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Roller coaster rhythm action!note 
"Welcome to Groove Coaster!"
Linka, the mascot for Groove Coaster 3: Link Fever
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Groove Coaster (marketed as Rhythmvaders in some countries) is a Rhythm Game series developed by Matrix Software and published by Taito, for iOS, Android, and arcades.

The premise of the game is as follows: You have an Avatar that travels down a fixed path, along which various kinds of notes will appear. There are ten kinds of notes, each of which requires different kinds of interactions with the touchscreen in the iOS version and the two Booster controllers in the arcade version. Most notes are as simple as touching the touchscreen or either Booster button, but other notes require actions such as rapidly tapping the buttons or touchscreen, rubbing either Booster or the touchscreen back and forth, or pressing both Boosters or the touchscreen with two fingers at the same time. Hitting notes well will give you points and fill up the Groove gauge, while missing or poorly timing notes will take away from the gauge; you need to finish the song with 70% Groove gauge or higher to clear it.

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The music selection is a mix of songs from past Taito games as well as original Taito songs, both varieties of which are composed by Taito's in-house music group Zuntata, as well as VOCALOID songs, Taito songs arranged by third-party musicians, and doujin music. The arcade version adds a variety of licensed songs, such as arranges of Touhou songs.

Groove Coaster has had eight installents so far, four for consumer platforms and four for arcades:

  • Consumer releases:
    • Groove Coaster (iOS, 2011)
      The first game in the series. It is prepaid and new songs are unlocked as the player levels up. It was removed from the iOS App Store in October 2017, likely due to not being updated to be optimized for iOS 11.
    • Groove Coaster Zero (iOS, 2012)
      An Updated Re-release of Groove Coaster. The game itself is free, with new songs avaliable, purchasable either separately or in discount packs.
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    • Groove Coaster 2: Original Style (iOS / Android, 2015)note  — current mobile version
      A replacement update for Zero. It adds many features that were previously exclusive to the arcade releases such as arcade charts and associated note types and scoring mechanics, as well as a mic mode that allows the player to make inputs via their device's microphone. First version to be available on Android.
    • Groove Coaster for Steam (PC via Steam, 2018)
      Features both Casual and Arcade modes, Steam Controller support, and three screen modes. The interface is based off of Link Fever.
  • Arcade releases:note 
    • Groove Coaster (2013)
      • Groove Coaster EX (2014)
    • Groove Coaster 2: Heavenly Festival (2015)note 
    • Groove Coaster 3: Link Fever (2016)note 
      • Groove Coaster 3EX: Dream Party (2017)
    • Groove Coaster 4: Starlight Road (2018) — current arcade version
      • Groove Coaster 4EX: Infinity Highway (2019) — upcoming


Let's play TROOOOOOOOOPE COASTER!

  • Actually Four Mooks: "Good Night, Bad Luck." features this but with notes instead of Mooks. On Normal, the game will throw what appears to be a Dual Slide note, only to pan the camera at the last split-second to reveal that they're actually two Slide notes that have to be hit separately. This gets worse on the Hard chart, where the game will throw out what appears to be a triple or even quadruple Slide note and then split it into separate single and Dual Slide notes accordingly; you know that a ≥triple Slide would be impossible with the arcade controllernote , the real problem is that the reaction time to figure out the correct sequence is so short that this gimmick is effectively Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
  • All or Nothing: The Just item renames the "Great" judgement" to "Just" and turns anything below a Just to a Miss. The arcade-exclusive Impossible item does this and also hides the targets.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Zero and Original Style are "free" insofar that the base game is free to download and comes with songs you can earn through leveling up, but to play a large bulk of the full song library you'll need to purchase DLC packs.
  • Announcer Chatter: Only in the arcade versions:
    • In Groove Coaster and EX, you get a basic monotone announcer, usually limited to saying simple things like "CLEAR" and "FAILED".
    • Heavenly Festival has an unnamed announcer with some semblance of a personality.
      "Let's GROOOOOOOOOOVE!"
    • Link Fever puts a face and name to its announcer, Linka. She has more complex lines than her predecessors, including full-sentence lines for each type of play result (Failed, Clear, No Miss, Full Chain, Perfect). It's also the first game where the navigation voice is in Japanese if the cabinet's language is set accordingly.
    • Dream Party onwards allows you to select from multiple Navigator characters who fulfill the same role as Linka. Some of them have unique voices, others simply get a generic uncredited voice.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The results screen shows you what percentage of Ad-Lib notes you uncovered, so you'll know if you've found enough to try for a Full Chain.
    • In the original Groove Coaster and Zero, press the screen with a second finger when one is already on screen will not register that press. In the arcade versions and all versions of Groove Coaster 2, you don't need to let go of one Booster before hitting the other. However, Taito seems to have used this as an excuse to introduce charts in arcade versions that are far more note-dense than iOS version charts.
    • In the arcade versions, failing a song does not result in a Game Over, only denying you of 50,000-point bonus. You always get 3 songs, no if no but.
    • In an online match, if your connection times out (and this will likely happen if you're playing in the US), the game will simply keep going but will treat your opponents as if they're idling completely on each song and picking the default song instantly each time the song select comes up. If this happens, you're practically guaranteed first place. In other words, "your connection got messed up but we'll make it up to you by giving you the entire match so you can rack up event points."
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: In the arcade versions' local and online multiplayer modes, players are ranked not on raw score, but on stars they can earn. While scoring and chaining ranks earn you a lot of stars, you can also earn extra stars through bonuses for using challenge items, style bonuses (such as "most balanced", "most right-handed", and "most frenetic"), playing a song for your first time, and being one of the one to three unfortunate souls to not have your song picked. In online matches stars double as event points, so even if you're constantly getting 4th place either in-song or throughout the session, don't give up!
  • April Fools' Day:
    • Every year, the current arcade version and Zero / 2OS each have a special AFD-exclusive track. In the case of Zero, it can only be played once. In the arcade versions, you can play the track as many times as you want until the day ends.
    • For 2015, players who logged in on April Fool's Day received a special avatar based on the "starburst" section of "Fess up!" with a funny face on it.
    • 2018's April Fool's track was titled "2112410403927243233368". The Hard mode of this track contained only Ad-lib notes, which don't contribute to your energy gauge, thus making the Hard mode for it an Unwinnable Joke Game. Every other difficulty played normally.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • In the smartphone versions, "Follow" (convert up to 10 Misses to Goods), "Flick Change" (convert Flick notes to tap notes), and "Visible" (reveals Ad-Lib notes) can each be obtained as level-up gifts, completing missions, log-in bonuses, or purchased in packs of 10 in the in-game store.
    • Inverted with the "challenge" items "Mirror" (flips the stage horizontally and places the judgement and chain counters on the left), "Just" ("Great" is renamed to "Just" and every timing below it converts to a "Miss"), "Hidden" (targets vanish right before you have to hit them), "Sudden" (targets only appear right before you have to hit them), "Stealth" (targets are outright invisible), and "No Way" (track is invisible), which can be obtained through the same mentions for the "assist" items mentioned above (except for logging in), including purchases.
    • The Bird avatar will boost your EXP gain by 300%. However, it must be purchased for 0.99 USD.
  • Button Mashing:
    • Beat notes require you to rapidly mash the touchscreen or buttons until the note ends.
    • This is a common way of looking for Ad-Lib notes; see Try Everything below.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": This game uses the term target to refer to what other rhythm games call a note.
  • Camera Screw:
    • Part of the challenge is being able to hit notes as the camera makes all kinds of angle changes.
    • "Good Night, Bad Luck" notoriously uses angles to give the illusion of triple or quad Slide notes (which, due to the two-Booster controller, would be impossible), before panning the camera to reveal them as separate single or Dual Slides in sequence immediately before you have to hit them.
    • The Steam version has multiple aspect ratio options: 16:9 like the arcade version, 4:3, and 1:1. 4:3 and 1:1 are actually done by cropping the screen, meaning that on those screen modes, your avatar may go off the top or bottom of the screen and you might miss notes due to not being able to see them.
  • Character Level: Used for unlocking new songs and items. The Cap was originally at level 100, but was later doubled to 200 and eventually 300.
  • Comeback Mechanic: In multiplayer matches, you get a bonus star if you're playing a chart for the first time, to compensate for the fact that you're most likely "sight-reading" it and thus may lose out in score to players who have played it before. Additionally, if you get less than four stars on a song, you'll be given two "pity" stars to make up for it.
  • Crossover:
    • Some of the music packs have songs from other Taito games, or arranges of said songs. Some examples include "Good-bye my earth", "Hello 31337", "invAde yOu", "Invader GIRL!", "Revenge Of Arkanoid", and "Neptune Driving".
    • There's two entire music packs dedicated to Puzzle & Dragons music; in exchange, PAD had an event where you could obtain Groove Coaster characters as Mons.
    • Groove Coaster EX has one with maimai, Taiko Drum Master, and jubeat as part of the Tenkaichi otogesai Zenkoku issei nintei taikai event. "Got more raves?" was transplanted to the other three series, while Groove Coaster EX received the following songs: "Garakuta Doll Play" from maimai, "Kita Saitama 2000" from Taiko Drum Master, and (of course) "FLOWER" from jubeat.
    • Original Style takes this one step further by porting Touhou Arrangement songs from Heavenly Festival.
    • Link Fever introduces crossover songs from a variety of third-party game franchises, like the aforementioned Puzzle & Dragons, other music games, the music of Daisuke Ishiwatari (namely Guilty Gear and BlazBlue), Crypt of the NecroDancer (which includes mashups with Danganronpa) and a handful of shmups.
    • Starlight Road added songs from rhythm game Lanota.
    • A crossover with Arcaea is planned for Starlight Road in early 2019.
    • The smartphone, arcade, and PC versions all have a collaboration with Undertale. The arcade version in particular had an event where, among other things, you could unlock Sans as a navigator, with his signature Voice Grunting intact.
      Sans: what? haven't you seen a guy with three jobs before?
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In Original Style, it's easy to forget that AC charts have the four previously-arcade-exclusive note types. All too common a player transitioning from Zero to 2 with no arcade experience will miss a note because it's a Critical note and they only single-tapped it.
    • Some players who switch between Original Style and Heavenly Festival have difficulty translating the booster inputs to their phone's touchscreen and vice versa. Also, avatars in Heavenly Festival have no bearing to gameplay unlike Original Style, which can lead to failing tracks in Heavenly Festival where one could ace the same track in Original Style.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Failing a song in the arcade versions will not end your credit early if it was a non-final stage. Instead, pass/fail status is used for a 50,000-point (out of 1 million) bonus. Subverted for those trying to get S or higher ranks, as 50,000 points can make the difference between grades.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Beginning with Link Fever, each version has a theme song sung by its respective Navigator:
    • "LINK LINK FEVER!!!", by Linka (Moe Toyota).
    • "Tobitate! Dream Party", by Yume (Nanami Takahashi).
    • "Starlight Road", by Seine (Eriko Kawakami).
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • Using the microphone input setting allows you to play the game by making noise in time to the targets. However, it also converts all non-Tap targets to Taps, so your scores will not be recorded.
    • Using items that change targets into easier target types will reduce your maximum score.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • The game makes good use of bonuses for getting high chains, which makes a No Miss or a Full Chain feel more rewarding but also is infamous for the problem of punishing a few evenly-distributed mistakes more than a bunch of mistakes clustered at the beginning or end of the track.
    • Arcade charts are mostly not modified when ported to the smart-device and PC versions, which can cause instances of certain patterns being simple in the arcade version but unfairly difficult in the other versions, such as the L+R Dual Slides in OMAKENO Stroke's AC-Hard chart.
  • Fake Longevity: Difficulties have to be unlocked as follows:
    • Groove Coaster (iOS), Zero: Clear the Normal chart to unlock the Hard chart.
    • Original Style: Clear Normal to unlock AC-Easy and AC-Normal, clear AC-Normal to unlock AC-Hard.
    • Arcade versions: Obtain an S-rank on a track's Simple, Normal, and Hard charts to unlock its Extra chart if it has one.
    • 4: On unlock difficulties 11 and up, get an S-rank on a chart of difficulty n-1 to unlock all non-Extra charts of difficulty n. If you've transferred from 3EX unlocking is retroactive, at the least (if you S-rank a chart in 3EX that's rated a 13 in 4 for example, you will be able to play charts up to 14 in 4), but charts that you've played in 3EX and earlier will lock back up if they're at a difficulty you haven't unlocked in 4.
    • for Steam: Clear Simple to unlock Normal, Normal to unlock Hard, and Hard to unlock Extra.
  • Fanservice: One of the soundtrack albums, Groove Coaster Original Soundtrack Boost, features Series Mascot Linka sitting down with her thighhigh socks removed and placed on her legs and sitting in such a way that she just barely averts a Panty Shot. In crossbeats REV., this image can also be seen by obtaining a 200 combo on "LINK LINK FEVER!!!"
  • Flawless Victory:
    • Simply clearing the song with no Misses results in a No Miss award.
    • Fulfilling the above and hitting all of the hidden Ad-Lib notes results in a Full Chain award, and in Link Fever, getting a Great judgment on every note gets you a Perfect award. Have fun getting Perfect on all 1000+ charts!
  • Gaiden Game: To Space Invaders. This is evidenced by copyright notices showing the year 1978 (the year Space Invaders was released) alongside each game's release year, as well as the use of various Space Invaders aliens.
  • Game Over: Averted in the arcade versions; you will always get a full set of stages even if you fail any of them. Instead, pass/fail is used for a 50,000-point bonus.
  • Golden Snitch: In Link Fever's multiplayer matches, the number of stars you can get for certain rewards increases with each stage.
  • Guide Dang It!: Ad-Lib notes. They are hidden notes that add bonus points and judgement points, and while they won't incure a penalty if ignored, getting all of the Ad-Lib notes are necessary to achieve a Full Chain. This can be a problem if the Ad-Lib notes have very subtle cues or no cues at all; "Spring To Mind" is a major offender. You can use the Visible item to reveal Ad-Lib notes, but they only come up as level up gifts or shop purchases in the smartphone versions, and it wasn't available in the arcade versions until Starlight Road.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The BREAK item instantly ends the stage if you miss 10 notes, but you'll get a bonus of GC if you clear it.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Extra difficulty, available on some songs in the arcade and PC versions. To unlock Extra in the arcade version, you have to complete the song's Simple, Normal, and Hard charts each with an S rank or higher. To do the same in the PC version, you simply need to clear the Hard chart regardless of rank. Subverted with "PUT YOUR HANDS UP", which is rated a 12 on Hard and an 8 on Extra.
    • Dream Party has charts rated 1-10 like all GC arcade games before it, but also has level 10 charts with a "Super high difficulty" sticker next to them.
    • Starlight Road expands the difficulty scale to 1-15. Charts rated 5 and above were re-rated to fit the new scale.
  • Have a Nice Death: Navigators with unique voices have a line for when you fail a stage.
    Linka: "Build up longer chains by making fewer mistakes. Huge scores await!"
  • Interface Screw: Several items will alter the game interface in ways that increase the game difficulty:
    • MIRROR flips the screen horizontally.
    • REVERSE flips the screen horizontally and vertically.
    • NO WAY renders the track invisible, although you can still see the targets.
    • HIDDEN hides targets just before you need to hit them, although the track is still visible.
    • SUDDEN reveals targets just before you need to hit them, although the track is still visible.
    • STEALTH makes targets invisible entirely, although the track is still visible.
    • IMPOSSIBLE is basically the STEALTH and JUST items combined.
    • NOTHING hides both the track and the targets.
    • ALONE is only usable in multiplayer matches, and removes the other player's avatars from the screen, preventing you from seeing just how far ahead or behind in score you are.
    • NO INFO hides the HUD, and in a multiplayer round, also hides opponent avatars.
  • Licensed Game: In addition to Taito original tracks and arranges, there are also licensed songs, some of which use Vocaloids, and tracks to promote cross-game events. The arcade versions take it a step further, featuring tracks from more third-party IPs, such as the Touhou arrange "Bad Apple!! feat. nomico".
  • Life Meter: In a style similar to Sound Voltex and beatmania; you need to finish the song with 70% Groove gauge or higher to clear it. Some Avatars will lower the gauge requirement, extend the gauge capacity, or start you off with an initial amount of gauge.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • While Groove Coaster games have had traditionally dark interfaces, Heavenly Festival uses a lighter theme with a lot of white and green and Link Fever uses white and pink with some red accents.
    • For most of the series, COSIO provided the interface music, which is generally mellow but sounds like something you'd listen to at night. MASAKI took over for interface music in Link Fever onwards, with their music being significantly more poppy and cheerful than COSIO's.
  • Market-Based Title: The arcade version is known as Rhythmvaders in most of Southeast Asia, presumably to cash in on the Space Invaders brand. Curiously, it's left as Groove Coaster in the US and Philippines.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: "PUT YOUR HANDS UP" is the only track where the Extra chart, which is normally Harder Than Hard, is easier than the Hard chart, with a lower rating to boot (12 on Hard, 8 on Extra).
  • Non-Indicative Name: "STAGER (ALL STAGE CLEAR)" from the Tone Sphere collaboration is actually just the cut used in the BMS of Fighters series of beatmania IIDX simulation files and CHUNITHM, known officially as just "STAGER".
  • Numerological Motif: The track "零式", which officially translates to "TYPE-ZERO". The kanji for "zero", 零, as well as the Arabic numeral 0 in an LCD-counter font, appear throughout the track's visuals.
  • Obvious Beta: Groove Coaster for Steam has had a pretty difficult ride so far. Backgrounds fail to load correctly for many players, controller support is pretty unreliable, and sound is handled pretty poorly (if you hit a note late or miss, the music will mute until you hit or the note is counted as a miss).
  • Oh, Crap!: In Link Fever, Linka has a surprised look on her face if you obtain a perfect score. The effect is more pronounced if you're playing with the language set to Japanese, as she stutters at your performance. Ditto for Yume and Seine in later games.
  • Ouroboros: "ouroboros -twin stroke of the end-" features one in its background visuals. Furthermore, the track's BPM is 188 ('8' looks like an infinity symbol turned 90 degrees or the Ouroboros) and the intro of the track is repeated at the end.
  • Play Every Day: On some days, your first login of the day will grant you a free Item. The game will only hand out assist items (Follow, Visible, and Change) for logging in, not challenge items. In the arcade versions, if you use an online account, when starting your second through tenth games of the day, you'll get an item which can be used immediately.
  • Put on a Bus: Subverted with Linka in Dream Party; the official GC account on Facebook teased that she was going on vacation so that Yume could take over her position as Series Mascot, but then later revealed that Linka will still be selectable as a partner character (alongside two other new characters).
    "Linka is on vacation? Whenever you want her to be!!"
  • Remixed Level: Renewal songs are preexisting songs with new visuals and charts.
  • Scatting: Many of Shohei Tsuchiya's songs feature this. Notable examples include "Play merrily", "Just no friend", and "Sleep".
  • Score Multiplier:
    • In the smartphone-exclusive charts, your current chain influences the point value of the next note.
    • Multipliers are appended to your chain: after 10 notes, you get a "Fever" multiplier and every consecutive note you hit will add 2 to your chain. In the arcade charts, you get a "Trance" multiplier at 100 chain and all subsequent consecutive notes will add 4 to your chain. If you Full Chain a 600-note song, you'll likely have a chain of over 2,500 by the end, for example.
  • Scoring Points:
    • In the first two iOS games, and on non-AC charts in Original Style, the value of each note increases as your Chain goes up.
    • The arcade versions and AC charts in Original Style use a standardized scoring system that produces a score out of 1 million:
      • Play Score is earned from hitting notes as accurately as possible. The full Play Score of 850,000 is earned by getting all Greats (or Justs, if the JUST item is used).
      • Chain Bonus is earned by having a high maximum Chain. The maximum Chain Bonus is 100,000 earned by obtaining a Full Chain.
      • Clear Bonus is earned by simply clearing the song. 50,000 points for doing so and 0 for failing.
        It should be noted that getting a full Play Score implies a Full Chain and a stage clear, so having 850,000 at the end of the song automatically gives you a perfect score.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Play merrily NEO" has these lines, regarding Groove Coaster itself:
    It's gonna be crap just like other games
    But something didn't let me go
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Some items exist solely to make the chart more difficult. The Break item particularly will cause you to fail the song and end it instantly if you miss 10 notes, but you get more GC if you pass in Link Fever.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: A song-specific example: "Bad Apple!! feat. nomico" got a Renewal version in Starlight Road with easier charts than the original version. Normally, a Renewal results in more difficult charts, at least on Hard and Extra.
  • Sequel Song:
    • "Groove Revolver" is this to "Music Revolver" from Taito's Music GunGun! series.
    • "Good Night, Bad Luck" to "Marry me, Nightmare", featuring a similar musical style, a lot of the same graphical assets of the latter, and much, MUCH worse difficulty.
  • Series Mascot:
    • Linka, in Link Fever and Groove Coaster for Steam.
    • Yume, in Dream Party.
    • Seine, in Starlight Road.
  • Significant Anagram:
    • Three arranges of classic Taito game songs use anagrams of the titles of the songs that they are arranges of:
    • E.G.G.'s "Groove" series of boss songs:
      • "Got more raves?" = "Groove master?"
      • "Got a pain cover?" = "Groove captain?"
      • "Got noir forever." = "Groove frontier."
      • "EU over Progress" = "Groove PressUre"note 
      • "Got hive of Ra" = "GRoove faith"
      • "Got recover run" = "Groove current"
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • Adding friends on Original Style will "evolve" the "The Beginning" track, giving it more notes and musical effects.
    • Adding your first friend in the arcade versions from Link Fever onwards unlocks "LINK LINK FEVER!!!"
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The Steam version is called Groove Coaster for Steam.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The voiceover for Heavenly Festival is clearly a native English speaker. Linka's VA in the overseas version also qualifies as this.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: If your daily login bonus card has only SAFE and SUPER SAFE items, it means an event is coming up.
  • Title Scream:
    Linka (JP): "Let's Groove Coaster!"
    Linka (EN): "LET'S PLAY GROOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVE COASTERRRR!"
  • Too Awesome to Use: Items. Especially the SAFE/FOLLOW items (turns up to 10 Misses into Goods that don't break your chain) and SUPER SAFE items (turns up to 20 Misses into Goods). Yeah, it might be tempting to deploy one and go for a No Miss or a Full Chain especially since maximum chain makes up a whole 10% of your scorenote , but you might want to use it on this other song, or save them for an upcoming event.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Many of the charts are straight up impossible to No Miss or even clear on a sightread just because of the Camera Screws and note sequences that come at you so fast with little time to react. There's also the matter of the invisible Ad-Lib notes, which you must hit in order to get a Full Chain or a Perfect.
  • Try Everything: The key to uncovering Ad-Lib notes is to hit the screen or buttons when there is a distinct lack of notes. In some cases, the Ad-Libs will be on a conspicuously blank section of track and correspond to the song's vocals. Be careful, as inputs right before a visible Tap or Beat note that don't hit another note, Ad-Lib or otherwise, will cause that note to be judged as a Miss!
  • Uncommon Time: COSIO's "Got" series of boss songs requires a very good ear to analyze all of the time signatures that they shift through, as part of those tracks' unrelenting difficulty. "Got more raves?" flies between different time signatures throughout, most prominently 10/8. This post explains, "Got a pain cover?", this post explains "Got noir forever.", and this post explains "Got hive of Ra".
  • With Lyrics: "Play merrily NEO" is "Play merrily" but with actual lines instead of Scatting.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Linka boasts grade A, as demonstrated in her official portrait.

Perfect?! That was incredible!
You set a new record!

Alternative Title(s): Rhythmvaders

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