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Long-in-the-works EVE Online FPS Project Nova is officially cancelled

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 22:01

EVE Online studio CCP Games has confirmed its troubled EVE-themed multiplayer shooter Project Nova is officially cancelled, although work on a new sci-fi shooter, with expanded scope, will continue at its London studio.

Project Nova was initially unveiled in 2016 as a spiritual successor to CCP's long-defunct free-to-play PS3 shooter Dust 514. All went largely silent after that, however, and it wasn't until October 2018 that more on the game - said to offer a blend of "tactical co-op PvE and explosive PvP modes, with a strong emphasis on mastery and strategy" - was finally revealed.

Just one month later, though, CCP announced it would "return to the drawing board" with Project Nova, telling fans that the "gameplay experience in its current form does not live up to our original vision and would not achieve our ambitious goals for this project."

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Categories: Video Games

China Enlists Tech Titans To Help It Track Coronavirus With Color-Based QR Codes

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 21:25
In its latest dystopian stab at curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Chinese government has employed two of the biggest tech giants in Asia to help it roll out a nationwide color-based tracking system to keep tabs on those suffering from coronavirus symptoms, according to a new report. From a report: Companies enlisted for this real-life sci-fi movie endeavor to contain COVID-19 -- the World Health Organization's name for the deadly coronavirus behind this global health emergency -- include Alibaba Group Holdings, Asia's largest digital advertising, e-commerce, and cloud platform as well as Tencent Holdings, one of the world's largest video game companies and the force behind the popular messaging app WeChat. As part of a collaboration with Beijing, Alipay, a payment app operated by Alibaba's subsidiary Ant Financial, recently released a new feature that sends a color-based QR code to individuals via smartphone based on their answers to an online health survey. Depending on what symptoms they've been experiencing or whether they've traveled recently, they're assigned one of three colors that's tied to their ID number. Green means the user can travel freely; yellow prompts instructions for the user to remain quarantined for seven days; and red -- used in the most severe cases -- carries a 14-day quarantine period and instructs users to regularly check-in via an Alibaba chat app.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Are Plastic Containers Safe For Our Food? Experts Say It's Hard To Know

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 20:45
Many of us have an overflowing kitchen cupboard of plastic containers to store our leftovers. But as awareness grows over the health and environmental pitfalls of plastic, some consumers may be wondering: Is it time to ditch that stash of old deli containers? From a report: Only 9% of all the plastic waste ever created has been recycled. From its contributions to global heating and pollution, to the chemicals and microplastics that migrate into our bodies, the food chain and the environment, the true cost of this cheap material is becoming more apparent. There are thousands of compounds found in plastic products across the food chain, and relatively little is known about most of them. But what we do know of some chemicals contained in plastic is concerning. Phthalates, for example, which are used to make plastic more flexible and are found in food packaging and plastic wrap, have been found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in measurable levels across the US population (including in the body of Guardian journalist Emily Holden). They have been linked to reproductive dysfunction in animal studies and some researchers have suggested [PDF] links to decreased fertility, neurodevelopmental issues and asthma in humans. BPA, another chemical widely added to food plastics and can linings, has been subject to increasing regulations after studies linked the chemical to neonatal and infant brain and reproductive harm. But BPS and BPF, two common replacements used in products marketed as "BPA-free," may have similar effects to their predecessor: studies out of both the University of Texas and Washington State University found that even at a dose of one part per trillion, BPS could disrupt cell functioning. A 2019 study from New York University linked childhood obesity with BPS and BPF. There are many other chemicals added to plastic during production, and researchers concede that many gaps remain in our understanding of how they affect health and development. But research that is adding to concerns about the "miracle material" is growing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

20 Years After Dot-Com Peak, Tech Dominance Keeps Investors on Edge

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 20:06
As Wall Street approaches the 20th anniversary of the piercing of the dot-com bubble, today's decade-old rally led by a few small players shows some similarities that cautious investors are keeping an eye on. From a report: March 11, 2000 marked the beginning of a crash of overly-inflated stocks that would last over two years, lead to the failure of investor favorites including Worldcom and Pets.com and take over 13 years for Wall Street to recover from. That bust ended a 1,000% decade-long Nasdaq .IXIC rally that had been fueled by low interest rates and a rush to invest in the emerging World Wide Web, often at any cost. Now, after hitting a record high on Feb. 13, the Nasdaq has reached over 9,700 points, almost double its high point in 2000 and about eight times the level of its trough in 2002. Among the so-called "Four Horsemen" of tech stocks that fueled much of the 1990s tech rally, only Microsoft's stock price has recovered from the dot-com bust. Intel and Cisco Systems remain below their 2000 highs, while Dell, the fourth member, has since been taken private and then relisted on the stock market. Microsoft is dueling with Apple for the title of Wall Street's most valuable publicly listed company, with its stock quadrupling since CEO Satya Nadella took over as chief in 2014 and refocused the maker of Windows on cloud computing, a technology central to the current rally in Silicon Valley stocks. With a market capitalization of $1.4 trillion, Microsoft is now trading at over 30 times expected earnings, its highest valuation since 2002, but still less than half of the highest PE it reached during the dot-com era. Intel and Cisco, no longer among Wall Street's most-favored tech stocks after investors refocused on software, are trading at PEs in line with recent years. Further reading: NYU Professor Scott Galloway adds: In the last 13 months Apple and Amazon have added Disney, AT&T/Time Warner, Fox, Netflix, Comcast, Viacom, MGM, Discovery, and Lionsgate to their market capitalization.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Romero's mobster management sim Empire of Sin gets a delay

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:42

Empire of Sin, Brenda and John Romero's intriguing mobster-themed strategy game, will no longer release this spring as originally announced, and is now scheduled to arrive in a hail of sharp suits, fancy hats, and tommy gun fire sometime this autumn.

If you've yet to receive the elevator pitch, Empire of Sin drops players into the seedy side of 1920s Prohibition-era Chicago, where the goal is to create a formidable crime empire from the ground up and become mob king or queen of the city.

That involves a combination of business smarts and, inevitably, violence, as you "schmooze, coerce, seduce, threaten, or kill" your way to success. Oh, and you can expect a healthy dose of turn-based tactical combat, reminiscent of XCOM, when there's blood to be shed.

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Categories: Video Games

Dell Sells RSA To Symphony Technology Group Consortium For $2.075 Billion

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:28
Dell said it will sell RSA to a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group for $2.075 billion in a move to simplify its portfolio of businesses. From a report: RSA provides security technologies for threat detection and response, identity and access management as well as fraud prevention. RSA has more than 12,500 customers. According to Dell, the all-cash deal includes RSA Archer, RSA NetWitness Platform, RSA SecureID, RSA Fraud and Risk Intelligence and the RSA Conference. The Symphony Technology Group consortium includes the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers') and AlpInvest Partners (AlpInvest). Dell's deal to sell RSA comes as Broadcom acquired Symantec Enterprise Security business for $10.7 billion and Symantec's consumer unit became NortonLifelock. McAfee, formerly part of Intel, is now independent with a new CEO.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

A rogue Cooking Mama: Cookstar trailer has appeared

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:01

What's on the menu? A Cooking Mama game for Switch, apparently, and if a newly-discovered trailer is to be believed it could be arriving as soon as March. Emphasis on could.

The unlisted video was first posted on YouTube in November, but was only unearthed today thanks to a listing on Dutch store Nedgame. Publisher Planet Entertainment has now made the original video private, but you can watch a re-upload below. Judging by the fact half the video original video was just a black screen, it was clearly unveiled a little early.

The trailer gives a release date of March, and lists a retail price of $39.99 (£30.71), but as the video is a few months old and the linked website leads nowhere, it's worth taking this with a pinch of salt.

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Categories: Video Games

Stadia adds support for Samsung phones this week

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:00

A range of Samsung, Asus and Razer phones will soon support Stadia.

Google's game-streaming service will, on 20th February, become compatible with nearly two dozen Android devices. The full list lies below.

Up until now, Stadia has been confined to Google's own Pixel smartphones - as well as on PC and on TVs with a Chromecast Ultra.

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Categories: Video Games

The cost of PlayStation 5: are we looking at a $500 console?

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:00

A recent report from Bloomberg has attracted a lot of headlines - the suggestion is that Sony is struggling to control construction costs for the PlayStation 5 and that the $399 pricing sweet spot enjoyed by both PS4 and PS4 Pro may be out of reach for the next-gen system. Bloomberg says that the current cost for building the machine is around $450, suggesting that a retail price of at least $470 is likely - but is the analysis accurate? Will the next generation consoles really be more expensive at launch than their current-gen equivalents?

Pricing of console hardware has been a topic we've raised in the past on Digital Foundry because the fact is that the economics surrounding consumer electronics have been growing increasingly challenging for console manufacturers in recent years, while the pace of technological innovation has also slowed down significantly.

I genuinely believe that next-gen console hardware from both Sony and Microsoft will be superb - but inevitably, delivering a proper generational leap comes at a price. Solid state storage is a game-changer, we'll have a desktop-class high performance CPU component this time and while it can't hope to match the 8x increase in capacity we saw last-gen, 16GB of GDDR6 looks likely. In terms of graphics power, the arrival of the enhanced consoles - PS4 Pro and Xbox One X - has muddied the waters somewhat in terms of defining what a generational leap actually is, but I'd still suggest we'll get there.

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Categories: Video Games

'The Paywalled Garden: iOS is Adware'

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 18:48
Software developer Steve Streza: Over the years, Apple has built up a portfolio of services and add-ons that you pay for. Starting with AppleCare extended warranties and iCloud data subscriptions, they expanded to Apple Music a few years ago, only to dramatically ramp up their offerings last year with TV+, News+, Arcade, and Card. [...] If you don't subscribe to these services, you'll be forced to look at these ads constantly, either in the apps you use or the push notifications they have turned on by default. The pervasiveness of ads in iOS is a topic largely unexplored, perhaps due to these services having a lot of adoption among the early adopter crowd that tends to discuss Apple and their design. This isn't a value call on the services themselves, but a look at how aggressively Apple pushes you to pay for them, and how that growth-hack-style design comes at the expense of the user experience. In this post, I'll break down all of the places in iOS that I've found that have Apple-manufactured ads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Language app Duolingo is teaming up with Angry Birds

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 18:42

I'm almost at a 100-day streak on Duolingo, even though I feel bugged by the app's notifications into keeping going. I guess that's sort of the point? The game-ified language learning app makes things just fun enough - but it is still learning, and sometimes I'll need that nudge.

It'll get to 10pm and I know that I still need to finish a couple of lessons before midnight. I could skip a day, sure, though I'll use up valuable currency on a streak saver. And there's always the next achievement or leaderboard place to go chase.

Duolingo's constant nagging to keep going is theme of today's video - which sees the app's friendly owl mascot becoming ever more zealous and threatening as he interrupts a user's evening in the pub to make him play.

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Categories: Video Games

Elon Musk Says All Advanced AI Development Should Be Regulated

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 18:06
Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said on Monday that "all org[anizations] developing advance AI should be regulated, including Tesla." Musk was responding to a new Technology Review report on OpenAI, an organization founded in 2015 by Musk, along with Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, Greg Brockman, Wojciech Zaremba and John Schulman. From a report: At the time of its founding in 2015, Musk posited that the group essentially arrived at the idea for OpenAI as an alternative to "sit[ting] on the sidelines" or "encourag[ing] regulatory oversight." Musk also said in 2017 that he believed that regulation should be put in place to govern the development of AI, preceded first by the formation of some kind of oversight agency that would study and gain insight into the industry before proposing any rules. In the intervening years, much has changed -- including OpenAI. The organization officially formed a for-profit arm owned by a non-profit parent corporation in 2019, and it accepted $1 billion in investment from Microsoft along with the formation a wide-ranging partnership, seemingly in contravention of its founding principles. Musk's comments this week in response to the MIT profile indicate that he's quite distant from the organization he helped co-found both ideologically and in a more practical, functional sense. The SpaceX founder also noted that he "must agree" that concerns about OpenAI's mission expressed last year at the time of its Microsoft announcement "are reasonable," and he said that "OpenAI should be more open." Musk also noted that he has "no control & only very limited insight into OpenAI" and that his "confidence" in Dario Amodei, OpenAI's research director, "is not high" when it comes to ensuring safe development of AI.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Hunt: Showdown review - a sweaty, stinking, cat-and-mouse masterpiece

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 17:39

A rough beast indeed, Hunt: Showdown, slouching toward the daylight after a couple of years in Early Access. A genre chimera, blurring survival horror with boss rush shooter and battle royale, not quite one thing, not quite another. At a glance you might confuse it with Far Cry 2 - there's the same malarial background hum, the same flammable brown palette - but in motion it's closer to PUBG, shunning the clear ground, ears pricked for proximity chat. It has the vivid markings of a Monster Hunter, but those patterns are really just for show, like the eye-whites of a killer whale - masking the gunsights protruding from its abdomen. You certainly wouldn't call it handsome, but you can't seem to drag your gaze away. How did something so... multiple ever survive the evolutionary process? But alas, you've looked for too long. It knows you're there now. No, don't try to run! The creature's girth is deceptive. We'll have to see if we can bring it down.

If Hunt: Showdown's unusual - and, as it turns out, fantastically exhilarating and engrossing - mixture of inspirations has a single guiding principle, it's that predators become prey. It's a game in which stepping on a twig while chasing a zombie can get you shot from a hundred yards off, and the time-honoured ceremony of a bossfight offers zero defence against the player lobbing dynamite through a window.

In Hunt, you play patron to a "Bloodline" of bounty hunters, all seeking their fortune amid the rot of a 19th century Louisiana that has been overrun by demons. Your task, in the main bounty-hunting mode, is to find the lair of a legendary monster within one of two festering open world maps, using your sorcerous Dark Vision to chase swirling blue sparks to clues that narrow down the search area. Having slain and exorcised the abomination, you must collect a bounty and head to a map exit to complete the match. Along the way you'll fight or avoid myriad lesser horrors - from vanilla zombies who can be treated as speed bumps, providing you don't overlook the ones waving cleavers or torches, to chunkier threats such as the Meathead, a one-armed juggernaut that sees by way of a slithering entourage of leeches.

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Categories: Video Games

The Messy, Secretive Reality Behind OpenAI's Bid To Save the World

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 17:28
OpenAI has a glossy exterior. In the four short years of its existence, it has catapulted itself to a spot among the leading AI research labs in the world. Part of it is its consistency in producing headline-grabbing research. Part of it is its co-founders Elon Musk and legendary investor Sam Altman. But above all, OpenAI is lionized for its mission. Its goal is to be the first to create artificial general intelligence, or AGI -- a machine with the learning and reasoning powers of a human mind. The purpose is not world domination, but rather, to ensure that the technology is developed safely and its benefits distributed evenly to the world. The implication is that AGI could easily run amok if its development is left to follow the path of least resistance. Narrow intelligence, the kind of clumsy AI that surrounds us today, has already served as an example. We now know that algorithms are biased and fragile; they can perpetrate great abuse and great deception; and the expense of developing and running them tends to concentrate their power in the hands of a few. By extrapolation, AGI could be catastrophic without the careful guidance of a benevolent shepherd. OpenAI wants to be that shepherd, and it has carefully crafted its image to fit the bill. In a field dominated by wealthy corporations, it was founded as a nonprofit. Its charter -- a document so sacred that employees' pay is tied to how well they adhere to it -- declares that OpenAI's "primary fiduciary duty is to humanity." This alluring narrative plays well with investors and the media, and in July Microsoft injected the lab with a fresh $1 billion. But a report on MIT Technology Review, for which it visited OpenAI's office -- and conducted nearly three dozen interviews with past and current employees, collaborators, friends, and other experts in the field -- suggest a different picture. There is a misalignment between what the company publicly espouses and how it operates behind closed doors, the report said. Over time, it has allowed a fierce competitiveness and mounting pressure for ever more funding to erode its founding ideals of transparency, openness, and collaboration. Employees' accounts suggest that OpenAI, for all its noble aspirations, is obsessed with maintaining secrecy, protecting its image, and retaining the loyalty of its employees.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Messy, Secretive Reality Behind OpenAI's Bid To Save the World

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 17:28
OpenAI has a glossy exterior. In the four short years of its existence, it has catapulted itself to a spot among the leading AI research labs in the world. Part of it is its consistency in producing headline-grabbing research. Part of it is its co-founders Elon Musk and legendary investor Sam Altman. But above all, OpenAI is lionized for its mission. Its goal is to be the first to create artificial general intelligence, or AGI -- a machine with the learning and reasoning powers of a human mind. The purpose is not world domination, but rather, to ensure that the technology is developed safely and its benefits distributed evenly to the world. The implication is that AGI could easily run amok if its development is left to follow the path of least resistance. Narrow intelligence, the kind of clumsy AI that surrounds us today, has already served as an example. We now know that algorithms are biased and fragile; they can perpetrate great abuse and great deception; and the expense of developing and running them tends to concentrate their power in the hands of a few. By extrapolation, AGI could be catastrophic without the careful guidance of a benevolent shepherd. OpenAI wants to be that shepherd, and it has carefully crafted its image to fit the bill. In a field dominated by wealthy corporations, it was founded as a nonprofit. Its charter -- a document so sacred that employees' pay is tied to how well they adhere to it -- declares that OpenAI's "primary fiduciary duty is to humanity." This alluring narrative plays well with investors and the media, and in July Microsoft injected the lab with a fresh $1 billion. But a report on MIT Technology Review, for which it visited OpenAI's office -- and conducted nearly three dozen interviews with past and current employees, collaborators, friends, and other experts in the field -- suggest a different picture. There is a misalignment between what the company publicly espouses and how it operates behind closed doors, the report said. Over time, it has allowed a fierce competitiveness and mounting pressure for ever more funding to erode its founding ideals of transparency, openness, and collaboration. Employees' accounts suggest that OpenAI, for all its noble aspirations, is obsessed with maintaining secrecy, protecting its image, and retaining the loyalty of its employees. Further reading: Elon Musk Says All Advanced AI Development Should Be Regulated.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Five Years After the Equation Group HDD Hacks, Firmware Security Still Sucks

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 16:41
In a report published today, Eclypsium, a cyber-security firm specialized in firmware security, says that the issue of unsigned firmware is still a widespread problem among device and peripheral manufactures. From a report: According to researchers, many device makers still don't sign the firmware they ship for their components. Furthermore, even if they sign a device's firmware, they don't enforce checks for the firmware signature every time the driver/firmware is loaded, but only during installation. Researchers say this leaves the door open for malicious actors to tamper with local firmware after it's been installed in order to plant persistent and nearly invisible malware on user devices. To prove their point, in their report, the Eclypsium team disclosed vulnerabilities in four types of peripheral firmware -- for touchpads/trackpads, cameras, WiFi adapters, and USB hubs. "Apple performs signature verification on all files in a driver package, including firmware, each time before they are loaded into the device, to mitigate this type of attack," the Eclypsium team said. "In contrast, Windows and Linux only perform this type of verification when the package is initially installed." But while some might be quick to blame the operating systems for not enforcing a stricter firmware signing practice, the Eclypsium team is not on this boat.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Five Years After the Equation Group HDD Hacks, Firmware Security Still Sucks

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 16:41
In a report published today, Eclypsium, a cyber-security firm specialized in firmware security, says that the issue of unsigned firmware is still a widespread problem among device and peripheral manufactures. From a report: According to researchers, many device makers still don't sign the firmware they ship for their components. Furthermore, even if they sign a device's firmware, they don't enforce checks for the firmware signature every time the driver/firmware is loaded, but only during installation. Researchers say this leaves the door open for malicious actors to tamper with local firmware after it's been installed in order to plant persistent and nearly invisible malware on user devices. To prove their point, in their report, the Eclypsium team disclosed vulnerabilities in four types of peripheral firmware -- for touchpads/trackpads, cameras, WiFi adapters, and USB hubs. "Apple performs signature verification on all files in a driver package, including firmware, each time before they are loaded into the device, to mitigate this type of attack," the Eclypsium team said. "In contrast, Windows and Linux only perform this type of verification when the package is initially installed." But while some might be quick to blame the operating systems for not enforcing a stricter firmware signing practice, the Eclypsium team is not on this boat.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dishonored and Wolfenstein games are now available at GOG - and they're 70% off

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 16:36

Entries from both the Dishonored and Wolfenstein series are the latest games to arrive on GOG - and to celebrate they're all available for up to 70 per cent off.

Although GOG already has a decent number of Bethesda titles in its library, this is the first time you've been able to get games from fantastical stealth-em-up Dishonored and the Nazi-punching Wolfenstein series DRM-free. Recent sequel The New Colossus and co-op spin-off Youngblood are not yet included, however.

Still, to see what is there, you can view the full Bethesda publisher sale or check out some of the choice highlights below:

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Categories: Video Games

Dishonored and Wolfenstein games are now available at GOG - and they're 70% off

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 16:36

Entries from both the Dishonored and Wolfenstein series are the latest games to arrive on GOG - and to celebrate they're all available for up to 70 per cent off.

Although GOG already has a decent number of Bethesda titles in its library, this is the first time you've been able to get games from fantastical stealth-em-up Dishonored and the Nazi-punching Wolfenstein series DRM-free. Recent sequel The New Colossus and co-op spin-off Youngblood are not yet included, however.

Still, to see what is there, you can view the full Bethesda publisher sale or check out some of the choice highlights below:

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Kingdom Hearts 3 and Yakuza 0 headed to Xbox Game Pass

Eurogamer - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 16:29

Xbox Game Pass continues to impress with yet another great line-up of additions due on Microsoft's subscription service soon. Most notable, perhaps, is Kingdom Hearts 3 on 25th February - which follows today's release of lots of Kingdom Hearts games on Xbox One via a couple of big compilations.

The acclaimed Yakuza 0 (26th February) and Ninja Gaiden 2 (20th February) are also on the way, along with Wasteland Remastered and enjoyable Theme Hospital spiritual successor Two Point Hospital (both on 25th February).

Rounding out the new console additions will be Jackbox Party Pack 3 (27th February), which includes mini-games such as the brilliant Quiplash 2 and T-shirt creation competition Tee K.O (which I have actually bought a T-shirt from).

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Categories: Video Games
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