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The Organisation that wants Videogamers to Commit Violence in Real-Life
July 13th 2002, 17:51 CEST by betaalpha

I confess, this isn't my own research. Reference PC Gamer, August 2002, page 14. Now my conscience is clear...

America's Army features two games - a roleplay based in an army camp and a first-person shooter that people might actually want to play. The US Army (or rather, the taxpayers) spent seven million dollars on this baby in a bid to get gamers sitting behind real guns in real life. In this game, you fight against the opposing player-controlled team, which to you look like terrorists. The opposing team sees themselves as the legitimate US Army and _you_ as the terrorist agents. Seeing legitimate armies as evil terrorists simply because they are opposed to you? This game has honesty. Sorry, it's a big institution, I have to attack it.

Under Ash is a less polished (but earnest) game where the player starts off as a Palestinian youth flinging rocks at Israeli Soldiers and goes on to become a full intifada recruit. It doesn't apparently try to recruit Palestinian lads into Hamas but wnts instead to illustrate to the world the situation Palestinians are in, as well as to try to distract the players from the unpleasantness happening away from their computer monitors. I dunno how true that is.

Introductions to the game complete, I simply ask, is it morally right to use a computer game as either a political statement or a recruitment tool? And are the US Army using their game as a way to get us into foreign countries before we all go on our inevitable game-inspired psycho killing sprees?

(Could I please ask any replies to stay away from anything related to the Palestine and Israel conflict unless actually talking about computer games? It's not like there's anything I can do about it or anything, but it'd be nice to stay the hell away from that potential flame-fest)
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#1 by Fallon
2002-07-13 18:12:47
http://www.fagnews.com
Hi.

I'd feel more fulfilled making Christmas cards with the mentally ill.
#2 by ProStyle
2002-07-13 18:28:55
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
Well, after only being able to load up the first few training missions and then being able to play no more even after "registering"; I downloaded the next patches kind of eagerly. Nonetheless, they proved to do nothing but disable my mouse control in the game and force me to log off for there was no way I could get the menu down otherwise or switch tasks. Yeah, I certainly want to join a Military Institution run by these guys. *Cough*

Seeing as how that wasn't incredibly funny I'll continue down the path and say that no matter how interesting the video game is, hardcore players or even the general public will most likely never be enticed to actually join the armed forces. It's a world of difference between pressing 4 buttons to move in your world and then actually having to do that while carrying around a 13lb+ rifle along with all of your gear and protection.

I really did like their "iron sight" implementation though, I wish that's how you had to get excellent aim in CounterStrike as opposed to "standing still" for .00002 seconds and timing that exactly with your AK headshot.
#3 by "Gomer Pyles"
2002-07-13 18:31:30
janitor@psyops.mil http://www.planetcrap.com/
What bothers me is that they spent $7.5m of our tax money making this silly thing and didn't bother asking anyone if it was actually wanted. It's another one of those $2000 toilet seats. What the hell cost so much money? It's really just a fancy mod using the Unreal engine. Speaking of which, if it wasn't for Counterstrike, none of this would have ever happened!

I think I'll go back to playing that. Counterstrike. On the terrorist side. Just because I feel like it.
#4 by Duality
2002-07-13 18:32:03
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Moral?  Since when have developers had morals?  Should developers have morals?  Isn't that what we have our own morals for?

The whole point of games as a medium for freedom of speech is that people can use them to entertain or as propaganda.  Its up to the people whether to use or listen to it.

-Jon
#5 by HoseWater
2002-07-13 18:47:15
barneyque@hotmail.com
I don't think I would attack this from a cost point of view.  For the Army to reach as many people as this did/will and let them know that there are openings, in the traditional media, would probably cost a heck of a lot more.

The Army probably paid for this with change it found under the couch cushion.
#6 by "Concerned Gamer"
2002-07-13 18:51:50
gaymer@hotmail.com http://www.planetcrap.com/
Perhaps we should use this opportunity to show that gamers are opposed to real-world violence and oppression? American politicians have been scapegoating the entertainment industry for supposedly inciting violence and corrupting teenagers for probably the entire 20th century, and now they want to use entertainment specifically to promote violence and brainwash our nation's youth exactly in the way which they denounced. This game is everything they once insisted was evil and immoral. A subliminal propaganda tool, rather than a game.

We must show the world that even if we do like a bit of the old Ultraviolence, we still understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Perhaps our politicians do not?
#7 by LoneStar
2002-07-13 18:54:40
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
I honestly don't know what they were thinking when they made this game. There are tons of Army games out and I know some have to be close to being realistic to the Army way. I guess they wanted to show the younger PC crowd that they are a cool place and would like you to be with them. I guess it is a reqruitment tool, period. As soon as the mainstream press finds out about this the sh!t is going to hit the fan, trust me.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#8 by Caryn
2002-07-13 18:57:43
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
I may get flamed for this, but in my opinion America's Army is strictly a recruitment tool -- it seems fairly obvious to me that that's its primary intention -- and a brilliant use of their marketing budget. (I'm assuming the military has a budget set aside for marketing -- i.e., the ads they run on TV, etc.)

"I can't drink POSSIBLE beers! I need ACTUAL beers! Damn you quantum physics!"
#9 by HoseWater
2002-07-13 18:58:09
barneyque@hotmail.com
I have to admit that I don't think this will be good for the industry in that it legitimizes the concept that people learn to kill playing games.

Ignoring for the moment that any old butter-knife will do, and everyone knows it.


Personally, I am waiting for the next mass shooting in a school, only to find the kid was a member of America's virtual Army.

The lawsuits will be fun to watch.
#10 by Matt Perkins
2002-07-13 18:59:40
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Caryn

I agree with the idea of a marketing tool...  only because, what other reason have they to release a game?  It's all about the idea of making the army look interesting, then people go hey, I could do that in RL.

Course, their theory of trying to get geeks involved may backfire :P.

If that Matt Perkins XXX sees the light of day, it will be interesting to see what happens. - yotsuya
#11 by Petri Jarvilehto
2002-07-13 19:06:43
petri@remedy.fi http://www.remedy.fi
#3 by "Gomer Pyles"
  
What bothers me is that they spent $7.5m of our tax money making this silly thing and didn't bother asking anyone if it was actually wanted. It's another one of those $2000 toilet seats. What the hell cost so much money? It's really just a fancy mod using the Unreal engine.


With today's massive dev teams and huge games (in both tech and content) developing games is expensive. From what I heard, the 7 million is the budget for two games plus the startup costs for setting up a new development studio. Overall sounds like a pretty reasonable budget to me.
#12 by Caryn
2002-07-13 19:09:27
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Matt P.:

Course, their theory of trying to get geeks involved may backfire :P.


I'm curious as to what kind of reach they're going for and how they're marketing the game itself to non-hardcore audiences. So far I've really only seen it in hardcore circles so it's tough to see from this viewpoint.

"I can't drink POSSIBLE beers! I need ACTUAL beers! Damn you quantum physics!"
#13 by Post-It
2002-07-13 19:12:58
keithlee@speakeasy.net
I agree with Caryn and Matt. It's a marketing tool. Big deal. The Army is trying to appeal to a new generation, one that has grown up on games. Why would they not attempt to recruit via gaming? $7 million a wate of your money on a recruitment campaign?!? Do you have any idea of what it takes to build/maintain the military? We're spending well over $10 mil a day right now in Afghanistan just feeding and suppling everyone. $7 mil is a drop in the bucket of the Army's money, and personally, I'm impressed that someone over there had the insight to realize that they could market/advertise themselves to a group of people they probably have difficulty recruiting through normal measures.

As far as the whole Under Ash thing, yeah that was worth talking about when I brought it up six months ago. Try to keep up. :)

"It's a bird!  It's a plane!  Oh shit, It knows we're home!"
-Chris Johnson
#14 by LoneStar
2002-07-13 19:13:08
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
They must be going after the Techies. I guess they think the future of battle will be all about technology and they figure the folks playing games like this is a real recruitment oppurtunity. I should would hate to train the geeks! I know how I would do!

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#15 by Fallon
2002-07-13 19:13:16
http://www.fagnews.com
I'm ignorant of this whole thing so tell me - is this a retail product? Or is it like that free download deal?

Either way, do they plan on recouping costs?

I'd feel more fulfilled making Christmas cards with the mentally ill.
#16 by LoneStar
2002-07-13 19:32:17
cwcraig64@hotmail.com
Free download..... America's Army

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one
#17 by Caryn
2002-07-13 19:32:57
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Fallon:

I'm ignorant of this whole thing so tell me - is this a retail product? Or is it like that free download deal?


It's a free download, provided you live in the US and are between the ages of 18 to 34 -- the exact age window of recruitment eligibility.

"I can't drink POSSIBLE beers! I need ACTUAL beers! Damn you quantum physics!"
#18 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-13 19:46:18
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Caryn
I may get flamed for this, but in my opinion America's Army is strictly a recruitment tool -- it seems fairly obvious to me that that's its primary intention -- and a brilliant use of their marketing budget. (I'm assuming the military has a budget set aside for marketing -- i.e., the ads they run on TV, etc.)

That's exactly what it is.  I was talking to some of their guys at E3 and they told me that if this game gets even 300 recuits, it will be the single most effective recruiting tool ever.  It's well worth their investment of time and money.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#19 by BobJustBob
2002-07-13 19:53:30

I was talking to some of their guys at E3 and they told me that if this game gets even 300 recuits, it will be the single most effective recruiting tool ever.


!quote 24

</IRC>

So there.
#20 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-13 19:55:42
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
!quote 24

</IRC>

I've seen this a few times but I'm not getting the joke.  What does this mean?

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#21 by Fallon
2002-07-13 20:03:39
http://www.fagnews.com
<quote>provided you live in the US and are between the ages of 18 to 34</quote>

I'm not American. Most racist game since SOF1! /tabloid attitude

Fuck the recruitment tool spiel, it's certainly one of the most "interestingly" offered games I've seen. Profit-free, costly for them to make, no doubt with a good critical panning in store outside the US.

Neat.

I'd feel more fulfilled making Christmas cards with the mentally ill.
#22 by Morn
2002-07-13 20:03:44
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
!quote 24

Hendrik "Morn" Mans • morn@planetcrap.com • admin/coder/lover/kraut
I hope nobody will sue me: C R A P R A D I O | last 10 songs
#23 by Fallon
2002-07-13 20:04:12
http://www.fagnews.com
Hooray for using the wrong tags!

I'd feel more fulfilled making Christmas cards with the mentally ill.
#24 by Post-It
2002-07-13 20:23:51
keithlee@speakeasy.net
Warren, it means you need to hang out with us in IRC more often.

"It's a bird!  It's a plane!  Oh shit, It knows we're home!"
-Chris Johnson
#25 by Darkseid-D
2002-07-13 20:44:34
rogerboal@hotmail.com
and with the latest patch ...

they made it so you had to register with the central host to run a server, ie you HAVE to make it public or you cant run one, and guess what, the registration process is manual, it has to be done by someone at the Homelan end.

meaning no `butter` like privacy.

Id also bet that it logs everyone connecting to it and passes on info

Id also bet that they`ll exclude anyone outside the USA from connecting sometime soon..



Ds

Never argue with an idiot, theyll drag you down onto their level, then beat you with experience.
#26 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-13 20:45:36
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
And why shouldn't they? If you don't like it, ask for a refund.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$270,000,000.
#27 by Morn
2002-07-13 20:52:17
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
!quote 24

Hendrik "Morn" Mans • morn@planetcrap.com • admin/coder/lover/kraut
I hope nobody will sue me: C R A P R A D I O | last 10 songs
#28 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-13 20:56:32
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Morn is the new !quote 24.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#29 by BobJustBob
2002-07-13 20:57:46
Warren, morn set us up a nice little IRC bot that remembers quotes and plays them back on command. Quote #24 is the so-called "Battlefield Earth laugh", which consists of Gabe laughing maniacally.

So there.
#30 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-13 20:58:22
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Haha, OK.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#31 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-13 21:08:10
Fanny Fungus
"I'm ignorant of this whole thing"

Understatement of the year award.

"I'm not American."

My condolences.

"Most racist game since SOF1!"

People like you shouldn't even be playing games.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#32 by Post-It
2002-07-13 21:33:20
keithlee@speakeasy.net
Off-Topic:

 So, after much consideration, I have decided to trade-in my X-Box for a Gamecube. I kept looking at the release schedule for both systems for the next 6-9 months and the Nintendo schedule just blew away the X-Box. At least for me and my gaming tastes. I bought a X-Box Day 1 along with Halo and DOA3, and a DVD playback kit. Since then I have not bought a single title for the X-Box. Not one. I have mostly used the thing for a DVD player. But, recently I've been thinking, then what do I have the PS2 for as well?

You see, I would trade in my PS2 instead, (mostly cause I never play it) except for GTA: Vice City (which is a must own for me, and not on my PC). So instead I took a long hard look an my X-Boxen. Sure I watch movies on it, and I still play Halo co-op when so of my friends come over, but what I am going to do with this huge thing? Sure there is Shenmue II, Panzer Dragon: Orta, and Halo 2 and . . .? (the Star Wars RPG's don't interest me) The whole "Xbox Live" thing really doesn't do it for me either. If I want to play online games, that's what I have a PC for.There are other good games coming to the system from other third party publishers, but those games will also be released for the PS2 & the GC.

On the GC software front, it has Rogue Squadron 2 and the recently released Eternal Darkness, both of which I want to play (I also want to check out Pikmin and Super Smash Bros. 2, not sure about them though). I can't deny my complete and total desire to play Super Mario: Sunshine on Day 1 of its release. I have complete and utter faith in Miyamoto-san. I thought Mario 64 was great, I played it all the time. If all Sunshine is is an update with better graphics, I'll be happy. ALthough, I think he will have a few suprises up his sleeve. Plus, I'm pretty interested in Starfox: Adventures, Metroid (I weep for the lack of 2D, and the switch to an FPS, but I am trying to reserve judgement, not doing a very good job), and the new Cellda (trying to reserve judgement here as well, doing an even worse job). NOt to mention the new Mario Kart, which I'll have to own, one of the best MP games ever. Also I want to check out Banjoo-Kazzoie 3 (I'm a sucker for platformers. While they are basic, to me that are gaming distelled to one of its purest and most basic levels, a good platformer is all about challenging gameplay and puzzle like situations). Also, any third-party developers seem to be publishing their software on all three platforms, so i feel safe there, in nothing else I have the PS2 for that.

So, there you have it. My reasoning for ditching my x-Box and picking up a Gamecube. Seem sound? Anyone have a good reason not too? Please note my choices in games. Any titles I'm missing for either console>?

"It's a bird!  It's a plane!  Oh shit, It knows we're home!"
-Chris Johnson
#33 by Charles
2002-07-13 21:37:34
www.bluh.org
Holy fucking deja vu batman!

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#34 by Charles
2002-07-13 21:38:24
www.bluh.org
Post-It... you are passing on Steel Battalion?  Poor you!

The xbox is a mech lovers dream over the next 6 months.

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#35 by Charles
2002-07-13 21:39:29
www.bluh.org
Warren,


[15:41] <Nova_Z> !quote 24
[15:41] <LOSE> (#24) <Gabe> hahahahaHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#36 by Charles
2002-07-13 21:43:09
www.bluh.org
"Gomer Pyles"
What bothers me is that they spent $7.5m of our tax money making this silly thing and didn't bother asking anyone if it was actually wanted.


Are you fucking kidding me?  Everybody wants free games.

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#37 by Charles
2002-07-13 21:45:38
www.bluh.org
Warren,
That's exactly what it is.  I was talking to some of their guys at E3 and they told me that if this game gets even 300 recuits, it will be the single most effective recruiting tool ever.  It's well worth their investment of time and money.


Well, not exactly better than a draft.  But then again, you'd have to catch at least 300 before every eligible person sprints for Canada.  So, yeah, toss up.

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#38 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-13 22:06:05
Fanny Fungus
"So, there you have it. My reasoning for ditching my x-Box and picking up a Gamecube. Seem sound? Anyone have a good reason not too? Please note my choices in games. Any titles I'm missing for either console>?"

The new RE and Eternal Darkness are the only current reasons for owning a GC. I bought the PSX 2 mainly to be able to play my older PSX games and for Silent Hill 2 - which wasn't up to par with Silent Hill 1. It was too damn weird. Not scary, just...weird. Fatal Frame is also a fine game. $150 for a GC is a steal. The boys at Software Etc. stated that Microsoft loses a wad of cash on every sale of their X-box, and that the future looks dim for the li'l runt.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#39 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-13 22:16:22
Fanny Fungus
"Introductions to the game complete, I simply ask, is it morally right to use a computer game as either a political statement or a recruitment tool? And are the US Army using their game as a way to get us into foreign countries before we all go on our inevitable game-inspired psycho killing sprees?"

Sorry, but that's one of the worst false dichotomies I've seen in ages. It's also completey unreasonable. Whether or not it's "morally right" to create a game for any purpose doesn't matter within the boundaries of freedom of speech. Of course it's morally right. Whether or not you buy it depends on your own moral conviction.

And the "game-inspired psycho killing sprees" is only the little trench you've dug in the back yard. First, you must link games to killing sprees, which has not, and will most likely never be proven. Second, you must consider the reason for military service in any country; killing people.

Now, is there anything reasonable about this question?

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#40 by Duality
2002-07-13 22:22:49
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
I thoroughly enjoy the hell out of SSBM.  Its a great game that I can just do a clean run through 1p adventure mode and shut it off before work.

Batman Vengeance is also another game I picked up when I got my GC -- great graphics with animation so true to the cartoon series.

From what I've heard from friends at E3, Metroid Prime is actually going to have Z Targetting (or similar concept to the targetting system of Zelda64), and the screenshots simply do a disservice to Celda.  My friend tells me that the beauty is in the animation, and not the art design per se.

Other releases on my plate ready for devouring include Robotech: Battlecry; a cel shaded action game for PS2, GC, Xbox that recaptures the Macross Saga of Robotech in sweet glory.  And then there is Destroy All Monsters: Melee.  A romp and stomp through cityscapes as your favorite Japanese giant monsters.   Will have 4 players support for the truest battle royale yet.

Okay, enough sounding like a commercial.

-Jon
#41 by Dumdeedum
2002-07-13 22:26:19
http://www.dumdeedum.com
$7,000,000 / 300 = $23,333 per recruit.

I'd hate to see ineffective recruiting tool costs.

"I'm sorry, I wasn't listening"
#42 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-13 22:30:06
Fanny Fungus
I used to diss mOnty because of his article submissions.

After reading what articles are now in the submission bin, I will get down on my knees, lick the concrete, beg, plead, drool, bribe, set myself on fire or give him a shoe-shine if he will submit something. Anything.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#43 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-13 22:36:55
Fanny Fungus
"1. Democracy is a lie and a sham.
2. You are being programmed and controlled by the Elite.
3. The Anglo-American-Israeli Alliance, with satellite European powers, raped, raided, and destroyed the post-War Third World.
4. The Cold War was a sham and a lie to frighten people into obedience.
5. Same thing with the Drug War, which is CIA organised, and profits Bankes.
6. Indochina was destroyed by the US for profit and to prevent rivalry to US-led interests.
7. Latin America was destroyed by the US for profit and to prevent rivalry to US-led interests.
8. Africa was destroyed by Europe for profit and to prevent rivialry to US-led interests.
9. The postwar Middle East is controlled by US-dominated regimes of various hue.
10. The ultimate souce of world power are the Merchant Banking Families, especially the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds who are the absolute final guarantors of and control and own the US Federal Reserve, The Bank of England, the majority of Elite scholarships and Selective Societies, and all the worlds leading political forums (it is now conceeded the Trilateral Comission, Bildberg Group, Council on Foreign Relations, and several others) were set up by the Rockefellers.

The more I read and know the more I realise there are a few mad radge bastards out there who know too."


Oh my. Bill_Hicks_Lives is paranoid. BHL, you may wish to ask out Fallon - I'm sure he can loosen you up a bit.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#44 by Caryn
2002-07-13 23:09:25
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Warren:

I was talking to some of their guys at E3 and they told me that if this game gets even 300 recuits,


So only 300 recruits from it would make it pay off? WOW. That's a really low number, I would think, considering how much it costs to train a single recruit. But I bet when you base it against the ad campaigns they've run on television and other media for the last few decades, it's MUCH more effective, and I'm guessing that collectively, less money was spent on making this one game than on all of those ad campaigns.

I'm actually surprised at how some people I've talked to have failed to see this as a recruiting tool (I'm not sure what else they think it is -- just the Army giving you a free game to play?). I had heard some surprise (and disappointment) when people learned that you had to be a US citizen between the ages of 18 and 34 to download it. It's not that hard to figure out that it's in the best interests of the Army to make sure that they spend their bandwidth on those that have a chance of enlisting.

"I can't drink POSSIBLE beers! I need ACTUAL beers! Damn you quantum physics!"
#45 by BobJustBob
2002-07-13 23:10:08
Super Monkey Ball.

So there.
#46 by Petri Jarvilehto
2002-07-13 23:12:27
petri@remedy.fi http://www.remedy.fi
Super Monkey Ball 2.
#47 by MoNo
2002-07-13 23:16:40
caryn: just a correction

from the faq:

Q: I am not in the United States, can I still play the game?
A: Yes! Although all of the official servers are located in the United States, there is no restriction on who can play America's Army. We want the whole world to know how great the U.S. Army is.

200 channels and nothing but cats.
#48 by Charles
2002-07-13 23:17:07
www.bluh.org
Super Monkey Love.

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#49 by _Fury_
2002-07-13 23:20:23
ajhill@wi.rr.com
Well, I've got both consoles (GC/XBox) and my XBox still gets tons more play than the GC. I wouldn't get rid of my GC though, I'm still having fun with Eternal Darkness, and the RE remake was tons o' fun. I've got SSB:M, and (imo) it's just not as fun as DOA3. Whenever people are over, the only game that anyone wants to play is DOA. YMMV of course. The GC upcoming line-up looks good, that's why I bought the thing. Monkey Ball is pretty fun too. But, I dunno - while I like the cube, I wouldn't ditch the xbox just yet..

Research has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats.
#50 by Caryn
2002-07-13 23:21:57
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
MoNo:

Ahh, I stand corrected then -- I remember reading news posts around the time of the game's release that said you must be a US citizen and between 18 and 34 to download it. Maybe I dreamt that.

"I can't drink POSSIBLE beers! I need ACTUAL beers! Damn you quantum physics!"
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