As we stand on the cusp of the holiday rush, Nintendo has streamed their latest Nintendo Direct broadcast for November. Focusing mainly on previously announced 3DS games, this Direct was entirely devoid of new game announcements, but contained plenty of news on 3DS titles leading through Q1 2014 that we already knew about, as well as a couple of nuggets for the Wii U crowd.

Nintendo Direct LogoThis Direct even comes with a cute intro that finally has Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime utter the infamous meme associated with him over an elevator speaker, “My body is ready!” It also contains a cameo by former IGN journalist, Audrey Drake, who is now employed by Nintendo. It’s a bit cheesy, but undeniably charming.

As usual, if you missed the presentation, or just want a recap of the highlights, Eggplante has provided a complete roundup of every bit of news that you need to know coming out of this Nintendo Direct! Before we go on however, do be advised that, if you were hoping for news on the newly-announced Kirby game coming to 3DS next year, teased at the conclusion of the previous Nintendo Direct, you’re out of luck. The game was not even mentioned during this Direct.

Likewise, if you were hoping for updates, character reveals or anything else within next year’s highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, again, you’re out of luck. That game wasn’t even mentioned in this Nintendo Direct either, nor was Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Like the new Kirby game for 3DS, it’s likely because these games will not be releasing until well after Q1 2014.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get started:

LINK’S LATEST ADVENTURE GOES FOR GOLD!

Surprising absolutely no one, this 3DS-centric Direct began with this Fall’s remaining highly anticipated 3DS blockbuster, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. A new trailer was shown for the game, showcasing all sorts of new areas, features, dungeons, bosses and characters. Among these was the revelation that the Sand Wand from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on DS will return in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds! The trailer also ends on a tease that a certain arch-nemesis of Link will in fact make a return in this new game…

The Legend of Zelda- A Link Between Worlds - Gameplay 1After the trailer, the newly-announced gold/black, Legend of Zelda-themed 3DS XL was shown off, complete with gorgeous triforce emblazoning on the rear of the 3D Screen. The bundle will include a digital copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, naturally. It was also confirmed that Legend of Zelda fans can enjoy several fifteen-second trailers for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, if they subscribe to Nintendo’s Instagram page. That’s a bit of a different strategy, but hey, more Legend of Zelda teases are never a bad thing!

From there, the focus shifted to the Nintendo Treehouse, which went into more detail about some of the new characters in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Among the new characters shown were a witch named Irene, who can fly Link between areas he’s been to already on her broomstick (done by selecting weather vanes on the Touch Screen, similar to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past), and even between the worlds of Hyrule and Lorule themselves! While Irene resembles the character of Maple from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages on Game Boy Color, she is apparently an entirely new character. She can occasionally be seen flying overhead, and will offer her services when she is told that aiding someone in green will bring her good fortune. Well, that’s lucky!

Another key character revealed is Seres, the daughter of The Sanctuary’s priest (remember this location from A Link to the Past?), who is kidnapped and turned into a portrait by one of the game’s main villains, the sorcerer, Yuga, aspiring to keep her ‘perfect’ for all eternity. Yuga is also responsible for giving Link his ability to turn into a drawing and move between both walls and worlds, though it’s not revealed how Link ultimately escapes the fate of being permanently two-dimensional quite yet!

Jack_3DSXL_BundleAnother character is teased in a side quest necessitating Zora’s Flippers, necessary to swim in deep water, just like A Link to the Past. This character has a fondness for ‘Premium Milk’, and yes, this does mean that the Milk Bar from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is returning in A Link Between Worlds! The identity of this character wasn’t explicitly revealed however. Surely, Legend of Zelda fans can piece it together?

Lastly, a character named Gramps is introduced, who plays into the StreetPass functionality of A Link Between Worlds. When you tag players via StreetPass, you’ll exchange data regarding the outfitting of your current Link characters, who will become Shadow Link’s in each other’s games. Depending on the items you’ve equipped on your Shadow Link, and how many hearts you have, the ‘Bounty’ of Rupees you will be rewarded for winning will increase. Fighting and defeating another person’s Shadow Link in a private battle doesn’t come with a penalty for losing, but if you’re an active StreetPass user, this certainly isn’t a bad way to make money, if you’re skilled enough to win!

After this, Nintendo reminds viewers that The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will release both at retail and on the 3DS eShop, on November 22nd, alongside the Legend of Zelda-themed 3DS XL bundle that packs in a digital copy of the game.

If all of this doesn’t get you rabidly excited for the latest original new Legend of Zelda adventure, we’re not sure what will!

MARIO PARTY’S ISLAND INVITES TOURISTS!

Next up was a game we’ve heard surprisingly little about since its announcement, that being Mario Party: Island Tour for 3DS. A key focus of its latest coverage was to show off how the game’s many minigames and features can be enjoyed between an entire quartet of 3DS owners, even with just one copy of the game and Download Play!

Mario Party- Island Tour - Gameplay 1It was confirmed that the game will feature seven game boards, each with their own unique rules and tricks. Nintendo also confirmed 80 new minigames to be featured, which can be enjoyed in Free Play, even with just one copy of the game between four players. These new minigames are all explicitly designed with portable play in mind as well. Download Play will also provide access to specialized minigames and extra features between multiple players, including a Tetris-like puzzle challenge.

Another big feature revealed for the game is a single-player challenge called Bowser’s Tower. In the tower, players will need to master all of Mario Party: Island Tour’s minigames, including specialized ‘boss’ minigames against Bowser’s various minions, who attack every five floors. It certainly sounds like a great play incentive for people who may not necessarily always have a bunch of friends to experience the game with!

Mario Party- Island Tour - Box ArtNintendo then confirmed that Mario Party: Island Tour will exchange player data via StreetPass, which will allow you to challenge the records and scores of other players in various minigames. There wasn’t much elaboration on how exactly this works, but again, it sounds like a good way to get around not always having other players to play with.

Concluding this section was the reminder that Mario Party: Island Tour will come to the 3DS on November 22nd, via both retail and the 3DS eShop.

Even in a portable package, it looks like this latest Mario Party offering has not seen a hint of compromise compared to its console counterparts!

BRAVELY DEFAULT MANS THE FRONT LINES OF 2014!

Next up was highly anticipated Japanese RPG, Bravely Default, finally confirmed to be coming to North America and Europe in a prior Nintendo Direct. Nintendo mostly discussed the game’s battle system, but it sounds extraordinarily detailed and engrossing, particularly for an RPG made for the 3DS!

Bravely Default - GameplayThe main idea behind the battle system is that players have the option of selecting ‘Default’ to shield their characters for an entire turn. This allows them to build up ‘Brave’ points, which can also be ‘borrowed’ to an extent from future turns. Using ‘Brave’ points that have been stockpiled, players can chain consecutive attacks together and really lay the smackdown on enemies, or perhaps simultaneously heal and buff their allies! This creates an unpredictable battle system that can have its combat flow easily disrupted to a clever player’s advantage, making it seem like a very compelling new twist on turn-based RPG battles!

Nintendo also confirms that you can speed up the flow of battle by tapping on the Control Pad, in case you’re the impatient type.

A second element of the battle system, Bravely Second, allows players to freeze time in combat, able to have their characters attack and perform actions indefinitely, without interruption or reprisal, while time is frozen. This consumes Sleep Points instead of Brave Points, which must be accumulated by leaving your 3DS in Sleep Mode while Bravely Default is running on it. That’s certainly different…

Nintendo rounded things off by stressing the incredible level of customization in Bravely Default, allowing players to tweak their characters’ spells, affinities, jobs, and more! This gives players an incredible amount of freedom in formulating the perfect battle strategy for their party! Players can even use StreetPass and call their 3DS friends’ characters into battle with them, or help them with a central side task of rebuilding the main characters’ town after it’s destroyed by ‘The Great Chasm’, whatever that is.

Nintendo stressed again that this is an excellent and epic portable RPG developed by the RPG masters at Square Enix. Better yet, they even gave us a final release date for the game’s North American version at long last!

Bravely Default - Collector's EditionBravely Default will release in Canada and the U.S., at both retail and the 3DS eShop, on February 7th of next year. That’s not all either! For a limited time, some retail stores in North America will carry the Bravely Default Collector’s Edition, which not only comes with the game itself, but also an art book, a soundtrack CD, and 34 AR cards. It also launches on February 7th, and will only be available while supplies last.

Clearly, RPG gamers shouldn’t miss what is likely to be the first smash hit 3DS offering of 2014!

PROFESSOR LAYTON PREPARES HIS FINAL LEGACY

It’s a bit of a bittersweet time to be a Professor Layton fan, as the kindly professor is said to be delivering his final adventure with Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy next year. It will connect the new prequel trilogy’s events with the former trilogy that began the series.

The game’s story revolves around, what else, a mystery, this time involving Layton, Luke and Emmy being summoned to investigate an apparent ‘living mummy’. The game will apparently take them to multiple locations across the world, in a departure from most prior Professor Layton games, which usually confine the adventure to a single location. Apparently, players will need to hunt down various Azran artifacts to proceed the story, which are hidden all across the game world.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy - FMV 1Of course, Nintendo stresses that the series’ familiar hallmarks will still be present. The superb level of detail, the incredible and familiar European cartoon-inspired art style, and naturally, tons and tons of devious, brain-teasing puzzles! The game truly appears to be the finest Professor Layton game to date, and should hopefully be a worthy conclusion to this highly beloved series of puzzle-adventure games!

Nintendo also finally revealed the North American release date of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy while they were at it! It will come to both retail and the 3DS eShop on February 28th of next year.

Unfortunately, no mention was made on the progress of next year’s long overdue Western release of Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. We suppose however that no news is good news, and at least we’ll get that much more of a chance to continue the professor’s adventures when that game does arrive for North American and European 3DS’s, even if it’s non-canon and comes with the equally appealing Phoenix Wright in tow!

NINTENDO CONTINUES TO ZONE OUT ON HOUSEKEEPING!

Next was the inevitable update on Nintendo Zone, which Nintendo reminds us will still allow players to receive Mii Plaza StreetPass data from the last six visitors, rather than just one like before, along with exclusive SpotPass content for a variety of games. Nintendo also confirmed that the Raccoon Clock, Cat Tower and Rolling Suitcase will now be able to be procured from Nintendo Zone hotspots for Animal Crossing: New Leaf players, not just those who visit Best Buy locations. A rare Super Mario 3D Land-inspired mystery box decoration will also be offered starting on November 22nd, celebrating the release of Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.

Nintendo asserted again that specialized Mii distribution and play data will be coming to Nintendo Zone locations for the remainder of November and December. They also remind players to bring their 3DS with them for plenty of StreetPass hits while shopping on Black Friday… At least, if you’re American. If you’re Canadian like us, that’s not so much an option unless you plan to do some border-crossing!

3DS WILL BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND WALLETS TOGETHER AT LAST!

Surprisingly, one of the most exciting bits of 3DS news to come from this Direct wasn’t related to a game at all! Instead, it was about a critical system update that must be downloaded on the handheld next month. That doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but hear us out!

Nintendo Network LogoFirst, the update will finally merge your Nintendo Network account onto both your 3DS and your Wii U simultaneously. This will allow players to freely share their digital funds between their 3DS and Wii U wallets! Frankly, this feature is overdue, and we couldn’t be more excited that we no longer have to separate our 3DS funds from our Wii U funds when making Nintendo eShop purchases!

Of course, it goes without saying, but Nintendo nonetheless reminds their user base to maintain the same Nintendo Network ID that they have with their Wii U, and not make a new and separate Nintendo Network account for their 3DS. That’s probably obvious, but it’s good to mention nonetheless.

It’s especially important to merge your Nintendo Network ID on another note too. Having a Nintendo Network ID on your 3DS will now be necessary to download demos and other free software, following the update. People can still download paid games from the 3DS eShop without a Nintendo Network ID, but that’s it. Nintendo also emphasizes that future services will all make use of having a Nintendo Network ID, making it all the more imperative that both 3DS and Wii U owners have one.

It gets better too! The official extension of one’s Wii U Nintendo Network account to the 3DS also means that, after much speculation, Miiverse is finally coming to the 3DS this December, just barely honouring Nintendo’s previous promise to bring their well-received dedicated social network to their handheld before the end of 2013! Confirmed 3DS Miiverse communities so far include: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone, and Style Savvy: Trendsetters!

This is outstanding news, as this update will highly benefit many a Nintendo gamer that owns both a 3DS and a Wii U! The addition of Miiverse on 3DS will also provide yet another reason to invest in the handheld if you haven’t already, as it will allow players to share tips, successes and all sorts of discussions related to most any 3DS game, be it retail, a dedicated eShop game, a Virtual Console game, or anything else!

Miiverse 3DSWhile it’s independent of the update, Nintendo also confirmed that YouTube will finally be available on 3DS platforms later this month. It will allow players to view videos on the 3D Screen, while tweaking options on the Touch Screen, so long as they have an internet connection, even on the go. The YouTube app on Wii U will also be receiving an upgrade, allowing you to view videos on the Gamepad Screen or the television, with this update also being provided later in November.

The 3DS has already stood as one of the greatest modern gaming platforms, and it just got a whole lot better for the Nintendo faithful!

PIKMIN 3’S DLC MISSION CONTINUES!

Much like the persistent aftermarket support of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it seems that Nintendo always finds room to talk about Pikmin 3 DLC in any recent Nintendo Direct, even one meant to primarily showcase 3DS software! Once again, Pikmin 3 will be adding in a new array of paid downloadable missions for Mission Mode!

This third wave of DLC promises all-new environments, from natural areas like beaches, to seemingly unnatural environments like a construction site, a factory, and a… Christmas party? Well, in any case, one of the DLC missions even allows you to take control of Captain Olimar, the main character from Pikmin and Pikmin 2 on the GameCube/Wii, which is sure to be great news for longtime fans!

Even better is the fact that Olimar’s subordinate, Louie can be found hidden in these new DLC stages. Finding Louie and bringing him back to your base will allow you to control him! This will make allocation of your Pikmin squads all the more efficient when aiming for high scores!

Pikmin 3 Box ArtThis third wave of DLC promises eight stages total, four Collect Treasure stages, and four Battle Enemies stages. The DLC will be made available to download from the Wii U eShop for any Pikmin 3 owner, on December 2nd. Nintendo warns though that on the same day, an update must be downloaded to access the new Pikmin 3 DLC! However, this update will come with one new Collect Treasure stage and one new Battle Enemies stage for free, apparently part of the ‘Fortress of Festivity’ area.

If you’re among many Wii U gamers who still can’t get enough of Pikmin 3, it looks like your Pikmin-commanding fun will continue well into the holiday season at this rate!

MIIVERSE APPROVES STAMPS!

Continuing on the note of Wii U, Animal Crossing Plaza, the free tie-in app for Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS, was addressed next. Nintendo re-iterated the purpose of the app for late purchasers of Animal Crossing: New Leaf (or a Wii U), who may not be familiar with how it works, then adding that the app will see the addition of stamps soon. Stamps can be added to Miiverse messages, and even customized, adding even more flavour to communication between Miiverse users!

Over fifty stamps of various Animal Crossing characters and items were promised. Stamps can be further altered by being placed on top of other images in a Miiverse message, and stamps themselves can even be erased and re-drawn if the user so chooses!

Animal Crossing Plaza - GameplayBetter still is the confirmation that stamps are also going to be released for Super Mario 3D World, featuring various Mario items and characters! As if that weren’t enough, Nintendo promises more stamps for big new Wii U titles to come in the future as well. The Legend of Zelda stamps? Metroid stamps? Donkey Kong stamps? One can only hope!

Unfortunately, these stamps can only be used in their respective communities. You can only use the Animal Crossing stamps in Animal Crossing Plaza, and the Mario stamps in Super Mario 3D World’s Miiverse community at this point. That’s a bit of a bummer, but perhaps somewhat understandable, given the Miiverse terms of use that demands players stay on a community’s topic within their posts.

Another small addition for Animal Crossing Plaza is the chance for players to answer polls, which will apparently be featured until the app’s closure at the end of 2014. It’s not all that exciting, but it’s never a bad thing to have activity options in the plaza! The plaza update also promises the ability to register the citizens of your town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, so you can easily meet them in the plaza, move and delete multiple albums’ worth of screenshots simultaneously if you wish, and save custom images from Miiverse posts into your albums.

The app update with the stamps goes live later tonight, and will likely be live by the time this article is posted. If you’re a Wii U owner that spends lots of time on Animal Crossing Plaza, don’t miss it!

INDIE GAMES CONTINUE TO SIZZLE ON NINTENDO ESHOP!

After moving out of the Nintendo Treehouse and back to the Nintendo of America offices, another inevitable topic came to be addressed; Indie games. As we and Nintendo have already asserted numerous times, there are an entire legion of very promising indie games headed to both the 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop. Another sizzle reel was prepared to show them off, particularly with some updates made to both the 3DS and Wii U’s upcoming indie catalogue, following Nintendo’s recent appearance at the Indiecade Festival.

Featured in the reel were: Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut (Wii U), Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails (Wii U), Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (3DS), Armillo (Wii U), Grinsia (3DS), 1,001 Spikes (Wii U), Tengami (Wii U), Jet Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai (3DS), Pier Solar HD (Wii U), Putty Squad (3DS), Teslagrad (Wii U), Treasurenauts (3DS), Wooden Sen’Sey (Wii U), Retro City Rampage (3DS), Knytt Underground (Wii U), Unepic (Wii U), Siesta Fiesta (3DS), Shovel Knight (Wii U)

Shovel Knight - GameplayFast-paced puzzle games, side-scrolling action-platformers, masochistic tests of resolve, arcade-style score chasers, white-knuckle shoot ’em ups, ominous adventure games, traditional turn-based pixel art RPG’s, and of course, the long-awaited 3DS port of indie sensation, Retro City Rampage! There’s no end of indie goodness coming to both the 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop over the course of the near future!

It’s more official than ever. Nintendo loves indies, and so do we, so we’re extremely excited at many of these prospective underdog hits to come!

NINTENDO BRANDS GO UP IN VALUE!

Keeping on the Nintendo eShop, the next bit of news was a new URL, www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers. Over the next four weeks, Nintendo will be offering a series of discounts related to various recognizable game characters. Link is starting things off, with discounts on The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the 3DS Virtual Console, as well as temporary price cuts on The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the Wii U Virtual Console.

Mega Man will follow next week, with Mario spotlighted the week after, and Donkey Kong coming the week after that.

Nintendo eShop LogoOn that note, Nintendo showed off a new range of pre-paid Nintendo eShop cards, which come in $10, $20, $35 and $50 selections, perfect for Christmas stocking stuffers amongst your Nintendo-loving friends and family! These new pre-paid cards, which will presumably replace the old $50-only pre-paid cards, now acknowledge the unified digital wallet that will be shared between one’s 3DS and Wii U come December. They’re a great way to stock up on these indie games and discounted titles without a credit card, along with various prior dedicated eShop games and retail offerings for digital download!

The Legend of Zelda NES - Title ScreenBear in mind however that the $10 card is only available at Target. The $20, $35 and $50 cards however will be sold across various retailers on top of Target, including Best Buy, Gamestop/EB Games, Wal-Mart, Toys ‘R Us, Amazon, and more. A complete list is available on the ‘Gift Card’ section of Nintendo’s website.

While another simple update, this is again great news to people without leisure credit cards who don’t want to pay a whole $50 every time they want some eShop funds!

SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD REACHES FOR THE STARS!

While this Nintendo Direct did fulfill its promise of keeping most of its focus on 3DS, it did cap things off with some coverage of Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. A final trailer showcased ten all-new elements, including unlockable bonuses, that have never been revealed to the public before, at least, according to Nintendo. Bear in mind however that some other gaming news sites like IGN and Gamespot have divulged a couple of these in their own previews.

Still, you may want to skip this section if you want to avoid spoils on any potential surprises in Super Mario 3D World. Don’t worry, we won’t be offended!…

… Still here? Ok, well, among these ten reveals, Super Mario 3D World promises:

1- The ability to manipulate level design with the Gamepad’s stylus and mic (this was teased in the original E3 reveal, actually), such as exposing hidden platforms, shattering boxes, and blowing away swarms of Goomba’s

2- A bonus area called The Golden Express that lets players collect heaps of coins on a golden train

3- Captain Toad levels that have you solve landscape puzzles by collecting stars without the ability to jump (these were leaked already)

4- Speed Run challenges that have you race to complete levels under very strict time limits

5- Mystery Houses that have you complete twitch-based challenges for bonus stars

Super Mario 3D World - Gameplay 16- A special boss challenge that forces you to fight a blob-like enemy with progressively multiplying Mario’s

7- A top-down shooter-style stage where you run and throw projectiles to proceed

8- A Mario Kart-style racing stage where you footrace against other people

9- An unlockable Luigi Bros. minigame inspired by the classic arcade Mario Bros. game, if your Wii U has save data of New Super Luigi U on it when playing Super Mario 3D World, no doubt in commemoration of the Year of Luigi once again.

What’s that? That was only nine things? Well, the best has been saved for last, as the tenth bonus was revealed to be a fifth playable character! Yes, none other than Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy, in fact!

Rosalina has a spin attack, which not only allows her to deftly strike away enemies, but also gain something of a ‘double jump’ in mid-air. She clearly needs to be unlocked, but this should provide plenty of exciting incentive for Mario fans to discover the many secret challenges hidden throughout Super Mario 3D World!

Super Mario 3D World - Gameplay 2It would seem that Super Mario 3D World is a much more genre-bending and intricate Mario platformer than many initially gave it credit for! Nintendo reminds viewers that the game will be available for Wii U alongside 3DS offerings, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party: Island Tour, on November 22nd, via both retail and the Wii U eShop.

We can see Wii U sales going up this Christmas, now more than ever!

IN CONCLUSION:

Nintendo has a promising holiday season ahead of them, and they show no signs of slowing down into Q1 2014, which will also include the recently-delayed Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Wii U, alongside Bravely Default and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy arriving for 3DS that same month. Hopefully Nintendo fans have stumbled into a lot of Christmas money that they’re willing to put in savings for a bit!

Yes, the omission of the new Kirby game was a bit of a let-down, and the complete lack of new information on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS was an even bigger let-down. Still, we understand that those games won’t be out in Q1, and Nintendo will have Nintendo Direct presentations next year that will no doubt discuss these games in greater detail, along with Yoshi’s New Island, another disappointing 3DS omission that we were a bit sad to see no news on.

Nonetheless, Nintendo is positioning themselves for continued healthy momentum in 2014, with 3DS sales still sky-high, and Wii U sales steadily picking up with the release of big titles like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World. The updates that unify digital wallets on 3DS and Wii U, the new pre-paid cards, the addition of Miiverse on 3DS, and of course continued SpotPass bonuses awarded at Nintendo Zone locations will all pave the way for Nintendo to continue their lucrative and customer-friendly business plan for 3DS and Wii U, even well into next year!

As usual, for any and all news related to 3DS, Wii U, these many promising games on both platforms, and all things Nintendo and Nintendo Direct, keep popping back to Eggplante!

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