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  #1201  
Old 07-17-2017, 01:52 PM
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Every Zelda game that needed to make the list did.
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  #1202  
Old 07-17-2017, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
y u steppin
FFV is my favorite game but I'm still with Turtle on this one. PS version came out in 1999, and a new localization and a bonus dungeon isn't enough to be a new game unless you just want to count the Bonus Dungeon itself.
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  #1203  
Old 07-17-2017, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
I would've expected this one to not be counted. Aside from the bonus dungeon, it's virtually identical to the SFC game.
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Absolutely not. It's got new graphics, new script, new mechanics, and it's portable.
Heck, I considered the DS version of DQV to be not enough of a remake (though I was on the fence). I had two remakes on my list (Tactics Ogre PSP, and Wild Arms AC:F) because they had substantial changes to story (mostly TO) and game mechanics, in addition to new graphics/scripts/etc. But that's just me.
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  #1204  
Old 07-17-2017, 02:30 PM
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unless you just want to count the Bonus Dungeon itself.
And that isn't worthy of any 'top 50' list, unless it's 'Top 50 Worst Ideas Ever Conceived In Video Games'
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  #1205  
Old 07-17-2017, 04:36 PM
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y u steppin
A pettier man would have put Geno on his Mario list.
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  #1206  
Old 07-17-2017, 05:32 PM
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Or on this list. Geno the Game: 21st Century Edition. Featuring No Marios from Super Mario series & Mallow
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  #1207  
Old 07-17-2017, 06:42 PM
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I'm flabbergasted that Rock Band didn't make it onto this list in some form. Ace Attorney, too, although I expect the votes were fairly split in the case of that series.

Breath of the Wild is a great game, but I wouldn't put it at number 1 (and I didn't!).
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  #1208  
Old 07-17-2017, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by MCBanjoMike View Post
I'm flabbergasted that Rock Band didn't make it onto this list in some form.
I figured that was the series you were talking about upthread. The vote for it was split pretty heavily as well, plus like sports games it just doesn't have as much traction here.

That's what's been really interesting about this list and the responses to it, I think. We all spend our time in specific threads so we end up in feedback loops and assume certain games have more forum-wide appeal than they actually do. I was shocked Dark Souls didn't end up in the top 5 even though I really should not have been, for instance.
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  #1209  
Old 07-17-2017, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
And that isn't worthy of any 'top 50' list, unless it's 'Top 50 Worst Ideas Ever Conceived In Video Games'
Would not even make the 'Top 50 Worst Ideas Ever Conceived In Final Fantasy updates'

The Cave of Ordeals is all bats. Bats! All the way down.
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  #1210  
Old 07-18-2017, 06:12 AM
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Why anyone would want to read another one of these lists is beyond me, but here we go!


1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2. The Last of Us
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
4. Diablo 3
5. Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
6. Civilization V
7. Portal
8. Shadow of the Colossus
9. Team Fortress 2
10. StepMania / DDR Max 2 *
11. The Witcher 3
12. Super Smash Brothers Melee
13. FTL
14. Mario Kart 8
15. Romance of the Three Kingdoms 8
16. Rock Band
17. Dwarf Fortress
18. Age of Empires III
19. Dark Souls
20. GTA Vice City
21. Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
22. World of Warcraft
23. Fire Emblem Awakening
24. Wii Sports
25. Fruit Mystery


Honestly the only game I really have any misgivings about putting on my list is Dark Souls. I played Dark Souls some and while I recognize its quality, I just never got into it like others have. I tried err on the side of my own reactions to a game for this list, but for Dark Souls, public momentum won out. Otherwise I think I was pretty true to myself.

For instance, while I know Fruit Mystery is a technically a terrible game, I was in tears laughing the first time I played it. Good games that have dragged on for dozens of hours have made me feel less than Fruit Mystery did in five minutes.
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  #1211  
Old 07-18-2017, 07:05 AM
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Fruit Mystery was a good choice.

It is the only good choice.
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  #1212  
Old 07-18-2017, 09:20 AM
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Here's my list

1 Nier - I'm a bit surprised this didn't place, but I guess our Deptford-based renaissance was quite some time ago.
2 The Binding of Isaac - I've put more time into this game than anything other than World of Warcraft
3 WarioWare Twisted - Hands-down the best WarioWare game, and a strong example of haptic feedback done sublimely
4 Zelda: Breath of the Wild
5 FTL - I've put more time into this game than anything other than BoI and WoW.
6 We Love Katamari - Expanded the original game into some lovely territory. The firefly stage is a wonderful reinterpretation of the originals' ruleset and one of my favorite video game experiences.
7 Katamari Damacy
8 Metroid Prime
9 WarioWare
10 VVVVVV - tight platformer with wonderful music. I've bought this more times on more platforms than any other game
11 Shadow of the Colossus
12 Pikmin 2 - Great expansion from the first game's tight, controlled timed quest.
13 Pikmin - Tight, quick experience that naturally turns subsequent playthroughs into speedruns.
14 Bioshock 2 - Loses the original's open world, but adds a compelling relationship to the story. It diverges enough from the original that I can understand that people wanting more of the same would be turned off. I probably should have voted its Minerva's Den DLC to my top 10.
15 Etrian Odyssey 4
16 Super Smash Bros Melee
17 Virtue's Last Reward - Voted for mostly because it really stuck with me, though it's not great for replays and the new character models and animations sucked a lot of charm out of things.
18 The Witness - Excellent game that is far more expansive than it first seems. The plot is interesting but I can see it being a disappointment for some.
19 Fez - Fun, tight platformer that turns into a weird puzzle game that's easier than you initially think.
20 Shovel Knight
21 Geometry Wars - Genre-defining score shooter with amazing music
22 R-Type Final - Wonderful send-off to the series (fuck Tactics) that would have been a lot stronger with more stages. I can't imagine unlocking all 101 ships at this point in my life, but it was fun as hell when I was younger.
23 World of Warcraft
24 Destiny - On my list due to how much time I've put into it, much like WoW
25 SSX 3 - The race that takes you from the top of the mountain through every course in the game all the way to the bottom is a sublime experience. I was very disappointed that Steep wasn't more directed. I was looking forward to it being a replacement for SSX 3

Although as I've posted, there are quite a few games that would have placed on my list had I thought about them, namely:

Majora's Mask
Silent Hill 2
Cave story
Ghost trick
Okami
Bioshock

Last edited by Adam; 07-18-2017 at 01:26 PM.
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  #1213  
Old 07-18-2017, 10:21 AM
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You thought of Bioshock 2 but not Bioshock?
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  #1214  
Old 07-18-2017, 10:26 AM
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Bioshock 2 is way cooler than Bioshock 1. Also it has the ayn rand version of it's a small world
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  #1215  
Old 07-18-2017, 01:26 PM
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I have no idea how that got on there.
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  #1216  
Old 07-19-2017, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam View Post
22 R-Type Final - Wonderful send-off to the series (fuck Tactics) that would have been a lot stronger with more stages. I can't imagine unlocking all 101 ships at this point in my life, but it was fun as hell when I was younger.
Oh man, I love R-Type Final, but I think that it needs a better first stage more than it needs more stages. 7-ish stages per run is pretty typical for a shmup, and it's got like 14 if you include variant stages. But the first stage is boring as hell, especially after you've played it several hundred times. There's almost no level geometry, the miniboss is a damage sponge, and there are large sections where basically nothing is happening on screen. The music is mostly just eerie environmental sounds and muted electronic percussion (surprisingly provided by former Capcom composers Yuki Iwai and her husband Takayuki Iwai), which doesn't help, either.

While it would be contrary to the tone I think the game was trying to convey, the opening stage probably should have been a little more bombastic (like every other game in the series).
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  #1217  
Old 07-19-2017, 08:34 AM
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Oh man, I love R-Type Final, but I think that it needs a better first stage more than it needs more stages. 7-ish stages per run is pretty typical for a shmup, and it's got like 14 if you include variant stages. But the first stage is boring as hell, especially after you've played it several hundred times. There's almost no level geometry, the miniboss is a damage sponge, and there are large sections where basically nothing is happening on screen. The music is mostly just eerie environmental sounds and muted electronic percussion (surprisingly provided by former Capcom composers Yuki Iwai and her husband Takayuki Iwai), which doesn't help, either.

While it would be contrary to the tone I think the game was trying to convey, the opening stage probably should have been a little more bombastic (like every other game in the series).
I also had RTF on my list and I agree with this. The first stage has an awesome idea behind it, but in execution it's more or less just a pretty background.

I associate it strongly with the giant enemy crab miniboss that does nothing and takes like 6 hours to defeat no matter what ship you're using.
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  #1218  
Old 07-21-2017, 10:54 AM
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If I don't start posting my list tonight, someone yell at me on Discord or IRC or PMs or something so I actually start on it
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  #1219  
Old 07-22-2017, 10:08 AM
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I decided to revise my list, based on:

- Games I completely forgot about
- Rethinking placement of some games on the original list
- Limiting myself to 1 game per franchise (not counting Theatrhythm, since it's a completely different kind of game)

1. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
2. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
3. Katamari Damacy
4. Shadow of the Colossus
5. Astro Boy: Omega Factor
6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
7. Wild Arms 3
8. Super Smash Bros. 4
9. Metroid Zero Mission
10. Dragon Quest VIII
11. Suikoden III
12. Metal Gear Solid 3
13. Frog Fractions
14. Undertale
15. Final Fantasy X
16. Crimson Shroud
17. Capcom vs. SNK 2
18. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
19. Resident Evil 4
20. Batman: Arkham Asylum
21. Advance Wars 2
22. Civilization III
23. One-Way Heroics
24. 2064: Read Only Memories
25. FTL


Also, in a pointless exercise in pretending that objectivity exists in a way that could be applied to this list, here are the games that I think deserve to be in the top 50 (maybe I'll write stuff about the other games later, or maybe I'll just write a bunch more about DQ):

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter - This is a game that a lot of people probably haven't played, and that many people who have just bounced off of (if this was because it it's so different from the previous games, though, you were wrong). Figuring it out takes some effort, and the game itself is not very helpful with that.

This is a JRPG in which the environment you are exploring is the same one where battles take place; the enemies in the environment are not abstractions of the ones you fight - if there are 3 Goos in a room when you initiate a battle, you will be fighting 3 Goos; the layout of the environment is important both before and during battle - you can lure one Goo away from the others and fight it by itself, or you can gather them close together so you can hit them all right away with aoe attacks - using tools that serve these purposes, among others; there are no random encounters - enemy placement is fixed, and they do not respawn* - but you can also avoid fighting most enemies if you want/are able to. Most of this is unheard of, especially in JRPGs, and it all works (though there's room for improvement, of course).

In every Breath of Fire game, the main character has the ability to transform into a dragon. It seems to me like they were always trying to make this a powerful, but limited resource - it had high AP (MP) costs, and AP recovery items were limited. But you could always recover AP at an inn, so it couldn't be too powerful, or else it just becomes a way to trivialize boss fights (this is exactly what happens in parts of BoF3, iirc). In Dragon Quarter, you can, if you choose, completely overpower anything you come up against with your dragon form, and it is incredibly satisfying. However, you are limited on how much you can use it over the course of the whole game. Every dragon action increases a counter in the corner of the screen, and if it ever gets to 100%, the game is over. And there's no way to lower that counter*. It ends up being important to not only choose whether or not to use those powers, but also to be efficient with them when you do.

(*The exception to these is another mechanic that would take a long time to describe; maybe later)

Astro Boy: Omega Factor
Super Smash Bros. 4
Frog Fractions
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
Batman: Arkham Asylum
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  #1220  
Old 07-24-2017, 11:30 AM
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I still haven't played Astro Boy Omega Factor and that is a dark, dark mark on gaming history, frankly.
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  #1221  
Old 07-24-2017, 10:40 PM
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Looking back I wish I'd switched BioShock and Civ IV. Not that it would have made a difference, I just wanted it on record.
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  #1222  
Old 07-28-2017, 11:57 PM
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So I'm gonna write about all the games not on y'all's list because I'm drunk and it's Friday and let's get fuckin stupid in here

#25 BeamNG.Drive Sure, the game requires a massive gaming rig to run, but even a $1000 desktop PC is chump change compared to the cost of the actual cars you'd be wrecking if you tried to do the things you could do in this game in real life, not to mention the medical bills. Notable for inspiring a series on Polygon that, like Evangelion and any given episode of This American Life, opened with an incredibly goofy joke and by the end of it made us question our understanding of what it means to really be human.

#24. Bioshock. Because who among us doesn't want to go on a spree where we hit objectivists over the head with wrenches? On the list, but I can't not explain what I love about it.

#23. Pac Man Championship Edition. I GOT PAC MAN FEVER. I'M GOING OUT OF MY MIND. "Cranked up to 11" jokes references are trite and play on not actually getting the actual joke behind that scene in Spinal Tap. Still, this is Pac-Man cranked up to 11. ON A LOGARITHMIC SCALE.

#22. Kindred Spirits on the Roof. I still regret not finishing that writeup on the game. But, well, doing a text LP of a text game that just came out is always kinda gauche and honestly I was not in the mood to transcribe everything that happens in the game. It's like you could spend two full days of your life without sleeping and still not quite complete everything there is to see. For maybe a good half of 2016 this game was the only thing keeping me sane/in existence. I got published in a fan book in Japan for a little convention about the game around the end of that year...along with some yuri artists I've admired for a long time. That was a trip and three-quarters. The character artist for the game is like one of my favorite artists period, and for a time I was like the only person in the entire western world aware she was still making art over the past year. For more considered thoughts, see the LP forum.

#21. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The game where you have a bomb and someone else has an instruction manual that was almost certainly compiled by some of my coworkers who are intelligent but are not always particularly good at explaining their knowledge or ordering it in a coherent manner. Fun to play even if you don't own the game. One of the few mandatory co-op titles on my list. PLAY THIS GAME WITH ME GUYS, IT'S GREAT

#20. Towerfall. Matt Thorson got on my radar with the brilliant Runman: Race Around the World, a video game that asked the question "what if we made a Sonic Rush game with stages the scale of a Kirby game". Forgiving, cute, fast, and fun, it nearly would have made my list if not for my desire to feature a more diverse range of games. The game is arrow-based: you fire arrows at people and try to kill them. If an arrow hits they die. As someone who likes competitive gameplay when it's based around fairly short sequences, this is like catnip to me. I would yell at you all to play it with me but it's local only (twitchy gameplay and online interaction doesn't go well together). For a while, this was the Ouya's killer app, and one of my friends, having possessed one, was host of a number of delightful gameplay sessions, to me, at least. "Junkyard dog with ADD" is not the sort of fighting style most people want to go up against, I've learned.

#19. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Aria of Sorrow is too easy. The bosses too forgettable outside of the one that smooshes the bat (which is a genuinely brilliant sequence). Dawn of Sorrow is fun, but kinda grindy and its bosses have too much health. Circle of the Moon is underrated -- one of the best uses of enemies in the series -- but has level design that tends to lie in the range between "unbalanced" and "fuckin' winchester mystery house" (which is granted not a bad fit for Castlevania overall) and will murder your d-pad with the way it does its run mechanic. Localization failures notwithstanding, Portrait fits most of the good ideas from the previous handheld Castlevanias into a single title, adds in a Mario 64 portrait-warp gimmick, and includes some lovely tunes by way of Yuzo Koshiro in addition to series signature composer Michiru Yamane. Also there's a two-character mechanic where one player is basically your average Belmont and the other is Sypha but babby. This was the first Castlevania after the Circle team was folded in to the rest of the CV staff, and it shows in several areas; I don't think that's a bad thing, but the inclusion of "Colosseum 2: Dawn of Sorrow bosses edition" (the nest of evil) may not be to your taste? Also the uppercut move using R+Up is back and I love it. Also, flinging bibles at Lv. 1 hard mode Medusa while trying not to get hit is fuckin' exhiliarating (whereas the bosses in the follow-up Order of Ecclesia tended to take too many hits with a normal strategy but fell too quickly using the cheater strats). Picking just one Castlevania game was hard as fuck because they're all some of my favorite games, but, again, variety, also I think Portrait is the most overall compelling one. Interesting abilities, decent level design, consistently compelling bosses, and a fuckton of alternate play modes.

#18. Wii Sports Resort. This game gets on the list because at least one Wii sports game has to just out of historical significance. I pick this one because it's fun, it's easy to set up, has the most options for play (Wii Sports Club for WiiU does not have frisbee golf!), and genuinely improved my golf game because it gave me an easy place to practice keeping my swinging posture straight. Sure, I still can't actually do long drives, but I can hit the ball the direction I want it to go consistently!

#17. Mario Kart 8. Another "great for the family" game, and easily the best Mario Kart game because the AI in it is some of the least-fucked. Maybe Nintendo learned their lesson from MKWii's infinite AI punishment? It's fun, my family loves it too, and it's great to just play it with weirdos from across the planet. Only issue? WiiU version lacks a decent battle mode. Switch version fixes that, but who has enough Switch controllers for a decent 4-player multiplayer session? Other big issue, game gets framier than a Michael's craft shop with more than 2 players on a single console. It's also still a Kart game, so you don't go that fast unless maybe you're playing 200cc. Honestly my biggest frustration with this game is not every previous Mario Kart games' courses are in this one.

#16. Super Mario 3D World. It's Mario! In 3D! And the levels are big and fun and challenging and there's so much to do and you can invite friends to join you and then fuck them over by tossing them into pits! It's better than 3D Land because more of the levels aren't just tiny blocks floating in the middle of nothingness! It's better than the NSMB games because the games do a good job of using the 3D mechanics to find inventive and clever gimmicks to populate the levels with! It's better than Mario Galaxy beca-- wait no hold up, that's wrong

#15. Okami. On the list. Won't add too much more. It's basically if Zelda 2 were a 3D game, in that the arenas are separated from the rest of the game and the experience of the game rests half on goofy conversations with townspeople and the other half rests on dungeon puzzles and aforementioned battle sequences. Obvious jumping-off point for ideas that would go on to be a part of Bayonetta, though still in a pretty primordial phase.

#14. Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. The best Mario Kart ain't even a Mario Kart. It's fairer, it's on more platforms, it has more music by Hideki Naganuma, and you can play it on the go by an astoundingly competent DS port considering it was developed for the XB360, PS3, and PC. Shame the PC version doesn't have online play (though the follow-up fixed this issue) or DLC support. Surprisingly, there is a port to the Mac that does support DLC and online play.

#13. Portal. On the list. Frankly, ice cream can keep well in a freezer much longer than a cake can in any environment. Also, I can get some fuckin' exceptional ice cream at my local grocery store for a mere $5. I ain't foolin'.

#12. Super Mario Galaxy. If you don't watch the intro sequence and find yourself compelled to play through to 100% completion, I don't know what to tell you. Also, Rosalina is the best Mario character wait no this is the wrong top 50 list to mention that in. I think the worlds have a more coherent design to them that makes me want to push this over Mario Galaxy 2 as a single entry. Though Nintendo disagrees, I see this game as fully in the same vein as Mario 64, but with more hand-holding. I hate that hand-holding gets such a perjorative connotation in video games. Holding hands with someone you like is fun, comforting, and can be a great way to get around unfamiliar areas. This is a very comfy game. Well, mostly, since they decided to remake fucking Jolly Roger Bay but push harder on the unsettling side of things -- ironically I like it better than JRB because while it's still freaky, at least it isn't trying to play it off with an inscruitably relaxing piano tune. The thing about underwater levels is that camera clipping happens a lot more often in them, and it's the most effective body horror I can ever think of even beyond the fact that the eels in Mario games are mostly mindless eating machines whose body mass tends to be at least 30% teeth. Unagi the eel is the worst Super Mario cha...wait I keep forgetting what fucking list I'm writing god fuckin dammit. ANYWAY IT'S ON THE LIST BUT I STILL WROTE THIS MUCH BECAUSE IT'S A FUCKIN GREAT GAME AND IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED IT YET YOU NEED TO also the gravity mechanic is a beautiful way of dealing with the fact that instant-kill death pits show up way more often in 3D platformers and are kind of anathema to finding ways to gently ease players in to understanding how a game is supposed to work. I hated Mario 64 before I played this game; I think Mario 64 has aged worse than people say it has, but I have more appreciation for the game after playing this, as it's easier to go back to after having learned what this game sets out to teach.

#11. Sonic Colors (Nintendo DS). The thing to understand about Sonic games is that they have a very strictly iterative form of development, even more so than games like Mario. Generally, I would describe Sonic games as having a cycle (no no that cycle) of "experimental, but poorly-tuned", "a bit bland due to overcorrection from the previous title or frustrating due to tuning up the ideas from the previous game but introducing new errors", and finally "actually a very solid game that obviously borrows a lot of ideas from the previous games, but in a way that isn't as frustrating because it's finally tuned to levels that feel like so-called 'AAA' development, because we already had the engine built". Sonic Colors is the third Sonic game for DS, and I would argue the third game in the Sonic Rush series. And it is an absolute joy to play. Level designs flow logically; it's easy to understand how to chain abilities to unlock fast routes, fun shortcuts, and find the collectable items in each stage; even though it's fast it's easy to follow where you need to go and wind up not flinging yourself into an unmarked death pit. I guess the biggest detraction is that . Sonic Colors Wii is also a pretty decent game, but much slower / more methodical, and it rarely if ever gives you the chance to really feel like a badass shounen hero is also for some reason a speedy blue hedgehog; it is the second game in a trilogy with Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations. And yes, there are, as you can guess from that, two Sonic games on my list. I tried to go for a decent variety, but I am still myself, you see.

#10. Pokemon Sun/Moon. When Pokemon realized that gacha mechanics and one-time use stuff led to more frustrating than strategic gameplay, it was a beautiful thing. Sun and Moon are many of those ideas taken to their logical extremes, producing a game that finally feels committed to the idea that a lot of the point of the single player is to introduce you to a world and let you come up with all sorts of strategies to deal with it and the other people who exist in it. I haven't played this one competitively at all, but I'm glad that as a busy dude with like a job that I don't have to call in sick for a full month in order to have a shot at winning even one online battle. I assume part of this is the Pokemon team realizing that their more grindy mechanics were just leading people to find ever-more esoteric means of cheating. I don't want to say "hackers saved Pokemon" but I definitely want to thank the developers for thinking about making an RPG that continues to respect my time as a human being who's probably lived over a third of his life already.

#9. Just Cause 2. Michael Bay films have terrible politics but can be fun to watch because of the sheer number of explosions, camera pans, loud noises, etc, etc. Just Cause 2 is a smarter variation on the Michael Bay film, and includes more time to decompress between giant sensory overload sequences. Hell, just being able to direct your own Michael Bay film goes a long way to making it actually watchable and not an inducer of complete mental exhaution. It's not perfect, though. It's huge, but also made thorugh the help of some forms of procedural generation; as you get through more of the game, the more obviously samey it feels. But you can still blow a fuckton of shit up, and isn't that what really matters? Also it tends to be very cheap on Steam so it's not like you have much to lose by playing it other than your waking hours.

#8. Civilization V. On the list. Again, what have you to lose but your waking hours?

#7. Saints Row IV. Imagine if they combined all the best ideas of Sonic with all the best ideas of Just Cause 2. OK, now go get the tissues so you can clean up the mess you just made. It's great, it has to be at least this high on the list, and if you're the sort of person looking into what the greatest games of the last 17ish years or so are, you owe it to yourself to look into this one because your favorite games will absolutely get mocked relentlessly for the sorts of sacrifices necessary to make them even designable as video games in the first place. Especially if your favorite game starts with M and sounds exactly like "Mass Effect".

#6. Sonic Generations. OK, if you think of Sonic games primarily as physics simulators, you'll probably take offense to my notion that Sonic Generations, since a lot of its loops, ramps, and jumps are all scripted events, is in fact the best Sonic game period. But if you think that you'll probably also take offense to how low I put beamng.drive on my list, as it is an even more accurate physics simulator that promises the ability to travel at mach speeds. But that one didn't make the list, so I safely presume when I say "Sonic Generations is the best Sonic game. Period." that I do not actually have to qualify that to my fellow voters. Apparently my big ol' essay on why I love Wii/PS2 Sonic Unleashed (which is...the fourth game in the series on the PS2-era of platforms after Sonic Adventure, SA 2, and Sonic Heroes) was good enough for some of you all to think we needed a thread to preserve more of our longform effortposts. I won't complain, but I think there's one key design aspect to Sonic Unleashed that propels it to my "loved" category of Sonic games (over the categories of "liked" and "is Sonic Blast for the Game Gear / Master System"): levels that are short enough to quickly restart if something goes wrong, and a vertical tiering to level design where (a la the classic games, where this was also true) the upper-most level routes tend to be faster and easier but tend to be harder to reach in the first place. Generations loves its tiered level design. These are some of the densest levels in the series, and a lot of the routes are marked by (as with Colors DS) red rings that you're expected to collect in the stage; more efficient and more fun routes tend to take you along a larger proportion of said red rings. Unlike Generations and Colors, its immediate progenitors (to the point where nearly every setpiece of note has an obvious inspiration in either one of the other game, despite being billed as the 25-ish year celebration of all things Sonic), there's even a PC port, and you can get it on Steam with the Pinball DLC based on Casino Night Zone. There's also a good 3DS game with the same title, and while it has some cool features, the developers obviously had to invent a new engine for the game (first 3DS Sonic game, after all), and as a result the tuning just isn't quite there, and there aren't as many levels. It's got the better final boss, though. Anyway, I own this on PC and you all should too. It's good. I might have ranked this higher, but I didn't want to be that guy.

#5. Cities: Skylines. It's like Sim City. But with more focus on traffic planning. Simple enough to be inviting, complex enough to keep you coming back for more. Another "well, I'm booting this up, looks like I won't be getting any sleep tonight" kind of game. Not to be confused with Cities XL which isn't as good. Due to a fake version of Twitter in the game, it's a little easier to get immediate feedback as to whether or not your ideas make sense or are working at a population level. Sometimes the traffic logic is weird, though.

#4. Bayonetta. Starring the biggest DILF (Dante clone I'd like to find good cosplay of) in video games. It's clever, it's kinetic, it's funny, it's the video game that I most feel like actually owns its B-movie aesthetic and just maybe uses it to get people thinking, and it stands up very well to multiple playthroughs. In one scene, Bayonetta grabs a motorcycle, uses her hair magic to pick the ignition lock, yells out, "TIME TO GO VROOM", jumps over a tanker truck, and suddenly what was a hack-n-slash action game has become a hang-on clone with After Burner music in the background. Then a bridge blows up and you have to fight off several giant monsters who wield golden axes while an extremely funky/jazz-fusion remix of the boss music from Fantasy Zone plays. As a huge fan of classic Sega and a moderate fan of B-movie cinema, this game pushes all of my buttons. Later, Platinum, this game's developers, would team up with Yoko Taro to make a game like this; it has a commensurate number of butts and (because Yoko Taro) a significantly higher amount of moments of soul-crushing despair. It is not on my list because I have not yet had opportunity to play it; it may not run well on my laptop. On the other hand, Bayonetta is on my laptop. I've played it on WiiU and X360 (I have all the cheevos on that version; I basically 100%ed it), which is why I've not spent more time on this specific port though.

#3. Burnout: Paradise. Generally there are two types of games making up the upper half of my list: games that keep me up until 4AM when I realize how fuckin' long I've been playing them, and games that let me go really really fast or give me the opportunities to learn about flow in their levels and find ways to chain together lots of badass actions that make me feel like a movie star. If Sonic is Naruto or Bleach or some other shounen stuff, and Bayonetta is The Matrix or maybe a Tarantino venture, Burnout Paradise is Fast and the Furious. Lots of crazy car action stunts in this game. It's a free-roaming racing game, which is the four best words ever put together in the English language this side of "Free donuts and blowjobs". Well, OK, maybe it's got a few flaws: the DJ who comes on every so often is the most annoying person this side of an MTV reality show MC, and due to being open world the races all wind up having one of like 6 pre-determined finish line locations. But, outside of that. Fast. Fun. BOOST POWER. CRASHING CARS AS AN INTENDED GAMEPLAY MECHANIC. F-Zero wishes it was this fun to play. Get rewarded for driving on the wrong side of the road like a rebel by getting ever more ridiculous amounts of boost.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:57 PM
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#2. Valkyria Chronicles. It's on the list. I'm writing about it. I put it as game #2 for a fucking reason, and I'm gonna talk about it by god. I want to get serious for a moment. My grandfather lived in one of the sorts of villages beset by the sorts of imperial forces (German and Russian) seen in this game; the town in question is Ugarsthal, now part of the Ukraine but at other times part of Germany and Austrian Poland / the Kingdom of Galicia (which is a name for a region in fairly modern history that feels extremely weird to type, on the level of some dude acting like Game of Thrones and The Hobbit are genuine documents of British history or something). Did you know that the town my grandfather lived in had a tradition where they would take a photo of the people living in the town every year? I learned that from my mother a few years back as we were preparing photos and media for my grandfather's 80th birthday.

In a way, Valkyria Chronicles feels like an understandable extension from its development studio's previous game, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love. It was set in the US around New York City, and it had as a sort of odd framing device the idea of a Broadway (or just off-Broadway) playhouse. It feels a bit like an early form of what would become Codename STEAM via Intelligent Systems -- steam-powered mechs explore 3D combat arenas, with limited stamina to explore areas, and attack in a fashion similar to other tactical RPGs. There are romance options as well; Sakura Wars as a series is half tactics RPG series, half dating sim / visual novel.

Valkyria Chronicles feels like a logical extension of this because it is a tactical RPG that feels straight-up like a Broadway play. And by "like a Broadway play" I mean: it is unabashedly queer, it is unabashedly Jewish, it is at once both intensely comedic and intensely tragic, and it is focused on the perspective of a class / generation of people who are at once both very strong and yet also very much societal outcasts.

The (as of time of writing this) most recent episode of NPR's The Naked American Songbook featuring Ira Glass (of This American Life) is exactly about this phenomenon, and listening to it on the way home from work the other day is exactly what got off my ass to write this entire damn essay, because it was pertinent and sticking in my head at the time. I would strongly encourage you to listen to it, as it's a great jumping off point for why Valkyria Chronicles matters. http://www.wnyc.org/story/ira-glass-naked

At the time it was being made, Fiddler on the Roof was an anomaly. Sure, Jewish culture in Broadway was no new thing -- the Gershwin brothers, for example, belonged to a family that fled Russia in the late 1800s as Russia became more Jewish; they are some of the earliest and most prolific creators of works that would come to populate what is considered the Great American Songbook. Their collaborative work with DuBose Heyward, Porgy and Bess, is a crucial moment in American stage and opera. A lot of early Broadway works were reflective of Jewish sentiments and ideas that were clearly based around the life experience of Jewish authors, though they tended to use other stories as a proxy. Porgy and Bess is a notable example because it dovetails quite nicely with Black Americans having traditions of spirituals about the passage of Jewish slaves being liberated from the rule of colonizing Egypt, for reasons that should be plainly obvious for anyone with even the barest amount of knowledge of US history. It wasn't until Fiddler on the Roof that Jewish narratives on Broadway were explictly Jewish (in a post WW2 world it can be hard -- even amidst the recent revival in anti-Semitism! -- to really process just how normalized hatred of Judaism was across almost the entire world. But it was, and it explains a number of things -- such why the US did not immediately recognize Hitler as a genocidal despot and was reticent to even engage in WWII at all).

Now, Fiddler on the Roof is about the time almost right before WWII -- the same expulsion of the Jews (amidst the beginning turmoil of the communist revolution in urban centers of Russia) that brought the parents of the Gershwins to the US in the first place. Fiddler is explicitly about Jewish relations with Russian authorities, and about the ways in which Jewish tradition must change with the times both locally (and, eventually, abroad) in order to survive; it focuses on one family's struggle, and specifically the father of that family, as he finds his daughters maturing into adulthood and making choices that feel foreign to him. A crucial moment of Fiddler, and one that will likely always stay with me, is one in which the father, Reb Tevye, must consider whether or not to grant his blessing to his youngest daughter's marriage to a man outside the Jewish faith and tradition. While he has been willing to accept and support the decisions of the two older daughters, he cannot accept that one of his daughters would choose to live outside of the tradition so far as to seek marriage outside the faith. It is at once both harrowing and grim, and at the same time a powerful statement of Jewish identity and, perhaps, solidarity that rarely is captured even to this day in film or stage. Being a human is complicated, but it is only with some sense of a fixed gaze that we could even hope to understand it; this may well be the theme of the play and oh god is this middle school why am I writing a term paper at 11 PM on a friday night

Valkyria Chronicles does not have the words "Jew" or "Jewish" in its script; it is in no way nearly as explicit about the reality underpinning its themes as Fiddler. But it is important. I think it would be a disservice to talk over our forum's own Nadia on why Valkyria Chronicles is importantly a Jewish narrative, even if it doesn't say so. If you haven't and you've read this far I'm not sure what's up with you, but please do us all a favor and read it: http://www.tinygirltinygames.com/201...epresentation/

Sure, that answers the Jewish part, what about the queer part? Well, the thing to keep in mind about Valkyria Chronicles is that the story is focused on an organization of combatants in a not-quite-WWII who are all paramilitary, closer to the National Guard (they're referred to in game as 'The Militia') than, say, SEAL Team 6 or whatever army squads are popular with the youth these days. There are a lot of openly gay, openly gender non-conforming, and otherwise unusual sorts in the group of soldiers that you (by way of player character Welkin Gunther) command into battle. They are, granted, a touch stereotypical, but are important and form a core component of what makes Gallian militia squad 7 what it is. Dallas Wyatt is an upper-class rich girl who attended an all-girls academy, interested in botany, and has crushes on major characters Alicia and Rosie. Jann Walker is a strong tank destroyer who fetishizes muscles and has a crush on one of the main character lancers. Ted Ustinov might be bisexual; while his personal description pegs him as a natural showman, the kinds of boosts he gets are the same ones generally used to imply romantic attraction. A lot of these folks are all very strong members of their classes, especially because of these boosts, even. Everyone in the game is *some* sort of misfit, which is why they're in the militia rather than the nation's army in the first place. In fact, the army kinda loathes most of the militia and refuses to treat them with respect or dignity, despite their common goals of getting rid of colonial influence in the rest of the communities.

The game is, fundamentally, about a guerilla force massively overwhelmed by resources and manpower. Guerilla tactics being the best means of achieving victory is not, I think, a bug, but a feature. This is how you win. This is how [/i]any[i] force of this sort wins. This is the story of military strategy in the 20th century, hell, even before that (how did the US gain its independence again?).

There's also a really fun little fuck-you to noted Nazi opera composer Wagner partway through the story, but I don't want to delve to deep into the details lest it count as a spoiler.

There are, granted, dumb things that detract. There's a beach scene in which major character Alicia is wearing an obviously anachronistic bikini in order to reveal skin for player titillation; there's an entire DLC campaign that can be summarized as "my date with the Nazi commander", only tempered by the fact that the game is willing to take . The character designer doesn't just do "porn" like, say, Tony Taka, another Sega-hired character artist does, but really imperialistic-fetishistic stuff (that ties in very closely with the DLC campaign I just mentioned). Still, as a game created in a country that was a former axis power that has spent a lot of the last decade trying to reconstruct imperalistic sentiment specifically through its nerd culture, Valkyria Chronicles feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air, even today. PS3, and later Steam. How good is this game? Despite coming out on Steam several years after its initial release, it was still the most popular game on the platform at the time. Please, please play it.

1. Breath of the Wild. I can't put into words what makes this game good. It is one of the few open-world games that is open-world. It is so maximalist, so filled with puzzles and challenges and mechanics and exploration that it is not concerned if you've "cheated" or found an exploit. Zelda is happy to let you explore the world as you see fit, to count its challenges completed as long as you meet its requirements. Procedure does not matter, results do. It is happy to inspire creativity in its players, and even in open-world games is one of the few to so fully commit to that ideal. I have written at length (in, granted, complete gibberish) about the things in the game that have caught my attention and compelled me to keep playing it, but I hestitate to share them because you will likely go in with a completely different reason for wanting to explore -- and still manage to find yourself sated by the offerings this game provides.
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:16 AM
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Special shout-outs to

OutRun 2006: Ah, if only you were still available to purchase I'd have probably put you on the list. One of the best racing games ever; harder to recommend over Burnout Paradise since it has fewer modes and fewer options for getting around. It cares a lot more about running a good line on the road in front of you than it does on finding ways to navigate a small town efficiently. Either way, fun as hell if you can find a copy, probably best on PC. Was heavily discounted on Steam a bit before being delisted, which is how I got my copy. I mean, it's OutRun, but with a lot more drifting. You know OutRun, right?! RIGHT?!?!

Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver: Walking with your pokemon both in-game and in real life is the sort of cute idea that really gets me to forgive all the HMs needed to fully explore the world. Still a lot of charm. Still a lot of content! Superceded mechanically by the games that came after.

Pac Man Vs.: What if the ghosts in Pac-Man were sitting right next to you? Now on Switch! ...If you have a cool $600-ish to spare on two consoles, not to mention a copy of the game.

Super Monkey Ball: I remember a little board game we had called Run Yourself Ragged which was a series of fun little challenges to all be done with a steel marble, like mazes and sliding metal bars. Super Monkey Ball is that game, made electronic and with cute monkeys. Who doesn't love cute monkeys?!

Super Mario Maker: Finally, make the Mario levels you've dreamed of playing. I love this game. I've spent a lot of time on it. I don't know how it missed my list, it really should have been on it. I used this game to inspire both some of the highest and lowest emotions that I've seen from Waypoint (VICE's video game commentary imprint) contributor Patrick Klepek, who had a nigh-daily youtube series playing levels from the game almost right up until he played my stages. Featuring the return of celebrated Mario side character undodog!
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:18 AM
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OutRun 2006 was really great. It's a shame that games sometimes get delisted. The Scott Pilgrim game also got delisted, so basically two of my favorite XBLA games got delisted.

From my list only the first 9 titles really mean a lot to me:

1. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009)
2. Eternal Sonata (2007)
3. Valykrie Profile 2: Silmeria (2006)
4. Baten Kaitos (2003)
5. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (2009)
6. UnderTale (2015)
7. Cosmic Star Heroine (2017)
8. Fragile Dreams (2009)
9. Unlimited Saga (2003)

Nobody commented on it so I'm not sure what you think about it, but I guess I should also leave a few words on each of them:

9. Unlimited Saga

So this is pretty much one of the worst rated games ever on Metacritic, still I think it's one of the best. I understand it's hard to access at first because it's different, but being different is also what makes it one of the best games this century in my opinion. Because if this century suffered one thing, it's too many games (especially in the RPG genre), that are all the same. Unlimited Saga just worked out perfectly for me. It gave me this feeling of playing a really interesting board game, but you didn't need any friends to actually play it properly. The mechanics in it were all just fun to play. From exploration to playing your level up hex tiles properly. Even crafting was so simple that it's one of the few games in which I actually did crafting. I didn't actually find the game too hard. The only thing I really missed on my first playthrough was that you could just recover by pressing R3. My second playthrough went by a lot smoothers knowing this. I also love the challenge in this game. It's super hard but never impossible, you just need a few tries. The final boss was really designed so that you barely survive him with just one or two characters left alive. It also has a great OST, unique art style. Apart from the hard-to-access-at-first part, I really don't see anything to hate about this game.

8. Fragile Dreams (2009)

A horror JRPG hybrid game with fairly mediocre gameplay. So why is it this great? Well first of all the art style is just beautiful, but what makes the game really special is that it has so much love to the detail. Every single wall in that game seems unique and contains hidden messages. But the most notable thing about this game is that it's pretty much the saddest game I've ever played. Never did I cry so much when playing a game as in this game. And not only at the ending, but rather at multiple parts of the story. The game really knows how to play with your feelings.

7. Cosmic Star Heroine (2017)

So yeah this is the most recent title on my list and most of your probably haven't even played it yet, so I didn't expect it to make it to the top 50, but I wanted to vote for it anyway. From the very beginning of this century (after the disappointment that Chrono Cross was), I was always preaching that people should make a game with the Chrono Trigger battle system because it was the best ever, but nobody ever dared to try until I Am Setsuna. Unfortunately, that game just wasn't as great as Chrono Trigger, even though I really liked it too. It was just missing the magic that Chrono Trigger had. Then however came Cosmic Star Heroine and it really manages to nail down that Chrono Trigger feeling while still managing to add some complexity to it. It is probably the only RPG released this century that has so much going on in very little time that you feel like replaying it right away after having finished it. That I'm a big fan of Phantasy Star and CSH's second inspiration is from there probably helped too.

5. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor

Honestly, I was hoping this title would actually make it to the top 50, but I guess the final result still contains more popular titles than it contains hidden gems after all. This game's gameplay is just so unique and amazing and just stays so good from start to finish. It's all one amazing ride. I just had to watch the gameplay trailer of it and knew it will be game of the year and I wasn't disappointed. I guess it's worth mentioning that it's also the only non-RPG that found a place deep into my heart.

4. Baten Kaitos (2003)

The unique world this game plays in already makes the game really special. That combined with beautiful graphics, an amazing OST and the probably most fun card-based battle system ever, make it a candidate for the perfect RPG.

3. Valykrie Profile 2: Silmeria (2006)

I didn't expect a game to manage to improve the Valkyrie Profile formula even further after playing Valkyrie Profile, but the idea of the "dash" system really just fit perfectly into the game. Also really loved the story in this one. Best villain ever.

2. Eternal Sonata (2007)

Another one of those unique sparkling gems that look amazing, sound amazing, have a completely unique story and an incredibly good battle system.
Really the only thing that puts this above Baten Kaitos is that it doesn't have items expiring in game time.

1. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009)

So I decided to vote for this as my #1 game of this century. Now it isn't as unique as some other titles above, but it's larger and has a such of great sense of exploration that I decided to put it even higher.
First of all I want to start of by saying that this title has the best combat system in the series. The fact that it actually offers two gameplay style to accomodate both types of players (buttons mashers vs. strategic thinkers), makes it even better.
The great feeling of exploration games from the fact, that unlike other Star Ocean games, this one actually feels like a sci-fi adventure. You actually fly around, visit new planets and explore them. Each planet is very unique and has really large areas to explore. It's probably one of the only RPGs released this century with dungeons that are this large.
Finally one more thing that made it work great for me is how it works with nostalgia. If you've played SO1 and SO2 before you will be able to revisit the planets, including their OSTs and locations and everything.
Also the greater impact on the lore was really nice for me, because all the following Star Ocean games are all about that it's bad if a more advanced race messes around with a less advanced race and they actually keep mentioning the rule that humans are not allowed to get involved with less developed races of foreign planets so the game totally aiming toward the main character having a bad experience with messing around with less developed races, then saving the world so he gains fame, just so he can actually create that rule that is mentioned in all the other games is actually exactly the perfect thing to do. Even though admirably, the way they did it was sub-optimal. Seriously, why didn't they just make him wipe another planet after the player getting to like the NPCs on it? No need to go all this way to create a black hole to bring him to an alternative earth and make him wipe that. Yes, the idea was "Players will probably feel at lot worse if planet earth is destroyed than they feel about random planet X destroyed", but no, that's not how it works, at least not when the previous lore didn't establish that earth is destroyed.
Anyway, now I'm actually ranting about the best game of the century.
Oh yeah, one more thing about this game I really liked was Welch. It's the only game that gives Welch a bit more character. The scenes with her are probably one of the most funny things I've ever seen, and I really was looking forward to return to the ship to talk with her after every journey. I really grew attached to her and it really warmed my heart when she actually contacted you again at the end of the game.
So in the end, even though it isn't perfect, it is still my game of the century.
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