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How To Kill Video Game Stereotypes

Perhaps the headline is misleading, because as any veteran gamer will tell you, there's no chance that every last stereotype and stigma attached to video game fans will disappear completely. But those of us who indulge in this electronic interactive hobby can do our part, and it starts with those who don't fit any given stereotype commonly accepted by mainstream society.

You're well aware of the list of ignorant and archaic beliefs held by the masses (just say the word "nerd" and everything else is implied), but I know for a fact that millions of gamers out there aren't pale, friendless virgins who hunker down in their bedrooms on Saturday nights to avoid the outside world. Considering the average age of the gamer - depending on the source one uses - is now around 33 years old, it's relatively obvious that old stereotypes can no longer apply. Nobody I know fits the heavily biased labels, and I don't, either. But if this is the case, why do the stereotypes endure? Why is most mainstream media still ten years behind the curve? Why are those unfamiliar with the hobby still so willing to accept all the widespread (and now, wholly inaccurate) beliefs? Why, because it's a vicious circle that actually begins with the gamer, that's why!

The recluse gamers are always reluctant to tell anyone what they love to do, and for obvious reasons. But there are other fans; gamers who, if they stood in a lineup and an average person off the street was asked to pick out the video game fanatic, would escape all notice. And they too are reluctant to convey their passion to the uninitiated. At first, this makes sense - you're risking the "wait...you play video games?!" reply - but when you really start to think about it, shouldn't this be a reason to announce your enthusiasm? Look, this is merely common sense. Inside, you're seething. You're saying to yourself, "why do people still think gamers are all the same? Look at me!" Well, if that's what you're thinking, put your hobby out there! Put it on display! Don't be afraid of it; promote it! Your boss won't fire you if he finds out you play video games...hell, he probably plays them himself. And that cute girl at the end of the bar? She's more in-the-know than your parents, so give her the benefit of the doubt.

Therefore, all of you readers out there who would never be considered gamers in a million years by the out-of-the-loop masses, really need to broadcast your passion. I'm not saying you should go out of the way and I'm not recommending that it be your opening topic of conversation with strangers, but don't avoid it entirely. The more people who say, "you play video games?!" the better off we all will be. Period.

1/19/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

LCF
Monday, January 19, 2009 @ 11:14:55 PM
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Thx Ben for making me feel old haha.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 19, 2009 @ 11:27:27 PM
Reply

I'm guilty, I don't like to bring it up on dates when listing my hobbies, you never know how someone is likely to react these days. Some people still buy that stuff like it's scientific fact. But I'm not a bad dude, I just made a PS3 convert over the weekend. Count it.

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Tim Speed24
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 7:16:19 AM

Claps hands together loudly.

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hald
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:01:22 AM
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I'm guilty too, then. When I met my girlfriend and she asked what i was doing in my sparetime i said "I'm bodybuilding!... and aaahm.. Then I got a.. aahm.. a playstation 3 - but I'm not really playing it. And besides, it is not only a games machine. Actually it's a music/video player and it has internet too" "Cool," she said. Now she asks me quite often if she can play LBP. Sweet. :-)

Ben. I have read in a couple of articles that you are bodybuilding and I have been wondering for some time - how much do you lift in bench presses?

Last edited by hald on 1/20/2009 12:02:38 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:24:52 AM

I don't bodybuild; I merely lift weights. And I don't have a bar so I use two separate dumbbells to simulate a bench press.

For the record, for all my exercises, I use 2 55lb. and 1 65lb. weights. :)

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Aftab
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 1:37:56 AM

Ben, if you curl 65, you gotta be ripped. Last time I checked, I max out at curling 55's, and my arms are shorter than yours.

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www
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 5:42:05 AM

To tell u the truth those who hide their hobbies are the real nerds.

I mean when you're known to party and stuff to everyone,believe me you wouldn't feel shy to talk about your hobby.

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hald
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 5:56:54 AM

Yeah ! Agree with Aftab. You must be pretty ripped! :)
- and i also just lift weights, then!
I thought those two words was one and the same in english.. ;)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:26:07 AM

Well, bodybuilding implies that you lift weights as a career or strictly for the purpose of building large amounts of muscle. I do it for the exercise; that's all. :)

As for "ripped," I'm really not. I'm in decent shape of course, and my arms are quite large (along with shoulders, legs, back, etc.), but "ripped" isn't part of the equation. I'm just a normal guy who's a little bigger than most.

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ps92117
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:08:57 AM
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Agree with wewm up there ^ you never know how people will react to you being a videogamer, so I try to keep it personal especially around the gals. well out of topic but I found this amazing kz2 vid of the intro part.

http://tv.gamestar.hu/video/killzone-2-gameplay-es-intro-hi-res
What do you guys think of it?

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psplayer
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 1:46:22 AM

A lot of KZ2 discussion in the forums dude, go on over and join!

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:10:18 AM
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No! back to the topic......... It aint going to happen, just look at other forms of media, in film recently we get the "Dark Night Fanboys" in music people argue over different genres. people just view it as competition instead of the achievement of the actual piece.

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Itdoesntmatter
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:51:16 AM
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This article brings up a good point. I know part of the problem why the video game stereotypes are so strong is because the industry is still fairly young. It's only a little more than a decade or so away from the days when games really were for kids. The tech was not advanced enough to capture the older crowd at the time and video games were really viewed as being "just for kids". Those "kids" have grown up and so have the games. The tech is there now to maintain the older crowd's interest (reason why the average gamer age is increasing by the second).

I firmly believe once the older generations are gone (the ones who grew up with the idea video games are only for kids), the negative stereotypes would die out as well. The newer generations will have all grown up in a home where their dads set an example for the whole family that video games are an acceptable form of entertainment. This same trend happened when rock n roll, movies, and the internet started. They were all viewed as a fad that would die out fast. Sorry if this is all a bit confusing.

The stereo-types will die eventually. Just give it time.

Last edited by Itdoesntmatter on 1/20/2009 2:53:31 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:22:49 AM

That's probably true. I'm just impatient. ;)

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 3:48:05 AM
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You know Ben.....
I subconsciously never bring up the fact that I play games when talking to babes...

Well sometimes I avoid it too :O
Never doing that again, v-games are just as mature as any damn Hollywood movie so why should I be afraid to say it?

It's also a matter of what kind of girl you're talking to. Some girls will hate one's hobbies regardless of what it is. Like if you skate they might find that childish or whatever. So it depends on the babe too.

^Those are the kinds of babes I don't like getting along with. The really ignorant b*tches.

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www
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 5:23:42 AM

I can't believe most of you,i ALWAYS tell girls i luv games and music and they neva have any problem with it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:26:58 AM

I don't bring it up to girls immediately, but once I get an idea of who they are and we've talked for a while, I'll typically mention it.

...the responses have been interesting. ;)

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www
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 5:38:17 AM
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It depends with me,i do the do,when it's time for them,i give them what they want,when am at home,i play ma games.

But playing games all the time without giving them attention makes women sure feel u're a nerd or loser.

When it's night time n my pockets is full,i go out to the club,i make my ladies feel good and that will surely make them ignore the fact that u're a gamer.

Hell,do u mean to say celebrities like Paris Hilton,Bow Wow,The Game,Snoop,50 cent,i mean footballers,wrestlers etc,etc are all NERDS?????
These guys party to death but still play games in there free time.

I think for real u're the dork,nerd,loser,douche if u think all gamers are whack!
Of course,some of u take it to the extreme and don't even get outta your house,that's bad,hence we all get labeled that way.

Most of my ladies have brothers and they feel am the cool guy when i tell'em i have a ps3 and 360 cause most of them still play ps2.

I don't really watch TV or movies,i think a gamer is better off than the TV junkie.
When my gf calls, i prefer saying am playin games rather than watching tv.........as long as she's getting laid by me she has no problem with ma hobby.....i mean what has my hobby got to do with our relationship. :)

Last edited by www on 1/20/2009 5:38:34 AM

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Tim Speed24
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 7:23:30 AM
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Try being 42 years old and love FPS and racing games. I believe people will never understand.

I feel the same way about my music choice, Old School Metal. Most people look at me like I have a 3rd eye when mention I like video games or Heavy Metal.

And by the way I have short hair and work in an office behind a computer all day.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:23:43 AM

Games and old-school metal. Bad-ass...just like me. Long live the Priest. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/20/2009 10:28:06 AM

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MetalHead09
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:20:32 PM

priest, maiden, ozzy, megadeth, rob rock, and many more. im only 24 and most of the bands you guys listened to when you were my age are still going strong. metal all the way. i cant really get into anything else, i like the worship music at church but thats pretty much it.

i dont hide the fact that im a gamer either. i love games and its my hobby. i still get funny looks sometimes and some people think its literally all i do which aint true but i do spend a substantial amount time playing.

Last edited by MetalHead09 on 1/20/2009 2:25:01 PM

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Orvisman
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:29:32 AM
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This was a bigger issue in the past.

I think videogames are such a big business, are so prevalent in our society and pop culture, and have been around for such a long time that us "old timers" who are in our late-20s to late-40s are raising our kids around videogames.

So, there are now two entire genrations who view videogames as just another form of entertainment not some geek subculture.

That's just my opinion though.

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Robochic
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:44:43 AM
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I love this article. When i met my husband 6 years ago, i never hid that i was big on gaming, now he thought like childish games or ones that were boring. When he saw my collection of Ps1 games and that i was already starting collecting Ps2 games he was in aww cause he finally found a chick who loves gaming more than him lol and i still do.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:27:44 AM

See, guys? It works the other way 'round, too. ;)

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ps92117
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:25:09 PM

lol never expected this. you haved proved me wrong ben

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BikerSaint
Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 8:49:14 PM

Kudo's to you Robochic!
You go girl!

Last edited by BikerSaint on 1/24/2009 8:49:35 PM

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:32:38 AM
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Actually, I have the opposite problem. Almost down to the individual, pretty much ALL of my close friends ARE nerds, and I actually feel sort of ashamed for being absolutely in love with American football and tennis. Video games and anime are things I talk about freely.

I'd never really thought of that as weird until I read this article, though... :D

-Arvis

EDIT: BTW, Ben, I am 6'3" and weigh 160 lbs... so... I guess we're NOT twins separated at birth... sadness...

Last edited by Arvis on 1/20/2009 10:34:58 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:46:21 AM

Naw, but we're close. I love tennis, too; both playing and watching.

Australian Open marks the start of the season. Yay!

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 11:25:44 AM

Yeah, my DVR has been recording AO matches non-stop! :D
Here's hoping for a Nadal-Federer rematch...

-Arvis

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:23:51 PM

Last year's Wimbledon Final between those two was EPIC.

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ps92117
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:27:05 PM

Indeed epic was glad that nadal won, I think he also won the olympic single, but completely screwd the us open.

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JofaMang
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:37:42 AM
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My wife and I are both gamers, 30y old 9-5 working stiffs with only a hint of the "nerd" stereotype in each of us, though we wear it proudly.

We have witnessed in the past 10 years such a drastic shift in acceptability of being a gamer, hardcore even. I started playing EverQuest almost 10 years ago now (retired from MMOs for 3) and I was somewhat derided for playing that type of game, or any game for that matter, so voraciously. Those same friends of mine who criticized my EQ hobby years ago have trouble picking up the phone these days for fear of interrupting their WoW sessions.

I poke fun, but overall am glad that we can all game together in some way or another, instead of holed up in some cliche mothers basement feeding our hobbies with a steady diet of guilt and shame... and unicorns blood and carebear tears~

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:47:02 AM

"Those same friends of mine who criticized my EQ hobby years ago have trouble picking up the phone these days for fear of interrupting their WoW sessions."

LOL Awesome.

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www
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 11:27:14 AM
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whoah!...there lotta old guys on here,am kinda surprised.

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 1:46:29 PM

Why do you think things usually stay civil in the comments...?

-Arvis

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Tim Speed24
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 7:53:15 AM

You got it Arvis.

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Zorigo
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 11:55:18 AM
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i know why, because medai tell lies to attract masses, and sell. that's why news is biased. i highly doubt that if the news started saying it wasn't muslims, but islamic fundamentalists, and it's only 0.00001% of muslims who do this, and it's wrong in islam, etc etc, then i highly doubt they would get as many viewerd/readers as they do.

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tlpn99
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 12:15:28 PM
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I don't care I tell people I love playing games on my consoles and on my pc. If they think it's weird then so what. I love Dr Who too and I admit that also, im 34 and always have and always will love games and sci fi stuff too. I also love Star Trek lol.

I also love playing snooker, reading and going out to watch the footy (soccer) in the pub with my mates drinking loads of beer. I go the cinema regularly too so it's not like I am in all the time on my consoles/pc, just most of the time I am unless I am busy doing something else. I find it helps relax me when playing my games. :)

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StrategicGnomer
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 1:19:40 PM
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I've always been proud to be a nerd. Everything that goes with it. But I'm no recluse, I have plenty of friends, all of whom would say they're not gamers (and be accurate) but I got them all into gaming. I've met people who are biased against nerds, this one girl who didn't know I was a gamer was like that, "Oh, you're one of those guys huh?" I said, "You mean, the highly intelligent people who play games? Hell yea I am. Does that change things or something?" Personally, in my group of friends, I'm now the cool one with a PS3. It's all in how you present it. I'm the guy they all need because I know about technology stuff and they don't. I find it's easy to turn people into gamers, just gotta act like it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. But then again, all my friends are intelligent people, that girl was kinda dumb. I find those are the ones who reject the idea most because they can't get into it themselves because they can't figure it out.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 1:27:03 PM
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Violent gamers aren't helping us out either, check me out in the forums:

http://www.psxextremeforums.com/gaming-discussion/9138-judge-not-stupid-rejects-halo-3-defense-today-weird-gaming-news.html

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iPwn_3G
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:12:18 PM
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Thank GOD!!!. Alot of kids my age play video games and most of us play sports, go out on weekends and have girlfriends. I dont know why the media cant accept that.

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MetalHead09
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 2:26:35 PM

because the media is always behind the times and they SUCK!!!

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sicomatic
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 7:10:06 AM
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i am a 30 year old Lawyer and luckily i work with a few colleagues who i can talk to about gaming. the sterotype still exists amongst the older lot who were shocked that i knew so much about the games that were out but horrified that i bought them for me and not my kids!

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Powershifter
Thursday, January 22, 2009 @ 12:15:35 PM
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I'm 26, married, and have a good job, and love to play video games - yet still get told to "grow up" from time to time because I play video games. That is very frustrating, especially considering who it comes from. I don't fit the "nerd" stereotype, but apparently to some people playing video games is only for kids. I feel like saying, "what?! you read books?! maybe you need to grow up!" That would be a completely sarcastic remark of course.

People like entertainment and hobbies. Period. Whether it's movies, reading, video games, outdoor activities, lifting weights, whatever. Why tag video games as a mere childhood form of entertainment? Like I said - very frustrating.

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Powershifter
Thursday, January 22, 2009 @ 12:23:29 PM
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By the way, you might find this interesting.. My wife likes those design shows on TLC and HGTV, so being a good husband I'll watch some of those with her, even though it can be brutal. There was an episode of Clean House where they all ganged up on this guy (early 30's, married) and made him sell his XBox at the yard sale and told him to "grow up"!!! I was outraged (even though I don't like XBox, I felt bad for the guy!). Dude, if you happen to read this, go out and buy yourself a new system if you haven't already done so. You owe it to yourself!

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BikerSaint
Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 8:58:15 PM
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I'm not afraid to let anyone know I'm a 56 year old gamer(like I really give a flying f*ck if they know my age, LOL).

Never been into heavy metal too much, hard rock is still my thing....just give me some old Doors, Janis Joplin w/Big Brother & the Holding company, Steppenwolf, Canned heat, Deep Purple, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, stc.

Damn I could really go for one of the gretest songs ever made right now, Iron Butterfly's long version, a full blasting 17 minutes of "In-a-goda-davida"(spelling?).

Last edited by BikerSaint on 1/24/2009 9:01:05 PM

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