News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Author Topic: Project QC (Current: 44 Balloons)  (Read 61927 times)

Quick Curly

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Re: Balloon Fight (NES) Hacking
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2015, 11:57:34 am »
That's an amazing discovery! There are oddly coloured, faster and crazier enemies like that if you set an enemy type to anything other than 04, 05, or 06, which I made a note of in the documentation. What's odd is that it showed up during actual game-play as an unintended, unexpected bug. It must have somehow been the result of the fish appearing in that corner where both of the enemies were dropping down, and somehow a RAM address that shouldn't have been affected was altered from the game somehow getting confused. Who knows? :D If only you had that recorded in a sense that we could analyze the RAM to maybe diagnose what exactly occurred on a programming level. Great post! :)

Regarding your previous post concerning your hacking projects, I'm sorry that they didn't work out as you had hoped. There's still always a chance though. With regards to another future Balloon Fight project with even more levels that others can maybe have another opportunity to make contributions to, I do sincerely hope to look at the game again in the future, and perhaps we'll be able to develop it even further than the two level hacks so far. :beer:


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Re: Balloon Fight (NES) Hacking
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2016, 10:24:11 pm »
Hmmm I decided to tell you what I found, you see this bug is caused by a hex address change like I suspected, the value for adding the 2 player in balloon trip [change 3212 hex address from 40 to 41], and the bug goes like this in after ones of the enemies dies (only one, and a certain one) the undead balloon fighter will appear {really it must be undead because he go back to life after he dies  ;D}
and in the bonus stage it appears at the beginning and like the players  it can't die here.

Now I got a question for you, if you knew about these fighter and his values why didn't you added it to board fight hack in the last level as a boss maybe, it would be cool.

Quick Curly

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Re: Balloon Fight (NES) Hacking
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2016, 07:26:45 pm »
Oh. I see. I didn't know that it wasn't the original, unmodified game that this occurred in. That makes more sense now. :P

While I was working on the documentation and figuring the game out, I wondered what would happen if the value for an enemy type was anything other than 04, 05, or 06. I was surprised when the crazier enemies were the result of such testing.
However, I included my immediate conclusion in the documentation as well:

Using other numbers spawns enemies with mixed up colours and controls. It is probably best not to use them.

These "glitch" enemies fly much faster, and they almost immediately head directly for the very top of the screen and remain there, where it is much more difficult to pop their balloon. While not impossible to pop them, considering that their existence isn't intentional, I figured that it was best not to use them in an actual hack.

I figure it would be better to modify the speeds of the actual intended type 04, 05, and 06 enemies, though I never looked into it. Perhaps one day.

Thank you again for all your interest. It's great to find and communicate with other Balloon Fight fans out there. :) If I didn't get around to mentioning it earlier, just so you know, I did look at your level designs a while ago, DANGER X. ;) Your first level design is implementable, no problem. For your second level design, the lands and solid objects are a bit too cramped for the balloon fighters to be able to navigate well enough. It can still work, but some adjustments will be necessary. Again, just so you know. I do hope that another Balloon Fight level hacking project can take place in the future, and that we can all hopefully look forward to when it'll hopefully happen. I also sincerely hope that you'll continue creating your own projects and stick around. is more complete with you here. :)

As for current developments, I've gotten back to working on Kickle Cubicle again. I've found and documented some more data, like unique text strings and all of the pointers associated with them, and a table that already exists for unique starting times for every level. Initially, I had planned to implement this, but believed that the original game didn't account for this capability, considering that every level already starts with a countdown timer of 10000. So, one less necessary task to do! :D

I plan to switch this topic over to a personal projects thread for myself once I have some visual progress to share.

However, for anyone out there who may eventually one day benefit from some more direct Balloon Fight hacking help, or heck, any hacking help that they believe that I can potentially assist them with, please feel free to still post those questions here for me to see, and I'll try my best to help all of you out. :)

Quick Curly

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Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2016, 03:00:07 pm »
Old Thread Title: Balloon Fight (NES) Hacking
New Thread Title: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)

I'm finally ready to change this thread over to a personal projects thread, to prevent another thread ID from just being used up instead.

For those who haven't already seen me mention it in about 50 other random instances, I'm currently working on a Kickle Cubicle hack that aims to change the levels to provide a "part 2" experience of sorts following the original. There is no level editor for this game, so I'm building the levels from scratch with FCEUXD.

Right now, the working title I have in mind is: Cranreuch: Tickle My Icicle.
I debated whether or not I wanted it out there before the project is done, but basically most projects claim their names beforehand, and I don't really know if it makes as much sense as it does in my own head...

The original game has 97 levels (17 in Garden Land, 17 in Fruit Land, 16 in Cake Land, 17 in Toy Land, and 30 in the Special Game). Originally, I wanted to produce the same amount, but I feel that 97 new levels might make the hack too long. At this current moment in time, I have 23 new levels so far for the hack. Perhaps I'll have 10 levels in each new land, and 10-15 levels in the new Special Game. That still feels a little long though, but I guess I'll figure things out more as I continue along. For now, I'm strictly focusing on designing the levels first. I don't know if I'll edit the graphics and whatnot (initially, I envisioned converting this into a Mario-like puzzle game). Again, I'll hopefully have a better idea over time when I get more done.

Some levels so far are easy, but not as easy as the original game's opening levels. Some puzzles that I've come up with so far are fiendish compared to the original game, but those will most certainly be placed in the Special Game at the end, which one can decide on whether or not they really want to play it, much like the original Kickle Cubicle.

I still haven't figured out what specifically gets Princess Mira's Ring to appear, and people who have written FAQ guides for the game aren't really aware of the requirements to get it to appear either. Through my documentation of the game while figuring things out before I began to modify it, I played through all of the original levels to take snapshots of them, and I actually got Princess Mira's Ring to appear in Garden Land G. Apparently, I got it in the one land that HylianFox couldn't. Either way, I'll try to keep looking, because I seem to recall a way that the player could reach Special Game stages while progressing through the main lands, and I hope that my modified stages won't cause any interference or inconsistency with the original game functions and how it should run otherwise, considering that my level and enemy pointers are different. It's kind of crazy how the Ring just randomly appears under random circumstances that will only ever happen to you at random times when you aren't expecting it and can't possibly foresee and determine that you should be paying specific attention to random factors that you likely can't see or comprehend. Nonetheless, there has to be some way to figure it out... I hope.

So far, I've documented all the levels, level pointers, enemies, enemy pointers, enemy types for setting appropriate groups in an enemy data set for a level, level timer locations, map lands for the levels used, the Kickle sprite icon's positions for the levels when displayed on the maps, text strings, cues/settings for how and when the text strings are used, and the sprite/icon types used at the end of each level. So, when I'm ready to get around to it, I'm hoping to fully modify the actual map/land layouts and make the text relevant to the new adventure as well.

Here are some level designs that I've done so far, in no specific order. Not all of them are shown here, obviously - I have to keep most of them a surprise, of course. I need to design some more simplistic action levels, and some easier puzzle levels, to include in the mix. So, don't worry, I do have it in mind. Though those who are familiar with my hacks are fully aware that I tend to create more involved levels than straight forward ones. :P

Quick Curly

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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2016, 06:16:11 pm »
New update.

I've managed to learn more about the super secret Princess Mira's Ring item (also referred to as the Magic Ring in some online guides and YouTube video comments)! I made the following image below:

Do keep in mind, this is specifically for the American release. I haven't checked the Japanese release to see how the item is managed there and in which levels it appears.

I found that there's a table in the ROM for the location that Princess Mira's Ring appears in each unique level, if it can possibly show up.

Code: [Select]
0x066EE-0x0676D (0x80)

                                          FF FF

If a level has "FF" for the value, the Ring cannot appear. The code that checks this table for each level as seen below is located at 0x06065 in the ROM ($A055 in RAM):

Code: [Select]
A055:AE 19 01  LDX $0119 = #$33
A058:BD DE A6  LDA $A6DE,X @ $A711 = #$82
A05B:C9 FF     CMP #$FF
A05D:D0 03     BNE $A062
A05F:4C BE A2  JMP $A2BE

If Princess Mira's Ring can appear in the current level and meets the appropriate conditions for it to appear (which still aren't really fully clear or understood at this current moment), it will begin to appear once the timer reaches 9450.

The levels that Princess Mira's Ring can appear in are listed below, with the locations that it will appear in each:

Code: [Select]
  1. Level 0B -     Cake Land M: Position 8C (X: 70, Y: B0)
  2. Level 16 -      Toy Land K: Position 83 (X: 70, Y: 20)
  3. Level 33 -   Garden Land D: Position 82 (X: 70, Y: 10)
  4. Level 34 - Level 01 Repeat: Position 8C (X: 70, Y: B0)
  5. Level 39 -    Fruit Land H: Position 87 (X: 70, Y: 60)
  6. Level 3A -     Cake Land C: Position 83 (X: 70, Y: 20)
  7. Level 46 -    Fruit Land M: Position 74 (X: 60, Y: 30)
  8. Level 4C -    Fruit Land B: Position B6 (X: A0, Y: 50)
  9. Level 56 -     Cake Land F: Position 85 (X: 70, Y: 40)
 10. Level 57 -      Toy Land B: Position 3A (X: 20, Y: 90)
 11. Level 63 -   Garden Land G: Position 84 (X: 70, Y: 30)
 12. Level 7C -      Toy Land A: Position A7 (X: 90, Y: 60)

It seems as though there is more than one possible way for the Ring to appear. However, the code immediately before the main influential code involves a bunch of checks for RAM address $010F, but I haven't found out its purpose yet, or if/when it's ever actually a value other than 00. Granted, I haven't really played through much of the game for this specific purpose yet.

However, one condition for the Ring to appear, which is how I've gotten it appear in Garden Land 4/D, was to complete the previous level with a score total that has the hundreds digit match up to the number of levels into the current land you are in, plus one. For example, $010C considers Garden Land 1/A as 00, Garden Land 2/B as 01, Garden Land 3/C as 02, and Garden Land 4/D as 03. Plus one, 03 becomes 04. I got the Ring to appear in Garden Land 4/D with a score of 314400 and 324400 different times after I completed Garden Land 3/C. It also appeared when I manually set the score to a total of only 400 points, and used the password to immediately jump to Garden Land 4/D.

Specifically, the code overwrites the usual value of 06 at $0450 with 47, and this begins the process in making the difference of whether or not the Ring will appear or not.

Code: [Select]
$B9C8:A5 B3     LDA $B3 = #$44       ; Thousands and hundreds digits in score.
$B9CA:29 0F     AND #$0F             ; Check hundreds digit.
$B9CC:85 09     STA $09 = #$00
$B9CE:AD 0C 01  LDA $010C = #$03     ; How many levels into current Land?
$B9D1:18        CLC
$B9D2:69 01     ADC #$01             ; Plus one.
$B9D4:C9 0A     CMP #$0A             ; 09 + 01 = 0A; presumably, accounts for potential scenario of 10 in one column.
$B9D6:90 03     BCC $B9DB
$B9D8:18        CLC
$B9D9:69 F6     ADC #$F6
$B9DB:C5 09     CMP $09 = #$00       ; Compare level number to hundreds digit in score.
$B9DD:D0 0A     BNE $B9E9
$B9DF:A9 47     LDA #$47             ; Princess Mira's Ring will appear!
$B9E1:8D 50 04  STA $0450 = #$06
$B9E4:A9 00     LDA #$00
$B9E6:8D 5D 04  STA $045D = #$00
$B9E9:60        RTS

Ironically, the main reason I was even looking for how the Ring works and how it appears is so that the original game's influence wouldn't potentially compromise the intentions and new level arrangements of my developing hack. So, now that I know about the table that determines whether or not the Ring can appear in each unique level by its hex identifier, I can prevent the Ring from appearing, unless I decide for it to, in which case I actually have control over how, when, and where specifically it will. ;)

Anyway, as for the project's development itself, I haven't managed to design a new level for a while, since I was focusing on documentation for the Princess Mira's Ring item. It felt like my hack's progress was frozen and potentially uncertain until I could figure out how it works to make sure that it wouldn't appear on a water tile or something in an unintended level because it wasn't planned or expected.

I've also documented the music offsets and their hex identifiers. However, I have yet to figure out how exactly the music system works, though it's not really a priority at this current moment.

So, things are progressing. Hopefully there will be more news and updates to come. :)

Quick Curly

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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2016, 04:00:00 pm »
Sorry for the inactivity and delayed reply. I lost my Windows 7 laptop, and the hacking programs don't work as well on this Windows 8 laptop that I'm using now (I don't know if it's incompatibility issues, specific settings, or what else, but whatever) but I've still been trying to make some progress. Thankfully, I didn't lose the hack when the old laptop died unexpectedly.

I have 47 levels designed. As I originally stated, I was hoping to make this hack shorter than the original Kickle Cubicle game. I figured that 8 levels in each of 4 lands, and 15 levels in the Special Game, would be a reasonable amount.

So, I started to edit some of the graphics, since I have a vision in my mind for how the hack and its story could be more than just another adventure focusing on Kickle as the main character. However, since I suck at editing graphics, it's not going as fast as I'd like for it to be, and creating graphics from scratch doesn't come to me as easily as just editing levels, which is normally what I prefer to focus on doing.

Here's a more recent image of the updated hack so far:

So, instead of Cranreuch: Tickle My Icicle (which would make more sense without any graphical modifications and extensive changes), the current working name for the hack is Pikachu's Icy Adventure. It definitely doesn't sound as original or special to me though, so if there are any other possible name suggestions, please provide me with any other ideas for that.

As for the graphics editing and overall progress of the hack at this current point in time, I'm feeling that it's becoming more difficult to sit in front of the computer screen for hours to make only little bits of progress at a time, and it feels like I won't be able to make this hack all that it can be simply on my own.

So, if there are any graphics/sprite editors out there who are interested by what I have done so far and would be willing to help contribute some work to the graphical aspects of this project, I would be extremely thankful and relieved. I really want this project, as the (hopefully still by the time it's completed and released) first Kickle Cubicle level hack, to be more refined compared to my previous projects. Though really, if it comes to it, as I always end up figuring once a hack is out there, it is what it is, and I tell myself that I don't care at that point because I don't want to have to deal with it anymore; so if specific, custom 8-bit Pokémon graphics can't reach a point of appearing decent enough to some people, as usual, you can't please everybody, and graphics really aren't my strong suit. However, despite my usual mentality of trying to tackle everything by myself, I'm putting myself out there and asking for help once again so that I can do right by the project and the people who will hopefully play it in the future. Unfortunately, I'm only one person and I can't do everything to satisfy today's overly high standards, at least, at this rate, in a timely manner.

I could always just release the hack as it is if/when it comes to the point that I'm unable to work on it anymore, and someone else can continue work on it from that point if they want to finish converting the graphics over to the new story and theme that I'm working towards. Either way, if I continue to work on it by myself, then what it becomes will be what it is, and I likely won't want to try to "satisfy" expectations from people who otherwise don't want to help the hack become what they dictate it should be.

Thank you in advance for anyone who can help out, and for the folks who have commented and supported my projects so far. If there are serious people who can and will definitely be able to help me out with the graphics part of this Kickle Cubicle hack, I'll provide a patch of the modified graphics that I have so far so that they can see how any can be more professionally fixed up, and any other graphics that they can modify to fit the theme of the hack.

In the meantime, I'll try to continue to work on it by myself like I have been, but I don't know how successful I'll be with it graphically. Sure, I don't have to modify the graphics, but again, I had a vision of an idea for a new direction, and despite my evident disadvantages, I'm still trying to go with it for the time being. I hope that my statements concerning others' standards and me asking for any help don't come across as me expecting other people to do work that I can't. It's not that I can't, but I know and admit that I can't edit graphics like how it comes at least relatively easier to other folks. So, even though I personally don't care for reading posts about people criticizing other people's work (regardless of whether it's good or bad criticism), for the sake of the project as a whole, I'm asking people for their professional approaches and takes, so that I don't completely screw everything up for everybody.


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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2016, 12:05:01 am »
@QC: So your hack will feature a different character? Why Pikachu? Why not Pentarou or Ice Man?

Quick Curly

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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2016, 09:48:59 am »
Yes, that's what I'm currently aiming for.
Originally, I was considering a Mario conversion for the hack, though Ice Mario has been done before.
My next idea was Piplup, since I thought that it might be cute for a small Pokémon to have to take on large, more powerful Pokémon in an adventure, but I couldn't get that to work graphically.
Special Pikachus have surfed and also flown. In my mind, I could see a special Pikachu with freezing powers or whose thunder can freeze. With Pikachu, it can work graphically for the balloon/flying graphics at the beginning and ending of a level as well. Not that I have the graphics drawn out yet, but at least there's still currently hope in my head for that direction right now. Anyway, it's the vision that I came up with on my own.
I didn't think of Pentarou as a possibility. I suppose that could have worked, though I haven't really played any games with him other than Antarctic Adventure.
For Ice Man, I'm assuming that you mean from Mega Man? Well, as I've mentioned in the past, I don't really play Mega Man games, and I never played any while growing up, so I don't think it would make much sense for me to make him the main character and protagonist in my hack. I'm much more familiar with Pokémon Generation I which is what I decided to go with.
I didn't really want to try to create a character from scratch like some hacks have done in the past since there wouldn't be any familiarity to work with/connect to for players.
Thanks for the suggestions though.

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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2016, 02:16:59 pm »
Monthly update on the 21st!
Unfortunately, I don't have much to report this time around. In fact, I don't think that I've even touched the Kickle Cubicle hack for the whole month since I last posted. Real life has been the priority, and it doesn't seem like things will slow down.
With all things considered - being busy and how no one has expressed interest overall in my current developing project and/or collaborating on it (or really, anything else) - I may or may not just end up discarding the whole Pokémon theme altogether. Much like every other past project besides the Balloon Fight level hacks, it feels like "Cranreuch" or whatever the heck it'll be called is becoming just another heavy weight that I need to finish simply to be done with it so that I can move on to something else.
While I could just work on something else and then come back to it later, I've never liked that idea. I see too many other people have multiple projects that they'll most likely never touch again, and they could still be starting even more projects to add to their plate. I've only ever liked to have one developing project at any given time (not considering the whole Quick Bros. 2 thingymabobber).

However, in other news, earlier this week, I only just noticed a video that the JamesNintendoNerd YouTube channel uploaded for Luigi's Chronicles 2.

Link: (Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.)

I attempted to leave a comment on it Tuesday morning, but it never showed up publicly. I can view it while I'm logged in, though. Most likely it was too long and it'll never be approved. I replied to a couple other comments, and while those comments seemed to be visible for a little while, all of them quickly disappeared too.

Either way, at the end of this post, I'll leave off with my initial, thorough comment basically expressing my surprise, regrets, and gratitude for the video concerning the hack.
Thanks again to the whole Angry Video Game Nerd/Cinemassacre crew for taking the time to play and make a video of one of my hacks, and for all of the entertainment over the many years that I've watched them. Also, thanks to Googie for letting me join the project and for pointing out the limited level spaces in SMB3 to help initially open my eyes as I was just beginning to ROM hack way back in October 2007, and for all of my YouTube friends and other online companions for all of the support over the years. You're the folks who help keep me going.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was very, very surprised to see this. :) I remember noticing the reproduction cartridge listed in Mike's NES collection at least 2, maybe even 3 years ago.
I do have regrets for how this hack ultimately came together. Primarily, the palettes. My eyes are messed up, so everything always visually bleeds together for me. As in, I ironically don't truly see how monochrome everything turns out to be. I also believe that I should have had many more starting lives or just eliminated lives altogether like some other SMB3 hacks have done in the past. I remember seeing that one of the reproduction cartridge sites modified the hack to start with 99 lives.
My direction for the palettes was to avoid using the same old colour schemes that every other hack tends to use, but there are only so many colours to work with for NES, and I tried to use ones that weren't as common (because I'm the abnormal ROM hacker). I suppose that's why they aren't so commonly used. However, I also prefer dark light, and my direction for the hack's atmosphere was to be dark. This isn't supposed to be an overly colourful, happy adventure. The Mario brothers are doomed to relive the same depressing, dark journey day by day, game by game. It's not necessarily a celebration of sorts. Still, I certainly would have benefited from perspectives of people experienced with colour.
This hack was designed years ago, and I first and foremost basically design levels for my own personal playing experience, which I know from past instances is not the common one. I played this game more than anything else while growing up to the point that I wanted a completely new, unfamiliar, overly difficult experience that was heavy on unforeseeable exploration (but still not "kaizo"); an experience that I could invest and immerse myself in for years much like the original SMB3 did until I turned over every stone and pebble. So, I add many layers to a single level, because straightforward, linear levels are also so overdone and way too common, and against the very idea that attempting to rescue the princess should be no walk in the park. Only the truly devoted plumbers deserve to receive the golden wrench from the town mayor.
I noticed that many people found vhernandez2121's complete play-through of this hack, and it was accomplished without save-states and other manipulative tools. Many of my closest YouTube friends from the past were who we design these kinds of hacks for. I've designed other hacks that attempt to be more easier than this one, but I acknowledge that the likely reason this hack is the most popular and the only reproduction I've seen to date is because it's Luigi, despite the actual content and true original intentions of its creation. Much like the original prequel.
I do appreciate the feedback provided by Mike's and Bootsy's own perspectives. Sorry for the difficulty preventing this video presentation from showing more of the project overall. Though as outlined above, I don't know if this hack really works best in this kind of format, since it was originally designed to be an extensive dark journey that takes time to familiarize oneself with first. Simultaneously, seeing the hack get more publicly recognized, even if it means all of its flaws are revealed on a larger scale, kind of completes my life now. Though, I will still continue to hack, whether people care and like it or not! ;)
I've probably even tried to directly help progress more projects from other people forward than the number of projects I've completed over the years, and I still do my best to remain active in the community to continue doing that. Heck, if anyone reading this who isn't familiar with SMB3 hacking has always dreamed of creating their own experience, please, by all means, feel free to ask your questions. If there's one thing I always look forward to, it's more new and unique SMB3 experiences. I'm definitely not the most experienced SMB3 hacker by any means, but it's my favourite and most committed game, and I do my best to be the most available and accessible SMB3 hacker. I've held the hands of many other beginners in the past (even if most to all of them never completed their project because they lost interest in hacking overall) and I do my best to help pass on what I've had to figure out on my own.
Thank you, Mike and Bootsy, for playing this! I've been watching the channel for many, many years. It's awesome that the channel has grown over time to cover many more forms of entertainment. You all rock! Wish you all the best, always. :)


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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2016, 05:13:17 pm »
Cool that they reviewed your game.

If they thought Luigi's Chronicles was hard, they should try the challenge levels of the Quick Bros. 2 hack pack. :)

I'm sure Kickle Cubicle will be worth the wait, take as much time as you need. -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES


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Re: Project QC (Current: Kickle Cubicle)
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2016, 05:35:33 pm »
Not much to say. Just wanted to drop in and mention that I'm glad to see someone doing a hack of this game. I had never heard of it until I stumbled upon it in a used game store a few years ago. Good stuff. Keep up the good work. ;)
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