Which Nintendo Series Needs a REBOOT?


Nintendo has rebooted several of their franchises, but there are so many that are left in the dust! And it’s sad to see some of our favorite characters and series trapped in the past. Simeon and Scott each compiled a list of the games they want to see Nintendo bring back with a fresh coat of paint.

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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The Nintendo Experience: Controlling Outside the Box

With Nintendo Labo announced, something that is sure to change the way we view how video games control, I find it appropriate to look back on some of the times that Nintendo flipped game control on its head. Now, obviously, not every time Nintendo ventures into an unexplored frontier is a smashing success, but they are usually the only company “daring” enough to branch out as far as they do. Games like WarioWare: Twisted, Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, and 1-2-Switch brought a whole new dimension to gaming that took the geniuses from the Big N to complete. Today, I will be adding three new games to the Nintendo Experience that challenged the boundaries of what it meant to be “in control”. (If you are not sure what the “Nintendo Experience” is, check out the previous blog posts).

Donkey Konga was Nintendo’s attempt at jumping into the (then-budding) rhythm genre. It was a little more entry-level than staples like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, a little more immersive than Parappa the Rapper, and, of course, containing that Nintendo charm. Overall, it was an average game with mediocre covers of classic songs, but it did give birth to the DK Bongo peripheral. Once you had enough of Donkey Konga and its sequel (and tried it out on Smash Bros.), there did not seem to be much use for the hunk of plastic; I mean, if you consider the size-to-button ratio, you are losing the space-saving-game.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GameCube)

Leave it to Nintendo to make a deep, compelling platformer that only uses two buttons. Consumers had the option to buy the whole package, including the bongos, or just the disc if you had the bongos already (you could also play it with the normal GameCube controller, but where’s the fun in that?). This game was fantastic, and is a must-play for fans of Nintendo that want that truly unique hybrid experience.

Wii Sports (Wii)

What more can I say about Wii Sports than has already been said? Motion controls may not have turned out how we thought they would (only seeing wide application currently paired with VR or AR), but it was really nothing before Wii Sports. Now, it is true that there was motion control games before Wii Sports, and that the Wiimote was not 1:1 like we (at least, I) thought, but from the first time I picked up this game, my view of what video games could be was never the same. I do not think I need to elaborate too much further, as I can almost be certain that everyone reading this blog has either played this or, at least, its sequel, Wii Sports Resort, and had a similar life-altering experience.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)

Just as Twilight Princess rolled the dice with motion controls in a beloved Nintendo franchise, Metroid Prime 3 similarly pioneered how the Wiimote would handle first person shooters. Other FPS’s had released on the Wii by the time Prime 3 was released, but those could not be compared to what Corruption brought to the table: not in genre, and certainly not in successful execution. In fact, Prime 3 controlled so great that Nintendo decided to re-release all three games of the trilogy with the new Wiimote controls. The world it created and the story it tells are fantastic as well, but the way Samus controls in the new age was forever revolutionized by this fantastic piece of Nintendo history.

These are just a few examples of Nintendo’s abstractly-controlled masterpieces. What are some of your favorites? The Nintendo Experience continues to grow…

The Most SUPER of METROIDs? (SNES)


Simeon and Scott played Xeodrifter earlier this week, a game which probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Super Metroid. In this SNES Samus outing, we take control of the bounty hunter and explore a mysterious world.

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Xeodrifter: Launching into Space


The talented creators at Atooi have brought one of their finest titles to Switch: Xeodrifter, a bite-sized love letter to the Metroidvania genre. This little indie gem is ready to blow your socks off as you traverse the alien landscape, blast baddies, and power up to take on big bosses. We hope to give you a taste of what this title is like, and we definitely recommend you give it a look in the eShop!

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Xeodrifter Review (Nintendo Switch)


Xeodrifter is a retro-styled, Metroid-like game from indie developer Atooi. It’s a bite-sized love-letter to the Metroidvania genre, originally released on the 3DS and newly ported to Nintendo Switch.

You play as a little red guy (or girl? You never know with these games…), equipped with a gun, exploring 4 neighboring planets. You’ll need to unlock equipment and abilities as you go to advance through new areas.

Beating bosses earns you power-ups, and you can configure your blaster on the fly by allocating points to its speed, bullet size, spread, and more. Most other unlockables increase your mobility in fun and useful ways; think along the lines of the Metroid series’ shine-spark or rocket jump, but with its own Xeodrifter-flavored twist. The game prompts some “aha” moments as you’re forced to use these mobility upgrades in tandem for some truly memorable segments.

This game presents a real challenge. Once in a great while you will stumble on an enemy nest where you can farm for life replenishment, but by and large you have to traverse through these alien structures with care and caution, where every hit matters. It regularly took me multiple attempts to get what I needed and make it back to the safety of my gunship before embarking on the next mission.

The graphical presentation of Xeodrifter can only be described as simple. When first booting up the game, it didn’t strike me as beautiful when compared to some other modern takes on pixel graphics, but the art style actually did grow on me. For this version, graphics AND rumble were given the “HD” treatment. I also didn’t find myself missing the stereoscopic visuals from the 3D original. However, in the absence of a second screen, a little mini-map in the corner would have saved me a lot of pausing.

One more thing I have filed under the “would have been nice” category is variable jump-height. Whether you quickly tap or hold the jump button down, the character executes the same move and sometimes stays in the air longer than I would have liked. Variable jump height is something the developer has implemented in other games, and that lacking aspect of control did limit my precision.

Overall, I had a fun time with Xeodrifter. The game doesn’t hold your hand, leaving the player to his or her own devices to figure out where to go. In such a compact world, I never felt truly lost. You are encouraged to explore and see where your new weapons can take you.

Some gamers might have a complaint about the boss levels; roughly a half-dozen encounters that use the same giant enemy and attack patterns with increasing difficulty. I actually thought this was a cool analog to my character, as if I was growing more powerful in parallel with my archenemy over multiple showdowns, like you might find with Dark Samus in the Metroid Prime games. The boss fights were another area where this game doesn’t hold back in difficulty, and beating each one felt like an accomplishment.

Xeodrifter is short. It’s an excellent palate-cleanser between bigger titles, a great option for people who miss the Metroid gameplay loop, and a good effort from a passionate indie developer. For the $10 asking price, I can easily recommend it to fans of the genre. Xeodrifter gets a 7.75/10.

5 Labo Toy-Con Nintendo MUST Invent

Nintendo has removed the lid on their latest innovation: Labo. This new way of interacting with video games—through cardboard—could not have been predicted. I always allow room for Nintendo to surprise me with something that would never occur to me, and once again, they did not disappoint. We’ll be unboxing our boxes this April.

Or will we? I’m still not completely sold on the concept. This is no fault of Nintendo’s marketing department; the messaging for Labo is clear: kids and kids-at-heart get to Make, Play, and Discover functioning cardboard creations with the technological help of Nintendo Switch.

I’m no longer a kid, and my heart is still trying to decide how old it is. Were I to invest in multiple sets of cardboard kits, I would definitely need to find a place where I could tuck my creations away to keep them out of my cat’s reach. She would utterly destroy my hard work, and then meow at me with a mischievous glint in her kitty eyes.

But there’s the distinct chance that Nintendo could release Labo kits in the future that would be irresistible. Labo is all about imagination and creativity, right? For the purposes of this blog, I’ve let my imagination run wild and conceived 5 Labo Toy-Con I Would Insta-Buy…

Arcade Stand

You know this needs to be a thing. Arcade games are coming back in a big way thanks to Nintendo Switch. ACA (Arcade Archives) have been releasing arcade ports like crazy, and recently started porting some first-party Mario content as well. Additionally, indies have made a few unique offerings on eShop like Mutant Mudd Collection’s “Mudd Blocks,” Pinball FX, and more—all playable in portrait orientation. If Nintendo were to officially support portrait arcade games by creating a cardboard stand for the console… man, that would be totally tubular!

Camera

Here, I’m essentially asking Nintendo to please give me cheap DSLR lessons. Video games have been a good teacher to me before (I learned the basics of drums on Wii Music with two motion controllers and a balance board for foot pedals). And after kids get done learning piano on a cardboard keyboard, why not move on to photography? Nintendo actually showed a brief glimpse of this product in the initial Labo trailer, though it won’t be available as a product in either of the launch kits. A Joy-Con was shown both in the lens and the main body of the camera. If Nintendo could “gamify” learning the foundations of photography; aperture, exposure… lens… speed? See, I clearly need some help in this department and pointing a cardboard camera at some Pokemon on my TV might just do the trick.

Samus Aran’s Arm Cannon

Did I just blow your mind? Because with a cardboard Samus Canon, you can bet that some heads would be exploding. Imagine shooting with 1:1 pointer controls, but instead of holding a remote in your hand, your arm is the weapon. And with a mounted Joy-Con within reach, you’d be able to use your free hand for inputs like changing beams, calling in an attack from your gunship, and more. Just like our favorite bounty hunter does in-game.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I want to play through Metroid Prime 4 dressed up like a poor cosplayer. The Prime series must be treated with great care and respect. But a Labo spinoff title (a la Nintendo Land) would be incredibly enticing.

Poltergust / Flashlight Combo

With a new coat of paint and a few different extensions, the Robot suit’s backpack could easily be transformed into Luigi’s Poltergust Vacuum. Having donned Luigi’s equipment, we would be scouring haunted mansions like never before. We’d be in the action. We’d be flashing lights and sucking baddies like no tomorrow. And HD Rumble could make us feel like we’re actually lugging around specters on our spines.

VR Goggles

While first viewing Nintendo’s promotional video for Labo, I thought that VR was becoming a reality for Nintendo fans. I was wrong, and the headset I saw was simply a decorative visor for Project Giant Robo—I mean—the cardboard robot suit. It’s probably wise for Nintendo to hold off on Virtual Reality for the time-being. With the Switch tablet’s 720p resolution, it’s not quite pixel-dense enough to hold up under the demands of VR. However, I believe that Switch and Labo are both initiatives that will last longer than a single traditional console generation. In 5 years, we might have a 4K Switch and a nice cardboard set of goggles to hold it. When that happens, Nintendo will transport us to another world.


There you have it! 5 Toy-Con that would be in my cart before I could say “Lab…Oh…No…”
What do you want Nintendo to craft from cardboard in the future?

Where the Metroid Series Needs to Go Scott's Thoughts

Samus has been all over the galaxy, answering distress calls everywhere from overrun space stations to giant baby bottles.

Her contemporaries (Mario and Link) have had huge shake-ups in their respective series, much needed to avoid fatigue and bring something fresh. Where does Samus need to go from here?

Earth.

Samus needs to land on planet Earth and defend it from invading aliens.

That’s how this series can mature and raise the stakes all in one fell swoop. It’s great that she’s a solitary and silent hero, and I know the Metroid series is lauded for its isolation and atmosphere. But…

We can’t just keep fighting Ridley and Space Pirates over and over, acting surprised when the Metroid race is not extinct (again).

The entire game doesn’t have to be set on Earth, either. She can speed off in her gunship to stop a planetary attack from being launched—that kind of thing!

I don’t expect a monumental shift like this to occur in Metroid Prime 4, because that wouldn’t be a logical way to proceed after the trilogy. However, the Metroid franchise will need to take a big step sooner or later.

Although this series of games was born at the same time that most of Nintendo’s IP were created in the NES era, Metroid titles always sell surprisingly low compared to their peers. The Big N needs to shake things up and attract mainstream attention to this series, or it will probably always exist in a state of sales flux with long periods between sequels.

Metroid could also benefit from dropping the “Metroid” name. It’s weird to have a franchise named after a common enemy (like Goomba Odyssey or Bokoblin of the Wild) and only serves to box in the developers’ creativity.

But now I’m just talkin’ crazy.

TBC 005: Metroid: Samus Returns

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Samus is making a comeback! After a decade of misfires, the bounty hunter has returned to the starring role. This 3DS exclusive came out of the blue at E3, and a few short months later, was delivered to us along with amiibo figurines and special editions. After all the surprises and fanfare, how does the game hold up? The Two Button Crew hosts are here to discuss the controls, music, challenge, gameplay, and progression.
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“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Future of 2D Metroid, Wii Shop, Mega Man?!


In the first-ever installment of Live Show News, we’ve got our crystal balls out to talk about the ~future~ of video games! Wii Shop Channel? Mega Man? 2D Metroid? It’s all here, and discussed by Simeon and Scott!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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The Metroid Conspiracy

Warning: The following blog contains spoilers for both Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Other M.

A while back, I made a cryptic remark along the lines of, “it’s almost as if Other M was an attempt to rewrite Fusion in hopes of removing the latter from the series continuity.” While the announcement of two new Metroid games at E3 back in June was exciting—and certainly bodes well for the franchise—I can’t help but think something’s off about the whole thing. This is just a hypothesis, but I think Nintendo really did try to retcon Metroid Fusion!

Motive

But why would the Big N try to remove Fusion from the series continuity? Well, first let me just point out that the Metroid series is rather unique among Nintendo’s repertoire in that it actually observes continuity. Unlike other series that either only present plots that span a few games before moving on to another setting (such as Fire Emblem) or are designed “gameplay-first” with timelines being a mere afterthought (e.g. Zelda), the events of each Metroid game are closely tied to those of the games previous to it. So unlike other series, plot developments have consequences moving forward.

The events of each Metroid game are closely tied to those of the games previous to it.

This makes Fusion problematic for a company that’s rather fond of maintaining status quo. Metroid Fusion shakes up the series in a couple ways. Firstly, it ditches the heroine’s iconic appearance, potentially disrupting the franchise’s branding. Samus now sports a rubbery, blue suit instead of her iconic orange, metal suit and pilots a spindly, purple spacecraft instead of her more rounded, orange ship. Moreover, Fusion ends with her still using this equipment. Even when she regains her powers from SA-X, Samus is still wearing the fusion suit, now just with an orange color palette.

I can't tell you how happy I was to find two pictures of Samus in striking the same pose in different suits.
Years of branding makes one of these more marketable than the other.

Of course, this isn’t that big of a deal, as redesigns are reversible or even welcome at times (I’m looking at you Breath of the Wild). No, the biggest problem is what the game does to the continuing Metroid storyline. Metroid Fusion ends with Samus directly defying the Galactic Federation. She not only destroys their metroid breeding program, but foils their attempts to weaponize the X-parasites. By the end of the game, she’s most likely angered some very powerful people. I think it’s safe to say that after Fusion, Samus is a wanted criminal.

Metroid Fusion has far reaching consequences for the series, fundamentally changing the relationships between the Metroid universe’s various factions and thus the types of stories that can be told. This presents an intimidating challenge, as these new stories would require the writers to accept that they can’t rely on the plot conventions of previous games. Furthermore, shifting the focus to combating a corrupt industrial-military complex instead of the unilaterally evil space pirates may radically alter the tone of the series, potentially alienating fans.

Method

I’ve already gone on at length about how Other M is essentially a retelling of Fusion, but let’s look at one of the ways the two are different: the ending. As mentioned, Fusion ends with Sammy triumphantly thwarting the federation’s misguided efforts to weaponize the lifeforms of SR-388. Other M ends on a much more somber note; after Ms. Aran and co. manage to defeat the malevolent (and possibly “just misunderstood”) A.I. controlling the bottle ship, the federation arrives and starts sweeping up. Samus is allowed to go freely, but knows that the federation will take whatever data it can find and continue to research bio-weapons. It has a very different “you can’t beat the system” kind of feel to it.

Other M‘s ending has a very different “you can’t beat the system” kind of feel to it.

Other M‘s ending is much more open ended: Samus isn’t implied to be an enemy of the state, thus allowing her to take more jobs from the federation. This means that if Other M replaced Fusion, Nintendo could easily continue with the typical Metroid plot structure of taking assignments from the federation, which in turn means future games need not revolve around governmental conspiracies.

Supporting Evidence

This brings us to the present day. Nintendo has just released a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid Prime 4 is on the horizon…somewhere. Notice anything strange about that? One’s a remake and the other is a continuation of the Prime series. For those of you who don’t know, the Metroid Prime games take place between the events of Metroid and Metroid II. That means they’re technically prequels and don’t continue the story. Fusion is the last entry on the Metroid timeline; there hasn’t been an actual continuation of the overarching narrative in fifteen years! I think it’s safe to say Nintendo either isn’t interested in continuing the story, or just doesn’t know how.

There hasn’t been a continuation of the overarching narrative in fifteen years!

See You Next Mission?

In a weird way, I’m actually glad Other M received so much criticism. If it had been a resounding success, Fusion may have been quietly removed from the series’s continuity. While I’m positive that Nintendo feels like they’ve painted themselves into a corner, I think Fusion sets up a fascinating and fresh new direction for the franchise’s story. Yeah, it’d have a different tone from the games before, but I think the acclaim Fusion got for incorporating horror elements proves that the series is capable of tonal evolution. Unfortunately, with things as they are, I’m losing hope we’ll ever see a proper Metroid 5

Underrated Games You Have to Play

You won’t be sorry.


We don’t want you to miss these golden titles! We’ve played all these underrated games, and they deserve a lot more attention than they get. You can find all these on the cheap, so take our word and thank us later!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Metroid: Samus Returns Gameplay + Impressions (PAX 2017)

We got a lengthy hands-on with Samus, but you only have to wait a few days to take a copy home yourself!


#594 – Metroid: Samus Returns is almost upon us! Before you take the game home on Friday, take a look at our footage. Don’t worry – we adjust the camera a few times so you can get a closer look. It actually plays really well, and looks so much better in person. The 3D is great, each area is like a little window into the alien planet. And the animation is top-notch. See for yourself!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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What Gameboy Games Should be Remade?

Just can’t get over the awesomeness of Samus Returns!


Metroid: Samus Returns is a dream come true. While providing us a new Metroid game, Nintendo is also reusing something from the Gameboy library. GB games are the perfect source for remakes, as many gamers today haven’t tapped into that library, and many of those experiences would be worthy of replaying with a face-lift. We don’t want Samus to be the only one Returning from the Gameboy days, so we’ve made a list of the titles we’d like to see. What did we forget? Let us know in the comments!

Footage credit: Juganawt, World of Longplays, Japancommercials4U2

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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TBC 003: Remakes & Remasters

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Our August 2017 podcast lands closeby the release of some key remakes – Metroid: Samus Returns, and Mario & Luigi for 3DS. This is the perfect opportunity to take some time and examine the practice of remastering and rereleasing old games. What do we think of the process? What’s important in a remake? And what are the best ones? We wrap up with some requests specifically for Nintendo to bring back some of our favorites with a fresh coat of paint.
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“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Thumper Review (Switch)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Thump for Prez.


#566 – Thumper is a rhythm game unlike anything you’ve played before. Take control of a speeding scarab as you try desperately to stay alive. Crash through barriers, take the tightest turns, and fight back against giant boss battles… all in time with the music! This is an indie title that you DON’T want to miss.

Footage credit: Polygon

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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History and Future of Retro Studios

Maverick Hunter reboot from Retro, anyone?


#560 – Retro Studios is home to some of Nintendo’s most talented developers, but it always seems like such a mystery what they’re working on! Each year as E3 approaches, speculation is always bound to circle one topic: What is Retro cooking up in Austin Texas? Some hope for a new Metroid Prime, while others are content with Donkey Kong Country, Returns entries, but what about new IP? We discuss all the possibilities in today’s episode of the Two Button Crew show.

Footage credit: Metroid Prime Sunken Frigate – AuraChannelerChris | Donkey Kong Country Returns Minecart – AlphaAxl | Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze – NintenDaan | Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: 3DS DK Jungle – GamerJGB

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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What Nintendo Character Am I?

If you ever need your eyebrows slimed, call us first.


It’s popular with the kids and it’s popular with the squids – SLIME! Simeon and Scott are here to play with slime (in a Nintendo-like fashion) for YOUR enjoyment. So play along and see if you can guess the characters that their slimy faces portray.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Nintendo Slime Co-Op Challenge

You could call us “YouTube Trendsetters,” but… you’d be completely wrong.


#553 – Never seen a video like this before on YouTube, have you? We’re playing with Slime, and you can just chalk this up as a Splatoon video, alright? The object of the game is for us to get each other to guess Nintendo related characters, objects, icons and more, simply by manipulating stubborn slime with our bare hands. Should be fun, right?

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Metroid Prime 4 Must-Haves!

Why not Retro? WHY NOT THE BEST DEV?!


#552 – They can’t afford to mess this one up. If Metroid Prime 4 bombs badly, then that could mark the end of the Metroid franchise. This is the sequel that fans have been begging Nintendo to make for a decade. With Retro not at the helm of this new entry, the game’s future is questionable!

Footage credit: Boss Fight Database | MrNintendoSense | thepixelpress

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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What Makes Metroid So Special?

Sorry, we can’t stop talking about bae-I mean-Samus.


Metroid has a special spot in our hearts, and if you’re watching this, there’s a good chance that you know how we feel. Fans of Samus are feeling good after this year’s E3: Nintendo proved that they still care as much as we do. But why IS it that Nintendo fans have been asking for a new entry in this series for years? What makes us especially passionate about this particular bounty hunter? Simeon and Scott are here to break down the reasons that Metroid stands out from the crowd.

Footage Credit: CGRundertow

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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