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Blu
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Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Blu Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:07 am

Hey Everyone!

We're expecting our first child in October, and with that will bring a world of changes. One passing thought I have is how I'll still enjoy gaming as a parent. I'm drafting up an article for tightwadgamer.com -- the site is really about being frugally minded while enjoying video games, and with us expecting our kiddo, I know my free time will become my most scarce resource. I know we have the "Pass proof you're passing on retro to the kids" thread, but I am curious about perspectives from forum members.

Here's where you come in! I'd like to write up a community interview and gather responses to a few specific categories of questions. These questions focus on the intersections of being a parent and enjoying video games as a hobby. If you wouldn't mind taking some time to reflect and share some responses to a few of the questions below, I'd love to incorporate snippets of your responses into the article itself. That and I'll be sure to link back to the thread if we get some really active and engaging participation in the thread. Thanks so much, and please check out the questions below!

Blu

---

Being a parent and a gamer -- How to be a tightwad with your (little) free time.

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?
2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?
2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.
3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?
2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?
3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?

Enjoying Games with your Kids:
1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity?
2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together?
3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)?
4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time?
5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results? :lol:
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by racketboy Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:08 pm

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? My little guy turned five this week -- we've been playing games together here and there for a couple years. We probably play a little bit even other day together.
2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born? Right before he was born, I actually wasn't playing a bunch as I was in the middle of a lot of work/business stuff. I've picked up more in the last few years as work stuff has changed and I also share with him
2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young. I honestly don't think it changed too much -- sometimes you stay up late with the baby and play games or watch Netflix :)
3. How did this change as your children have gotten older? As they have gotten older, I team up with them on games more. We just got a Wii U, so we are loving Nintendoland together :)

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose? Fighting games, strategy, platforms.
2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming? Mostly Sega stuff
3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not? I still enjoy the same, but I play more platforms and party type games now.

Enjoying Games with your Kids:
1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity? Yup!
2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together? Probably like 3 years old. But he would chime in on Guitar Hero when he was 2.
3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)? My son likes Guitar Hero/Rock Band more frequently than I would play. We like similar games (although he's not old enough for all the stuff I like). It's more about the convenient timing of the day (especially when you work from home)
4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time? We are trying to work in a time system, but he gets to play maybe 30 min to an hour a day but then gets to watch if me or my wife play.
5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results. Sonic and Mario were great successes! He's enjoyed a lot of 16-bit stuff, but he's also enjoyed NES and certain Atari 2600 stuff!
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Tanooki Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:33 am

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?
-- Yes, once she was old enough to start wanting to do things and not just play alone, and earlier when she was a baby or toddler. A lot more basic things were needed and lots of sleep at that age so time was more there than now.

2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?
2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.
-- I really don't remember, it kind of depends on what game(s) I was into at the time. I had a best friend at work then though too so in the evening I'd put an hour or a few into the Guild Wars games until he died suddenly on Christmas a few years back. But during the day 1-2 hours, sometimes more if the game demanded it. And no I got lucky I had a baby/toddler that didn't need to be fed, changed, and handled every hour of the day and night, good eater and sleeper so there was minimal impact.

3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?
-- I'm mostly the go to to take her to her activities after school and I do pick up so I'm up at 6 to work, off at 2 and head over that way at that point. Mostly I can game on a mobile device (Gameboy to 3DS or likely iPhone) unless it's after 7 or so when it's bed time. I do play games with her though so there are times.

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?
-- I don't have a set taste where I'm like one of those zombies who lives for their usual CoD or EA/2K Sports drug hit, so nothing has changed about my choice, just when and where I can get away with it.

2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?
-- Primarily handheld, has been since N64 had issues 20 years ago. So right now it's Switch, other mobile devices, my PC, then retro consoles.

3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?
-- Not at all. If I were a console gamer more than handheld it would have, it's easier when you're on the go, but since I wasn't it hasn't changed.

Enjoying Games with your Kids:
1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity?
-- Yes. Funny little story I would play them when she was old enough to sit up after age one in my lap, and one day I was playing River City Ransom EX on my GB Micro and she grabbed it out of my hand and mashed on the black tempting button a bunch and took a dude out, and it did the classic BARF! I never really got her into it, but she saw my stuff and got curious.

2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together?
-- Aside from the story above, two years ago I got her her first device, a really sweet deal on a clean girl owned Gameboy Color berry colored handheld with a pokemon pikachu pouch and a stash of games on Labor Day. She enjoyed it a lot so it grew from there as my mom gave her her barely used pink DS Lite, and as they came out I got her both the NES and SNES Classic Edition which she does the Mario and Kirby games on. I now have a Neo-Geo arcade cabinet, a modern cocktail 60in1 iCade, and Pin-Bot and she loves that stuff. Really on the MVS she loves the Bust-A-Move games, various games like Pac-Man to Burgertime on the iCade, and Pin-Bot would be obvious as it's real pinball. She can do tablet gaming as well, likes both.

3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)?
-- Nothing is begrudgingly with her. She loves the 8bit and 16bit Super Mario and Kirby games console and handheld. As I pointed out already too Bust-A-Move games on the Neo-Geo and I got her a GBC version as well. A typical kid she loves the childrens games on GBA and DS usually licensed but thankfully some of the better items around Hello Kitty, Ponies, Nick stuff, and definitely those pet/horse care type games. She even likes those decent Famicom based Hello Kitty games too so I'll pull those out as she likes to use my import games/kits on my consoles too.

4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time?
-- She has attention issues with focus, exceptionally smart and gets stuff done, but a talker. So around punishments for behavior slip ups at home or school, she's allowed time to play and even has a kids fire tablet which on there it has a set cut off time for non-reading type fun stuff. The other it's monitored, kind of just depends how it goes but she doesn't waste hours on it so there's currently no need to say you get 30min and it's over or you lose it. Content, we buy the stuff, so obviously it's the K rated level stuff, nothing E10/T/M with the ESRB.

5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results?
-- Well yeah, why do you think I got her the NES and SNES Classic Edition? The NES was a surprise got it the day they canceled the original run, and the SNES I smuggled into a closet as a just from me Christmas gift last year. I know her current limits so I got her more focused on the various Mario and Kirby games listed, and I'll have her do others as she loves Kirby's Dream Land 3 on my console. As I see her skills go I'll throw her something on her system like Balloon Fight, Mario Kart, Dr Mario and see how it works out as a test and to spread it out. The results are mixed, just depends what she's capable of. I got the NES in 1985 (dating myself) when I was 7 almost 8, so I can't quite expect the same proficiency from a 5 and 6 year old around those things but she's improving.
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Reprise Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:35 am

Congrats blu, I hope all goes well for you and your partner. This is a great idea for a thread, I'll post my thoughts when I have a chance once my little man is in bed asleep (how ironic haha).
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:10 pm

Just to clarify, my daughters are five and two. The older appreciates and enjoys gaming. The younger kinda likes to watch and fiddle with controllers.

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?
Slightly. I actually never sank a ton of time into gaming in the first place, to be honest. I will say this: the potential to have an all-day lazy gaming day on a Sunday or whatever has been destroyed since having kids. That's the only "big" difference I've noticed.
2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?
Maybe 12-15.
2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.
Dropped down to 7-10. Maybe less. When my daughters were newborns I don't think I played anything for the first month or so of their lives.
3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?
Gradually risen. Back to 12 weekly hours or so.

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?
RPGs, platformers, simplistic old arcade and Atari type games. This is simply what I've always enjoyed.
2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?
Mainly 2nd-4th gen. Atari 2600, NES, SNES, PCE, and Genesis seem to get the most use.
3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?
Platform remain relatively consistent. I now play a lot more two-player stuff with my eldest daughter. Or, I should say, the two-player mode of games I previously always played solo -- Contra, Mario Bros., Bubble Bobble, and so on.

Enjoying Games with your Kids:
1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity?
My oldest wants to do it most every day, yes.
2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together?
Probably when she was 3 (almost 4?) or so.
3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)?
I play certain puzzle games with my daughter now that I previously didn't have much interest in -- Bust-a-Move comes to mind, along with that Hello Kitty game on PSX.
4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time?
Content isn't an issue with the older stuff, generally, though my wife got ticked when she saw us playing Streets of Rage, haha. Generally when I play a game with my daughter we won't go beyond 30 minutes or so.
5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results? :lol:
Actually, my daughter has recently been getting into RPGs. She's made it through the first hour or so of Final Fantasy. Since I don't want to torture her I'm having her play the GBA port rather than the NES original.
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Blu Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:56 pm

Reprise wrote:Congrats blu, I hope all goes well for you and your partner. This is a great idea for a thread, I'll post my thoughts when I have a chance once my little man is in bed asleep (how ironic haha).


Aw thanks Reprise! It's been going really well for both of us, we're really excited. I'm glad you like the thread, and can't wait to read your reply later on. Hope your son got down to bed easy tonight!
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Reprise Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:50 pm

Blu wrote:
Reprise wrote:Congrats blu, I hope all goes well for you and your partner. This is a great idea for a thread, I'll post my thoughts when I have a chance once my little man is in bed asleep (how ironic haha).


Aw thanks Reprise! It's been going really well for both of us, we're really excited. I'm glad you like the thread, and can't wait to read your reply later on. Hope your son got down to bed easy tonight!


I'm glad things are going well. I hope you're both all prepared and the birth is a smooth one.

So anyways, some of my thoughts...

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?

Absolutely. Honestly, nothing prepares you for the huge change that is having a baby the first time. I don't even think it's naivety per se, it's just nothing prepares you for it. It's a huge change. Free time? Say goodbye to that for the first few months, especially the very first weeks. I used to game all the time (retro and modern), but don't do as much anymore. I also cancelled my PSN subscription because I don't feel I can justify paying for it anymore (I don't even play any online games on my PS4 anymore).

Don't worry though, you will still have time to game and do other hobbies, you just have to manage it a bit more and be realistic in when you can do those things. It is really, really important that both the mother and father try and maintain and keep up some of their hobbies (if not all).

2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?

Several to be honest. I'd game most evenings and all weekends for the most parts. There were the odd patches when I wouldn't game as much, but on an average week, I would play a game at 2 or 3 evenings in the week and then put in several hours over the weekend.

2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.

Initially I didn't game anywhere near as much in the first few weeks. Then I slowly started building it up again, I feel like I still got plenty in as when they're so young, youare quite limited with what you can do with them and they do sleep a lot (does that sound terrible? haha I don't mean it to).

3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?

As he got older, I started to manage more of a schedule. So during nap time, I'll game a bit. Sometimes I put in a bit in the evenings after he's asleep. I also stopped gaming in front of my son. Especially because I'm not comfortable with the more adult nature of a lot of my games (not just GTA or anything adult rated, but just the general levels of violence or bad language in a lot of normal games) and also because he needs me to be focussed on him and engaging with him.

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?

I don't know, as I like most genres and games. I guess adventure games, platformers, FPSs, cinematic games.

2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?

PS4 and PS3 for modern gaming. Dreamcast, Saturn, Mega Drive and PS2 for retro.

3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?

I play a lot less retro and the PS4 is no longer my preferred platform. Handhelds like the Vita and the hybrid Switch are now my preferred platforms because CONVENIENCE. I rarely play retro games now to be honest, just because it's a bit more of a faff...


Enjoying Games with your Kids:

1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity?

My son is just 2, so he hasn't seen a lot. When I used to do more gaming in front of him, he showed a lot of interest. I even had to give him his own controller as a toy (it's a third party PS3 pad), although I've since taken it off him due to fears he'll bite the sticks off and choke on them.

2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together?

He's too young, but hopefully soon. Like I said, he has shown interest. Also, he LOVES the new Shenmue 3 trailer.

3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)?

See above. At 2, he's still probably a bit too young.

4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time?

There will be when he starts gaming. Currently, he's not allowed to watch too much TV. It'll be the same for games. I'll also try and avoid anything inappropriate or violent until he's older.

5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results?

Shenmue as mentioned above haha.
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by marurun Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:47 pm

I need to preface these answers that the birth of my child was within about 7 months of moving into a new house, and I had not successfully set up any of my console systems, only my PC. The burdens of new home ownership were therefore wrapped up in the new parent thing as well. That may make my experiences less generalizable.

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?

Yes. I can now only play games pretty much after the child is in bed, because he's still too young to involve him in my game-playing.

2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?

Between PC and consoles, maybe 7-20 hours a week, depending on what games I was involved with at the time.

2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.

When the child was still a newborn I didn't have time for almost any gaming that wasn't on my phone. Once he was old enough to largely sleep through the night I was able to start playing some games again. I think I peaked at about 8 or 9 hours a week, and only because I was determined to finish a particular game. More casual gaming activity was less than 4-5 hours a week.

3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?

n/a

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?

I mostly played FPS shooters and action-RPGs on PC, occasionally taking time out to complete a recently acquired classic console title. I liked leveling and loot mechanics in games, so I did kind of gravitate to those for PC-fare.

2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?

PC, 75-90%, other older classic consoles, 10-25%. Mostly PC Engine, Genesis, or Wii in recent years.

3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?

I haven't played enough games since to be able to say for genres, except that I've been largely handheld/mobile exclusive for the past year. Everything I've spent any real time with has been on DS or Switch. I will tentatively say no, except with PC largely out of the picture it has mixed up what's available to me. There are lots of PC games on my Steam account that I would probably have played that I haven't.

Enjoying Games with your Kids:

n/a (yet)
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by BogusMeatFactory Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:36 pm

I am super late to the party, but felt the needed to respond and put in my two cents.

Amount of Time Spent:
1. Has there been a change in how frequently you are able to play games? Why or Why not?

There has absolutely been a change in how frequently I play games. When becoming a first time parent, a vast majority of my time was spent taking care of them versus spending personal time playing games.

2. How many hours a week on average did you play before your kid(s) were born?

I spent roughly 20-40 hours a week... I gamed a lot

2.5 How did this change when your kid(s) were just born or very young.

After my first daughter was born, I spent roughly 8 hours a week at a maximum depending on the situation.

3. How did this change as your children have gotten older?

I have had a lot more time to play games as my daughter grew up. She is 3 now and I have more time to play games and more time to play games around her. My playtime is now around 20 hours-ish a week at maximum.

Types of Games:
1. Before you were a parent, what were the most common genres you enjoyed? Any rationale for the games you chose?

I played a lot of multiplayer games, MMORPGs, Online Shooters and games with a heavy community focus. I also played a lot of co-op games with my wife. Usually I played a lot of games that were time extensive. That required a lot of focus and for long periods of time.

2. Did you have a preferred platform for gaming?

I played mostly PC and Nintendo platforms pre-child.

3. Did becoming a parent change the types of games you enjoy or the types of platforms you play them on? Why or Why not?

Having a child absolutely changed what platforms I play games on. I didn't have a lot of time to play games on my PC, because it was not conducive to taking care of a child. Add to that, a lot of my playtime shifted away from online games so that I could pause or dedicate time to help out at a moments notice. If it was late at night and my daughter would wake up and cry, I could immediately stop what I was doing and help her. Having the Wii U was a huge help during that time though, as I could hold a sleeping baby and play certain Wii U titles.

As my daughter grew older, I had more opportunities to play online games thankfully. Using things like Steam Link to my TV and the Nintendo Switch have really opened up a lot of opportunities to play the types of games I used to enjoy late at night while also taking care of my second child. Also, a very strange thing occurred recently. Games have been more accommodating to people with disabilities and I have been able to use that to my advantage. Wearing headphones is difficult, because I can't hear a baby cry and having sound on my games could easily disturb my family (my wife works as a nurse and needs to be asleep by 7 PM on nights). Some games, like Fortnite offer a hearing impaired mode where sound is simulated visually in the game and has been a boon to me, allowing me to play without restraint (and honestly it gives me a slight advantage to be fair).


Enjoying Games with your Kids:
1. Have your children become interested in video games as a free-time activity?

My first daughter is only slightly interested. She cares more about physical activities than video games. She is 3 years old currently and I try to introduce her to some of the classic Nintendo games, which she shows a minor interest in. I even built levels in Mario Maker to help introduce her to the concept of running left to right, jumping to get coins etc. Each level ramped up and introduced new elements to help her. She didn't show much interest. I think a lot of that is that I don't spend a lot of time in the day time playing video games. I talk to her about them, because I am interested in them and she loves the Nintendo characters, but doesn't really connect them to the games themselves.

2. Was there an age that you started enjoying video games together?

Only now have I started being able to enjoy any game time with my 3 year-old. We have played Dr. Mario and the original Mario Bros. She is just now starting to grasp the concept of inputting commands on the controller and seeing it appear on screen as an action. I hope that she gets into gaming, because I found it to be insanely helpful in critical thinking skills, problem solving and reading comprehension.

3. Are there specific games that your kids enjoy that you now enjoy (perhaps even begrudgingly)?

Not at all. My 3 year-old hasn't done much gaming without me and I am very open to new and different types of play.

4. Are there any restrictions as a parent you place on the games your kids play, content specific or amount of time?

My daughter gets 1 hour a day maximum to do Tablet time, using the Kindle Fire Kids Edition. It comes pre-loaded with software and learning tools and a very rich parental control settings. We set limitations on her using the tablet for videos and games and require a certain amount of time in her 1 hour to do reading and comprehension, basic math and writing skills.

5. Racketboy special: Any favorite classics that you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself that you've gently nudged them into trying? How were the results?

I've been trying hard to get my daughter in Mario and it has had mixed results. She loves Mario and Luigi as a character, but shows a minor interest in the games themselves. She has loved the colors and action of Splatoon (not to play, but to watch) and is my personal cheerleader when I play. I am looking to get her introduced into Animal Crossing when it comes to the switch and really hope that is her first game to really get into. It really encourages reading and writing skills, socialization and problem solving. Plus it allows me to indirectly interact with her townsperson and her world in fun and exciting ways.

I also got her to play some of URU: Ages Beyond Myst, having her run the character around, which she enjoyed, but had no idea what was going on. Mostly I want her to be comfortable with the idea of moving an avatar without fear of death so that I won't discourage her. I do not backseat game as I want her to experience it at her own pace. Also, some of the games I treasure the most, I want her to experience without me being there, so that she can process it at her own pace and share with me. I am excited to see if she gets into games, but will not in any way be disappointed if she doesn't. She is her own person who has a love and passion for things already. She knows I love to play games and the last thing I want to do is pressure her into thinking she needs to like them in order to bond with me. We will see how things turn out as she grows up.
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Re: Racketboy Member Perspectives: Gaming & Being a Parent.

by Blu Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:27 pm

Thanks Bogus for the timely bump, and for everyone that has posted their insights and experiences so far. I really appreciate everyone taking the time. I am going to start drafting up a rough article in the next week, and if people want to continue to respond, I'll give my due diligence to incorporate your responses too!
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