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The CD-i might be the most misunderstood "console" of all-time


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#1 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:39 PM

The Compact Disc Interactive is a confusing subject even to the most hardened industry veteran. I actually got a good deal on one back in 92 because a fool thought it was a Laserdisk player for $200, so I got it early enough to understand what the CD-i actually is and why it is not only one of the most misunderstood "consoles" of all-time, but also one of the most important in the gaming and video industries.

 

IMG_4477.jpg

 

To the point, the CD-i is not a console. When I ask people online or in real life what format do CD-I games use everyone says CD just like the 3DO and PlayStation. I can't really blame them for believing this, popular figures have spread misinformation about the CD-i for years and yes, part of it is Phillips fault but not the majority.

 

The CD-i itself is a disc format. CD's, back when the CD-i was being hyped up as the future but before release, were expensive and limited. The CD-i could do much more than CD's ever could, Interactive interface being the big one. this allowed DVD like controls when you watched CD-I movies or Photo galleries. It had high quality audio and would allow for interactive software which included games. The players, often confused with the CD-i itself, were similar to DVD players, a machine that provided a way to execute the format.

 

Now, without CD-i we would not have DVD, DVD is a direct successor to the CD-i and later CD-i players would be compatible with DVD players. The CD-i is also responsible for Video CDs, which was the most popular video format across Asia instead of VHS. 

 

But most importantly it was the first time Sony stepped into making interactive hardware. In fact, the PSX's frame design and color choices are from their CD-i player named "The intelligent discman". It also at the same time is the first time Sony created a gaming portable as well. The ID was a hybrid home/portable machine!

 

Sony-cdi-v11-open.JPG

 

Now, the CD-i had the movies, it has the music, it had your photos, but some may come down with shock when I mention that I believe it had the games as well. The Zelda games have been beaten to death but that was only maybe .15% of the CD-i's rather sizable library, they were also considered good games at the time. I don't agree with that but I find it weird that people base the CD-i library on just these two games. As for Hotel Mario I think it's fine, it's an old style arcade game. i don't really see why thatone gets so much flak honestly.

 

The CD-i had several great tiles you should check out (in no order):

 

1. Tetris with FMV backgrounds and CD audio.

 

2. Burn:Cycle

 

3 The Apprentice

 

4. Lemmings

 

5. Mutant Rampage Body Slam

 

5. Pac-Panic,

 

6. The 7th Guest

 

7. Chaos Control (not a Sonic game)

 

8. Kether

 

9. Flashback

 

10. Dragons Lair

 

11. Dragons Lair II (still exclusive to this day)

 

12. Thunder in Paradise

 

13. Dimo's Quest

 

14. Skytron

 

15. Escape from Cyber City

 

16. Christmas Crisis

 

17. Alien Gate

 

18. Namco Classics

 

19. Golden Oldies

 

20. Ram Raid/Atlantis Last Resort

 

cdiik.jpg

 

 

Oh by the way, that last game, Ram Raid, was an ONLINE FPS(Atlantis was Ram Raid for SP), which you could play in 1996 with the CD-online modem!!! Yes the CD-i was capable of going online and was the first "Video game console" to gives us a full WWW surfing experience, it also had E-mail, downloads for people who subscribed to the gold or silver clubs, and limited video support. Please keep in mind though this was in 1996, so while it was the best way you were going online without a computer, it wasn't exactly a great way either. 

 

Fun fact: The CD-online website is still up! http://www.cd-online...e/homepage.html

 

I know many here may not have even emulated a CD-i let alone saw/played/brought one in real life. But it always hurts me to see it's extremely important legacy beat to the ground. As a "Dvd Player" it only sold 1 million units world wide so it's failure is actually much worse than most people realize (lost Phillips over $1 billion and DVD players would sell more than 400 million players in the same time frame) at the time. 

 

But it had some great software, was the best way to watch movies and listen to music at home, and was the influence behind some of the most import electronic devices that would come in the future. Definitely a device that has been misunderstood.



#2 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:53 PM

The Compact Disc Interactive is a confusing subject even to the most hardened industry veteran. I actually got a good deal on one back in 92 because a fool thought it was a Laserdisk player for $200, so I got it early enough to understand what the CD-i actually is and why it is not only one of the most misunderstood "consoles" of all-time, but also one of the most important in the gaming and video industries.

 

......

 

But it had some great software, was the best way to watch movies and listen to music at home, and was the influence behind some of the most import electronic devices that would come in the future. Definitely a device that has been misunderstood.

We understood it and let it die, it's just not good enough as a videogame machine.

[Yes I have one and I do enjoy it from time to time but I would not go as far as recommending it to anyone unless he/she ran out of things to collect]

 

 

EDIT:

And do your research more thoroughly, Dragon's Lair II is NOT an exclusive (if it ever was given you could play it in DOS in early 90s):

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/B0042A1B84



#3 rhcocker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:16 PM

We understood it and let it die, it's just not good enough as a videogame machine.

[Yes I have one and I do enjoy it from time to time but I would not go as far as recommending it to anyone unless he/she ran out of things to collect]

 

I think this statement helps prove the OP's point that the CD-I is misunderstood (i.e. it was not intended as a "videogame machine"). 

 

While I have played games I like on the CD-I, I would never defend it as a gaming console. It completely sucks in this regard. I am a big fan of documentaries/nature programs and I have spent a ton of hours soaking in all the edutainment media that the CD-I has to offer. I also get a kick out of all the retro 90s pop-culture videos in the CD-I library.

 

If I'm in the mood for an active game, I wouldn't even consider the CD-I.  If I am in the mood for a more passive gaming/learning experience, then the CD-I is a great option.   


Edited by rhcocker, Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:18 PM.


#4 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:23 PM

There is something to be said for this. The failures as a game console are well-known, but there were lots of neat ideas implemented in the 90s, in that time when computers were able to handle lots of data, but the internet wasn't really "there" yet. CD-ROM Tech was an excellent bridge to that gap, and I would argue that we left it behind too soon.

Is the CD-I the best example I can think of? No. But it is far from the worst.

#5 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:24 PM

Agreed with Phoenix, we "understood" it just fine -- it was too expensive for what it was, and didn't provide enough value to earn a seat at the table. It was too early. 

 

What's your next underdog thread going to be about? I vote for Microsoft Bob. 



#6 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:25 PM

 
I think this statement helps prove the OP's point that the CD-I is misunderstood (i.e. it was not intended as a "videogame machine"). 
 
While I have played games I like on the CD-I, I would never defend it as a gaming console. It completely sucks in this regard. I am a big fan of documentaries/nature programs and I have spent a ton of hours soaking in all the edutainment media that the CD-I has to offer. I also get a kick out of all the retro 90s pop-culture videos in the CD-I library.
 
If I'm in the mood for an active game, I wouldn't even consider the CD-I.  If I am in the mood for a more passive gaming/learning experience, then the CD-I is a great option.   

The CD-i had good games, but was never meant to fully be a games machine. The CD-i was for those that wanted it all: Games, Movies, Books, Music, Virtual world's, Internet browsing, and more.

While I don't consider the CD-i a bad games console, it was not worth it to buy a CD-i just for gaming.

Now these days yes, because you can get a CD-i for less than $100 today. But back then? Nope.

No one really understood what it was trying to do outside the big list of corporations that signed on to it.

Jaws was incredible on CD-i.

Edited by JaguarVision, Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:28 PM.


#7 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:28 PM

You can't say that it was a misunderstood "console" and then say it was not a console ... if you want to speak about a misunderstood multimedia machine have at it ... but "console" to "have it all" ... nahhhhh.



#8 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:32 PM

You can't say that it was a misunderstood "console" and then say it was not a console ... if you want to speak about a misunderstood multimedia machine have at it ... but "console" to "have it all" ... nahhhhh.


I said CD-i itself is not a console. It's not.

However the machines that play CD-i's are game systems.

That what I mean by misunderstood. The messaging by Philips didn't help things back then but alot of modern confusion is made by other people.

#9 rhcocker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:34 PM

The ps4 could be considered both a console and multimedia machine. The CD-I could be consider both as well.  Seems like the discussion is over semantics and not the OP friendly post about a machine that he has a fondness for.



#10 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:43 PM

I said CD-i itself is not a console. It's not.

However the machines that play CD-i's are game systems.

That what I mean by misunderstood. The messaging by Philips didn't help things back then but alot of modern confusion is made by other people.

 
 

The ps4 could be considered both a console and multimedia machine. The CD-I could be consider both as well.  Seems like the discussion is over semantics and not the OP friendly post about a machine that he has a fondness for.


There's no confusion, when you bring up the CD-i in a videogame forum all the rest (that is not videogame related) does not matter that much really hence the bashing.
Amiga CD32, Sat and 3DO all had mpeg boards (even the CDi needed one for full screen "high res" titles http://www.icdia.co....difaq4.html#4.7 ) but those matter very little in a videogame related forum unless they are related to videogames using it (and the CDi did use it for some of its games).

 

EDIT: btw I agree that Philips did a lot for the multimedia industry as a whole but that has nothing to do with why the CD-i gets bashed as a gaming device.



#11 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:59 PM

The CD-i had good games, but was never meant to fully be a games machine. The CD-i was for those that wanted it all: Games, Movies, Books, Music, Virtual world's, Internet browsing, and more.
While I don't consider the CD-i a bad games console, it was not worth it to buy a CD-i just for gaming.
Now these days yes, because you can get a CD-i for less than $100 today. But back then? Nope.
No one really understood what it was trying to do outside the big list of corporations that signed on to it.
Jaws was incredible on CD-i.


Here's where I part ways with your argument: yes, it did multimedia. No, it did not do multimedia well. Music was okay, but VideoCD and its clones were not able to deliver video in the quality needed for a real VHS replacement. DVD was still four years away. That's another check in the "too soon" column. Saying it's okay that the CDi was a lame game console, because it did movies.... is like saying it's okay that the Wii-U was misunderstood, because you could use it as a TV remote. You're trying to redeem a massive failure with a largely irrelevant feature.

#12 aligborat69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:13 PM

Burn:Cycle was brilliant though, I remember I finished that several times. I loved the Mad Dog games and had the revolver, Who Shot Johnny Rock, 7th Guest, but I used it to watch my VCD collection a lot too.

I really wanted that machine to succeed, Shame it didn’t.

#13 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 PM

Here's where I part ways with your argument: yes, it did multimedia. No, it did not do multimedia well. Music was okay, but VideoCD and its clones were not able to deliver video in the quality needed for a real VHS replacement. DVD was still four years away. That's another check in the "too soon" column. Saying it's okay that the CDi was a lame game console, because it did movies.... is like saying it's okay that the Wii-U was misunderstood, because you could use it as a TV remote. You're trying to redeem a massive failure with a largely irrelevant feature.


I said CD-i created VideoCD. CD-i itself is vastly Superior to VideoCD and VHS.

I also listed some quality games for the system to check out for those unfamiliar with it library.

#14 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:26 PM

I said CD-i created VideoCD. CD-i itself is vastly Superior to VideoCD and VHS.

.


You'd be wrong on both counts. There were several "video on CD" formats. CDi matured the Tech, but it didn't "create" it. And yes, the resolution was better than VHS, but that was negated by the compression. "Better" is subjective here.

https://en.m.wikiped...g/wiki/Video_CD

Anyway, the point I was making is that, because it wasn't fit to replace VHS (as DVD was four years later, and Laserdic was 15 years prior) CDI's video format was a non-factor.

#15 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:02 PM

You'd be wrong on both counts. There were several "video on CD" formats. CDi matured the Tech, but it didn't "create" it. And yes, the resolution was better than VHS, but that was negated by the compression. "Better" is subjective here.

Look up "White Book" CD standard.

Anyway, the point I was making is that, because it wasn't fit to replace VHS (as DVD was four years later, and Laserdic was 15 years prior) CDI's video format was a non-factor.

No... "VideoCD" and "video on a cd" are not the same thing. VideoCD is the name of adisc format produced by Phillips that was popular in Asia originally spin off from CD-i to see if a standalone Video Compact Disc would sell. Well it sold well in Asia anyway.


Look up "White Book" CD standard.

CD-i itself however was significantly better than both VHS and VideoCD(to a lesser extent).

CD-i was fit to replace VHS, The issue is CD-i wasn't a video only format, VHS was, thus pricesdropped faster and players less expensive. VideoCD had the potential to replace VHS however


If Phillips and JVC were no so hesitant and put effort in Europe and the US, then VideoCD may have taken VHS out. But CD-i was actually picking up around 93 and CD-R's were becoming more advanced.

CD-ihowever, was never going to beat VHS. The Players took too long to drop in price for the mid and high-end models. The Low end models had more compression and some were not even compatible with the DVC.

Mid tier players were still $300 when VHS was $150 and dropping. Even at $100 most mid tier where $300.

By the time low-end CD-i machines were good enough it was mid 1993, and Phillips was better off going after businesses or gamers than general consumers.

Don't get me wrong, all I'm saying is CD-i birthed VideoCD (and had better quality than both it and VHS), I'm not saying CD-i itself would touch VHS.

Edited by JaguarVision, Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:13 PM.


#16 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:59 PM

No... "VideoCD" and "video on a cd" are not the same thing. VideoCD is the name of adisc format produced by Phillips that was popular in Asia originally spin off from CD-i to see if a standalone Video Compact Disc would sell. Well it sold well in Asia anyway.
Look up "White Book" CD standard.
CD-i itself however was significantly better than both VHS and VideoCD(to a lesser extent).
CD-i was fit to replace VHS, The issue is CD-i wasn't a video only format, VHS was, thus pricesdropped faster and players less expensive. VideoCD had the potential to replace VHS however
If Phillips and JVC were no so hesitant and put effort in Europe and the US, then VideoCD may have taken VHS out. But CD-i was actually picking up around 93 and CD-R's were becoming more advanced.
CD-ihowever, was never going to beat VHS. The Players took too long to drop in price for the mid and high-end models. The Low end models had more compression and some were not even compatible with the DVC.
Mid tier players were still $300 when VHS was $150 and dropping. Even at $100 most mid tier where $300.
By the time low-end CD-i machines were good enough it was mid 1993, and Phillips was better off going after businesses or gamers than general consumers.
Don't get me wrong, all I'm saying is CD-i birthed VideoCD (and had better quality than both it and VHS), I'm not saying CD-i itself would touch VHS.


Re-read what I wrote. I understand that "video on a CD" and VideoCD are not necessarily the same thing. That was my point, or at least part of it. I was saying that *NO* CD-based format would touch VHS at the time, and if it couldn't compete with VHS, it wasn't a selling point for CDi. So to claim it made the console "more attractive" is wrong, because it literally DID NOT make the CDi attractive to the people who might have bought one.

Laserdisc, on the other hand, niche though it was, found a lot of people willing to pay the premium for better quality. The market for something other than VHS was there, but CDi wasn't it.

So CDi wasn't a great game console. It might not have been terrible, but it wasn't great. It wasn't a strong movie format. It did play audio CDs, for whatever that was worth in 1993. And it had reference discs when that was new and cool.

I can admit that it's not a waste of plastic, but that's as generous as I feel tonight.

#17 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:40 PM

Re-read what I wrote. I understand that "video on a CD" and VideoCD are not necessarily the same thing. That was my point, or at least part of it. I was saying that *NO* CD-based format would touch VHS at the time, and if it couldn't compete with VHS, it wasn't a selling point for CDi. So to claim it made the console "more attractive" is wrong, because it literally DID NOT make the CDi attractive to the people who might have bought one.

Laserdisc, on the other hand, niche though it was, found a lot of people willing to pay the premium for better quality. The market for something other than VHS was there, but CDi wasn't it.

So CDi wasn't a great game console. It might not have been terrible, but it wasn't great. It wasn't a strong movie format. It did play audio CDs, for whatever that was worth in 1993. And it had reference discs when that was new and cool.

I can admit that it's not a waste of plastic, but that's as generous as I feel tonight.


No non-CD format touched it either.

Your statement doesn't make sense, just because CD-i didn't beat VHS doesn't mean video wasn't a selling point for the CD-i. It was a selling point. Many people brought CD-i just for movies. It "losing" doesn't mean it wasn't a selling point.

It was a strong movie format it played video much better than VHS, reviews showed that lound and clear.

I get you don't personally like the system but come on now.

#18 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:55 PM

No non-CD format touched it either.

Your statement doesn't make sense, just because CD-i didn't beat VHS doesn't mean video wasn't a selling point for the CD-i. It was a selling point. Many people brought CD-i just for movies. It "losing" doesn't mean it wasn't a selling point.

It was a strong movie format it played video much better than VHS, reviews showed that lound and clear.

I get you don't personally like the system but come on now.

WHO bought the CDi "just for movies"?

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

FFAE9663-30C4-4CDF-B608-AC7ACB4D38BD.jpeg

Edited by godslabrat, Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:56 PM.


#19 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:57 PM

Hmm, I don't think VCD was "better" then VHS. I had VCD player adapter for my PS1 and the video quality was not the best. The MPEG compression was at fault of course. I don't even think that it was better then Laser Disc, I remember the Laser Disc had really nice freeze frame, and no noticeable compression artifacts. Fast motion was pretty bad on VCD.

Another fault of the VCD was that they came on 2 disks.

I still have a big VCD collection, mostly Jackie Chan movies.

I did not have CDi back in the days.



#20 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:59 PM

WHO bought the CDi "just for movies"?

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

FFAE9663-30C4-4CDF-B608-AC7ACB4D38BD.jpeg


Why can't different people buy a multimedia device for different reasons? Some brought it for games, some brought it for business, some brought it for movies, some brought it for internet.

That's the whole point of an all-in-one device.

#21 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:11 PM

Hmm, I don't think VCD was "better" then VHS. I had VCD player adapter for my PS1 and the video quality was not the best. The MPEG compression was at fault of course. I don't even think that it was better then Laser Disc, I remember the Laser Disc had really nice freeze frame, and no noticeable compression artifacts. Fast motion was pretty bad on VCD.
Another fault of the VCD was that they came on 2 disks.
I still have a big VCD collection, mostly Jackie Chan movies.
I did not have CDi back in the days.


The issue with VCD is over the years you had wildy varying quality. A lot of VCD players and prints do look worse or on par with VHS but it has been proven that it's capable of better picture.

But people were buying them regardless so a lot of producers were cheapos.

But my main argument was CD-i being better than both. Some of the games even show that.

#22 JaguarVision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:11 PM

Dp

Edited by JaguarVision, Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:11 PM.


#23 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:05 PM

I think the games that uses the MPEG cart were better then other systems at that time, like Space Ace, Dragons Lair, Mad Dog, etc. Sega CD FMV games were crap looking.

I would like to buy the originals if I could for cheap.



#24 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:09 PM

Why can't different people buy a multimedia device for different reasons? Some brought it for games, some brought it for business, some brought it for movies, some brought it for internet.
That's the whole point of an all-in-one device.


You said people bought it "just for movies". I'm asking you to substantiate that. The CDi did not sell well in consumer circles (it did modestly well in education, where the movie feature was all but forgotten). If it didn't sell well in the first place, it's hard to then make a case that it sold because of movies.

#25 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:28 PM

I had one of them, the 220 I believe and got the DV card for it too.  I had probably 15-20 games for the thing, plus the encyclopedia, the manhole, and some other stuff, plus used it as my first CD player too.  The thing is, the only people who really really misunderstood it was the gaming media.  They jumped all over it as a console, which it never was pitched as, ever.  It was before it's time pitched accurately as a multimedia device because they tried to corner the market on disc movies with their VCDs and they had a lot, good quality movies on it too, but also audio, reference, education, entertainment, and also strictly gaming too.  The device never was just made for or ever designed for games which is why it did some genres so well and others just awful.  Even the system itself came with a remote with a menu thumb stick, you had to buy a rebranded gravis pad extra basically (which I did.)

 

The CDi got mocked and screwed, tagged for death by attention seeking glory hound earlier era fanboy gaming media who just as they do now act like a bunch of selfish petulant manipulative brats.  They played it up on one of its features to fill their magazines like EGM, and when they didn't get what they wanted from the company both in kickbacks or so called proper game releases it was run through the mud and helped kill it off well and good in the NA market.  It lived on for some years in the home era of Europe but it was a life support clinger that choked. I don't think it really was from the start misunderstood, it got clowned by trolls so it would be misunderstood as a gaming console.






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