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Stone Age Gaming: "Complete" US Blaster Master Collection

Kris Randazzo
32 minute read

Blaster Master may not be quite as prolific as other series like Mega Man or Castlevania, but for a lot of us, its NES debut was just as important. What some folks may not realize though, is that Blaster Master had quite a number of releases in the years between the NES original and 2017's Blaster Master Zero revival. Kris has amassed a "complete" collection containing every game in the series, and with the release of the physical version of Blaster Master Zero 3, took it as an excuse to take a trip down memory lane and examine what makes these games so darn cool.

Great ways to play Blaster Master games: NES Flash Carts:

Game Boy Flash Carts:

Sega Genesis Flash Carts:

PlayStation ODEs:

Transcript of the video

Hi, everyone. Kris from Stone Age Gamer here and welcome back to Stone Age Gaming, a show where I get to talk about, well, this stuff. Video games and the stuff that I've amassed over the years. And today we're going to talk about this one of my all time favorites. Blaster Master. When this game originally came out, in the end, it made quite an impact. Now, the name Blaster Master may not hold the same clout as other series like, say, Mega Man or Castlevania. But its incredible graphics, stellar music and genre bending gameplay made it an all time classic that stands as one of the best games on the platform to this day. But after this game, things went pretty quiet for the Blaster Master franchise until Indie Creates released the excellent reboot blaster master zero for current gen platforms. 

But are things really as quiet as I just said they were? What a lot of people don't realize is Blaster Master actually saw a ton of sequels and even a whole other reboot before the zero series took hold. I've been a massive fan of the franchise since I first played it back when it first came out and as such have managed to amass a complete collection of every game in the franchise. 

Now, as always, I use the quotation marks around the word complete because, well, there are some notable things that you could argue I'm missing. Like, I didn't get the collector's editions of the Blaster Master Zero Games because my money is not infinite, nor is my space. But I do have a collection containing every game in the franchise physical whenever possible, and I'm pretty proud of it and I love Blaster Master. So let's take a look. 

All right, let's start at the start, which is right here, blaster master here is the game that started it all. The one that pretty much everybody knows about. It was easily the most successful game in the franchise up until relatively recently. And I mean, it still might be. It does have authentic arcade action, which is hilarious because this was not an arcade game. Now, technically, there was an older game than this not wouldn't be part of this quote unquote complete U.S. collection, but I do wish I had it, which is the original MetaFight, right? It's the game's more or less called MetaFight. It's a Japanese original release that had a different story and and whatnot, and I really would like to have one. But that game was way less successful than the American release of Blaster Master. So prices for it are pretty up there. I'd love to track one down one day well with the box and everything, but for now, this is going to have to do. 

So here is Blaster Master. This is the original packaging for it. It's got a pretty unique look going on that, you know, a nice blue sands off bar at the top. You might recognize some of the games like Fester's Quest or Batman, but I always loved the look of this box. It is kind of weird when you really look at it because like, this is a this is a screenshot that they cut out. You can see the the pixels in here and in the background because this is this is like a picture taken off of a CRT, which is just kind of weird. But you know, whatever it works, it gives the box a pretty unique look. And you know, here, here your back of the box, everything is slightly askew. Mega graphics, mega action. 

And I mean, look at these. These screenshots like thinking about this nightmare was 1988 like, look at these, these are really killer graphics like these are really awesome looking things, and they look this cool in the game. It's really just the look and sound of this game was really something special back then. I mean, it still holds up today as far as you ask me. But man, this was just leagues above the other stuff that I had seen at the time. So let's take a look at what's inside the box. 

So this is here's the cart and the manual. Here's what the original cartridge looked like. Probably the coolest looking cartridges of all time or Nintendo cartridges. All of these guys, I see my blaster master a little discolored on the top here, which is a shame and it's got a little smudge on here. I have no idea what that is, but yep, there it is. There's the original blaster master. Here's a quick peek at its manual again, with the pixels going on here, I was not joking around about it being a video game. I also love this font. This is such a cool like blaster master. I've always loved the way that looks, but you know you've got this very, very 90s font going on there, which I very much enjoy. 

You get your breakdown of the game's story, which is about, you know, Jason and his pet frog Fred, who jumps on a box of radioactive waste in his backyard. And then he follows the frog down into the pit and finds a tank, which he then jumps in and proceeds to blow up Newtons in order to save his pet frog, Fred, which is a, you know, it's really something. I love this. So this was really a pioneer of the Metroidvania type of game search action, as they call them. This was always pretty misleading to me, though, because like it gave me, it gave me a hint that you'd have to go back to Earth to stage one and stage four. But like, pretty sure stage five was to the right of stage four. Like you go to stage four, which goes down, and then you had to go right to get the stage five at whatever. It's all very it's all very interesting. I like that they gave you these like big, wide open. More or less hints of like where you should go to look for things because this is a really big game. 

And then there was this. This always kind of confused me. So here's all the bosses that you can look at, except this guy here, which is the second to last boss of the game, is here. And the first boss, the game, the little brain thing is not here, which I always thought was kind of weird. Like, Was this supposed to be this way? Was this supposed to be hidden under the question mark? I mean, that's plutonium boss, obviously is the last last boss, but you don't see. But I just always thought it was weird. The first boss wasn't shown on this page because that floaty brain thing is super cool looking. But you know, there you see some special hint charts back here in the back, some some viewers of your your vehicle, Sophia and Compliance Watch for the best arcade titles from the best new name in home entertainment software SunSoft. Man, SunSoft made some great stuff for the NES and this is easily my favorite game that they made for the platform, probably my favorite game that they ever made. I mean, I love this game. It's wonderful.

So what happened next? This is the game that everybody knows everybody seen Blaster Master. What came after Blaster Master? Well, more blaster master in book form. That's right. The second release of Blaster Master was actually a novelization of Blaster Master, yeah, I guess it's not really the second release, but it was the second thing you can see me moving this round in the light because this is embossed, which is super cool. I love that. This is if you never heard of these things before. These are the worlds of power novels. There's a whole set of these and they're really bizarre novelizations of NES games. 

And I say really bizarre because like, they don't really follow the stories of the games all that well, like the Metal Gear one stars, some dude named Justin Halley as Solid Snake, Simon's Quest Stars a character named Timothy Bradley, which is nuts. But this one was was especially special because this did you know it followed the story of Jason going down the hall to find his pet frog, which makes this wonderful noise as they reveal that goes throughout the entire book. What's cool about this is that it introduced the character named Eve. 

Now in the original metaphor, right? There was a main scientist guy like the main guy who drove the tank, and then he had a female companion and there was no female companion in the American version. So they created one in this book named Eve, and she actually wound up becoming cannon to the Blaster Master Series from this book, which was kind of a cool thing. What's neat about this, besides the fact that the story is what it is, you've got this trading card in here in the middle of the thing, and you've got this thing on the back here that you look at in a mirror so you can read the hint. There also gave game hints upside down for some reason at the end of every chapter, which is going to once you get started and go straight to the ocean. I don't know what that means. I don't know what that means. You're talking about level five what? Oh, you want to go straight to the water? OK, I got it right in the area. One has a bunch of water in it. So there you go. This is the blaster master worlds of power. Novel. It is a fascinating read. Not sure I'd call it a good read, but it is fascinating, and it actually changed the course of the franchise going forward. 

Next up, there was an actual new game released. Sort of this is blaster master boy. This was the first official follow up to Blaster Master in the United States, and it's a pretty uncommon game. Not a lot of people have even heard of this, let alone played it because it has never, ever been rereleased on anything, ever. What makes this super special weird is that this did not start life as a blaster master game. This is very similar to Super Mario Brothers, too, in that this was something else entirely in Japan. And when they localized it, they just slapped the Blaster Master License on it and called it a blaster master game. So while on one hand, it isn't a blaster master game, on the other hand, you can see by the title it is totally a blaster master game. This is actually canonically a blaster master game. 

What it actually started life as is a game called Robo Warrior. It's a bomber king. There you go. It's a spin off of the Bomber Man franchise. You can see a lot of that meets the design. But as you can also tell, if you've played the original blaster master in the top down segments, Jason did kind of look like this. So basically, this just plays like an entire game that just removed all the tank stuff. So all the real rolling and jumping in the tank side scrolling stuff is all gone. It's just the top down segments, because part of what made Blaster Master Special was that half the games inside scroller half, that's a top down segment action and stuff. So this is it really does kind of work. Now this is where you get some of the quotation marks because this is a little bit of a cheat. This box is a reproduction because I don't know if you've seen this game in its complete form is ridiculously rare. 

So why can I open this finding? The actual complete packaging for this is very expensive, which is just not something that I can afford. However, this cartridge is 100 percent legitimate. This is a real blaster master boy cartridge. I got this at a convention in like a dollar bin, and clearly they had no idea what they had because I had never even seen this game in person before. I think I read about it in a magazine once it said, Oh, there's a Gameboy Blaster Master, I would love to track that down, but I had never seen it before and then I was. There was years and years and years and years later, I was at a gaming convention and this was in the dollar bin with the like. Like, it wasn't a dollar, it was like three, four, five or something. So I grabbed two other random Gameboy games in this one, and I was so happy about it. Now I can't show you the back of this cartridge because it has somebody's name and phone number written on it, so we're not going to do that. But this is a legitimate blaster master boy game boy cartridge, and it's a pretty neat game. It's pretty fun not having any idea. 

When I did get this, I really didn't know much about the game other than that existed, and I just thought it was a new game that they made based on the overhead. Segments and blaster master, I had no idea that it was related to Bomber Man, which is probably why it's never been rereleased, but there you go. Blaster Master Boy, it's a thing and it's real, but that's not all. There's more. 

Next up, in the blaster master pantheon, we have blaster master 2. Yes, it did get a direct numbered sequel, and I remember seeing this for the first time in a Toys R US and being incredibly angry because I was such a Nintendo dude I had I didn't have a Sega Genesis. I was a Nintendo guy and one of my favorite Nintendo games finally got a sequel, and it was only for Sega Genesis. And much like Blaster Master Boy, this has never been rereleased, so it is still exclusively a Sega Genesis game. There's been it never showed up in a virtual console. Not nothing. 

And you can see this is a pretty wacky looking box like it is very green. It's stuck out, it's stuck out on store shelves. I'll give it that. The game itself is, I mean, if you went into a store and you saw this box, well, what's the game like? I don't know. There's no screenshot on it. There's absolutely no screens in the game on the back of this box, which is super weird because this is a pretty good looking game. It's got some major problems. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a phenomenal video game by any stretch, but there's some really good visuals in this game, so it's kind of weird that they decided not to put any on the box to help sell it. So here's the cartridge itself. There you go. It's, you know, just the box art on a cart with Sega Genesis stuff on it. There it is, Blaster Master 2 and here's our manual here and are joined the club. 

Let's see. We got some. Just fill out this card and drop it in the mail and you will receive a free subscription to the Sun. Soft game time news. I would love to see The Sun soft. Game time news. I don't think I've ever actually seen that in person. I'd love to see what that looks like. But you know, here's a quick, quick peek at the manual sun off went read on the top instead of blue. This time around, this weird but kind of tells the story. It takes place after the original blaster master Jason Scott Sofia in a shed. And then, like a bunch of lightning strikes and these lightning monsters have come to, they steal Sofia's parts, and so he rebuilds Sofia and goes after the lightning monsters. Unfortunately, there's there's no real frog connection in this one. And you can see in the screenshots you get three different kinds of play in this one where the original is just the side view and the top view. This one, you got two different side, you've got your tank side to you stuff, you got your big side, you stuff where Jason walks around. These are kind of just four boss battles and then you've got the overhead segments in the tank and these control completely insane. These are just these are so difficult to navigate because the controls are nuts. But you know, then you just got some, some breakdown. 

So what are your items look like? No, really crazy, interesting artwork or anything like that in here. Except of course, this I mean, look, look at that. That's that's an action packed stuff right there, huh? Yeah, nice. That's that's blaster master, 2. There was a pretty big gap following Blaster Master two that was released, and let's see it. Take a look on this. This says what is the must be 1992? There you go. 1992 was when this came out. It was all the way until 2000 when we got this guy. 

This is the first revitalization of the Blaster Master brand after a long time blaster master enemy below for Gameboy Color. This was released in the year 2000 for the Gameboy Color at works in black and white and color. It's not one of those color exclusive ones, and this is an interesting little game right here. It's kind of like a retelling of the original blaster master from a from a gameplay perspective, like you can see by this screenshot. Here it is. It takes assets directly from the NASA game and just kind of plops one Gameboy color, except all the maps are different. So it's the same visuals. It's even the same music, except not very well done. Unfortunately, it's the Gameboy color was capable of some really good sounding music, but you know, the original and yes, compositions for me. Naoki Kodaka had such a unique sound and this did not have that at all. They're really, really pared down versions of the original, so it's not terrible, but not great. They did change assets for the overhead segments. Here's a quick look at the cartridge. It's really nothing all that special. Just the box art on a plain black cartridge. And here's our manual right here. 

So, yeah, they change the way Jason looks in the overhead segment. They also change the way that he moves and get a look at him here. He's a little less, you know, giant goofy anime, big head. He doesn't really move diagonal as well, just felt a lot more stilted. And in fact, the whole game's physics were just a little bit off. So it looks the part. It just doesn't really sound or play the part, but it does try. This takes place in the distant future. I think let's see, Jason is he starts his life anew and a distant land. Then a stranger arrives at his. Or who knows his heroes past and as a plea to make, I want you to capture no. Destroy the creatures of darkness we have succeeded in producing. Yeah. So it's got some big, ridiculous story, but it does actually tie in. It is a straight up sequel to Blaster Master. Even if the the gameplay itself feels like a retread of the first game, it canonically, storyline wise, works as a direct sequel to the original The Wolf. You know, the all three previous blaster master games. Isn't that something you could see more screenshots here of all the reused assets from the NES game? It's not bad. It's just it just just missed the mark. Just like the other, you know, the previous two games like Blaster Master Boy, not a bad game, but it's not amazing. Blaster asked to again, I wouldn't call it bad, but it really doesn't live up to the the first game. And here we are. Same situation. It's fine, but it's not great, but it is a blast remaster game and there it is. Blaster Master Enemy below for game Gameboy Color. 

This is where things get even more interesting. The following year we had this. This is the PlayStation one exclusive blaster master blasting again. Now I forgot to mention this one here was rereleased on the 3DS virtual console. Yeah, so you can actually play this game. You can buy this on a 3DS. This, however, has like Blaster Master two and Blaster Master Boy never been rereleased, ever. There's still no modern way to play this, you know, sort of slapping this disc into a PlayStation three that's backwards compatible, I guess. Or, you know, many other, you know, methods that we have at stonings gamerscore, which we'll talk about a little bit more later, but here is blasting again. This was an attempt to make Blaster Master 3D. And it's really not terrible. It's got kind of a cool modernization. Look to it too, like you've still got that anime aspect to it. It's just not quite as colorful and goofy as the old one that you know you've got, you know, these shots here that are like pretty decent art design going on here. 

This was a budget game when it came out in America. I think I only ever saw it land straight into like the $20 budget bands. I think I was working at a Toys R US when this launched. I said, Oh my goodness, they made a new blaster master and it doesn't look bad. So of course, I, you know, I bought it and played a little bit of it. And it's it's a really interesting take on trying to make this the blaster master formula work in 3D. And as far as PS1 games go, this really isn't bad looking. It's not an ugly game by any stretch. And you say, Well, look at the disc and an ad for Returnal eyes underneath it. Thanks, crave. But you know there's the disc art itself, which isn't bad for a PlayStation black disc. Nothing special. And let's take a quick look at the instruction manual. This is also it fits in with the canon. There is a functional story that works between all these blaster master games. It doesn't really contradict itself too much. And this one takes place in the far future. 

This is after Jason is dead and his kids. What is it, Alfie? And something? Forget their names where the hex the story in this thing? Roddy. Yeah, Roddy and Alfie. That's right there. They're Jason's kids, Jason and Eve's kids, I think. And they take up the mantle to, you know, save the day again. No frog. Very disappointed. Lack of frog in here. But all in all, not a bad game. It is definitely a curiosity. It's got some. It's got some issues. It's not a masterpiece, but it is a it's a pretty solid experience, all things considered. And I would love to see this rereleased on a modern console to play with like an analog stick or something and maybe clean up the graphics a little bit. So it's not quite so chunky, PS1, but you know, good times. There's Blaster Master, there's even Jason. There they are all grown up and before they died, face it, you're stumped. So make the call. Hence, tips and tricks all a phone call away us. 993. Hint. Wow. 95 cents per minute. Wow. I would be curious to call that number and see what's going on these days. It's probably been disconnected, but hey, there you go, blaster master blaster again. 

And then things went silent for a good long while. Yet again, things went quiet until they resurfaced in a very unlikely place. The Wii. This is blaster master overdrive, which is a wee swear game. This came out of nowhere. I think they announced it with a trailer, maybe a couple of days before it actually dropped on the wee shop channel. And. It showed up with absolutely no fanfare as a brand new reboot of the Blaster Master franchise, this does not connect to the previous stories in any way. Is this just a straight up reboot of the Blaster Master series? And it has a whole new story, with all new characters got nothing to do with the Frog. It does have to do with being in a tank and rolling around. Continue where I leave off in this game. I can't even imagine. Oh, I left off nowhere. I have no game sayers, right? Because I had to. I had to return my were you a long time ago to Nintendo for repair. And when I came back, I lost all of my data, which was a huge, huge bummer. 

But I was glad I was able to rebuy this because this is no longer available anywhere. This game was never released physically in any way, shape or form. The only way to get Blaster Master Overdrive was to download it off of the workshop channel, which is now completely defunct, so there's no legal way to get this game. And here we go. Here's firing up the tank in June, and it's a pretty cool game. It's got a lot of problems, just like the other ones we were talking about, it's it's almost really good. Like, you can see this opening area here. It looks nice. The tank has a real good weight to it, like it feels pretty decent to roll around. And that was another thing about the PlayStation one I forgot to mention, is that the tank itself has really interesting controls because, you know, this is all about a jumping tank. So when you move something like that in a 3D, you kind of want to add a little bit more realism to it. And they did a good job of making the tank feel like a tank. And this feels a little bit more tank like it's a little less rolly than the original one was in the original game. But here's one of my biggest problems with this game. 

Like, I see this in a pretty good luck and a pretty good looking setup right here. But then you go into the cave and this is pretty much the rest of the game. All the areas in this game are more or less. There's some details here and there, but they're mostly just here's a different colored cave. Well, good luck. Have fun. And the other big problem with this game I had was the controls. Like a lot of wee games, this game was saddled with having to play it like this. You have to play with the Wii Remote held sideways, which is, you know, not bad at first to, you know, it's fine, whatever for what I'm doing. But you get some really cool items later on in this game, including this like awesome grapple grappling hook thing. And you wind up having to use all these different buttons that aren't really designed to be used. When you're holding the remote sideways, like you have to use the B trigger, you have to use a button. I think the A button is what uses the grappling hook, and I was like, You've got to be kidding me with this. This is this is not a natural way to play this game. Why the heck can't I use the pro controller? Just they never added that functionality. It obviously didn't get any patches because that was really a thing for wheelchair games. 

So, yeah, there you go. It's it's fine. The music is kind of a that's all reprises of the original any s games music and they're OK. Some of the they make some very interesting choices with the music. Some of it's some of it's not bad, some of it is bad. And then more often than not, it's just interesting. But it's certainly a game you can get in and out of your tank as usually as you move. Super slow in this one, and then it's got the overhead segments and stuff in there too. So you'll be in your tank, you jump out, you get to the overhead segments and it works just like the original blaster master with all new levels and kind of ugly graphics and weird music. And that is the oddity that is Blaster Master Overdrive. This reboot clearly did not go anywhere and like I said, only available on we were can't buy it brand new these days, which is a shame. 

And last but not least, we have these this is the Blaster Master Zero trilogy. These were originally released digitally, but thanks to limited run games, they exist physically and the third one just came out and I just got mine in the mail the other day and they all share a pretty similar esthetic. This was a very successful reboot of this franchise. These games for Blaster Master Zero was like a really, really cool and not remake, but it just kind of took everything that made the original blaster master so good and added a whole bunch of new elements to it made it feel more modern. But with this new traditional eight bit kind of like a super eight bit look. So it looks like an end game, but it does all sorts of visual effects that the animals could never, ever pull off. I think it was originally on 3DS, but then they brought it to the switch pretty shortly thereafter, which is where I played it because like I was going to buy the 3D S1 and then they said, No, no, it's coming to switch. 

So, OK, cool, then that's where I will play it, because I would much rather play this on a TV and I'm glad I did, because this game is awesome. It is so good they eventually ideal. This DLC where you could play is like Shovel Knight and Shantay, and they actually play. It's not just a skin, they actually play like those characters, so it changes the way you play the game because you're playing as these characters with these different attributes, which is wild and the mythology ties back to the original. It's a whole new story. It does involve, you know, Jason and Fred and Eve, which is super cool and eventually by Blaster Master three, they start pulling in the characters from Megafight, which is such a cool callback to for a long time fans of the series. That's really good stuff and limited run at a really nice, nice packaging here, and you got a little instruction manual. You got a little tiny cartridge down there, some nice artwork in there. They came with these little trading cards, which are, you know, shiny and whatnot, got a little bitty bird on the back breakdown of the characters and such a pretty snazzy look. And there's Fred. Isn't he wonderful? For some reason, he turns gray in the next game. I don't know what that's about, but he's still he's adorable and he's wonderful, and he sticks around for all the games. So hooray for Fred. 

Then we did Xero II, which was the first time blaster master got a straight sequel that was actually an improvement, like they actually really evolved. The gameplay in this one first blast remaster, two on Genesis took things in a bunch of weird directions. This was like it introduced more traveling options. You'd go to all these different planets and stuff instead of just, you know, navigating one area. It structurally felt a little weird as opposed to the first game, which they kind of course corrected for Blaster Master zero three on that. But I loved this game's ambition. It's really fun to play killer music again. You got a cool little trading card, expanding the mythology a lot where you introduce you to a bunch of different characters because as you go to these different planets, you find more metal attackers, you're Sophia vehicle. All these other people pilot all these different tanks like yours on these other planets all over the place, which was really cool to to run into. 

This is a really fun game, and it's got some really great boss designs and some really awesome artwork as usual. And then you had the same thing as zero with zero three. Amazing artwork. Cool, man, you all little card. This game was such a treasure. This game really tied everything together in a brilliant way, wrapped up the story that they started in. This one tied back to elements from the original series tied back to musical elements. NIRSAL series. It's it's so good. It's such a love letter to what came before it and just on its own. It's a really, really, legitimately good search action game. If you like Metroid venue type stuff, even if you don't pay attention to the story, which is effectively nonsense, it's real anime nonsense like to the nth degree, but it is entertaining, and the gameplay itself is is silky smooth. It's so well done. These games are all great. Now this is where the other quotation marks come in with the complete collection because I went with the standard editions on all three of these because I just really like it when my stuff matches and the special editions that limited Run made were pretty expensive. They're gorgeous, but they wouldn't really match the rest of the games on myself, so I decided to to keep it simple and just get my basic ones so that I could have my physical editions of all the games in their original formats. And there you go. 

But yes, there are physical editions on other platforms. I think PS4 got these games as well. The games themselves are 100 percent identical, so I didn't go crazy with, yeah, no, I, I better get those two because, yeah, at a certain point, just got to you got to call the budget what it is, and I have all the games and that's really all I need to have on those. But yes, there's your caveat, and that is the end. That's the last of the blaster master games that we know of. Maybe they're going to make more. The ending of this game did leave it open. For a new kind of story to take over, which is really cool, this actually actually called back to Roddy and Alfie from the PlayStation one game, which was such a cool callback. There's so much good stuff in here. Yes, I love Blaster Master. There's the complete collection and there is. 

So as you just saw, the Blast Master franchise has indeed seen a ton of weird twists and turns, and like we said, several games of the series have never been rereleased in any form, which to me is crazy. Here's hoping that the success of the recent classic remaster zero series convinces somebody at some site to put together some sort of collection, making all these classics playable again. But in the meantime, we hear a strange gamer have plenty of great modern ways to make these games playable on original hardware. Right now, there'll be some links to that great stuff in the description of this video on YouTube, which is where the video was posted. So I'm not sure why I specified YouTube, but on that note, thanks everyone for watching. If you like what you saw here today, please be sure to comment. Like subscribe to all that wonderful stuff that makes us all happy. Share this video around two other blaster master friends. Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think of the Blaster Master Series. What's your favorite game? Are you one of the eight people that actually played Blaster Master Overdrive? Let us know because we always want to hear from you. Thanks again on behalf of all of us here at Stone Age Gamer, Keep playing games. 

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