back to article Exclusive to all press: Atari launches world's best ever games console

You've played the PlayStation, you've crossed paths with the Xbox but now prepare yourselves for the world's greatest ever games console! That's right, Atari is back – and boy, er, person are they back – the legendary games company has spent a year perfecting the rebirth of its classic machine and they are ready to unveil the …

  1. DarkLordofSurrey

    Meow, while you're here can I interest you in a Vega+ delivered in a couple of weeks? Promise..

    1. Horizontal

      I'm not holding my breath.

      Given the history of the rebirth of these retro consoles, I'll wait until the physical release rather than commit to crowd funding.

      The Vega+ and that debacle has stuck in a few people minds.

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    I still have mine

    This reminds me that I need to get around to modding it so that it can be used again.

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: I still have mine

      FWIW the Vega website is now saying they will ship within the next 7 days.

      We need a countdown clock!

  3. Bubba Von Braun
    FAIL

    ET and Space Invaders.. in 4K.. that's going to be a real winner.kiddies.. Or is that 4K per pixel :-)

    What do they say about a fool and their money.. in this case its a nostalgic fool and their money are parted even faster.

    1. Zarno

      I'll keep my upright arcade version of Space Invaders.

      It's got way more class than the Atari version.

      1. Stevie

        I'll keep my upright arcade version of Space Invaders.

        With it's sideways screen.

        The reason no-one could get the same "look" to their space-invader knock-offs (or is that "knocks-off?) is that to get the resolution right they turned the screen 90 degrees in the cabinet. You were actually playing the game sideways.

        Of for such neato headslap solutions in this day and age. Now there would be huge investment and cost overruns trying to put more lines in a TV.

        Can I just say to all the Atari haters that Pong Tanks is the greatest post-pub head-to-head mano-y-mano needlematch-grudgefest game ever invented since the Big Bang, and always will be.

        1. Zarno

          Re: I'll keep my upright arcade version of Space Invaders.

          Yep, and the colors are masked onto the face of the black and white CRT with gel tape.

          I never got around to adjusting the positioning on this one, so the saucer runs only partways through the orange area.

          After reading Ready Player One I'm tempted to feed it quarters till I can beat the game.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'll keep my upright arcade version of Space Invaders.

          Pong Tank - OMG! I had forgotten about that little gem. Thanks for the flashback.

          Though I'd say multiplayer Chu Chu Rocket on the Dreamcast comes close for drunken multiplayer brilliance.

    2. ThomH

      The Atari 2600 Space Invaders is a 4kb cartridge. Close enough?

  4. IceC0ld
    Unhappy

    new ways for old days

    meh, nostalgia aint what it used to be

    1. Michael Habel

      Re: new ways for old days: Re: Star Wars

      meh, nostalgia aint what it used to be

      Well after seeing the utter ripoff of The Farce Awakens, and the only original thought the Brains at LucasFilms came up with for the Last Jedi; Rich People are evil jerks, who only give a toss about themselves. Oh and Green Milk...

      Yeah I would have to tend to agree with you nostalgia is kinda overrated....

      1. Paul Westerman

        Re: new ways for old days: Star Wars

        I didn't bother at the cinema, so only just seen it. Bloody hell.

  5. FuzzyWuzzys
    Stop

    Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

    I went through a huge tech nostalgia trip a few years back and I never believed people when they said you always see your childhood through rose-tinted specs. They were right. Sure when I played the old classic 2600, Dragon and Amstrad CPC games the memories came flooding back but it was shortlived. I quickly realised that technology moves on for a very good reason, it simply gets better and more enjoyable. I love playing Fallout4 these days and playing with tech like AWS services, Docker all the stuff that comes frmo the Apache Foundation, it's fun and it keeps evolving. I had a blast during my childhood sure, my parents encouraged me to get into tech and I have a good, well payed career from that but I'd rather look forward as I get older, the best is yet to come.

    1. SVV

      Re: Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

      What's your high score on Docker? And how do I get it to work with my USB game pad?

      1. Aitor 1

        Re: Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

        The high score? just below "Error checking TLS connection: Host is not running"

        I guess it is how many dockers are under your command...

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

      When I do have time to play games, the only ones I am interested in are original Taito and Namco arcade ones. These new XBOX/PS ones just don't interest me, I have tried and after 15 minutes of a ridiculous intro sequence setting the scene I gave up.

    3. DropBear

      Re: Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

      I have long abandoned any hope regarding any sort of "the best is yet to come". Yes, there's some progress in fits and starts in certain areas, mainly quantitative. More raw power, more texels, that sort of thing. But the qualities I really care about are much more intangible - originality, meaningful story, robustness / lack of bugs, you know... stuff. Whimsy. And I see none of that getting better - arguably on the contrary. Yes, "Space Invaders" may be not much of any of those things... but I'll take it ANY DAY over Angry Birds. And you'll have to pry Gobliiins from my cold dead hands...

      1. paulll

        Re: Nostalgia ain't what I thought it would be

        Immersion. The baddie that's shooting at me in,"Call of Honour: Operation Rogue Strike Attack 11," or whichever the hell it is that I have been assured that *this* one is different, looks quite real but inspires no emotion whatsoever. Whereas, a couple of distinctly not-real red glowing dots in the trees when I've just made it out of the Nether alive...that gets the juices going.

        Also agree with the,"intro sequences," comment; I quite enjoy playing Forza but every time I think of firing it up I remember how long it takes to get to the actual game, and go do something else instead.

  6. Random Q Hacker

    I already play Atari 2600 in 4k...

    using the Stella emulator. Gravitar is still fun :)

  7. Mr Dogshit

    Top article

    Really enjoyed that!

    P.S. The original Atari joystick was an abomination of ergonomics.

    P.P.S. What this company (whoever they are) is trying to do is necrophilia, namely taking something that's been dead for years and fucking it.

    1. Omnisis

      Re: Top article

      I can still remember the hand cramps now....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Top article

      yes, but the buggers just kept working.

      An industrial design copied by Kempston, just with a knob on top and bigger buttons.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Top article

        An industrial design copied by Kempston, just with a knob on top and bigger buttons.

        You must have had different Joysticks then. Back in the States My Atari Joystick would snap their Rings (That pressed the little foil coverd clickers), almost immediately as soon as you pluged the ruddy thing in. at least the Kempston, actually had Micro Switches built into the thing. IIRC. Maiking it 1,000x bettter then the thing Atari deciced to pack in with the 2600 VCS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Top article

        In the late eighties, I actually acquired a set of two wireless joysticks for the 2600. They worked by radio, having metal antennas on like FM radio sets. Sadly they were next to useless for use on my MSX due to the single button, as most games required two buttons.

    3. Tigra 07
      Mushroom

      Re: Top article

      It's even better if you read it in the booming voice of Al Harrington of the Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Man Emporium.

  8. Bob Ajob

    such classics at Asteroids!

    Come on Reggie, get better proof readers. I know it's only a little typo but you're usually more readable than this.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    There was an interview with the boss not long back

    Here.

    Seems he doesn't know why he's doing it either.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see no pitfalls to buying one. There does seem to be a pong about it all though if I don't get one I might breakout in a sweat.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      The obvious pitfall is called Harry. But I'm sure there's a fine adventure to be had somewhere in that haunted house.

      Just bring matches.

      1. ByeLaw101

        Joust you listen to me! This type of talk belongs in a Circus! Trolling like this will turn this thread into a Battlezone, I usually Dodge'Em but I as an original player of the 2600, I wanted to stop this chatter going on the Rampage!

        Cmon guys, do the Basic Maths, this new Atari has a Stellar Track record ..they just need to sort out the Gremlins. Waiting for this console is no Picnic, but speculation is Out of Control! Hopefully we will all see Atari isn't Mr Don't...and is in fact Mr Do!

        Ok,ok... I'm getting my coat..

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    £30 for a Raspberry Pi 3B+

    Install RetroPie.

    Forget all this expensive nonsense, unless you want to buy an old Atari off eBay and plug the joysticks into a £10 chip that converts them to USB for you.

  12. Blockchain commentard

    Where'd you get $199 from? All I see is a request for an email address and going to their website, they are doing the old joystick - the one with a built in timer to stop kids playing after 5 minutes (due to pain in the hands).

  13. Locky

    Dusty

    Does it come with an offical ET catridge, now with added New Mexico dust?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Dusty

      @Locky

      I suspect the delay to launch is that they are still digging up landfill looking for parts. The only excuse for such a delay would be archaeology, when we can already buy a Flashback, with 120 games, and wireless controllers, for like, eighty quid.

      Hold on, given we can buy a Flashback, with 120 games, and wireless controllers, for like, eighty quid, why are these folks still digging?

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: ET

      So how long do you think till the SJWs get 'round to ruining ET as well?

      1. Flakk

        Re: ET

        So how long do you think till the SJWs get 'round to ruining ET as well?

        No need. Seanbaby took care of that over a decade ago. Shame, really. I can think of many Atari 2600 games that were far worse than ET.

        I'm looking at you, Pac-Man. Talk about a regressive game! It literally harms body positivity by thwarting the player's desire to eat as much as they wish. It's hurtful and disgusting. Oh, and it looked and played like a dumpster fire, too.

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: ET

          I was refering to some kind of remake / sequel type afare. I mean they already raped my childhood via Star Wars, and their Mary Sue of a character. Oddly the One time she manges to fork something up. By attacking a Fish/Frog? Rave Party. Cause Luke was trolling her into thinking they were being invaded by some other Tribe across the sea. Somehow managed to hit the cutting room floor.

          How dare the Director cast Mary Sue Ray, as being imperfect! And, let us not get stared on Luke, or gasp Snoke. Perhaps the only thing more interseting than Reys Parents. Noope lets just kill him off ya know for teh lulz.

      2. Sloppy Crapmonster

        Re: ET

        I do hope the world gets better for you white men soon, it's just been so hard on you all this time.

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Dusty

      Hey! Do you mind? I *finished* the ET game. And I saw the Yar easter egg, too.(1)

      (1) I had done *something* the right way, and I jumped in a hole and picked up a flower, but instead of being picked up, the flower turned into a Yar(2) and flew away.

      (2) A sort of pixellated fly, the protagonist of Yar's Revenge.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that is what I call a showman's spiel. Shades of W.C.Fields. Amazing that the style was maintained throughout the whole article. Has the author been a speech writer for The Donald?

    1. Stoneshop
      Headmaster

      Has the author been a speech writer for The Donald?

      You would never know. Speeches by the Orange Turnip go off the rails after three or four short sentences, and from that point on contain a lot of repetition as well as stuff contradicting what he uttered five minutes before, so you'd be hard pressed to find any traces of the original speech in there.

  15. Nimby
    Angel

    Quite the sales pitch.

    Well gee ... now I want one!

    I need it to train my grandkids. Start them off with one big joystick and one big button. Then when they have that mastered, move them up to NES standards with two big buttons and two small buttons. Then Sega and SNES. Etc.

    And for PC gaming I must start them on the C=64 so that they learn the importance of patience when dealing with load time.

    If we don't teach / school them, who will? (What, you expect me to get good at chess all of the sudden?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite the sales pitch.

      VCS to NES...that's a heck of a jump, you need to get a Speccy or Vic20 in first.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Quite the sales pitch.

        For maximum controller awfulness, you need to pass via an Intellivision. The Atari joysticks weren't great, and neither were the controllers for the Colecovision, but the Intellivision ones were infinitely worse.

      2. DiViDeD

        Re: Quite the sales pitch.

        "..get a Speccy or Vic20 in first."

        I'd fit a ZX81 in there too, so they can learn patience (loading from cassette) and dealing with frustration (RAMPack wobble at line 398 - for the 2nd time).

        Nothing like an early introduction to the harshness of life.

    2. King Jack

      Re: C=64

      20mins loading for non 'turbo' games. As a plus you made sure you enjoyed the game after waiting that long to get started.

      1. fidodogbreath

        Re: C=64

        20mins loading for non 'turbo' games.

        Ha, yeah, as the lame-ass disk copy protection scheme forced the floppy drive to knock the head positioner into the plastic case over and over again. Gave new meaning to "head banger."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite the sales pitch.

      I still remember Betty Clay's article in Transactor: What to do while the C=64 is loading.

  16. wolfetone Silver badge

    "You've played the PlayStation, you've crossed paths with the Xbox but now prepare yourselves for the world's greatest ever games console!"

    But I already own a Nintendo Switch? Why do I need another one?

  17. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Stop

    Ah I see Indiegogo

    Indiegogo. Aren't they the one who allow companies an option to collect from the credit cards even if the target amount isn't reached? Or have they since stopped that?

    I was also listening to a piece from a guy who's used both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. He said that Kickstarter take 1-2 months to give you your money after a campaign, while they run a few checks. Indiegogo hand it over straight away.

    Now he was describing that as a point in Indiegogo's favour - whereas I feel rather differently...

    I do quite like the idea of buying my brother one for a 50th birthday present though. Maybe he'll even be able to play it, by the time he's 60.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah I see Indiegogo

      Choose Your Funding Type: Can I Keep My Money?

      "Indiegogo is the only crowdfunding platform where you have the option to keep all your funds even when your campaign does not reach its goal. [..] Choose flexible funding if any amount of money will help you reach your campaign objective and you'll still be able to fulfill your perks. [my emphasis] Flexible funding is suitable for almost all the campaigns on Indiegogo. With flexible funding, you keep all funds, even if you do not meet your goal!"

      Is the bit in bold even a rule or just a supposed guideline they threw in there to make it not look completely like they're giving carte blanche to dubious schemes? Either way, it doesn't appear to make any difference; there's no sign that it's clearly enforced.

      As you imply, the "advantages" of Indiegogo over Kickstarter appear to be entirely on the side of those raising the money. From a customer's point of view, it appears they offer the "benefit" of not even offering the basic checks and safeguards against stupidly thought-out schemes and scammers that Kickstarter do. Just in case they don't have enough excitement in their lives.

      It's also notable that- unlike Kickstarter- Indiegogo don't require companies to have a working prototype that demonstrates that the technology is fundamentally viable.

      One of the most egregious examples on Indiegogo was Bleen. This was a proposed full-3D "holographic" system that many thought was a blatant scam. Not least because- even giving it the charitable assumption that it didn't actually break the laws of physics- to realise it in anything like the proposed form would have required technologies that not only didn't currently exist at the most fundamental level, but where even the science underpinning them hadn't been discovered.

      They were going to sell the product for $800 retail and proposed to develop it on a funding total of $225,000. They had a load of mockups that people showed were all from stock photographs. Their "chief scientist's" Wikipedia page was full of uncited claims before it was removed completely.

      And, of course, they chose flexible funding.

      (Footnote: The Spectrum Vega+ was funded via Indiegogo, and even *that* appears like a paragon of good faith compared to Bleen.)

  18. Dave 126 Silver badge

    For more trips down an alternative history memory lane:

    The consoles that nearly were and never were:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Vaporware_game_consoles

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terms and Conditions*

    * - By giving us your $199, you accept that we accept no liability for any consequences whatsoever. Especially if we take all your money and fuck off to the Bahamas with it. You also agree to indemnify us against any and all liability if we do.

    1. SkippyBing

      Re: Terms and Conditions*

      It always annoys me that my moral compass is just effective enough to stop me pulling a scam like that.

  20. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Does it include a special easter egg by Warren Robinett?

    1. Flakk

      Oh, the astonishing things that real programmers can do with 128 bytes of RAM.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kieran

    This is good, my friend, very good indeed!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horrible Histories ahoy!

    dunno his name, the one presenting Grand Historical Events on the double. Or triple. I can just SEE him doing this bit! :)

  23. adam payne

    and literally showed people a block of plastic with some LEDs in at the Games Developer Conference two months ago

    They did but it did look sexy though.

  24. Michael Habel

    Wowiee

    What crawled up Kieren's proverbial and made her so bitter, and cynically bitter. Did Mr. Bushnell kick her Dog, some Thirty odd years ago, or something? This is a piece of trash journalism you would expect to find on ign, or io9.

    I would ask for an IT? Angle here, but it seems kinda moot, as the Product would be IT related if the would just launch the damed thing. But, it draw up a full Page rant, just on that very topic, fellt very shallow and spiteful just for the sake, and shear plesure at beeing petty, shallow, and spiteful. Just because someone let her.

    1. Nick Gisburne

      Re: Wowiee

      Two things:

      (1) Have you read about the other crowd-funded old-time consoles/computers which never EVER materialise?

      (2) Have you read The Register before?

      If (1) then (2). Cynical and bitter is the perfect tone for yet another crowd-funded fart in the wind.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Wowiee

        So you are either pissy that you paid into this scheme... And lost your Shirt.

        Or, you are upset that other People were smarter and chose to see how it ended first, and kept their money.

        Either way was there someone holding a Gun to your head to buy into this thing? Hardly suprising that that most People who stat this kind of crap decide to take the money, and bugger off to the Bahamas instead. Honestly I can't find any fault in that. Which is why I have never bothered to get in on any of these Deals.

        1. Nick Gisburne

          Re: Wowiee

          Neither. I was merely pointing out that 'El Reg posts snark' is not something unusual, and particularly not something you need to cry about.

    2. jeffdyer

      Re: Wowiee

      Her?

    3. WolfFan

      Re: Wowiee

      What crawled up Kieren's proverbial and made her so bitter, and cynically bitter.

      I'm pretty sure that he's a he. And, as he's been a writer for El Reg since 1999, he's one of the ones who made El Reg the bitter, cynical, biting the hand that feeds IT, red-top it is today.

      Did Mr. Bushnell kick her Dog, some Thirty odd years ago, or something? This is a piece of trash journalism you would expect to find on ign, or io9.

      I found it quite amusing myself, though not as amusing as I found your comment. Memo: next time, do a little research. It took under five seconds to find out that Kieren's a he (that, or his name really should be Lola...) and under five minutes to go back to the Beginning of Time (in this case, 13:45 6 Oct 1999) and yes, he was sarcastic then, too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wowiee

      "Did Mr. Bushnell kick her Dog"

      Kieren, not Karen. It's a male name.

      And as far as I'm aware, Nolan Bushnell had nothing to do with this new "Ataribox". That- in any event- is made by the present-day "Atari" (the company formerly known as Infogrames) that has no connection or real continuity with the original Atari beyond the fact they bought the name and IP some years back.

      Though they *do* like to exploit the fact that most people don't know- or don't care- about this. Like many purchasers of dead company brands, they're exploiting the "Atari's back" nostalgia for all it's worth (and it certainly worked in your case).

      Even though it's just a bunch of people selling a console no-one would otherwise care about under the pretence that it's a new "Atari" "VCS" because it's had wood grain slapped on and comes with some (emulated) games that we've already been resold for nostalgic purposes countless times over the past 20 years. Then again, I already ranted about that a month back.

      So, yeah. If Infogrames, sorry, "Atari", are taking money for some random console that doesn't even exist yet- particularly on the Indiegogo site that has a *far* more lax attitude to safeguards than even Kickstarter- and trying to distract from this with "nostalgia, childhood, Atari", Kieren is quite entitled to be sceptical.

  25. MJI Silver badge

    Why do I need one?

    Got 2 3 4 here and I never play the 2 anyway.

    Going a lot older, no, but I still have my VIC20.

  26. Doctor_Wibble
    Windows

    Pah, TV Tennis is better

    I have a TV Tennis box in a cupboard somewhere. It also does squash and hockey (two bats each), and has a setting called 'practice' though I can't remember if that is one-player squash or tennis against the machine.

    The output is of course analogue but I think I still have a TV that can cope with that. Time for an electronics excavation!

  27. JohnArchieMcKown

    ColecoVision?

    I actually have my ColecoVision. And, as a bonus, I have the Atari 2600 adapter! Along with some classic cartridges. What I don't have is a working controller (it's worn out). Or a way to connect it to a modern TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ColecoVision?

      How to Connect Your Old School Video Game Consoles to a New TV

      Vintage Video Game Colecovision Black Coleco Remote wired Controller

      Go for it. The nostalgia will be good for a while until it wears off (say, half-an-hour later).

  28. Flakk

    Remember the idiot who would post YouTube videos of himself unboxing his launch-day console purchase right in front of the store and then dashing it to the pavement in front of shocked onlookers, many of whom would go home empty-handed that day? It was a brazen display of conspicuous consumption at its most vile, and it made me ill.

    Can we coax this guy out of retirement for an encore performance?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keiran McCarthy

    Your talents are wasted at The Register. The post of F-35 sales chief is likely to be much more lucrative and you have the necessary aptitudes.

  30. FreeTard

    Missile command was the greatest game ever, many's a 10p I spent in the chipper at the bottom of my road on that yolk. I still remember spinning that ball faster and faster to light up the sky. Top stuff!

  31. Eduard Coli
    Mushroom

    Same as it ever was.

    Atari was quite capable of its own flann in its heyday.

    Many of the games for the console would never live up to what was promised on the can.

    Atari was also capable of its own corporate demise by missing the x86 trend and milking punters and consoles. It did not need Nintendo's help either. Nintendo used its influence with retailers and games publishers to prevent them from selling Atari's kit. If you published for Atari you could not publish for Nintendo.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    You can just report on it like you did the Switch!

    Who want's to play the same game on 30 consoles anyway, you already got 4 or more.

  33. Deckard_of_kemang

    Nostalgia!......hmmmmm.

    I agree with the previous comment regarding rose tinted glasses and the longevity of longing to play those games again is very short lived.

    I am not opening a can of worms here but there is a fantastic article on a chaps website 'bytecellar' 'a few woods about the best......' Regarding no mans sky and how many many folk missed the point.

    I am not a fanboy ranting off topic here, bear with me....

    He basically says he has now (NMS) the game he always wanted to play since childhood aka Starglider days on the amiga/Atari ST.

    And now it is here.

    A few months ago I managed to play Starglider 1 and 2 in its original state and I tell you, I am very very glad of technological advances. It's as mentioned you see games in Rose tinted glasses until you actually sit down with them for an hour and realize the extremely basic design and net worth your valuable time spent playing them.

    Yes fantastic and amazing to actually reproduce the exact size and use of a CRT in a replica Arcade machine for home, but 4K Atari classics sitting on your sofa. There is absolutly something missing from the experience.

    bytecellar.com/2016/09/01/a-few-words-about-the-best-game-ive-ever-played-no-mans-sky/

  34. Horridbloke

    From what we currently know...

    ... the only way this new console could possibly be any good would be if it unexpectedly turned out to run SteamOS ( "any good" != "very good" ). The normal economic model for consoles - the hardware itself being a loss-leader - wouldn't work in that case, so to hit that price it would have to be a seriously underwhelming spec.

    No good can come of this.

  35. Brian Allan 1

    But what will I do with the Atari from decades ago that I'm still using!? Does it have antique value? Will a museum buy it from me? Will its game cartridges work on the new unit?

  36. Vectrexer

    Vaporware

    The company already had it chance with the public but instead have presented nothing but inoperable vaporware mock up bricks it's tried to log up as if they existed. Avoid them. Or at at least go into any reservation of the Ataribox / AtariVCS / (whatever they're calling the brick this week) is likely to be a reservation you will loose all your money on.

  37. SA8801

    That was great. Thank you. I will buy. Because. Atari /I\

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