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Video Game News from September 2007





Filed Under: Video Game Business

Yesterday, TheStreet.com published an interesting article giving the business speculation perspective on the impending Electronic Arts' Rock Band vs. Activision's Guitar Hero showdown.

While it seems the conclusion is that there is enough space in the emerging "Music Games" segment for both games, there is still ample reason for Activision to fear a hit in their sales.


My thoughts are that Rock Band requires a significant upfront cost (rumored to be $199) and requires at least two real-life friends or the desire to go online to find bandmates. It all just seems like a very high hurdle to clear.

Guitar Hero will continue to appeal to the soloist in us all. The spotlight if firmly focused on the one-player experience, although the next version of the game will allow for competitive online shredding.

Reading through various "hands on with Rock Band" reviews, however, I can't dismiss the fact that everybody who has played it has loved it. The same goes for Guitar Hero.

Only time will tell who will win the battle of the bands.

Posted by Jeremy on September 4, 2007 7:44 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3 | Xbox 360

Yesterday I wrote about Wall Street's perspective on the upcoming battle between Activision's Guitar Hero and EA's Rock Band.

Today, we have two new participants in the battle. Aerosmith is reportedly working exclusively with Guitar Hero, with guitarist Joe Perry saying that the next Guitar Hero will be dedicated to the group's music.

Countering that move, EA today announced that Rock Band will offer The Grateful Dead's music via download (as additional content).


I find this very interesting in the larger context of the rush to sign exclusive bands to either Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Over the next few years that's what you're going to be seeing; your favorite band going with one or the other.

You'll also be seeing "band versions" of these games as alluded to by Joe Perry. Imagine an entire Guitar Hero or Rock Band game dedicated to your favorite band?

Let the battle of the bands begin!

source
source

Posted by Jeremy on September 5, 2007 9:58 AM | | Comments (0)


Filed Under: Video Game Politics

You know that when a TV report begins with, "Critics are calling it the most violent video game ever for children," and that game is actually M-rated (for ages 17 and older), it's not going to be an unbiased piece of journalism. San Francisco's NBC-11 proves this point, with this craptacular report featuring California State Senator Leland Yee, and a 17 year old lover of violent video games.

Watch the report here...

Granted, I have no desire to play Manhunt 2. I think it's creepy, and gross, and not my bag of tea. However, I feel the same way about movies like Hostel 2 and Saw 3. Does this mean the MPAA should answer to Leland Yee about why these films were rated R? No. So why does the ESRB have to answer to the Senator as to why Manhunt 2 was rated M?

Again, the people who buy these games are adults. Either they play them themselves, or they buy them for their kids. If you want to make sure the adults know what they are buying for their kids, then support the ESRB and put forth a public campaign to educate parents about the rating system.

And, for the love of God, don't cite out of date federal studies on how easy it is for underage kids to get their hands on these games. The ESRB has cracked down over the past few years, and it's much, much harder for kids to buy M-rated games than it was when those studies were done. What's more, we know those federal studies weren't truly reflective of the problem as they used some sketchy techniques (older looking kids, adults who were around but not the ones who actually purchased).

Posted by Lunabean on September 5, 2007 10:17 AM | | Comments (0)


I am very pleased to let you know that the First Draft of the Lunabean Metroid Prime 3 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide is complete.


Today I'll be playing through MP3 again, tying up loose ends and making sure that I have all of the Items and all of the Lore.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be able to publish the downloadable PDF version of the guide.

Lunabean's MP3 Walkthrough and Guide.

You can also feel free to ask questions on our Metroid Prime 3 Help Forum.

Posted by Jeremy on September 6, 2007 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3 | Sony

According to GameStats.com, the highly anticipated PS3 motion sensor dragon game, Lair, has received an average press score of 5.7 (the average includes, by the way, the 9.0 awarded to it by the Sony-backed Play Magazine). Apparently, this has put Sony and Factor 5 on damage control.

IGN, who smacked the title with a 4.9, is today reporting that they have received a "Lair reviewer's guide" from Sony. The 21 page guide includes 6 pages of controller explanation, and another 15 of Lair artwork and game details. Perhaps the pretty package and suggestion that the reviewers don't know how to do their jobs will earn Lair re-reviews with higher scores? Hmm.



Rumor has it that the people at Sony believe these reviewers are a little too "hardcore" to appreciate the motion sensor controls. For this reason, the reviewer's guide begins by asking reviewers to "open their minds".

Even if Sony has a valid point about reviewers and motion sensor controls, a 5.7 average speaks more to a piss poor game experience than it does a controller preference.

Oh, and while you're putting out fires Sony, you may want to deal with the one created by this little reviewer package, as those in the industry who are not offended by it seem to be laughing hysterically because of it.

Posted by Lunabean on September 7, 2007 3:56 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3 | Sony

Perhaps Sony should focus less on telling reviewers how to play their games and more on figuring out if the PS3 is a gaming machine or a home entertainment center. At least, that's the suggestion of Square Enix President Yoichi Wada.

"(The future of the PS3) would be tough if its marketing strategy is not straightened up," he said.

The future? What about the past and present?

Read the article...

Posted by Lunabean on September 7, 2007 5:15 PM | | Comments (0)


While Bioshock could do no wrong two weeks ago, a few have stood up to the hype to remind people the game is great, but it's not that great. I couldn't agree more.



While we're on the topic, it's worth a mention that the LB Bioshock Walkthrough and Strategy Guide is now complete. Oh, and by "complete" I mean 100%. That's ALL diaries and tonics. Take that, Gamerscore!

LB Bioshock Game Guide
Posted by Lunabean on September 7, 2007 5:25 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

If you want to get your copy of Halo 3 at 12:01 am on September 25th don't worry, you have many options.


Among them are midnight launches at all 7-11 stores, where you can buy a Big Bite hotdog, a Slurpee and Master Chief, and at all Wal-Marts who promise to have plenty of copies, Halo 3 only checkout lines and Dog Tags.

In addition to these two ubiquitous bastions of retail-dom, all Gamespots, EBs, and Game Crazys will be open at midnight as will a great many Best Buys, Circuit City's, Targets, Toys R Us's, K-Marts, et al.

In another nice move, Best Buy is sponsoring free Xbox Live Gold membership for all gamers on Sept. 25 - 27.

Posted by Jeremy on September 12, 2007 7:13 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3

We've been out of town for a few days, so forgive me if this is old news...but Heavenly Sword, the potential killer app Sony has been waiting for for the PS3, reportedly only provides six to eight hours of gameplay!?!?!?!

According to Gamespot, the six to eight hours are intense, awesome, and live up to the Heavenly Sword hype, but will gamers be willing to spend $60 on a game that provides an afternoon of entertainment? Possibly. However, since this was supposed to be a game that would sell PS3s, the bigger question is, will gamers be willing to spend $60 for the game plus $499 for the console? Probably not.

At least everyone will have Heavenly Sword to go back to (and rent) when a true killer app comes out that really does move PS3s.



Gamespot's Heavenly Sword review

Posted by Lunabean on September 12, 2007 9:55 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | PS3 | Sony | Xbox | Xbox 360

November 5th. Mark it on your calendars as the day COD4: Modern Warfare hits the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.



Posted by Lunabean on September 12, 2007 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

Entitled 'Museum', the new Halo 3 ad features no gameplay, no explosions, no booming soundtrack, and no Master Chief. What it does provide is an emotional response that identifies Master Chief as a hero.



Believe.

Posted by Lunabean on September 12, 2007 12:28 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii | PS3 | Sony | Xbox | Xbox 360

The Financial Times is today reporting that the Nintendo Wii has officially outsold the Xbox 360, making the Wii the best selling next-generation (current-generation?) console, with 9 million units sold.

Using sales figures from Enterbrain in Japan, NPD Group of the US and GfK of Germany, which tracks European sales, FT puts Xbox 360 sales at 8.9 million units and the PS3 at 3.7 million units.



There are a couple of things to remember while looking at these numbers. First, the Xbox 360 has been on the market a full year longer than the Wii, so outselling the Microsoft game machine, even by a mere 100,000 units, is both impressive and indicative of a strong Wii future. Second, there is still a very real Wii shortage that is expected to last through this holiday season. In the meantime, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are in full supply. This is why we pay attention to these "units sold" numbers and not the "units shipped" numbers that Sony likes to tout.

Congrats, Nintendo, for a job well done!

Read the article

Posted by Lunabean on September 12, 2007 3:43 PM | | Comments (0)



The US video game sales numbers for August are in and the industry is up 46% year on year. EA came in tops on the software front with Madden '08 selling 897,000 units for the Xbox 360, and coming in 2nd for the PS2 and 4th for the PS3.

BioShock came in 3rd with 491,000 units sold and Nintendo's Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Strikers Charged both were in the top ten.


In the console war, the Nintendo Wii still leads the pack but dropped 5% coming in at 404,000 units sold.

Meanwhile the Xbox 360 jumped 63% to 277,000 units due in large part to a price cut.

Sony's PS3 dropped 18% to 131,000 as the effect of their $100 price cut seems to be wearing off.

Reuters article

Posted by Jeremy on September 14, 2007 11:09 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Yesterday, Allison showed me this column titled, "Video-game generation may be desensitized to NFL injuries."


I was too busy and frankly, too flabbergasted, to write anything about it. Today, I have some time and am now able to wrap my brain around Bob Molinaro's irresponsible and ludicrous claims that the "video game generation" is desensitized to violence in the NFL, specifically calling to light the spinal cord injury suffered by Buffalo Bills back-up tight end Kevin Everett.

For the record, I have been a Buffalo Bills fan for 30 years (I grew up in upstate NY) and I play video games for a living, so I feel uniquely qualified to deconstruct Mr. Molinaro's assertions.

Continue reading...

Continue reading "Lunabean angry over columnist's piece on NFL violence and video games"
Posted by Jeremy on September 14, 2007 11:34 AM | | Comments (5)

Filed Under: PC | PS3 | Sony | Video Game Walkthrough | Xbox | Xbox 360

We are beginning work on the LB Medal of Honor: Airborne Walkthrough and Strategy Guide for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions of the game.

Per usual, you can check in on our growing guide as it's being written. Enjoy!

LB MOH: Airborne Game Guide.



Update: For those who need MOH: Airborne help beyond the current scope of the walkthrough, please post your questions in our MOH: Airborne Help Thread in our forums.

Posted by Lunabean on September 15, 2007 8:01 AM | | Comments (6)

Filed Under: Video Game Business

Intel has announced that it has agreed to purchase Havok, the Dublin-based maker of video game software development tools, for $110 million.

Havok will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel meaning that Havok will continue operating independently...they'll just have a ton more capital and all their technology are belong to Intel (sorry for the "all your base are belong to us" reference).


Havok's technology has been used in over 170 games including BioShock, Halo 2, Halo 3, Crackdown and Cars.

Intel's stock price today is relatively unchanged, currently down $0.03. With this acquisition I think Intel is looking like a great long-term (1-2 years) pickup for your stock portfolio. Not only have they differentiated with a lucritive and vital tool for many of today's hottest games, but with Macs selling like hotcakes and better-than-expected shipments of PCs it would seem that they'll be selling chips way into the future.

***Disclaimer*** Lunabean takes no responsibility for their stock recommendations and they make no guarantees. Please do your due diligence before purchasing any stocks.

Posted by Jeremy on September 17, 2007 10:23 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii

Could you believe it? Today, on Smash Bros. Dojo Nintendo announced Wi-Fi capability for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.


As evidenced by the above photo there will be two modes: with friends or with anyone. "With friends" allows you to play against your registered friends and the battle records will be recorded. "With anyone" will randomly match you up with anyone in the world but no battle records are kept.

Prior to this announcement this game was expected to be the best selling Wii game to date. Now it just might end up as the best selling game ever (well, give it a few years).

Posted by Jeremy on September 18, 2007 7:58 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo DS

Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park debuts today for the Nintendo DS. I mention this not to call into question my manhood, but to relate to you that these are actually really fun games.


Allison has every intention of getting her hands on the game and writing a walkthrough for it. We'll just have to see if it fits into our schedule.

In the meantime, if you have questions, we've made a Nancy Drew DS Help Thread for you to post your questions.

For more info on the game, visit nancydrewds.com

Posted by Jeremy on September 18, 2007 10:16 AM | | Comments (2)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

A Project Gotham Racing 4 demo is set to hit Xbox Live sometime today. Because our Xbox 360 is currently in use for the Medal of Honor Airborne Walkthrough, we probably won't get around to downloading it until tonight.


The demo will have five playable vehicles, hopefully a motorcycle (new to PGR4), and will have a time-trial at Nurburgring.

PGR games have always been the favorite racing games of us here at Lunabean. They are easy to play yet are very challenging. Kudos!

Posted by Jeremy on September 18, 2007 10:38 AM | | Comments (5)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Many argue that parents who refuse to buy their kids violent video games doesn't solve the problem of kids playing violent video games, because those kids will go to a friend's house and play them. I say, so what if they do?

There are a lot of things that kids aren't allowed to do at home that they do with their friends. However, if you've told your kids that you don't want them to be playing these games, at least they'll understand that they're doing something you, as a parent, don't approve of.

Believe it or not, the fact that a child knows he or she is breaking the rules, does affect how they look at what they are playing. Dig?

And that was my violent video gaming thought for the day.
Posted by Lunabean on September 19, 2007 10:22 AM | | Comments (0)


Just a little reminder for those of you in PAL territories who only just received the Mario RPG last week:

Lunabean's Super Paper Mario Walkthrough and Strategy Guide not only walks you through all eight chapters of this Mario adventure, but it includes an extensive "extras" section that will please Character Card collectors, Treasure Map hunters, Cooking experts, and Pit(s) of 100 Trials divers.

Check it out in all of its strategy guide glory here:

LB Super Paper Mario Game Guide

Posted by Lunabean on September 19, 2007 10:44 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under:

Really?



Source

Posted by Lunabean on September 19, 2007 11:11 AM | | Comments (0)


I don't know why this got under my skin, but it did, so I'm just going to go with it.

In a Reuters article that reads more like a Microsoft press release, we find this sentence:

Hailed by some as the "Star Wars" for Generation Xbox, the "Halo" franchise has spawned a mini-empire of licensed toys, clothing and tie-ins.



What in the world? Who is hailing Halo as the next Star Wars? And, for goodness sake, Generation Xbox? Why does Microsoft suddenly get the rights to stamp their brand on an entire generation?

I'm as big of a Halo fan as the next guy, and it is a terribly successful brand, but Star Wars? Yeah. Talk to me when kids are toting around Master Chief carrying cases to safely transport all of their Halo action figures, the way kids did in the 80s with the Darth Vader carrying case.



Interestingly enough, the guy who wrote this "article" has the last name "Hillis". I find this strikingly similar to Hillys, the name of the people in the 2003 Xbox title Beyond Good & Evil. In BG&E the Hillys had their life force sucked out and/or had spores inserted into their brains that made them unknowingly work for the evil DomZ. You don't suppose Microsoft spored Hillis, hence the article/press release, do you? Sure, it's a stretch, but so is comparing the success of Halo to that of Star Wars.

Posted by Lunabean on September 19, 2007 11:15 AM | | Comments (0)


I've assembled an interesting video and a few articles which delve into how you can make money off of the halo effect of, well, Halo 3.

Depending on who you believe, Halo 3 will pull in anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion between game sales and console sales.

Here are the video/articles, and below, my analysis:

Cramer video on Halo 3...be warned you have to watch a 60 second Viagara ad.

Halo 3: T-Minus Two Weeks

GameStop takes aim at casual gamers

Although it's tempting, I wouldn't invest in Microsoft in the short term because, even though the Halo 3 numbers look huge, they are a mere drop in the bucket for MSFT in general. If you're going for the long term, I think there are better, more growth-oriented (and still safe) stocks out there, even in the technology field...say Intel (INTC) for example.

Continue reading...

Continue reading "The 'Halo' effect -- Stock Watch"
Posted by Jeremy on September 19, 2007 3:39 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3

The saying goes, "You can never go home again." In Sony's case, "You can never go home."

The much ballyhooed and highly anticipated "Home" player community for the PS3 has been delayed until early 2008. It was set to launch this fall.

Sony say that they are simply not ready to launch it and still have some kinks to work out. Finally, a good decision by Sony. If something is not ready, don't launch it.

Nonetheless, this is a hit for the PS3 as it attempts to battle, sans Home, the Xbox 360 and Wii this holiday season. Perhaps 2008 will be the year of the PS3...or maybe 2009.

Read more...

Posted by Jeremy on September 20, 2007 7:33 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

You'd think that when battling Nazis in MOH: Airborne you wouldn't be rudely taken out of your suspension of disbelief by notification of an Xbox Live update, but alas, that is how it happened. I bet the Allied troops never had to deal with such distractions.

The update is just a quick little download that prepares your Xbox 360 for the Big Button Pad peripheral. Wow. Exciting.

To learn more about this check out Major Nelson.

Posted by Jeremy on September 20, 2007 1:49 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo Wii

I don't know how I missed this one. A few days ago Lucas Arts announced that they are working on a Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Nintendo Wii.

And, what words have I been waiting to hear? Yes, the Wii Remote will be used as a Light Saber and the Nunchuk will control the Force Powers.

Stormtroopers, you are so flying off a landing dock. Force Lighting, do your thing!


Also in the announcement is word of a "Duel Mode" where you can square off against your friends, or enemies, to settle age old scores...or just to have some fun.

The Press Release

The Force Unleashed Game Info

Posted by Jeremy on September 20, 2007 2:13 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Microsoft today has sent a handy link to an interactive Halo 3 manual.


In addition to controls, the manual explains the Heads Up Display (HUD), basics, multiplayer, films, the Forge, and more.

It's cram time, kiddos! You have until midnight to memorize everything!

Interactive Halo 3 Manual and More...

Posted by Jeremy on September 24, 2007 11:59 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

If you're not a male aged 16 - 24 and your favorite TV channels are not MTV, MTV 2, Spike TV, G4, Cartoon Network, and ESPN then you probably missed out on a great ad campaign for Halo 3.


Because I'm a male, aged 30, and don't watch much TV besides news channels and NFL football, I've also missed out on these ads.

The first four are part of the "Museum" series which are shot as a documentary of soldiers who fought alongside Master Chief.

The last one, "Starry Night," has a similar feel, but you'll actually see some game in there. Oh, and if you are like me, you'll love the Leeroy Jenkins re-mix.

Believe in a Hero - Diorama

Museum

Museum - Enemy Weapon

Being Hunted

Starry Night

Starry Night - Leeroy Jenkins Re-Mix

Posted by Jeremy on September 24, 2007 12:12 PM | | Comments (0)


We are beginning work on the LB Halo 3 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide for the Xbox 360.

Per usual, you can check in on our growing guide as it's being written. Enjoy!

LB Halo 3 Game Guide.



Update: For those who need Halo 3 help beyond the current scope of the walkthrough, please post your questions in our Halo 3 Help Thread in our forums.

Posted by Lunabean on September 25, 2007 3:38 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | PS3 | Sony | Video Game Videos | Xbox | Xbox 360

With all of the Halo 3 hype, we missed the release of this fun Assassin's Creed trailer.

Here she is. Enjoy!



Posted by Lunabean on September 26, 2007 10:22 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Ah...what would we do without a weekly dose of crazy ol' Jack Thompson?

In today's adventure, the Miami attorney who is convinced video games and their makers are the root of all evil, has inserted photos of men having sex with each other into a motion he submitted to Judge Adalberto Jordan. Needless to say, Judge Jordan was not amused and may hold Thompson in contempt of court for his actions.

Now, why would Thompson insert such photos into his motion? I don't know if you can explain the crazy, but GamePolitics certainly gives it a detailed shot.

In summary, Thompson is accusing the Florida Bar (which is investigating Thompson for professional misconduct), of being in cahoots with Norm Kent, who is a criminal defense attorney. Kent and Thompson have butted heads over the years, so Thompson is doing his best to discredit Kent. Kent also happens to publish a Gay News website, hence, the photos. Oy.

Again, hop on over to GamePolitics for the details. There, you can read about my favorite part of the ordeal, where Thompson compares himself to American Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere. Too funny.

Posted by Lunabean on September 26, 2007 11:02 AM | | Comments (0)


Yesterday Microsoft announced the Halo 3 first-day US sales to be $170 million, which is $45 million more than the Halo 2 release.

To put this in perspective, as Gamespot points out, this is more than the record breaking domestic opening weekend box office sales of Spider-Man 3 ($151 million) and first-day domestic sales of Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows (no definitive number, but with 8.3 million copies sold at a variety of price points, the estimated haul is less than $170 million).

One would think the $170 million number is good news. Microsoft certainly seems to think so, as Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim had to say of the news, "Not only is Halo 3 setting sales records, it's also redefining entertainment. Within the first 20 hours alone, we've seen more than a million Xbox Live members come online to play Halo 3--that makes September 25 the most active Xbox Live gaming day in history."



However, Wall Street analysts were hoping for a $200 million first day haul. And, as misguided and incorrect as these analysts often are when it comes to the gaming industry, the fact that sales missed that mark has, most likely, helped in the selloff we're seeing today of Gamestop's stock (GME), which has fallen 5% to $55.15.

Sure, many are simply taking a profit from the price appreciation we've seen from the stock in the run up to the release, and, yes, the stock took another hit when a UBS analyst downgraded it from "Buy" to "Neutral", but, it is my guess that neither of these detriments would have happened had Halo 3 reached that inflated $200 million.

Does it matter that that mark was invented by people who are wrong about the industry on a semi-regular basis? Unfortunately, if you're playing the stock market, then no, it doesn't. This is why Jeremy warned you last week in his Halo effect analysis, "...a lot of people who don't know what they're doing are going to be jumping into the gaming sector with you. Be wary of these people as they'll pull their money out at the first sign of weakness." Point proven today.

Posted by Lunabean on September 27, 2007 10:39 AM | | Comments (0)


Slip this one in the creepy file.

According to New Hampshire Union Leader, a GameStop in Manchester put on a little Halo 3 launch party which involved a pre-launch Halo 2 tournament. When GameStop managers announced no one under 18 was allowed to play in the tournament (as Halo 2 is a M-rated game), several teens left the store, where they found the event's co-sponsor, local US Air Force recruiters.

While GameStop managers refused to let the kids play Halo 2 inside the store, the recruiters offered these same kids, "...pizza, Mountain Dew and a chance to play Halo 2 on a split screen from the back of a pimped-out military SUV.

While we do not know if any gamers signed their lives over to the Air Force that night, we do know that a similar event for the launch of Madden '08 last month netted two new recruits.

Does this give anyone else the heebeejeebees? Ick.

Posted by Lunabean on September 27, 2007 12:52 PM | | Comments (2)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS | PC

Truth be told, Insecticide for the DS has not been a blip on my radar. However, for whatever reason, I opted to check out the new trailer today over at GameTrailers.com, and, as a big Tim Schafer fan, am I happy I did. Other fans will surely spot some Psychonauts and Grim Fandango notes in the little game.



While the game seems to have no direct connection to Shafer, its developer, Crackpot Entertainment, consists of several key team members who worked on many a Shafer game. You can certainly tell.

Look for Insecticide to hit the DS and PC in January 2008.

Official Insecticide site

Posted by Lunabean on September 27, 2007 1:23 PM | | Comments (0)


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