News Article

Feature: Ten SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis Games We Want on the Wii U Virtual Console

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

They skipped Wii VC, so now their time has come

Earlier this week we were rather pleased the share the news, based on a couple of sources, that Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse looks set to come to Wii U. It's unclear whether it'll be a straight-up re-release (on the Virtual Console) or a remastered port, but whatever the case it's a SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis game that'll be very welcome on Nintendo's system.

A number of us were pleased because that was one title that didn't make it onto the Wii Virtual Console. While the platform did release a number of classics from SEGA's 16-bit console, some excellent titles never arrived. Perhaps there were licensing issues or just low demand, but a number of terrific titles never arrived, and we'd love to see that remedied on the Wii U Virtual Console.

Below are ten Mega Drive / Genesis titles that we'd like to see on Nintendo's new system. Not all of them were exclusive to SEGA's system, and we're not even saying these are the best 10 that never made it onto Wii, but these represent some of our favourites that we'd like to relive for a variety of reasons. In truth some of these have very long odds of arriving, but we like to dream.

Castlevania Bloodlines

While Super Castlevania IV on Super NES is often regarded as the pinnacle of the famous franchise, this 16-bit exclusive on SEGA's system isn't too bad itself. Sacrificing the terrific eight direction whip of the SNES classic was a pity back then, but this has its own neat control touches to enjoy. It also made full use of its hardware, with some memorable visuals and music.

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Road Rash II

The Road Rash games from the 16-bit era are, at the most basic level, bike racing games. One thing makes them so much more, however, and that's combat, with the ability to punch and kick rivals — who do the same to you — to try and knock them off their bike. As you move up the field it becomes a case of last biker standing, and the inclusion of weapons was terrific for young gamers that liked to feel tough in the '90s. Swinging the chain above your head while closing in on first place is as fun now as it ever was.

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Speedball 2

A title arrived on various platforms, and is classic fantasy sport at its best. Set in the future, this is a mix of the violence of rugby/NFL and the play style of football/soccer, with awesome team names and no-holds barred action to the fore. We still love trying to get the "ambulance" on the field — which promptly runs over most of the fit players — while the dancing players and the sheer brutality of it all still amuses. A classic.

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The New Zealand Story

A Taito game that includes some of the charm and mechanics from beloved titles such as Bubble Bobble, but involves more exploration and puzzle platforming. Released on many platforms, the PC Engine version was actually released on the Japanese Wii Virtual Console, while this Mega Drive edition didn't make it to North America when originally released; something about the charming setting and storyline — alongside memories of the Mega Drive version in Europe — pushed this onto our list.

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Thunder Force IV

This is classic sidescrolling shmup fare — called Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar in North America — with plenty of power ups and enemies to blast on the screen. We have fond memories of this series but feel this one's the standout, and also brought the innovation of a battle area that can be expanded a small amount at the top and bottom of the screen, shifting away from the genre standard of a rigidly fixed battle area. It's arcade-style blasting at its finest.

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A release that's perhaps a little more obscure and less-known — it was called Wings of Wor in North America — this is an alternative take on the side-scrolling shooting genre. Rather than pilot a futuristic space craft, you control an Angel to fight all-manner of mythical and powerful creatures; the setting gave this title some truly unforgettable visual and sound design, while the difficulty is such in later levels that some of its advocates in the Nintendo Life team are yet to legitimately reach the end screen.

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Contra Hard Corps

The Contra series is often associated with retro Nintendo systems, for good reason, and this title — known as Probotector in Europe — was the only entry from the series to make it to SEGA's system. It's side-scrolling action that stands up well against the context of the whole series, while the introduction of the slide move and four rather cool playable characters makes it well worthy of a look for fans of the franchise. To be honest, you can never have too much Contra, and this one deserves a place on the Virtual Console alongside its Nintendo-system contemporaries.

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Rainbow Islands

Not exclusive to the Mega Drive / Genesis by any stretch of the imagination, this is a retro gem that appeared on a broad variety of platforms. Charming on the eye and at once accessible and tricky, your task is to progress by forming and using rainbows to move up each stage, with planning, timing and speed becoming increasingly important. For Bubble Bobble fans, meanwhile, it's worth noting that this is technically a sequel to the seminal NES classic.

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Mega Man: The Wily Wars

While this reportedly had a troubled development cycle, this entry in the classic series was exclusive to SEGA's system, though was only available via the ahead-of-its-time SEGA Channel service in North America — it had a standard cart release in Europe. This is a compilation of the first three NES titles, but with enhanced visuals and an extra "Wily Tower" set of stages exclusive to this version. Not perfect by any means, and unlikely to actually arrive when money can potentially be made (again) via the individual NES efforts on the Wii U platform, we'd love to see this as the only Mega Man title on SEGA's system, and a memorable part of many SEGA-kid childhoods.

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Like quite a few of these listed games, and many on SEGA's '90s behemoth, this is an arcade port memorable for bringing a high-quality side-scrolling shooter cabinet experience into the living room. We're already fairly well covered for shooting games, admittedly, but this one has the neat option to switch between four colours and shift your firing range and direction. As a result this can be quite a tactical affair, rather than straight-up action, and would be worth introducing to a new audience.

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So, let us know what you think of this list — and which other Wii absentees from SEGA's system you'd like to see on Wii U — in the comments below; you can also vote in our poll to let us know which of our ten is top of your wishlist.

A special thanks to YouTube user ShiryuGL, who's the source of most of the videos above.

Which of these Mega Drive / Genesis games would you most like to see on the Wii U Virtual Console? (289 votes)

Castlevania Bloodlines


Road Rash II


Speedball 2


The New Zealand Story


Thunder Force IV


Gynoug / Wings of Wor


Contra Hard Corps


Rainbow Islands


Mega Man: The Wily Wars




Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (109)



StephenYap3 said:

I thought some Genesis titles were released on the Wii Shop...

Well, I guess I was wrong. I'm voting for Castlevania, I guess.



SCAR said:

That Road Rash II one was hilarious. I didn't expect to be able to punch other opponents.



CrazyOtto said:

Mega Man Wily Wars would probably be on a retail compilation with remakes of Mega Man 4, 5, and 6. But this is Capcom we're talking about.



OorWullie said:

Great article Thomas,cheers.Thinking back,I always wonder how I managed to own and play so many Megadrive games as a teen,considering they were 40 quid a pop and my parents weren't well off.Somehow I always managed to have tons of games and then all the add ons of MegaCD and 32X.Great times!



SCAR said:

That Wily Wars one looks kind of interesting. The controls look a little off just by watching the video, but the remakes of old games are always so much more welcome if they are actually good.
The Castlevania and Contra ones would be the only other ones I would probably like. I really liked Sega alot when they were around.



SparkOfSpirit said:

You're missing Rocket Knight Adventures, Ranger-X, Rolling Thunder 3, World Of Illusion, and Quackshot.

Good picks otherwise.



makleod99 said:

No Shadowrun? Anyone else play that game for the Megadrive/Genesis? Such a good game. And General Chaos too!



darklinkinfinite said:

I want Castlevania Blodlines so hard!

I love me some classic Castlevania!

I actually have the Genesis cart but I've never owned a Genesis lol



Giygas_95 said:

I never owned any Sega consoles so their games' absence on the VC doesn't really bother me, but some of those games really look good!



ULTRA-64 said:

Where's the love for James pond!!!! Thought there were some classics in that series that need 're-releasing' . Also thought I'd get out there some classic arcade titles that seem forgotten like the turtles and Simpson's 4 player arcade machines, time crisis, aliens3 arcade, point blank and will somebody, somehow enable me to play blast corps64 again....i miss that games so much and can't even find a hacked Rom that works!!!!



Shiryu said:

Nice Thomas, you used almost only my videos on this feature! Wow, I am the only one so far to have voted "Speedball 2"... yes, the Amiga version is better, but the Megadrive one is not bad at all! Someone should ring The Bitmap Brothers...



Kirk said:

All great choices.

I'd probably go for Gynoug or Hellfire rather than the obvious choices that most people will only pick because they don't know the other games.



kendorage said:

would love to see old-school strategy games like MASTER OF MONSTERS or GEMFIRE on there.



SparkOfSpirit said:

By the way, I wouldn't hold my breath for Hard Corps when we can't even get NES Contra on a retro service.



Peach64 said:

Huh, I thought there was quite a few Megadrive games on the VC?

If we're listing our favourite games from that comsole...

Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III
Phantasy Star IV
Shining Force
Shining Force 2
Gunstar Heroes
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog 3
Sonic and Knuckles
Rocket Knight Adventures
Streets of Rage
Disney's Aladdin

Man, I loved that console!



Ristar42 said:

I have most of these, how about Shadowrun since Europe never got it, I liked Skitchin' which often gets skipped for Road Rash, or Zero Tolerance in its 16-bit fps glory! Also, Hyperstone Heist if not Turtles in Time...



DarkEdi said:

But how could be possible that a VC game comes to Wii U but it skip the Wii?

It is like to have a DSiware release only in the 3DS but it doesn´t appear in DSi eshop.



SigourneyBeaver said:

Wow, I wouldn't want any of those.

I would be happy with:

Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II
Micro Machines 2
Cool Spot
Domark F1



Yoshis95 said:

I am very disappointed in this list. Why didn't i see Rocket Knight Adventure on that list?!



blackknight77 said:

Road Rash 3 is better than part 2. But why not just release them all on the VC. I mean each one is worth the money



Yanchamaru said:

I would love to see Surging Aura, Panorama Cotton, Twinkle Tale, and Super Monaco GP (my favorite racing game of all time).



brooks83 said:

Don't get your hopes up, guys. I don't expect to see any of these games on the Wii U VC




Wait a minute - there's seems to be a glaring omission from the list! Soleil/Crusader of Centy!!



Philip_J_Reed said:

Wily Wars is a bit ropey, but worth it for the Wily Tower sequence...where you can take any combination of items and utilities from the first three games! Talk about awesome.



cornishlee said:

No Lost Vikings?! Thanks though, I'd completely forgotten about some of these titles.

There were Megadrive titles on the Wii VC (including most of the titles you listed). I think the point of the article was to bring attention to games that weren't released on the Wii VC that we'd still like to see get a VC release now that the Wii U's arrived.



GeminiSaint said:

I remember playing New Zealand Story in the arcades back in the day. It was a fun platformer.
Voted for Wily Wars because of the exclusive Wily Tower stages.



TromaDogg said:

It's worth noting that Castlevania: Bloodlines was actually called Castlevania: The New Generation over here in Europe, but other than that, that's the game I voted for and would LOVE to see on the VC.



Zodiak13 said:

@Dreamcaster-X Love your avatar. None of these games generate to much excitement from me, RR2 and Castlevania I may have picked up if they were available.



BJWanlund said:

I'll vote for a few of those games, but I will note you forgot Michael Jackson's Moonwalker for the Genesis/MegaDrive



Steveovig said:

Most of these games don't have licensing issues and should be on the VC. Another case of NOA making mistakes and being lazy.



CanisWolfred said:

I have half of these on my Genesis already. Hellfire's the only one I'd want, since it's really expensive, yet no where near worth the insane prices people ask for.



CanisWolfred said:

Also, no Rocket Knight Adventures makes this a terrible list. 3 of these have better versions, too.



dereq said:

Two words: Mystic Defender. Come on, I can't be the only person who likes that game. It's quite challenging, has a cool psychic energy weapon system, and the music is epic.



Damo said:

Can't believe no one has mentioned Herzog Zwei yet. For shame.



fluggy said:

What a yawn fest! If that's the cream of the Mega drive its purdy lame. Still have my mega drive and find it so hard to get excited or even reminisce about it. Sonic was completely overrated and pales in comparison to Mario World. Main prob is, I guess, there was nothing on MD that could grab you the way SNES games did. Major and sometimes emotional experiences from games like Zelda: ALTtP, Super Metroid, Mario Kart, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound for eg couldn't be touched as far as I'm concerned. Still have fond memories from Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi and Streets of Rage etc but nothing that makes me warm and gooey the way the SNES did.



CanisWolfred said:

@Damo I have that game on the Genesis, I'm not fond of it, but I do see it has a following. The problem may be that it has a free to play successor on Steam now, called AirMech.


Trust me, with the exception of Hard Corp and Bloodlines, none of those are the "cream of the crop". They missed loads of great games. This more the "games that don't get mentioned a lot" list.



Electricmastro said:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
Battletoads & Double Dragon
X-Men 1 and/or X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Rocket Knight Adventures



SparkOfSpirit said:

Yeah, this list could have been stronger, but the Thunderforce games are really nothing to sneeze at.



FineLerv said:

I'm a little nervous about Wii U's Virtual Console. I suspect that we'll only see Nintendo consoles on there.



TwilightV said:

Voted for The New Zealand Story, but i'd much rather see Sega CD games, like Knuckles Chaotix, Popful Mail and Lunar (both games).



WaveBoy said:

Mega Man for the Genny was pretty lousy! I'd like to see Castlevania Bloodlines just to complete the traditionalVania collection on the VC. Rocket Knight Adventures wouldn't be too shabby either.



Mariomast3r said:

no hyperstone heist love? I'd like that or turtles in time for snes and can they give us nes contra?????????? love that friggen game



DESS-M-8 said:

Definitely wily wars seen as the PAL cart costs between around £350 and knock offs from brazil costin £50 as its so damn rare . Always wanted this game but was never gonna pay stupid money like that for it. Most I ever did or ever will pay for retro is £90 for Panzer Dragoon Saga.......
Panzer Dragoon I, II & Saga (major issues with Saga but please workout how to make it happen Sega)
Sega Rally 95
Burning Rangers
Clockwork Knight
Enemy Zero
Shinobi X
Guardian Heroes
Virtua Fighter Kids
Virtua Cop 2
Golden Axe: The Duel
Radiant Silvergun
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
X-Men: children of the atom
Street fighter Vs X-Men
Dragon Force
Athlete Kings
Darius Gaiden
Mega Man X3
Story of Thor 2
Shining Force 3
Aaaaaaaaand take a breath



DESS-M-8 said:

@TwilightV there weren't many segacd games that were any good, most notably Knuckles Chaotix wasn't even on segacd. Did have definitive versions of mortal kombat, final fight and the terminator though.
It was the only game worth playing out of the 18 games released on the 32X.
Definitely worth a VC release though.



DESS-M-8 said:

@Peach64 he's listing games that we're never released on the VC, such as castle of illusion, which is what has promoted this article.
Keep up man



cornishlee said:

I was really looking forward to General Chaos when it was announced. I sold my Megadrive before it was released though. Thanks for reminding me about that; I'd definitely pick it up if it ever appeared on VC.



Nomad said:

Gynoug and Hellfire get my vote. One area where the Megadrive had the SNES beat was its range of 2D side scrolling shoot-em ups. I don't get why this genre has died off. Hellfire was a pretty good arcade conversion.



Nomad said:

@dereq Yeah mate, I loved Mystic Defender back in the day. It was one of my first Mega Drive games along with Altered Beast and Ghouls n Ghosts. Also Herzog Zwei was great, one of the best 2 player real time strategy games ever.



Gold_Ranger said:

Jurassic Park
ToeJam & Earl (original one)
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
Road Rash
Streets of Rage
The Terminator
Terminator 2



Nomad said:

Anyone remember The Immortal? I kind of liked that game. I'd also really like to see Chakan, he was one of Sega' s best characters. It's a shame they scrapped the Dreamcast sequel.



Solatorobo said:

I would usually go for Rocket Knight Adventures, but Road Rash 2 was awesome as well.



ThomasBW84 said:

Just to clear up remaining confusion, we were only talking about games that didn't arrive on the Wii VC. Also, I couldn't have been clearer that these are just some favourites within the team!

"Below are ten Mega Drive / Genesis titles that we'd like to see on Nintendo's new system. Not all of them were exclusive to SEGA's system, and we're not even saying these are the best 10 that never made it onto Wii, but these represent some of our favourites that we'd like to relive for a variety of reasons. In truth some of these have very long odds of arriving, but we like to dream."

So if we can stop pretending that we said this was a "best games/top ten", that'd be swell



LavaTwilight said:

Have you never played it? I used to LOVE that game! The guy in the video wasn't a very good player though. I'm sure you could steal the police officer's baton too when he swings it at you. And am I right in thinking you also get other clubs and chains and bottles u can use against other players?
That and Castlevania are the only two games from that list I'd purchase WHEN they're released for the e-shop. I can't believe you guys didn't add Krusty's Fun House or Desert Strike? Those two games (latter especially) defined the Sega Mega Drive for me!



Gameday said:

Castle of Ilisions man that game just makes me wanna cry , wheres my childhood !!! I want it back now.

Wow this is an awesome list ! Too bad they didnt make it indeed..

Whoever put that Lightening Force aka Thunder Force IV & Contra Hard Corps just gained some new found love from Gameday

Throw in Cyborg Justice and its over !



MAB said:

If they can swing me Chakan, The Immortal, Rocket Knight, Road Rash, Skitchin' Desert/Jungle/Urban Strike, 2 Crude Dudes, Subterrania and every Disney title then I will never touch any of the NES/SNES games they put up

Actually just throw all those Megadrive mofo's up SEGA... We know you want to.



Sabrewing said:

I'd like to see Gaiares, personally, and Shining Force CD would be a highly welcome sight. Maybe Dark Wizard, too, for those people who are still sore about a lack of Fire Emblem support.



chiptoon said:

so glad to see Hellfire getting some love.

Personally I would love to see more Rolling Thunder



RetrogamerFan said:

So glad to see Hellfire made your list
I've seen the coin-op on MAME, years later, and can see how close the Megadrive version was to the original.
The weapon system, and fantastic soundtrack really made it stand out from other shooters of the day.



aaronsullivan said:

Technosoft made Thunder Force IV, right? Last I knew, their stuff was in License limbo as the company is gone? Anyway, I'd rather get the super-cult-classic Herzog Zwei if something can get unshackled that was made by Technosoft. Would LOVE that. And if someone else was in love with it, they'd offer a second screen experience that simply covers the left side with black on the big screen and the right screen with black on the Gamepad screen which would be technically EASY AS PIE to pull off and would make the game awesome... or if they could get even more clever and get fullscreen that would be amazing.



ogo79 said:

speedball 2 and castlevania bloodlines are welcome. speedball 2 is one of those games you rather like or not



sketchturner said:

There is one main game I desperately wish would be on the VC:
I absolutely love the gameplay and it has one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time. Other games I'd like to see:



retro_player_22 said:

Genesis games I love to see on Wii U VC:

  • Sonic Mega Collection
  • Vectorman 1 & 2
  • X-Men 1 & 2
  • Rocket Knight Adventures 1 & 2
  • LandStalker
  • Phantasy Star 2-4
  • Shinobi Trilogy
  • TMNT: Hyperstone Heist
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Castlevania Bloodline
  • After Burner
  • Space Harrier II
  • Streets of Rage Trilogy
  • Golden Axe Trilogy
  • The Ooze
  • Ristar
  • Pier Solar
  • Shining Force I & II
  • Altered Beast
  • Eternal Champions
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Arcus Odyssey
  • Alex Kidd
  • Ecco 1 & 2


LavaTwilight said:

Anyone remember Greendog? That surfer dude who has a skateboard? That was a pretty kool game...



Wildfire said:

I voted on Castlevania Bloodlines/The New Generation but what I really want the most is Rocket Knight Adventures and Sparkster!!



T1m1 said:

i voted foe mega man wily wars because of wily tower bonus, but other genesis games i'd like to see are

Elemental Master
Twinkle Tale
Crusader of Centy
Sorcerer's Kindom. i think thats all i can think of for now.



GreenDream said:

Langrisser series, with translations O_O

They did it for Monster World IV, didn't they!? Almost unknown Sega CD titles like Lunar series, The Snatcher, Popful Mail, and Dark Wizard would also be great!

Well... among these choices, I'd go with Rainbow Island, since it is a spiritual successor to Bubble Bobble 1&2.



GreenDream said:

@DESS-M-8 Unfortunately, Sega Saturn programming architecture is extremely tough to emulate, so it will probably remain as one of the few systems with almost no classic support.



Captain_Gonru said:

@makleod99 General Chaos was such a fantastic game. I've been begging/praying for an update or sequel or SOMETHING for years now. Also, how about the Mutant League games?



cheetahman91 said:

Since the Wii U doesn't have a pathetically low file size restriction, we need some Sega CD games. I'd gladly lay down some money for games like Shining Force CD, Snatcher and Sonic CD.



SethNintendo said:

I'd consider lifting my EA ban if General Chaos was released considering them failing to make a sequel is a top reason for starting my boycott. I'm probably one of the few people that mentions this game and gives it props... Other neglected EA IPs - Road Rash, Desert Strike, Magic Carpet, C&C (which they ruined).



gblock said:

Moonwalker was garbage on the Genesis, arcade version was so much better.

Cool Spot is a very good and underrated platformer.



ungibbed said:

It's extremely hard to pick just one as you have excellent picks already but some Genesis/MD classics such as Rocket Knight adventures and Alissa Dragoon (both did an amazing job of pushing the old hardware but one other game that many loved (as long as you had a six button pad back then) was Ranger X. My pick from the list was Road Rash II as it was so much fun and beyond two sequels on later consoles, the franchise has never been seen again. The last game was asking a bit too much of the original PlayStation and it outright flopped. The earlier PS title was a direct port from the awesome 3DO version which IMO, beyond the 16 bit series on the Genesis and Sega CD, put the series into a whole new level of awesome! Bring on my picks and Road Rash



unrandomsam said:

Gunstar Heroes is the only genesis game I still play regularly.

Don't know about the Castlevania game (I do think the SNES Castlevania is complete garbage though. Put me off the entire series until getting Rondo of Blood recently which I think is great what is even more strange is I hate games with loads of cutscenes but I love the Rondo of Blood first one once you start a new game). I have the Castlevania Rebirth but it doesn't seem to play as well as Rondo of Blood or be as much fun. (The 3DS one I think is total and utter garbage regardless of what anyone else thinks).

I think the PC Engine version of the New Zealand Story will likely be the best. (All of the PC Engine arcade ports I have played feel like the arcade game and never lag or flicker. More bothered about whether it feels right than anything else like whether the colours are different).

Kind of good that we were limited for 60HZ VC Games as I played loads of PC Engine games I probably never would have played otherwise.

Neo Geo at 50hz was a total waste though. (They would have been better off just switching to the MVS bios and putting them all in VC Arcade at 60HZ).

Also if the original Genesis game (I say Genesis because I have no interest whatsoever in 50HZ Megadrive games. Jap Megadrive probably wouldn't bother me) has stuff like lag or flickering sprites that should be properly sorted out before it is re-released. (Even more so if there is a superior version on another platform).

I have no interest in Genesis arcade ports they are not right in all the cases I know of.



Deathstalker83 said:

I would like to see 3DO games on the virtual console.
Need for Speed
Road Rash
Corpse Killer
Night Trap
Lucienne's Quest
Daedalus Encounter



James1993 said:

Mega Man: The Wily Wars is the Sega Mega Drive game I voted for in this list, since opting for the original cartridge would be pricier and harder to find. I saw Mega Man: The Wily Wars in 2012 and I regret not asking how much that copy was.

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