->''"Old Man Stauf built a house, and filled it with his toys''
->''Six guests were invited one night, their screams the only noise''
->''Blood inside the library, blood right up the hall''
->''Dripping down the attic stairs -- hey guests, try not to fall''
->''Nobody came out that night, not one was ever seen''
->''But Old Man Stauf is waiting there -- crazy, sick, [[AC:AND MEAN!]]"''
-->-- Traditional children's rhyme

The story of the 1993 horror-themed puzzle game ''The 7th Guest'' begins during [[TheGreatDepression the Great Depression]]: wandering drifter and thief [[BigBad Henry Stauf]] [[KickTheDog kills an old woman on her way home from choir practice]], sinking to a new low even for him. That same night, he [[DreamingOfThingsToCome has a dream about a beautiful doll]], a replica of which he carves the next day and offers to a local barkeep in exchange for room and board. Stauf continues to make dolls and other toys [[DreamingTheTruth based on his visions]]; when they become a high-demand item, [[RagsToRiches he becomes a rich man]].

At the height of Stauf's success, [[SoapOperaDisease a mysterious illness]] soon kills many of the children who own his toys. Stauf builds a [[HauntedHouse remote mansion]] based on another dream, then moves into it and [[HikikoMori retires from society]] for good. The years pass on, and when nobody knows for sure if Stauf is still alive, he invites six guests to his mansion for a dinner party. The invitation promises to grant the wishes of whoever solves all of his mansion's puzzles. But the puzzles themselves are little more than a means to an end--clues to what Stauf wants and what he wants the guests to do for him.

The player controls an unremarkable [[GhostAmnesia amnesiac]] who wakes up in Stauf's mansion, which is the setting for the entire game, and tries to figure out how he ended up there. As this character wanders the mansion and solves logic puzzles (some of them [[FakeDifficulty suspiciously]] [[SolveTheSoupCans illogical]]) to advance the story, [[JerkAss Stauf]] becomes an ever-present menace by [[IShallTauntYou taunting the amnesiac]] with clues and expressing displeasure when a puzzle gets solved.

''The 7th Guest'' was one of the first games to make use of CD-ROM technology, which gave it a reputation as a technical marvel for its day. Critics and fans considered the prerendered CGI graphics and FullMotionVideo as state-of-the-art technology for a videogame; computer manufacturers frequently used the game to show off the capabilities of a CD-ROM drive. ''7th Guest'' has a fairly complex plot sitting underneath all the technical wizardy and its non-linear gameplay, but without a [[GuideDangIt FAQ of some kind]] that details how to trigger events in a logical progression, the average player could believe the game doesn't have much of a plot at all. The game offers a hint book in the library of the house that offers clues on how to solve the game's next puzzle. When it is used for a third time, it [[AntiFrustrationFeatures completes the puzzle for the player]] so they can continue the game. (The game's manual says [[BlatantLies "consequences" could occur for using the hint book]], but a player can use it without penalty for all but the last puzzle.)

''The 7th Guest'' was successful enough to receive a sequel in 1995. ''The 11th Hour'' takes place sixty years after the events of its predecessor and follows the story of reporter Carl Denning, who visits Stauf Manor to look for his lost producer and soon becomes another victim of Stauf's wicked schemes. ''11th Hour'' plays exactly the same--wander the mansion, solve puzzles, and watch scenes that advance the plot--but features multiple endings as opposed to the first game's sole ending.

Another planned sequel, ''The Collector''--which would have featured Stauf as a museum curator--[[{{Vaporware}} vanished]] when developer Trilobyte went out of business. Before Trilobyte closed its doors, it published a GaidenGame to the series, ''Uncle Henry's Playhouse'', that compiled puzzles from ''The 7th Guest'', ''The 11th Hour'', and ''Clandestiny''. That game was sold through mail-order; it sold only twenty-seven copies in the US and 176 total copies worldwide.

Fifteen years after the original game's release, [[http://www.trilobytegames.com/index.html Trilobyte Games]] rose from the grave and ported both ''7th Guest'' and Rob Landeros' InteractiveMovie-meets-Psychoanalysis Session ''Tender Loving Care'' to the Apple iOS. ''11th Hour'' has not yet seen a re-release; see TechnologyMarchesOn in the Trivia section for the reason why.

In March 2013, Trilobyte co-founder Charlie [=McHenry=] announced [[http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/6/4072420/the-7th-guest-3-in-development-for-ios-android-pc-and-mac a new sequel]] and plans to release it across multiple platforms in 2014. In an attempt to secure funding for the sequel (titled ''The 7th Guest 3: The Collector''), [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1559170459/the-7th-guest-3-the-collector Trilobyte kicked off a Kickstarter project on Halloween 2013]], but the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.

A paperback novelization of the original game's backstory was shipped with the ''7th Guest'' CD; it is now available on Amazon Kindle.

In the summer of 2015, [[http://indiegamemag.com/the-13th-doll-returns-to-the-world-of-the-7th-guest Trilobyte once again announced a new sequel]], ''The 13th Doll''. This game was originally a fan creation by Attic Door Productions; they have now partnered with the original Trilobyte team to make it an official sequel. Tad never recovered from his experiences in Stauf's manor; as an adult, he remains confined to a mental institution. His new doctor thinks he needs to return to the manor to confront his demons once and for all. But the doctor doesn't realize just how real those demons are...

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!! ''The 7th Guest'' and its sequels provides examples of:

* AlienGeometries:
** The Art Gallery is completely isolated from the rest of the house, to the point that Ego effectively warps to get there. Edward Knox and Martine Burden (per the novel), including Carl navigates a hidden passage in the grandfather clock to reach the same room, but the latter leaves through the same painting that Ego used.
** The whole house is this. Compare the floor plans for each floor to each other, and then to the outside of the house. And that's not counting all the weird shortcuts through walls, drains etc which may or may not count [[spoiler:since you're a ghost]].
* AllThereInTheManual: The game comes with a case book filled with newspaper articles and excerpts from other publications that outline the game's backstory.
* AmnesiacHero: The very first line the protagonist speaks in the first game says it all.
-->'''Ego:''' How did I get here? I remember...nothing.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: The hint book in the library is one of these. Using it once gives a hint on how to solve the most recent puzzle you visited; using it a second time gives more detailed instructions; using it a third time completes the puzzle for you. In all three cases, the book will transport you right back to said puzzle after you get the hint. The hint book can be used on every puzzle in the game except the last one. And while the game's instruction manual warns players about [[LyingCreator consequences for using the hint book too often]], nothing happens if you overuse it. But there is one downside to skipping a puzzle: you also skip the cutscene that plays after completing it.
* AnotherSideAnotherStory: In ''The 13th Doll'', once Tad and his doctor arrive at Stauf's home, the player will decide which of the two will be the active character. Tad and the doctor have their own unique storylines and puzzles.
* ArcSymbol: The House itself. Every time a puzzle (in the first game) resets or is completed, an outline of the Stauf Mansion appears and returns it to its original state. This is most likely to [[LawOfConservationOfDetail keep the original backgrounds intact.]]
* BeatStillMyHeart: The Heart Puzzle is based around this. Ironically though, the heart itself does not beat at all after you click on it.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Stauf shows each of the six guests visions of what they wished for. Of course, being Stauf, he can't help showing how these wishes could go awry. This doesn't seem to faze four of his guests, who decide that the risks are worth it, and that the ends justify the means. The one guest who actually completes Stauf's "quest" asks for her wish (to be young again)...and gets [[spoiler:melted by a puddle of acid that Stauf spits instead]]. Not exactly wish fulfillment there.
* BookEnds:
** ''The 7th Guest'' starts and ends with a book that Ego reads in the library.
** ''The 11th Hour'' opens with Carl watching a report talking about Robin's disappearance. If the player selects the [[spoiler:Robin]] ending, another television report closes out the game, covering [[spoiler:Carl's death following their recent marriage, leaving everything to Robin...including the Stauf Broadcasting System]].
* BookcasePassage: Or, rather, a plant passage, a bathtub drain passage, a weird [[{{Teleportation}} warp-through-a-floor-panel-and-Stauf's-head]] passage...you get the picture. ''11th Hour'' played it straighter, as Carl was shown walking through hidden passages inside the walls. There was even meant to be an actual bookcase passage in the first game's original script.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: The CD-i version of ''7th Guest'' changed the spiders on the front door's puzzle into worms for no discernible reason.
* CanonDiscontinuity: The ending of ''7th Guest'' implies that Tad [[spoiler:was able to GoIntoTheLight thanks to the player]]; however, he's all grown up and taking center stage in ''13th Doll.''
* ChessMotifs: Several puzzles in both ''7th Guest'' and ''11th Hour'' utilize chess pieces, usually requiring the player to swap the white and black pieces' positions.
* {{Claustrophobia}}: The basement labyrinth. If you've got a fear of small enclosed places, it borders on horror. Bonus terror comes from Stauf's commentary whenever you hit a dead end.
--> '''Stauf:''' Feeling...''lonely''?
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Brian Dutton.
* CreatorCameo:
** George "The Fat Man" Sanger, who wrote the soundtrack for the game, has a portrait of himself in the Art Gallery.
** The Connect Four clone in ''The 11th Hour'' is played over a cake which is in the shape of a trilobite, a reference to Trilobyte. Stauf even lampshades this.
--->'''Stauf:''' Now what the heck is a trilobite, anyway?
* CreepyCathedral: The hidden chapel on the second floor definitely counts as one. Dimly lit, gargoyles on the columns that come alive, a skeleton organ player, axes and swords on the walls....[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and it's accessed from Dutton's closet.]]
* DeadAllAlong: Arguably everyone, but especially [[spoiler:Ego]].
* DeadToBeginWith: [[spoiler:The entirety of ''7th Guest'' takes place long after the depicted events have already occurred.]]
* DealWithTheDevil:
** Definitely Stauf, and arguably Julia. Not so much for Martine, Edward and Brian, but not for lack of trying.
** [[spoiler:Robin]] in ''The 11th Hour''.
* TheDitz: Elinor Knox.
* DoorToBefore: The clue book in the library can teleport you back to the last puzzle that you visited after giving you a hint on how to solve it.
* DeathAmnesia
* TheDragon: [[spoiler:Julia]] becomes one to Stauf.
* DullSurprise: Carl in ''The 11th Hour'', most of the time.
* EnfantTerrible: Marie in ''The 11th Hour'', conceived from the rape of Eileen by the GeniusLoci.
* FanDisservice: Both games contain rather {{squick}}y sexual encounters: Martine and Edward in ''The 7th Guest'', and Carl and [[spoiler:Marie/Stauf]] in ''The 11th Hour''. Carl and Robin can count, too, depending on how you feel about either character. The hint book for ''The 11th Hour'' included the complete script for the cut-scenes, including a love scene between two characters that didn't make it into the game.
* FanSequel: As noted above, ''The 13th Doll'' started out as this, but is now an official licensed product.
* FateWorseThanDeath: While fun is different for everyone, [[spoiler:being trapped in the strange mansion forever and having his soul occasionally chewed on by Stauf is probably not particularly fun for Tad/Ego]].
* FeaturelessProtagonist: Averted; while the player doesn't know anything about Ego until the very end, this is because of Ego's own amnesia. We learn that he's actually [[spoiler:Tad]] as soon as he does.
* FemmeFatale: Martine Burden.
* FifteenPuzzle: The infamous bedroom mirror. The grate puzzle in the first game also counts, but that one is significantly easier.
* FullMotionVideo
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: Carl can still [[spoiler:hear the rules of the final game from Samantha]].
* GeniusLoci: Stauf Manor itself. Say it with me now: "There are clues throughout this house as to what must be done. The house... is ''alive with clues''."
* GhostAmnesia: What Ego suffers from.
* GoingForTheBigScoop: This is part of what brought Robin to Stauf Manor in ''The 11th Hour'' in the first place.
* GottaCatchThemAll: The whole reason for Stauf's game might have been to [[spoiler:get one more soul]] in order to become [[EldritchAbomination something even worse than he already was]].
* GreasySpoon: Robin's first stop in Harley-on-the-Hudson. While her choice of food doesn't fly there, the waitress, Eileen Wiley, is her first lead on the Stauf Mansion case, prompting Robin to drop by again a few times for more info.
* TheGreatDepression: The whole reason Stauf [[spoiler:makes a DealWithTheDevil]] is because he's fallen on such hard times.
* GroundhogDayLoop: The story in ''7th Guest'' eventually reveals that everything the player has seen has already happened in some form or another--no one is actually there, and Ego can't interact with any of the people. [[spoiler:In the original version of events, Stauf got to Tad, but ''something'' prevented Stauf from completing his DealWithTheDevil, and everyone--Stauf, Tad, and the six other guests--were then doomed to repeat the events of that fateful night. Tad's spirit was somehow split off into Ego; by solving the puzzles and reuniting with his actual self at the crucial moment, Ego changed the night's events, passed on to the afterlife, and doomed Stauf to Hell.]]
* GuideDangIt
* GuiltBasedGaming: [[spoiler:''COME BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!'']]
* HarmfulToMinors: ''7th Guest'' had several scenes of infants in dangerous situations, not to mention the backstory of a mysterious virus killing children who owned Stauf toys.
* HeroicSacrifice: Hamilton Temple, although it turned out to be somewhat [[SenselessSacrifice senseless]].
* HesitationEqualsDishonesty: [[spoiler:After Carl pays Stauf to see what's behind the final door and sees Robin, she talks about how glad she is to see him, and then says that she loves him in a very restrained fashion.]]
* HideYourChildren:
** Inverted; Tad is in several cut scenes in the game, [[spoiler:and he's eventually killed and eaten by Stauf]].
** Stauf makes toys that [[spoiler:carry some kind of fatal virus]], which in turn allows him to [[spoiler:eat the souls of the infected children]].
* HintSystem: The library book in the first game, Carl's [=GameBook=] in the sequel.
* HowWeGotHere: The cutscenes in ''7th Guest'' gradually reveal what happened to the guests, while those in ''11th Hour'' mainly revolve around showing Robin's investigation prior to Carl's arrival. Only a few cutscenes in the latter occur in the present time.
* HurricaneOfPuns: Stauf is all about this, but a moment in ''11th Hour'' when the evil ghosts decide to kill [[TooDumbToLive dumb, hapless Chuck]] sticks out.
-->'''Julia:''' How about... a Chuck roast?
-->'''Stauf:''' A Chuck steak!
-->'''Soup-Based Skull:''' Chuck 'im into the soup!
* IdentityAmnesia: See AmnesiacHero above.
* InfiniteFlashlight: The one Carl carries around.
* IronicNurseryTune
* KickTheDog: Brian, Edward and Julia.
* KillItWithFire: In ''The 11th Hour'', [[spoiler:Stauf Manor burns down in the best ending]].
* {{Klotski}}: The furniture puzzle in ''11th Hour''.
* LargeHam: Pretty much all of the ''7th Guest'' cast seem to have made a bet to see who could overact the most. As the man tasked with playing Stauf, classically trained actor Robert Hirschbeck likely won such a bet. He looks and sounds like he's having the time of his life with every single line.
* LastSecondEndingChoice: Used in ''The 11th Hour''.
* LateToTheTragedy
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: When Samantha is looking for Carl within Stauf Manor on her security cameras, it's represented by gameplay from ''The 7th Guest''.
* {{Locked Door}}s: The game is built ''entirely'' around solving puzzles in order to unlock them.
* MeaningfulName: "Stauf" is an obvious play on "Faust".
* MonsterClown: "''Red ballooooooon!''"
* MultipleEndings: ''The 11th Hour'' has three endings; which one you see is dictated by a [[LastSecondEndingChoice single choice]] Carl makes in the finale: [[spoiler:Does he save Robin, Marie, or Samantha?]]
** Ending #1: [[spoiler:Carl saves Marie only because she claims to be willing to do whatever he wants. The two end up in bed together, and while they're having sex, Marie reveals that she and Stauf are one and the same. Oh, and that she's eating ribs--Carl's ribs, specifically]].
** Ending #2: [[spoiler:Carl chooses to save Samantha. Touching the television screen she's displayed on teleports both of them out of the mansion, and they watch it burn together, ending Stauf forever]].
** Ending #3: [[spoiler:Carl saves Robin, just like he set out to do. A few weeks later, Robin watches a report on Carl's death; the two of them got married after escaping the mansion, but Carl disappeared during their honeymoon, and his body washed up in a river days later. His death makes Robin the new president of the Stauf Broadcasting System]].
** According to the developers, ''The 13th Doll'' will have ''five'' possible endings.
* NastyParty: This is how Stauf lured the six adult victims into his manor house in ''7th Guest''.
* OnceMoreWithClarity: Once you solve the final puzzle of a chapter of ''11th Hour'', all of your collected cutscenes play back-to-back and include new footage to provide additional context to what you already saw before. Plus, once the game's finished, in the bonus section, clicking on the logo of the game plays the entire movie beginning to end.
* OneSteveLimit: One of the little girls killed by Stauf's virus was named Samantha. ''11th Hour'' features a second, adult Samantha who assists Carl on his mission to find Robin [[spoiler:and who was also raped by the house like Eileen; she had the resulting pregnancy aborted, leaving her paralyzed.]]
* OntologicalMystery
* ThePlague: The fatal virus spread by Stauf's toys.
* PungeonMaster: Stauf.
* QueensPuzzle: The "eight Queens" variation in ''7th Guest'', coupled with some [[MundaneMadeAwesome way-too-frantic music]].
* RapeAsBackstory: Appears in ''The 11th Hour''; [[spoiler:Samantha and Eileen were assaulted by Stauf Manor itself]].
* RecurringRiff: "The Game"; could be called a {{leitmotif}} if you consider it the [[GeniusLoci Stauf Manor's]] theme song.
* RecursiveCanon: Several copies of ''The 7th Guest'' appear in ''11th Hour''; a ''[=T7G=]'' CD is even the solution to one of the fetch quests.
* RedHerring: You ''really'' think that's Stauf's skeleton hanging out in the upstairs bathroom?
* RevenueEnhancingDevices: [[AvertedTrope Averted]]. In addition to the mobile ports, Trilobyte also released an interactive ''[[{{Walkthrough}} Book of Secrets]]'' app to help players through the trickier puzzles--and released it for free.
** Played straight: The Microscope puzzle didn't make it into the port, but Trilobyte released it as a standalone app designed specifically for tablets--for an additional cost.
* ScareChord: There are two in ''The 7th Guest''. One is a {{sting}} that accentuates some of the scarier moments in the game (e.g. hitting a dead end in the labyrinth). The other is composed right into the background music of [[spoiler:the labyrinth]]: near the end of the minimalist and unsettling track, a violin solo starts playing, only to be interrupted by what sounds like someone pounding random keys on a piano. Possibly jarring the first time hearing it, but not so much subsequently since you know when it occurs.
* TheSchlubPubSeductionDeduction: Martine seducing Edward; neither party benefits from the arrangement, unless you count Edward getting laid.
* SchmuckBait: [[spoiler:Marie]] being a choice at the end of ''11th Hour''.
* SealedEvilInADuel: Inverted; Ego is freed from his circumstances only when the player beats the game properly.
* SequelHook
** At the end of the first game, when the camera pans out from the [[BookEnds storybook]] to reveal, "The 7th Guest, Vol. I" at the bottom.
** The only ending for ''Uncle Henry's Playhouse'' is a teaser for the unreleased "7th Guest III".
* SeriesContinuityError: All involving Stauf Manor. The first game clearly placed it by itself at the edge of a precipice. ''The 11th Hour'' manages to screw this up ''twice'': the house is situated in a large field of grass up from a gated fence with some trees nearby in live action footage, while it's out in the middle of nowhere on a large dirt plain during the [=CG=] cutscenes. Perhaps the "house on a precipice" is meant to be metaphor that the developers liked better as box art, but it was also included in [=CG=] cutscenes in ''The 11th Hour'' for some reason.
** More of a RetCon, but the toy room puzzle in ''7th Guest'' implies that [[spoiler:the house itself is already a ruin by the time of the first game. In the sequel, it's obviously intact.]]
** On top of that, in the first game [[OffModel you can clearly see trees through the windows in the kitchen, even though none are present on the cliff]].
* SetPiecePuzzle: Every room in the house has one.
* SignificantAnagram: "Stauf" for "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Faust]]", which is the solution to the train puzzle in the second game. Also, the Toy Block Puzzle, as well as most of the FetchQuest clues in ''11th Hour''.
* SimonSaysMiniGame: Playing several notes of "The Game" using [[SongsInTheKeyOfLock the music room's piano]].
* SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration: Near the climax of ''11th Hour'', Carl loses the ability to save when [[spoiler:Stauf cuts his connection with Samantha]].
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock
* SoundingItOut: Ego will frequently comment on the status of any given puzzle, as a means of providing the player with a clue regarding the solution. For example:
--> Two skulls and two stones... The rest is just icing.
--> [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal A perplexing, planetary poser. How puzzling. Perhaps a phonemic path can be phrased... with a little postulation.]]
* SolveTheSoupCans: Starting with the TropeNamer (the soup cans puzzle in the pantry), ''7th Guest'' lets you know as early as possible that the puzzles will be anywhere from difficult to mind-numbingly frustrating. The game lives up to this promise with several puzzles throughout the game, although which puzzles may be subjective. Thankfully, the eponymous puzzle can now be brute-forced with an anagram engine. Although every puzzle [[FinalBoss but one]] can be [[AntiFrustrationFeatures skipped with no ill consequences]], the game wants you to think overusing the hint-book could [[SequenceBreaking mess up the game]]. But the only consequence is being unable to see the cutscene that plays after the puzzle you're on.
* ShoutOut: In the Chapel in ''The 11th Hour'', there's a bowl off to one side with a skeleton in it. Zooming in closer reveals a burned piece of paper with the word [[VideoGame/{{Myst}} "MISSED" written on it, in the exact same font of the referenced game's title.]]
* StageMagician: Hamilton Temple.
* TitleDrop
-->'''Hamilton Temple:''' I know! I know who you are--you're the seventh guest!
* TomatoSurprise
* TruthInTelevision: Those who were born before or in the '90s might notice that the Gamebook is actually a type of "pocket computer". They had very basic functions similar to what would become cell phones and [=PDAs=], but weren't as popular as those devices back then. In fact, some models even had wireless connectivity with computers, which at least partially explains how Samantha is able to broadcast information to the Gamebook.
* UnwinnableByMistake: The mirror puzzle in ''11th Hour'' can (and will) start out unwinnable 50% of the time. The fact that it's a slider puzzle is already irritating enough to begin with.
** Similarly, the Stauf Mansion picture puzzle on the second floor in ''7th Guest'' can also start off unwinnable, and the only way to know for certain is to try and get all 9 pieces to be identical. Its tendency to crash the game either during the puzzle or shortly afterwards when playing from the optional Windows executable didn't help matters, either.
** On more modern systems (ie. anything clocked faster than 66MHz or so), the microscope puzzle is impossible in the original game. This is because the computer's turn is calculated based on clockspeed. The faster your machine is, the more time it gets to pick out an ideal move. It will only make the best possible moves on faster systems as a result. Half of the AI games, including the Honeycomb game, which is a clone, also suffer from this in the second game. Fortunately this particular bug was addressed in the seperate handheld app.
* VoiceWithAnInternetConnection: Samantha in ''11th Hour''.
* WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: Carl gets into Stauf Manor at 7 PM. He has until 11 PM (not midnight) to find Robin and escape.
* WickedToymaker: Stauf earned a reputation as a toymaker, creating dolls from his strange dreams that serve as a means of killing several children. And it only goes downhill from there...
* WomanInWhite: One shows up in ''7th Guest'' from [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Kmb6Ud6Vw#t=5m07s time]] to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4xFAyuwzUE time]].
* WorldOfHam: Everyone, but no one more than [[EvilIsHammy Stauf]].
* YouWakeUpInARoom: The first game starts out this way.
* YourCheatingHeart: Edward Knox.

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->''No one knows what happened next. There's no one left to say.''
->''But if you should see Old Man Stauf, '''get on your knees and pray.'''''

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