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    Looking Back At Zelda: Link’s Awakening With Its Director Takashi Tezuka

    By GameInformer,


    The Legend of Zelda is celebrating 30 years this year, which is as good a reason as any to look back at one of the stranger entries in the series: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. This feature originally appeared in issue 269 of Game Informer magazine.

    Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy was more than just a handheld offshoot of a popular franchise. It established important Zelda staples in terms of story, humor, and a focus on character development that the series still uses to this day, all while carving an identity that remains distinct more than 20 years later.

    Link’s Awakening was the first Zelda to feature fishing, allow Link to grab cuccos, and highlight musical instruments as more than just another item in Link’s inventory. The game also had extended side quests, like the mission to find all the secret seashells and a trading game with the world’s inhabitants. Link’s Game Boy adventure was a huge success for Nintendo, dramatically boosting handheld sales in 1993 and selling more than 5 million copies over its lifetime. It sits comfortably at number three on Game Informer’s top 25 Game Boy games of all time list, and also cracked the top 100 on our Top 200 Games of All Time list.

    For players who grew up with the Game Boy instead of a home console, Link’s Awakening was the entry point into one of Nintendo’s most important and popular franchises. But in many ways the game was meant to be a strange love letter to the Zelda games that came before it. In an Iwata Asks interview with Nintendo – where the company’s late president and CEO Satoru Iwata shared stories with the creators of its most successful games – Link’s Awakening director Takashi Tezuka said that during development it felt like the team was making a parody of a Zelda game, as opposed to a true Zelda entry.

    “When we say parody, I’m not sure where that word comes from because maybe there are translation issues,” Tezuka told us when we asked what he meant by that comment. “With Zelda games we usually plan them out, every detail is considered. With Link’s Awakening, we were working on that after our other work was done. Kind of like a club of people who loved Zelda and got together to make it. It has a different feeling for that reason.”


    The original plan for Zelda’s first Game Boy adventure was to bring a modified version of Link to the Past to the handheld, but that idea fell by the wayside. Instead, Link’s Awakening started as an unsanctioned after-hours passion project for members of the Link to the Past team. “The main programmer wanted to challenge himself to create a Zelda experience on a portable system to see what he could do, and I was into the idea. We just had a passion to try and do something interesting,” Tezuka says. “We didn’t really have permission to do it necessarily. We were just playing around.”

    It didn’t take long for the game to become more than an after-hours experiment. “Once we got it to a certain level of creation and completion that we wanted to show, then we took it to the company and got permission to continue developing it,” Tezuka says. “But initially it was just a little pet project of ours. Because we started it that way – just making a game we wanted to make – it may defy Zelda conventions. It might have interesting characters and situations we may not have had otherwise.”

    Link’s Reawakening Two versions of Link’s Awakening exist. The original released on the Game Boy in 1993. In 1998, Nintendo followed up with Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color. This version added a new dungeon and compatibility with the Game Boy Printer, allowing players to print out in-game photos after visiting a camera shop. The expanded DX version of the game is available on Nintendo’s eShop for the 3DS.


    At the time of development, Twin Peaks was at the height of its popularity. The show’s dreamlike world and focus on a small cast of characters in a small town were elements Tezuka wanted represented in the game. As a result, Link’s Awakening was one of the first Zelda games to have a stronger focus on story. Link built relationships with NPCs with more dialogue interactions, had extended conversations with Marin (the girl who found him washed up on shore after his boat crashed), and was guided along his journey periodically by an owl (who would later make an appearance in Ocarina of Time). “I wanted to make something that, while it would be small enough in scope to easily understand, it would have deep and distinctive characteristics,” Tezuka said during his Iwata Asks interview. Link’s Awakening was about more than just solving puzzles, fighting enemies, and saving Zelda. Koholint Island was far different from Hyrule, and its characters were charming and mysterious. This was why many callouts from other Nintendo games made their way in.

    Link’s Awakening featured strange scenarios that served as the platform for cameos from Mario, Yoshi, and Kirby, as well as Mario enemies like goombas and chain-chomps. Reminiscing about the game with his boss during the Iwata Asks interview, Tezuka admitted he wasn’t even sure if he got official permission from Kirby’s creators, HAL Laboratory, to include him in the game.

    Alongside Majora’s Mask, Link’s Awakening continues to be among the stranger entries in the Zelda series. With its Twin Peaks influences, myriad outside Nintendo references, strange characters, and surprise ending, the game stands out despite its limited visuals and smaller world. It was the first Zelda game for many young players, and will retain its legacy for years to come even as handheld gaming technology moves forward at a brisk pace.

    Ballad Of The Windfish Many think the events of Majora’s Mask are the product of a dream, much like they are in Link’s Awakening. One hint of this is the presence of the song “Ballad of the Windfish” in Majora’s Mask. The song serves as an important plot element of Link’s Awakening. “It really came down to a decision by the sound team,” says Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma. “They were looking for inspiration, something that would fit the theme, and since Link’s Awakening was about collecting instruments it made sense that you would want to use this for a band in this case. For us, really, it was just a playful choice that referenced a previous game and nothing more than that.”

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    The Next Battle for Azeroth Content Update Goes Live September 24!, Sept 20 Hotfixes

    By Curse,
    The Next Battle for Azeroth Content Update Goes Live September 24!
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    The next World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth content update provides new character models for the worgen and goblins, the introduction of Party Sync, the epic conclusion to the War Campaign, and more.

    New Worgen and Goblin Character Models
    First introduced in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, worgen and goblins are getting some long-anticipated improvements to their character models. These updates touch on every aspect of how the worgen and goblins look—from their faces to their animations. [Learn More]


    New Mount: Honeyback Harvester
    Stormsong’s Beekeepers have discovered a new hive in town. Alliance players can work with Barry to locate the hive and court the favor of the Hivemother in order to earn the Honeyback Harvester mount—and both factions can earn several other bee-themed toys and items. [Learn More]


    The War Campaign Concludes
    Tensions continue to rise between Saurfang, Anduin, and the Banshee Queen Sylvanas. Discover what awaits the Horde and Alliance in the final chapter of the War Campaign.

    Join Your Friends in Their Adventures with Party Sync
    Party Sync is a new feature that makes it easier than ever for friends to party up and quest together. When players activate Party Sync, everyone in the party becomes aligned to the same quest state and phase. [Learn More]


    Content Update Notes
    Learn more in our content update notes.


    Patch 8.2.5 Hotfixes - September 20, 2019
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    • “Direbrew’s Dire Brew” and “Brewfest!” can again be turned in for rewards.
    • Horde players can again bark for breweries in Orgrimmar.
    • Brewfest Chowdown no longer ends prematurely if replayed quickly.
    • The charges for each Brewfest Chowdown contestants Refreshing Brew will be reset to 3 when the next contest begins.
    • The Brewfest Chowdown Trophy will no longer spam players’ chat logs with garbled messages.

    • Death Knight
      • Unholy
        • Resolved an issue that could cause the Risen Skulker summoned by All Will Serve (Talent) to not attack enemy players in Arenas and Battlegrounds.

    Dungeons and Raids
    • Azshara’s Eternal Palace
      • Queen Azshara
        • Successfully defeating Queen Azshara should no longer kill players under the effects of Essence of Azeroth.

    WoW Classic
    • Players can again receive loot when fishing in ocean waters.

    View the full article

    Afterparty, The Next Game From The Oxenfree Team, Arrives In October

    By GameInformer,


    Afterparty, the next game from Night School Studio, hits PlayStation 4, Xbox One (including Game Pass), and the Epic Games Store (for PC and Mac) on October 29. Night School Studio is the team behind Oxenfree, a story driven adventure filled with choice. Afterparty looks to mix the small moments in life with unspeakable horror just as much, as it takes two best friends into the depths of Hell.

    The player determines the actions and thoughts of Lola and Milo. Their task? Out drink the devil to regain life on Earth. Sounds doable, right? Afterparty is choice driven, so you'll encounter a variety of outcomes depending on how you play your cards (and drink your booze). Activities include beer pong and chugging competitions.

    Afterparty sounds little more comical than Oxenfree, but still looks just as gorgeous. October 29 can't come soon enough.

    Click here to watch embedded media

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    Marvel Champions Is The Next Card Game You Should Play With Your Friends

    By GameInformer,


    I like knowing what I’m going to get with a game, and that means that Fantasy Flight’s living card game formula is very appealing. Unlike traditional collectible card games, the core sets and expansions for a living card game have a fixed distribution model; put simply, everyone who purchases a given set gets exactly the same content, cards, and components. Over time, it’s easy to stick with the basics or expand your engagement on a month-to-month basis, catering your purchases to your level of engagement.

    Marvel Champions is the latest game to explore this model, and the initial core set is especially impressive. This single release includes all the cards you need to play the game solo or with up to four players total, without any additional purchases. The included rules books are articulate and welcoming, providing preset starter decks for your first few games to help get players up to speed, but a bevy of additional cards that allow you to begin experimenting with deck customization. The included cards are bright, the art generous and evocative of the original comic characters, and the related tokens and other components are solid and well produced. This is a robust game packed into a single box, and one that you can get to playing much faster than many comparable strategic card games.


    All that risks burying the lead; Marvel Champions is a ton of fun, especially if you are a fan of the Marvel universe. And, let’s be frank here; doesn’t just about everybody have at least a passing familiarity and enthusiasm for characters like Iron Man and Black Panther at this point? Marvel Champions is a wholly cooperative game in which each character controls one of the iconic heroes, including in this initial set Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, She-Hulk, and Spider-Man. Working together, you confront one of several villains (Ultron, Rhino, and Klaw are included here) and their scheming plans, even while juggling the competing needs of both your hero and alter ego identities.

    The general flow of play encourages players to balance a number of competing interests. Without a doubt, you must smash the opposing villain into submission with regular and concerted attacks. Simultaneously, you must counteract and thwart the villain’s blossoming scheme before it comes to fruition. Along the way, you’ve got to steadily improve and upgrade by attaching upgrades to your hero. And, from time to time, make sure that you recover from your battles as your alter ego, resting up and sometimes tending to your life outside of the suit.


    That all plays out through a straightforward flow of turns. Each player enacts as many plans and attacks as they can with their current hand of cards, expending resources to perform actions and getting more beneficial cards onto the table. Villains then trigger, attacking each hero in turn, or advancing their schemes if the hero isn’t there to fight (because they are recovering as their alter ego). Then every player resolves an encounter, which might for example be a side scheme enacted by Rhino to steal stuff across town, or the arrival of Sandman into the fight to further cause trouble. Players pursue that structure of play until the villain has either been beaten to reach victory, or until the villain has either defeated all the heroes or completed them scheme, leading to a loss.

    Even in my first game, I was impressed by the ease of play. Part of that is the included starter decks, which do a stellar job of onboarding new players through a structured first game that is characterized by the most straightforward cards and actions available in the box. But even beyond that initial game, Marvel Champions is one of those card games that just clicks very quickly. Heroes act first, villains respond; the natural flow of play is logical. Villainous minions trigger against the character who drew them, but not the other heroes. Character cards (which flip between their hero and alter ego sides) can only trigger powers that match the side of the card currently facing up. Through these, and dozens of other intuitive ideas, Marvel Champions is easy to learn and teach.

    Simultaneously, it will only take you minutes to recognize the many ways that the designers have maintained strategic depth and engagement. Cards combo in exciting ways, like when Black Panther flings out “Wakanda Forever!” to trigger all his available upgrades, with damage bonuses if he manages to save those energy daggers for the last to trigger. Planning ahead pays dividends, like if Spider-Man thinks a big attack is coming, he can web up the bad guy to prevent the assault and stun them instead. Each character plays differently, and it’s fun to learn the playstyle for each, and makes me excited for the promised new heroes that will be introduced to the game over time. And importantly, many abilities are structured to encourage teamwork, like Carol Danvers’ core ability, which lets her choose any player to draw a card, expanding that hero's options. Actions encourage the players to contrive for victory together, but independent character card decks encourage each player to still engage on their own, helping to avoid the dreaded dilemma of the single over-controlling player that can sometimes bog down a cooperative game night.


    Beyond strategic depth, it’s clear that the makers of the game simply “get” what works about the Marvel heroes and villains, and recognizes ways to help each character feel right. Black Cat joins Spider-Man as an ally, and steals cards to bolster his hand. She-Hulk breaks out a massive gamma slam that deals damage proportional to how much battering she has already taken. Iron Man can head into battle with a carefully curated set of upgrades, but only after taking precious time as Tony Stark to carefully shuffle through those options and to build up his Mark V suit.

    That sense of really being enmeshed in your character is aided by a number of other card types, including nemeses and obligations. Captain Marvel may be pulled away from the broader villain scheme being enacted by Ultron to deal with the arrival of Yon-Rogg. Or maybe Peter Parker must take a break from the action to deal with an impending eviction notice for his apartment. I love that give and take between the different aspects of the characters' lives, and the need to regularly move back and forth between their identities.

    One of the biggest triumphs of Marvel Champions is the way that it simultaneously offers a complete experience, but also leaves you hungry to snag those inevitable expansions as they come down the road. I’m already stoked to see what Captain America brings to the table in his announced hero pack, or how Green Goblin will seek to advance his plot in his impending scenario pack. And while the included and recommended starter decks offer a lot to play around with, the game also suggests intriguing deck customization options, which virtually beg to be tweaked through the addition of cards. For me, given that I can confidently purchase new expansions and know what I’m getting out of them, I don’t mind the drive to expanding the game, but it might be a turn-off for some players to feel like there’s always more to buy. With that said, this initial set includes almost 350 cards to get you going, and that’s going to add up to many hours of fun, even without any additional investment.


    Cooperative games can really succeed or fail on the strength of the engagement they engender with the players at the table. Even the most interesting strategic affairs can fall flat if the core concept doesn’t get the whole group on the same page. It’s here that the Marvel license really pays dividends for Champions; after the last few years, these characters are at the top of their cultural popularity and enthusiasm, and the shared vocabulary of things like “web shooters” and “repulsor blasts” can do a lot to get the table engaged. That’s why I feel so comfortable offering this up as a broad recommendation to virtually any gaming group. My only caveat? The roughly 90-minute playtime, alongside the high dependence on reading and strategy, mean that the recommended age of 14+ is something you should think carefully about before breaking it out at the next family game night. While the colorful artwork is sure to hit a lot of buttons for that 8-year old Spider-Man fan, you need to judge for yourself if they’re ready for the complexities and time investment the game demands.

    Whether or not you decide to give Marvel Champions a shot, I’m confident that I’ve got some sort of tabletop game to recommend that’s the right fit for your family and friends. Click into the hub banner below to explore past recommendations from Top of the Table, and drop me a line if you need some personal guidance, whether on whether Marvel Champions is a good fit for your group, or if you’re looking for something else entirely.

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    Brewfest Returns - What's New in 2019

    By Curse,
    Brewfest 2019
    Brewfest is back again with item level 395 trinkets! This year the event runs from September 20 to October 6. As with many of the holiday events, this one was changed to allow you to queue at a lower level.

    If you are still leveling alts, don't forget to grab the Brewfest Enthusiast buff at 6:15 AM and 6:15 PM PDT outside of Ironforge and Orgrimmar at the Tapping of the Keg ceremony.

    What's New in 2019

    brewtabard.jpg graincrown.jpg

    • The grounds have gotten visual revamps with the allied races getting their own stands as seen below. Both factions also have an outhouse with a line.

    newbrewfest01.jpg newbrewfest02.jpg newbrewfest03.jpg newbrewfest04.jpg
    newbrewfest05.jpg newbrewfest06.jpg newbrewfest07.jpg newbrewfest08.jpg
    newbrewfest09.jpg newbrewfest10.jpg newbrewfest11.jpg newbrewfest12.jpg
    newbrewfest13.jpg newbrewfest14.jpg newbrewfest15.jpg newbrewfest16.jpg

    • The barrel of apples has a new model.


    • There is a new event, the Brewfest Chowdown, which is an eating contest.
      • The event begins once 4 people click the stand.
      • You have 3 buttons - one to eat, one to drink, and one to call for more food.
        • Eating fills your bar
        • Drinking reduces the bar.
        • You have to call for more food after eating 3x.
      • The goal is to be the first to finish 10 plates while trying not to let the bar get to 100 as it makes you choke for a few seconds
    • A variety of events (other than a Dark Iron attack) can happen such as alementals running rampant or Hozen attacks.
    • Down With The Dark Iron has been removed from the Brewmaster achievement.
    • The loot from Coren Direbrew is item level 395 for max level characters.

    Brewfest Kegs Are Tapped and Festivities are in Full Swing! September 20–October 6
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    “First celebrated by the dwarves, Brewfest now holds appeal among all the races of Azeroth!”

    Get ready to crack open a cold one with friends new and old during our revamped Brewfest! Sample brews from Azeroth and beyond with representatives from many prominent playable races during the booziest time of year.

    When - September 20–October 6
    Where - Ironforge Entrance (Alliance), Orgrimmar Entrance (Horde)
    Currency - Brewfest Prize Tokens

    Completing quests and activities on the Brewfest grounds will generally reward you with Brewfest Prize Tokens. These are used to purchase most of the items you will find on sale at Brewfest.

    NEW! Brewfest Chowdown
    Slurp and burp your way through this eating contest to be crowned the Chowdown Champion. Compete with three other players in front of a panel of spectators to prove your prowess but try not to choke (literally)! The first to finish 10 plates of sausages takes home the prize. Manners optional. Speak with Etga (Horde) or Britta Steinhart (Alliance) to participate. Prize: 1 Brewfest Chowdown Champion Token.


    NEW! Timed Events
    Every half hour a group of alementals, hozen, or Dark Iron dwarves will show up to destroy the Brewfest grounds. Put a stop to their shenanigans for a reward once a day.

    Chug ‘n Chuck Alementals
    Throw nearby taster mugs at these destructive alementals to put a cork in their plans.

    Shoo Pesky Hozen
    Unruly hozen want to monkey around—restore order by driving away these pests.

    Tip: Some of these buggers are winged, so saddle up on a flying mount to reach them!

    Brawl with Dark Iron Dwarves!
    Get your fists swingin’ when the Dark Iron dwarves invade the Brewfest grounds!


    Ceremonial Keg Tapping
    Join the Draenor-famous Frostwolf brewery Warband Ales for a special toast during Brewfest at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. server time. Alliance players can do the same with the Thunderbrew and Barleybrew breweries.


    Daily Quests
    Complete special daily quests to obtain experience, gold, and Brewfest Prize Tokens to purchase holiday items.

    Sample Fine Food and Brew
    Stumble your way through the grounds while trying specialty food and brew from all over Azeroth and Draenor.

    Holiday Items
    Earn Brewfest souvenirs while gallivanting around Brewfest!

    • NEW! Garland of Grain: A festive crown adorned with a golden pretzel that you can wear during Brewfest.
    • NEW! Tabard of Brew: Show off your love for Brewfest year-round with this tabard!
    • NEW! Brewfest Chowdown Trophy: Proudly display your Brewfest Chowdown Trophy!
    • NEW! Bottomless Brewfest Stein: Fill your Brewfest Stein at a Brewfest Festive Keg.
    • NEW! Brewfest Reveler’s Hearthstone: Return home in the most jubilant way possible!


    • Great Brewfest Kodo: Coren Direbrew won this prize after drinking a Tauren druid under the table – and the druid was in bear form. It was one of Direbrew’s proudest moments.
    • Swift Brewfest Ram: Dwarves attribute this breed’s even temperament to rigorous training, but other races argue that a daily diet of strong ale has something to do with it.

    • Blix’s Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles: Guaranteed by Blix Fixwidget to make EVERYONE look attractive!
    • Brewfest Garb:Put together a full festive appearance by wearing three of the following cosmetic pieces: Blue Brewfest Hat, Green Brewfest Hat, Brown Brewfest Hat, Purple Brewfest Hat, Brewfest Dress, Brewfest Regalia, Brewfest Slippers, and Brewfest Boots.
    • Brewhelm: Attach two tankards to your head or helmet.
    • Synthebrew Goggles XL: Warning: Do not wear while mounted.
    • “Brew of the Month” Club Membership Form: Sign up to join a monthly brew club!
    • Angry Brewfest Letter: WARNING: Once an angry letter is sent, you will never be able to join the Club again!
    • Feed your mount these hops to transform it into a Brewfest steed: Fresh Dwarven Brewfest HopsFresh Goblin Brewfest HopsFresh Brewfest Hops, or Preserved Brewfest Hops.

    • Brewfest Pony Keg: Tap a pony keg of delicious Brewfest Brew.
    • Brewfest Keg Pony: Summon a beer-toting keg pony for 3 minutes.
    • Brewfest Banner: Represent Brewfest!
    • Steamworks Sausage Grill: Places a Steamworks Sausage Grill that increases the spirits of those nearby by 4 and allows cooking.
    • Pandaren Brewpack: Carry a keg of brew on your back for 3 minutes. Drink brew or toss some to friends!
    • Gravil Goldbraid’s Famous Sausage Hat: You never sausage a hat!

    • Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm: A shy creature, the pink elekk will only make its presence known to those that have befriended it, or to anyone too intoxicated to harm it.
    • Wolpertinger’s Tankard: Many a drunken Brewfest goer has told the tale of this mysterious creature, but few remember that tale in the morning.
    • Stout Alemental: The Pandaren Brewmasters accidentally brought a barrel of Uncle Gao's last sentient batch of brew with them to Brewfest.

    • Ancient Heirloom Scabbard: Upgrade an heirloom weapon allowing it to increase in power up to level 90.
    • Timeworn Heirloom Scabbard: Upgrade an heirloom weapon allowing it to increase in power up to level 100. Only works on heirlooms that scale to level 90.

    • BREWMASTER: Completing the achievements The Brewfest Diet, Brew of the Month, Direbrewfest, Does Your Wolpertinger Linger?, and Have Keg, Will Travel will reward the meta-achievement Brewmaster. Awards the title Brewmaster.
    • THE BREWFEST DIET: Eat 8 of the following Brewfest foods—Dried Sausage, Pickled Sausage, Savory Sausage, Spiced Onion Cheese, Spicy Smoked Sausage, Succulent Sausage, The Essential Brewfest Pretzel, and The Golden Link.
    • BREW OF THE MONTH: Join the Brew of the Month club.
    • DIREBREWFEST: Kill Coren Direbrew.
    • DOES YOUR WOLPERTINGER LINGER?: Obtain a Wolpertinger pet from the Brewfest quest line.
    • HAVE KEG, WILL TRAVEL: Obtain a Brewfest mount, or transform yours into one using Brewfest Hops.
    • DOWN WITH THE DARK IRON: Defend the Brewfest camp from the Dark Iron attack and complete the quest. “This One Time, When I Was Drunk…”
    • BREW OF THE YEAR: Sample 12 beers featured in the Brew of the Month club. Requires a “Brew of the Month” Club Membership Form.
    • ALMOST BLIND LUCK: Fall 65 yards without dying while wearing Synthebrew Goggles during the Brewfest Holiday.
    • STRANGE BREW: Acquire the Brewfest beers listed below. Don’t drink them all at once!
    • DISTURBING THE PEACE: While wearing 3 pieces of Brewfest clothing, get completely smashed and dance in Dalaran.
    • A BREW-FAST MOUNT: Obtain an epic Brewfest mount.

    Be sure to hop on over to the Brewfest staging areas at the gates of Orgrimmar and Ironforge September 20–October 6 to join the festivities.

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    Replay – The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword

    By GameInformer,

    Click to watch embedded media

    Though it certainly has its fans, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is considered one of the most poorly received titles in the franchise. Game Informer gave it a 10, and today we're revisiting it on a live episode of Replay to determine who was right and who was wrong, and hopefully even find out if opinions are subjective!

    You can watch the episode on this page above starting at 2 PM Central, or follow us over on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter or Facebook to be notified when we go live.

    View the full article

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