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NLSC Podcast – Episode #232

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Episode #232 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss some promising news regarding NBA Jam, the appeal of playing and modding old games, our past week in basketball gaming, and recent events in the real NBA.

On this week’s show…

  • Legendary NBA Jam announcer Tim Kitzrow posted a Tweet suggesting that a new NBA Jam game might be on the horizon. With the game celebrating its 25th Anniversary, a rare version may also be made available (licensing issues permitting).
  • If there is a new NBA Jam game, what features and improvements would we like to see?
  • When it comes to video games, it’s fun to revisit old favourites. It’s something many of us have done from time to time, but what is the appeal of playing – and indeed, modding – old basketball games?
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has been all about NBA Live 18, from LIVE Events and The League to Ultimate Team. We also talk about whether we need a bit of an extended break from NBA 2K18.
  • We wrap up Episode #232 of the NLSC Podcast with some NBA chatter, including the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent struggles, some thoughts on a few other teams, and the latest All-Star voting results.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #231

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Episode #231 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we tip off a new season of the NLSC Podcast by catching up on all of the NBA Live 18, NBA 2K18, and NBA Playgrounds news from the holiday season, and look ahead to another year of basketball gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • LIVESTRIKE events have been keeping gamers busy in NBA Live 18 over the holidays. They’ve even offered the opportunity to win some real swag!
  • The new City Edition uniforms have been unveiled, and are now available in NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18. What do we think of Nike’s new secondary alternate jerseys?
  • Patches 1.07 and 1.08 have resolved a handful of issues in NBA 2K18. Some new historical players have also been added to the roster.
  • Game Informer has named NBA 2K18 as the Sports Game of the Year for the second year running. The response from the community has been…less enthusiastic.
  • With the NBA 2K League qualifiers underway, we talk about the controversy regarding the number of spots that are actually open to members of the community.
  • An Enhanced Edition of NBA Playgrounds has been released for the Nintendo Switch, alleviating the problems Saber Interactive has been having in pushing through new content on the platform.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included what may be our last session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K18, online Head-to-Head in NBA Live 18, and an assortment of LIVE Events. We also talk about our basketball gaming plans for 2018.
  • We wrap up Episode #231 of the NLSC Podcast with a discussion of some recent achievements by our fellow Australians in the NBA.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Little Details Basketball Games Have Nailed

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five concepts and little details that basketball games have captured extremely well.

It bears repeating that it’s alright to criticise basketball games. As I’ve previously discussed, and will no doubt touch upon again in the future, it’s something that gaming communities can easily forget. Any gaming community that censors and discourages criticism is doing a disservice to the games that they’re interested in, and ultimately, themselves as consumers. Constructive criticism should always be encouraged over nastiness and abuse, but we must remember that it’s OK to point out the things that we dislike, while also discussing the elements that we enjoy.

By the same token, of course, it’s also fine to take a break from criticising the aspects of basketball games that we don’t like, to marvel at the things we do enjoy about them. In that regard, it’s quite often the little things that really make the experience. Basketball games have come a long way, and while improvements to graphics, AI, controls, and so forth are often more readily apparent, there are a lot of concepts and smaller details that are very impressive in their own right. They may be subtle, but often contribute that extra bit of authenticity to the overall experience. Here are five examples of little details that basketball games have really nailed in recent years.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #226

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Episode #226 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we discuss the latest updates for NBA Live 18, NBA 2K18, and NBA Playgrounds, recount our recent basketball gaming experiences, and look ahead to the 2018 NBA season.

On this week’s show…

  • New rosters have been released for NBA Live 18, accounting for recent transactions and adding new classic uniforms for eight teams. With the 2018 season right around the corner, we hope that EA will remain on the ball with forthcoming updates.
  • Patch 1.04 has been released for NBA 2K18. It’s a substantial update and addresses a lot of issues, but unfortunately, it’s caused a lot of problems as well. Bewilderingly, it’s also nerfed certain VC rewards even further.
  • NBA Playgrounds has received a hotfix that addresses an issue with the previously released Roster Unlock DLC. Once again, we reflect on how the game has evolved since launch, and whether paid DLC is a wise approach given the circumstances.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included our best session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K18 so far, further progress in MyCAREER and The One, and a bit of Ultimate Team.
  • The 2018 NBA season tips off next week! We’ve felt a bit jaded and disillusioned in recent years, so we’re hoping that the upcoming campaign will be a fun and exciting one that we can really get into.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #224

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Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the past week in basketball gaming and NBA news, as well as provide our ongoing impressions of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

On this week’s show…

  • New rosters have come through for NBA Live 18, and they include the two biggest transactions from the past week or so. Unfortunately, there are still some issues with missing transactions and players, incorrect jersey numbers, and a couple of other problems.
  • Master Challenges have been added to Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18. We’re glad to see new content being added so early, and hope that it will continue throughout the season.
  • NBA 2K18 has received another patch this week, addressing some noteworthy technical problems in modes and gameplay. It’s quite welcome, but how many title updates will we see this year?
  • The problems with microtransactions and grinding in NBA 2K18 continue to be a big story. It has spread beyond the basketball gaming community, as mainstream publications and content creators are touching upon it. We crunch a few numbers, and provide some more thoughts on the situation.
  • Downloadable versions of the updated NBA 2K18 cover are now available. It’s a nice gesture, but could it result in collectors being scammed?
  • Our Week in Basketball gaming included a tentative second attempt at 2K Pro-Am, more grinding, some fun Play Now games in NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, more grinding, MyTEAM games, and yes, more grinding. MyLEAGUE games to follow, closer to the start of the 2018 season.
  • Dwyane Wade has joined the Cleveland Cavaliers. Can anyone in the East compete with the Cavs this season?
  • We wrap up Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast with a nice story about Dirk Nowitzki and an appreciative Dallas Mavericks fan.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #223

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Episode #223 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we offer up further impressions on NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, discuss some recent controversies, and comment on the Carmelo Anthony trade.

On this week’s show…

  • Following on from our initial positive impressions, we continue to enjoy our experiences in NBA Live 18. There is still room for improvement however, and we’ve identified some issues that we definitely hope can be patched.
  • We’re glad to see the new Nike Statement jerseys added to NBA Live 18, but the latest roster update leaves something to be desired. Hopefully, post-release support will be on point this year, once the season begins.
  • Moving on to NBA 2K18, while we’re still liking the 5v5 gameplay and looking forward to MyLEAGUE, we’ve really soured on MyCAREER. 2K Pro-Am meanwhile proved to be a disaster last week, which is a shame given how much we enjoyed the mode in NBA 2K17.
  • A lot of users has been losing their MyPLAYERs in NBA 2K18, which has been a tremendous pain for anyone who happened to purchase VC to upgrade them. A nasty bug has also caused problems with pre-order bonuses disappearing when creating new MyPLAYERs.
  • Although NBA 2K18 has been receiving high scores from several publications as usual, some reviewers – and a lot of gamers – aren’t so enthusiastic. One review in particular has attracted controversy.
  • We wrap up Episode #223 of the NLSC Podcast with a few thoughts on the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Is Melo a little underrated?

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #222

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Episode #222 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we offer up our initial impressions of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, and look ahead to the 2018 season of basketball gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • After spending quite a bit of time with the demo, we finally have our hands on the full version of NBA Live 18. Pleasingly, the game is feeling like a significant step forward.
  • Interestingly, WNBA Play Now has been a lot of fun, changing up the experience. It definitely feels like something to build upon.
  • Ultimate Team could stand to be deeper, but there are a couple of nice features with the starter packs, based on your favourite team.
  • Franchise needs some work, but may be worth checking out as well. All in all, NBA Live 18 is shaping up to be a good comeback for the series.
  • Our initial impression of NBA 2K18 is that the NBA gameplay is a bit more fun than MyCAREER on the sticks, but it’s mostly some of the concepts that bug us. Starting from scratch again has us a little shook (sorry).
  • The biggest gripes with NBA 2K18 so far? The VC gouging, and a bewildering change to free throw shooting for MyPLAYERs.
  • Despite our complaints, there are some noticeable improvements to the gameplay, and other modes are looking good as well.
  • There’s still a lot to sink our teeth into, but on the whole, we are looking forward to the next year of basketball gaming, in both NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for the 2018 Basketball Gaming Season

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five discusses five hopes that I have for the 2018 basketball gaming season.

As I noted earlier today, with the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, a brand new season of basketball gaming is now underway! My pre-order of NBA Live 18 downloaded a couple of days ago and then unlocked at midnight Australian Eastern Time, so I stayed up quite late playing the game and sharing some initial impressions on Twitter. As of this writing, the day one patch for the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K18 has just finished installing, and I’ve almost finished downloading the PC version on Steam as well. I anticipate that I have a big weekend of basketball gaming ahead of me.

With any luck, we’re all in for twelve months filled with fun basketball gaming experiences. I’ve felt optimistic about this year’s releases through most of the preview season, and I came away from both the NBA Live 18 demo and The Prelude to NBA 2K18 with some positive impressions. I’d like to spend more time with the full versions of both games before I offer up some in-depth impressions (and eventually, comprehensive reviews), but as I look ahead to the 2018 season of basketball gaming, I do have a few hopes for the experiences that will be on offer in this year’s releases.

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Monday Tip-Off: How My Basketball Gaming Habits Changed

Ben Gordon in NBA Live 06

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how my basketball gaming habits have changed over the years.

I’ve been playing basketball games for quite a while now. It’s an interest that began as I was entering my teenage years, intensified in my mid-to-late teens when I created the NBA Live Domain and then subsequently took over running the NLSC, and has since continued into adulthood. Now that I’m in my early thirties, I’m finding that I’m approaching the hobby differently. I’m still passionate about it, but with different priorities and responsibilities, I’ve had to ration my time and make a few adjustments to the way that I play. Of course, there have been gradual changes to my habits ever since the very beginning of my interest in basketball gaming.

The evolution of basketball gaming, as well as my own changing tastes, have both played a role here. Picking up two annual releases rather than just the one is a major factor as well. With NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 coming out next month, I’ll once again be faced with the prospect of dividing my time between two current games. Just how much I enjoy those games will also depend on my expectations and tolerance for legacy issues, which have been shaped by all my years of basketball gaming. As I prepare for the next batch of previews, and the new games themselves, I thought that I’d reflect on how my habits have changed over time.

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Monday Tip-Off: Gameplay vs. Game Modes

MyCAREER in NBA 2K17 with the Denver Nuggets

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at the debate regarding the importance of gameplay vs. the importance of game modes, in basketball video games.

For the most part, we basketball gamers can generally agree that we want to see the games that we play get better and better with each release. Of course, we’re not always on the same page as far as the specific improvements are concerned. At the very least, we may prioritise them quite differently. We need to realise that these differing points of view are equally valid; it’s perfectly fine to like different aspects of the games, and as such, have a keener interest in seeing them improve compared to others. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see your fellow basketball gamers talking about something that doesn’t interest you, and not feel that they’re missing the point.

Perhaps the best example of this is the whole gameplay vs. game modes debate. It’s fair to say that most basketball gamers would agree that both gameplay and game modes are the most important aspects of any given release, but disagree on the importance of those aspects in relation to one another. I’ve recently seen a few comments that have derided the importance of game modes, and over the years, there have been more than a couple of remarks that have downplayed the necessity of getting the gameplay experience right. To that end, I thought that I’d offer up my thoughts on the debate regarding gameplay vs. game modes.

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Details on The One in NBA Live 18; Trailers, Demo, Other News

NBA Live 18: The One

With EA Play 2017 upon us, EA Sports has taken the opportunity to officially announce The One, the new game mode that will be making its debut in NBA Live 18. The One is NBA Live’s new career mode, encompassing both the NBA and streetball. Rising up the ranks in both the league and on the streets earns ratings upgrades, gear, and other perks. You’re also able to hone your game by taking part in the Drew League, and challenge other gamers to online showdowns at authentic Pro-Am venues.

Your player will also be able to earn Traits, which appear to be similar to the Player Badges in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER. There are also several Playstyles for each position, which are similar to the MyPlayer Archetypes. Your choice of Playstyle determines primary and secondary skills, as well as Traits. Signature abilities and skills are also available to unlock for your player. LIVE Events will provide new challenges and rewards, with solo, co-op, and multiplayer gameplay.

A few videos featuring gameplay footage from The One (again taken from cinematic angles) and explanations of the concept and features have also been released; you can check those out below. We also have confirmation that an NBA Live 18 demo will be released in August. It will provide basketball gamers with an opportunity to get an early look at The One, with progress carrying over to the full game.

A preliminary features list can also be found over on the official NBA Live website. In addition to hyping up the enhancements to gameplay, it also mentions a Franchise experience (possibly confirming a return to the original Franchise Mode branding, before the rename to Dynasty Mode in NBA Live 2004 onward), and shows off the new designs for Ultimate Team cards.

Gamers have been getting their hands on NBA Live 18 at EA Play, and based on the impressions being shared on social media, the improvements to gameplay are quite pleasing. For some detailed impressions, be sure to follow TicoisTocory and ThaLiveKing on Twitter! More detailed impressions should be coming through in the near future, and we’re looking to set up a chat with ThaLiveKing to get more of his candid thoughts on the game.

Once again, check out the videos below, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum. Stay tuned to the NLSC throughout the NBA Live 18 preview season for more news, as in addition to posting details from around the web, we’ll be looking to arrange some developer interviews (and hopefully a few exclusives) as soon we possibly can.

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Monday Tip-Off: Should NBA Live 18 Be More Traditional?

Derrick Rose on the New York Knicks in NBA Live 16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the best direction for NBA Live 18.

EA Sports has their work cut out for them when it comes to NBA Live 18. The series hasn’t been the dominant brand in sim-oriented basketball games for more than a decade now, with cancellations and subpar releases combining to erode the trust of the fanbase. At the same time, it’s also shown potential and promise, and judging by some of the whispers from gamers who have been involved in recent playtesting sessions, there’s cause for optimism. NBA Live 18 obviously has a lot to prove, and as I’ve said many times before, it needs to be a well-rounded product. Improved gameplay is paramount, but deeper modes and roster customisation are also vital.

I think most of us agree on that, and we all have our own specific suggestions as to what we’d like to see out of future NBA Live releases. My first seven Friday Five articles of 2017 were dedicated to discussing ideas for this year’s game and beyond, and it’s been a recurring topic in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast. For EA Sports to make a dent in Visual Concepts’ share of the market, their next game needs to be a quality release with an appealing hook, such as an All-Star Weekend mode. However, their overall approach and direction is also important, and that’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Ideas for Basketball Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five unorthodox ideas for basketball video games.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, when it comes to suggestions for basketball video games, there are some ideas that probably don’t need to be explored. At the very least, certain suggestions probably shouldn’t be high up on the list of priorities. For example, I don’t really see the point of Create-a-Fan, and a Referee Mode would be better suited to a professional wrestling game (and even there, I’ve found that the novelty has worn off fairly quickly). That being said, there’s no harm in throwing out some off-the-wall ideas that certainly could be fun.

It’s important that we focus on the important issues with gameplay, game modes, and functionality, and as a gaming community, I believe that we do a good job with our feedback. We have laundry lists of serious and well-thought out constructive suggestions on how the games can improve, but there’s always room to throw out some more creative ideas for extra content and features. Some of these suggestions are a little out there, but could have merit if implemented properly. In the spirit of innovation and trying something different, here are five somewhat crazy (but still reasonably practical) ideas for future basketball video games.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Ultimate Team in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

We’re coming to the end of my series of Friday Five articles on the key improvements and additions I’d like to see in NBA Live 18 and beyond. Having covered gameplay, Dynasty, Rising Star, LIVE Pro-Am, and roster editing, it’s now time to talk about Ultimate Team. Ultimate Team has been a fairly solid mode since it was introduced to the series in NBA Live 14, and reasonably popular. There’s definitely still room for improvement though, and since the card collecting/team building modes are such a big part of sports games these days, I do have a few suggestions on how it can improve.

Before I begin, I want to give an honourable mention to pack odds. Fair odds and value are always an important issue when it comes to the team building modes, and although Ultimate Team’s packs aren’t too unfair, they could stand to be a little better. Whether it’s the packs bought from the store, or reward packs that are earned by completing a challenge, I’d like to see some guaranteed rare cards, especially when Legends are up for grabs. With that being said, here’s my list of five suggestions that I believe would enhance Ultimate Team in future NBA Live games.

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