar, but rather the progression and filming style. Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers are about as similar as Crazy-Ring-Girl and Crazy-Grudge-Cat-Girl. It's just the backstory that's different. The plots still unfold in similar, easy-to-figure-out ways in both comparisons. The difference between Japanese movies and American Slasher movies is purely formulaic. There's nothing amazing and revolutionary about them.
  • by Cerberus7 ( 66071 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @04:05PM (#16507103)
    I have the same problem, and my solution is to play frightening games in small doses. 10-15 minutes here and there, and eventually I make my way through it. It took me almost a week to get through Ravenholm the first time, just because I needed to take so many breaks and go play Civ.

    As an alternate solution, I will just blast through such a scene quickly, letting whatever baddies reveal their locations, then I go back to my save point and do it again with full knowledge of just what nastiness is going to jump out at me and when.

    I feel the same kind of intensity from other emotions in games, not only fear. It's just much easier to deal with the other emotions, as they don't come with a built-in fight-or-flight response the way anxiety and fear do.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )
      As an alternate solution, I will just blast through such a scene quickly, letting whatever baddies reveal their locations, then I go back to my save point and do it again with full knowledge of just what nastiness is going to jump out at me and when.

      And then you shit your pants when you start playing games with randomized spawns. Or you get the shitty ending because you reloaded too many times.

    • I know what you mean about Ravenholm.

      I don't go there anymore...

    • Ravenholm scared the crap out of me, but it is still my favorite part of the game. I still get shivers when I hear the howling and scratching...
  • The Marine campaign tended to be quite scary- especially if you played in the harder modes. Nothing like limited saving and inifinitly spawning enemies to heighten the suspense (and make your death much more painful). Eventually I had to give up and beat the Marine campaign in an easier mode- I just couldn't beat one level in hard difficulty, much less hardcore mode.
  • The only video game that truly good and frightened me was the original Silent Hill. That game was freaky not because of *insert random horror* jumping out at you from the darkness. Silent Hill was scary because it had an amazinly well done soundtrack. If i played that game for more than an hour in the dark, i had trouble sleeping. The sequals haven't done it justice and are turning into blatant gore/scare fests. The first Silent Hill wasn't so simple.
    • by syrion ( 744778 )

      SH2 was hardly a gore/scare fest. It had the best plot, and was probably the most consistently melancholy and creepy of the games. The third game used such vibrant colors that its primary impact was visceral: some of the violence and blood scenes, while not particularly "gory," were very memorable because of the way the environment looked. SH4 relied too much on the "boo" factor to match the previous games.

      Here's hoping SH5 is more like SH2.

    • Try F.E.A.R. . It had me sleepless for some nights; without the usual "monster being teleported right behind you" cheap stuff.
    • by man_ls ( 248470 )
      Agreed - I played Silent Hill in the dark with a friend of mine from start to finish, and it was amazing.

      The movie was okay, but the games are so much better.
  • ...just imagine if this happened to you. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-768895638 9104405762 [google.com] I don't know whether to be envious of this guy or not.

    • Oh, I so smell fake. Like all those "haunting" shows where people jump at their cameraman knocking on a wall.

      And as far as envying, I would SO have two ex-friends and a legal case for kidnapping. I'm not 100% up on British law, but I imagine that they would be pretty leery of this kind of thing - say the boy has a heart attack, or even panic attacks, would he or his family sue? I would think so. Then again, I think it was a setup from the start, so...

      Besides, what kind of isolated gen-X-er doesn't know what
      • Good points. Of note though, that looks like a Talon Stingray which doesn't have any internal paintball storage. Without a hopper he was just shooting blasts of CO2. I'm not sure how they were triggering the squibs accurately which to me is an additional clue towards the video's "fakeness"
      • I should check my email more often. Yes, the video quality is bad in that google video clip. It was not bad when it was aired on Friday May 6th of 2005 on Channel 4 in the U.K. Derren Brown is well known in the U.K. and always controversial. How much of what he does is "real" is often debated. As to the specific problems you mention, they are rather easily dealt with. At the end of the show the unwitting participant is laughing as he watches video of himself. Since you also got to see the video he signed wa
  • Sure, there's dozens of zombies trying to eat me but guess what's between me and the zombies? A game can't be scary if I'm the guy holding the big ass cannons. Oooh, an imp tried to jump me, how cute. Here, have some hot plasma death! What's there to be afraid of if you've got the Big Fucking Gun?
    • Running out of ammo. Some games are pretty damn good at limiting it, others, not so much.
      • Then there's the System Shock universe, where scientists have got the whole "interstellar travel" thing tackled, but are still working on making handguns that can fire more than 20 shots before breaking...

        Yeah, I admit it, I used a cheat or mod or something (I don't remember, it's been too long) that vastly improved the longevity of weapons in SS2 when I played it. I also used the, "Space Marines should have 2 working hands" mod that let me hold both a flashlight and a handgun simultaneously in Doom III.
        • Half Life 2 did a great job of rationing ammo for the powerful weapons, and there were some great gameplay situations based on caches of rockets when fighting a boss.
          • That game was great all around. Both it and FarCry (the other of the "Big 3" new-engine games that came out at around the same time) were much, much better games than Doom III. I maintain (and frequently post :) ) that D3's problem was that it tried to do several things simultaneously, and as a result sucked at all of them, while FC and HL2 did a lot of things (especially HL2) but did them individually, and it worked.

            Examples:

            The first part of FC was an exceptionally good standard shooter. The second was
            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
              I didn't find Ravenholm scary, either. I was merely annoyed that they forced me to use the gravity gun by giving out way too little ammo. Considering a large part of that level was mutilating zombies with all kinds of devices or, failing that, launching garbage at them, it was more funny than scary. Never played Far Cry, though. Guess I should try that for a bit considering it's like 5€ now (but then again it's the censored version they made to evade indexing, no idea how much they butchered it).

              I thin
    • --
      Nintendo of Europe is a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.
      Shouldn't that be the Wii now? I can see the head line already: "Wii has arrived, NoE against wall, lawyers expected to be next".
  • from the first time that you look in a mirror and see a zombie behind you, i knew doom 3 was a bad choice to play at night. I've got nothing better to do tonight, maybe I'll start Sweet Home.
  • I was playing Half Life 2 earlier today, and there is a section where you travel under a bridge and do stuff. Well, I'm incredibly afraid of heights and nearly tossed my lunch. I ended up having my friend do that section for me, not because I suck (well, I do, but that section isn't hard at all) but because I couldn't watch the screen.
    • I too had problems with that part. I am afraid of heights and the game renders the feel of being up that high so well, I fell to my death many times.
  • How can you be afraid of a moment in a videogame? My solution to such a problem would be weed, you'll be mellow and comfy, not afraid at all. Although you may spill som snacks on your keyboard...
    • How can you be afraid of a moment in a videogame?

      By getting into the moment.

      Though simple, my first run through of Diablo was horrifying. I played at night, with no lights, and with the music and sound volumes fairly high. After a while, I was actually looking over my shoulder while playing the game. It was great but I almost didn't finish the game.

    • When you willingly put yourself into a game that would not normally scare you, your imagination can eventually take over and make the game a whole lot more enjoyable then it otherwise would have been. :)
  • I love the survival horror genre, as well as the horror themed action genre. Most of the games aren't really anything like what I would call scary though. The first two Resident Evils made me jump every so often- but they never really terrified me. Interestingly enough, I found Resident Evil 4 to be one of the most terrifying games, even though it was certainly more action focused - mostly because the enemies are smarter and vastly more numerous.
    I would say that really, although I love the horror games
    • by kfg ( 145172 )
      I would say that really, although I love the horror games for their atmosphere, a lot of the most tense and creepy games I have played haven't been horror games at all. Metal Gear Solid always creeped me out, simply because the tension would really build up- especially playing it on the hardest difficulty setting.

      There it is. Deep down in my soul, where my subconcious demons lie, I simply don't believe in ghosties and ghoulies. No, what scares the bejeezus out of me is other people; with guns and shit.

      And i
      • by lazyl ( 619939 )
        I'm one of those people who only gets the jitters waiting for the shit to hit the fan

        That's a major element a good horror game (or movie) and I think most people, not just yourself, find it more scary than being startled. Ghosts and the like are often used because the limits on what they can do (or are about to do) is much wider. They're more unpredictable which increases the suspense and makes them scarier. Simply put, they're not scary just because they're 'ghosts'; they're scary because they're unpred
        • by kfg ( 145172 )
          That's a major element a good horror game (or movie). . .

          I guess the point I was driving at is that there's damned few of those.

          Simply put, they're not scary just because they're 'ghosts'; they're scary because they're unpredictable.

          Eh. They eat your brains or suck you into a hellhole. What's more predictable than that?

          KFG
  • This brings back memories of my first night playing Doom at a friends house. I'd never played an id game before. The first time those demons/imps popped up I nearlly fell out of the chair. I think that my friends offered for me to play the most just to laugh at me that night. ;) After a few nights, you get used to it. Of course what really helped was just turning off the sound. That helped a lot for me.
    • Yeah, playing an ID game before would have helped heaps. Commander Keen was terrifying ;)
    • Absolutely behind you, a hundred percent - I'll never forget the adrenalin shakes I had after playing the first level on Nightmare mode...

      Then my brother installed a patch that turned all the sounds into Monty Python sound-bites, so instead of background breathing and moaning, there would be occasional bouts of "Chicken... chicken!" and "I'll bite yer legs off!".

      Never was quite the same after that.

  • Seriously, think about it. When Resident Evil 1 for the PS1 came out, one of the biggest reasons why people found the game difficult/frustrating was the horrible controls.

    Fast forward to today and only recently are we seeing better controls for survival horror games. The camera no longer screws people over. You can actually SEE the monsters, not a unclear blob of brown and red pixels against a brown and red background. Level designs are no longer tight hallways that make it impossible to run past enemies i

  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @06:03PM (#16509101)
    I was expecting this to be more of an article about people who were afraid to play games the way they were intended. (intention in the eye of the beholder)

    I have several friends who play StarCraft completely defensively. On team games a couple of us will completely destroy the enemy while these RTS campers build base defenses the entire time. Highly frustrating.

    Speaking of campers, what's with people who hide under the stairs in FPS and wait for someone to walk around the corner? Are you afraid of real combat?

    I also play Travian, a stupid web based RTS, and people constantly bitch and moan about being attacked. Hello! It's a war game.

    As far as the subject, I don't really understand horror in any medium. But why seek out the best horror game and then try to find ways to get through it? You're just watering it down! Take it like a man, you pussies! (:
    • by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @06:17PM (#16509277) Homepage
      "Speaking of campers, what's with people who hide under the stairs in FPS and wait for someone to walk around the corner? Are you afraid of real combat?"

      That IS real combat. It's sneaky, it's underhanded, and you never, ever, give your opponent an even break. Unless you think of combat being the way the British fought the revolutionaries, or how the Civil war was fought where people just stand out in the open blatantly shooting each other.

      If you can't handle real (simulated) combat then take you noob ass to another game... I suggest something involving Barbie dolls.
      • by GeckoX ( 259575 )
        Apparently he's never heard of a grenade.

      • by monopole ( 44023 )
        If you can't handle real (simulated) combat then take you noob ass to another game... I suggest something involving Barbie dolls.

        I'm still waiting for Mattel to Licence the Barbie Deathmatch Adventure FPS with the pink BFG-2000. The only title I want more is the Barbie Sex Worker Adventure!
    • "Speaking of campers, what's with people who hide under the stairs in FPS and wait for someone to walk around the corner? Are you afraid of real combat?"

      I used to hate players like that, but then I realised that is all they know how to do, so they are actually easier to beat than someone who is always changing their position, strategy, etc...

      So when i enter a room I throw a frag grenade under the stairs or a rocket that way (ala quake3) or throw a flash bang into the nest then spam as i come up the ramp (al
    • "Speaking of campers, what's with people who hide under the stairs in FPS and wait for someone to walk around the corner? Are you afraid of real combat?" Real combat is about maximizing enemy losses and minimizing personal risk. They're playing the game like Ghost Recon, not like Doom. Try leaning around the corner to see if they're waiting for you. Tossing a grenade. Not being able to play the game flexibly reveals your own weaknesses.
  • Playing this game, a simple search and rescue game, was the first game that scared the crap out of me. And this was on my Atari 800XL.

    Spoilers ROT13ed [rot13.com] below:

    Va gur tnzr, lbh ner gb ynaq lbhe fuvc ol gur qbjarq cvybgf. Bapr lbh unir ynaqrq, lbh'yy urne gur cvybgf jnyx hc gb lbhe fuvc. Lbh jrer gbyq gb jnvg hagvy gur cvybgf xabpx ba gur fvqr bs gur fuvc orsber lbh bcra gur qbbe naq yrg gurz va. Fb nsgre gur cvybgf jnyx hc, lbh ner yvfgravat vagragyl... Naq gura, CBJ! Na nyvra gung unq nyernq qvfcbfrq bs gu

  • by asjk ( 569258 ) *
    When I start to feel my palms sweat and especially after I have tried a rough part and died I get angry and yell at my character to fight harder. Also my anger gets more focused at the enemy and I start trash talking them. My attitude in extremely difficult situations is "If I'm going to die I'm taking as many of you with me as I can."

    On reflection it seems strange to admit how completely some of these scenarioes get under my skin. I have never been in a fight for my life, or even a really bad fight but I

  • You are a highly trained marine with enough firepower to outfit an entire platoon and a nervous twitch in your trigger finger stalking around the map. My gods man if your scared the zombie must be s@#%ing themselves! They got nothing but a speach impedamentand and a lack of muscel control.
  • I don't typically play survival horror, but one I did get creeped out by KOTOR. In the Sith Academy, there is a constant background noise of people whispering. This didn't bother me. However, there is a part where everyone in the Academy attacks you, and you kill them. But the whispering is still there. So you're walking down empty corridors, and the whispering is still going on, and that unnerved me.

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