PS2J 286 News – One Click Debt, No Refunds

Free Games

  • PS4

    • BioShock: The Collection

      • 2016
      • Remastered, 1080p ports of all three plot-driven first-person shooter games (BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite), taking you from the depths of Rapture to the skies of Columbia in some great stories in dystopias freed of “petty morality” summed up by “No gods or kings, only man”
    • The Sims 4

      • 2017
      • A reportedly decent port of the classic life simulation series that has you creating characters and households, then living their lives
    • Firewall Zero Hour

      • 2018
      • 4v4 tactical VR shooter developed exclusively for the PSVR that has you seizing or protecting sensitive information from opposing teams
  • Xbox One

    • TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge

      • 2018
      • Motorcycle racing game that has you challenging the deadly Snaefell Mountain course that has you taking on 38 miles of roads at over 180 mph
    • Call of Cthulhu

      • 2018
      • A role-playing psychological horror game inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s writing, while also being an adaptation of the 1981 RPG of the same title
    • Fable Heroes

      • 2012
      • A beat ’em up spinoff of the Fable series, with a toy-like aesthetic and mixed reviews, it’s at least the first family friendly Fable title
    • Star Wars Battlefront

      • 2004
      • The original Battlefront game for the first Xbox, it’s a first and third person shooter that primarily plays as a conquest game with limited respawns for each team and also has a Galactic Conquest mode with some strategy elements
  • Epic Games

    • Farming Simulator 19

      • 2018
      • Pretty much what it says on the tin- it’s a full farming simulator with huge American and European environments, over 300 vehicles and machines, online co-op play, and a surprisingly large mod community
    • Next week we can look forward to PC ports of some popular board games

Apparently Ring isn’t just a product that lets people surveil their neighbours and gives police access to a network of cameras, it also tracks its customers through its app

  • We talked about the Ring camera doorbells and Amazon’s shady agreements with local police to promote the products and get access to recorded footage last summer back in episodes 263 and 268
  • Well now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) put together an investigation of the associated Android app and found it packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of personally identifiable information on its customers
    • This stuff includes names, IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data from the devices themselves
  • All of that info comes together to form a detailed fingerprint of the user that can be sold or used to see what people are doing in their digital lives, and most damning of all is that there is no notification, consent, or ways to mitigate the damage done
  • Ring is taking this information and delivering it to organizations like:
    • Facebook
    • Branch
      • a “deep linking” platform that builds those exact kind of digital fingerprints and associates them with other marketing and analytics data
    • AppsFlyer
      • another marketing data firm that’s now getting their hands on sensor data from all those devices
    • And Mixpanel
      • yet another business analytics service, but this one deserves special mention since Ring is sending them people’s full names, email address, details on your phone’s OS and hardware model, bluetooth settings, and how many locations you have Ring devices installed in
    • Of those services only Mixpanel is on Ring’s list of third-party services they say they work with, but they don’t make it clear just how much information they share
  • All that is to say, for being a company based around securing your home they sure don’t seem to have any consideration for your personal information. If you use a Ring device, it may be time to rethink that

Tesla’s taking heat this week because of their fairly predatory practices when it comes to buying upgrades

  • In a pretty suspicious move, about a week and a half before the end of their financial year Tesla rolled out a new feature in their phone app allowing people to buy software upgrades for their cars to enable full autopilot
  • Shortly afterward, they were hit with a lot of users complaining about unintended purchases and a terrible refund policy
    • In one case someone broke down exactly what happened- they essentially butt dialled the purchase, contacted support as soon as they could afterward and then a week later were told that there are no refunds for software purchases.
      • The support staff even compared it to “paying for an addition to a house, deciding you don’t like it, then requesting a refund from the contractor”
      • There are even some staff claiming that the upgrade can’t be removed from the car, when it’s basically just an enable/disable flag with no major download or installation involved
    • Eventually someone high-profile enough complained on Twitter and Elon Musk said that the refund situation would be addressed, but who knows if that will roll out to all the little people affected
  • The kicker here is how easy Tesla made it to accidentally make the purchase- it’s harder to download a free app
    • If you’re logged in to the Tesla app and go to the upgrades screen, the $4000 autopilot upgrade is automatically selected, added to your cart, and the payment prompt is immediately displayed
    • You then have two buttons- ApplePay, which would prompt for TouchID, FaceID, or your password, or Pay With Credit Card
      • One thing to note here is that they do have their refund denial policy shown at this point. On a black or very dark grey screen, below those buttons in slightly lighter grey text. All the other text is bright white.
      • Another interesting tidbit is that the refund policy was actually photoshopped off of the screen when it was shown in an investor presentation
    • If you do hit Pay With Credit Card it takes you to a confirmation screen with everything filled out- they don’t even ask for your card’s security code to verify, you just tap Pay at the bottom.
    • So if you’re in the Tesla app and put your phone in your pocket without locking it, whether by mistake or not, you’re three taps away from dropping $4000 without even knowing it
    • There are even some reports that the confirmation screen is new- some users last year just wanted to see the total with tax and were immediately charged
  • In investigating this I also stumbled upon some of the skeezy strategies Tesla has used on their website- when you look at the price of a car they default to showing it adjusted for “potential savings”
    • You might see that and expect some kind of rebates or sales, but in fact they bundle in the estimated savings from not buying gas for the life of the car, making a difference of thousands of dollars between the expected price and what Tesla actually charges for their vehicles.
  • All of this just really goes to show how Tesla seems to be trying to trick people into spending money, and the fact that it’s right before their fiscal year end makes it even more suspicious

The Wawa chain of American convenience stores was targeted by credit card skimming malware last month, resulting in as many as 30M cards going up for sale on the dark web this week

  • Apparently the malware began rolling out on March 4th and wasn’t discovered until December 10th, so it had gathered about nine full months worth of numbers, names, and expiration dates
  • Anyone who used a payment card at a Wawa location last year should definitely check your bills closely. Wawa is reportedly offering affected customers one year of credit monitoring but those services may not be very effective, so if you’re concerned you may want to consider putting a security freeze on your file instead

Tidbits

  • Activision Blizzard makes exclusive streaming deal with YouTube, Overwatch League and Call of Duty will be streaming on YouTube
  • 343 Industries is looking to ban Halo: Reach players abusing the experience system by frequently joining games and not actually playing
    • Apparently the new release of Reach involves a new experience progression system to unlock customizations, rather than the old system where you could just buy whatever you have enough credits for, and going AFK is one strategy players are using to grind for more experience
    • Another has been dubbed “sword lining”, where two Griffball teams line up and take turns killing each other with swords
  • Bethesda has finally fully addressed the inventory hack in Fallout 76 that we talked about last year, wherein hackers could use your inventory like a lootable chest to steal everything from your character in seconds
    • Reportedly the company is creating clones of the affected characters with their entire inventory as of December 20th, as well as about $66 worth of their premium ‘atoms’ currency.
    • Players can then make a secure trade from the clone to their original character via a private server, and Bethesda is providing support agents to help with that process
  • Zuckerberg has gone on record that Facebook’s goal for the next decade “isn’t to be liked, but to be understood”, saying they didn’t always communicate their views clearly because they worried about offending people
    • The Daring Fireball says it best: “The more you understand Facebook, the less you like or trust them. So: mission accomplished.”
  • Nintendo’s Switch has officially become their third best-selling home console of all time, behind the Wii and the NES (and almost quadrupling the WiiU)
    • Fun fact, estimates show they surpassed the Xbox One during the 2019 holiday season despite the XBone being out for more than three years before the Switch’s release
    • And just to tack on to the end of this, The Outer Worlds is officially coming to the Switch on March 6th
  • Lastly, in a little bit of heartwarming news to close things out, professional Fortnite player and streamer Aydan Conrad went on Twitch last week to stream himself calling his mom and paying off her student debt
    • He gave full credit to his viewers, saying that everyone watching made the whole thing possible

Based on this tweet, I want to know what ten games our Fanily like. See how much crossover we all have.

And I can see some cool games to check out as well
I like top tens with no order, it all depends on mood.

Josh’s Top 10

  • Rollercoaster Tycoon
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Psyconauts
  • Overwatch
  • Slay The Spire
  • Fallout 4
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate
  • Stardew Valley
  • Minecraft
  • The Sims

Alan’s Top 10

  • Eternal Darkness Sanity’s Requiem
  • Shovel Knight Treasure Trove
  • Kirby Superstar (honourable mention to Planet Robobot)
  • Pokemon Trading Card Game
  • God of War (2019)
  • Beat Saber
  • Titanfall 2
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (honourable mention to A Link to the Past)
  • Superhot
  • Black Mesa

 

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PS2J 279 News – Edited as Desired

Free games

  • Epic Games

    • Nuclear Throne

      • 2015
      • Top-down roguelike shooter that has you going through procedurally generated levels either solo or in co-op, working your way ever closer to the Nuclear Throne
    • RUINER

      • 2017
      • Top-down cyberpunk shooter where you play a silent, masked protagonist attempting to rescue your kidnapped brother from the failing conglomerate that controls the entire metropolis
  • Twitch

    • Double Cross

      • 2019
      • A Mega Man style action platformer that has you controling Zahra Sinclair, an agent of RIFT who can jump, walljump, and use her proton slinger to grab objects or swing herself around
    • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition

      • 2015 remaster of the 2012 title
      • Action hack and slash RPG that has you exploring open-world regions, solving interactive puzzles, and kicking butt in a kind of God Of War / Ocarina Of Time hybrid
    • Planet Alpha

      • 2018
      • A side-scrolling adventure platformer where you’re pursued by relentless enemies and must harness the power of night and day as you struggle to survive
    • Sword Legacy: Omen

      • 2018
      • Turn-based tactical RPG in a re-imagined King Arthur mythos where you play a vengeful knight in search of the long-lost Excalibur
    • Turmoil

      • 2016
      • Simulation game inspired by the 19th century oil rush in North America, where you start from scratch to become a successful oil entrepreneur
  • Xbox One

    • Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

      • 2016
      • Adventure mystery game in the same series as Crimes & Punishments, that has you exploring crime scenes and examining clues to link deductions and attempt to find the culprit
    • The Final Station

      • 2016
      • A side-scrolling shooter with a train simulator and exploration elements, where you have to balance taking care of the train and its passengers with exploring the apocalyptic world at each train station in order to keep moving
    • Star Wars Jedi Starfighter

      • 2002
      • A single-player or co-op spaceflight combat game set just prior to Attack of the Clones and during the Battle of Geonosis
    • Joy Ride Turbo

      • 2012
      • Combat kart racing game similar to the Mario Kart series
  • PS4

    • Nioh

      • 2017
      • Action RPG developed by Team Ninja where you play an Irish sailor pursuing a sorceror into the final battles of the Sengoku period in Japan
    • Outlast II

      • 2017
      • First person survival horror game that has you trying to find your wife while beset by a village of deranged end-times cultists with no way to fight back

AirPods Pro review

  • Very comfortable, though with the in-ear design it’s slightly harder to get them seated right (but I had pretty much perfect ears for the old style, so others may see it as an improvement), and the noise cancelling is solid
  • Transparency mode is ridiculously good, and it automatically switches to that when you’re just using one so you don’t have one blocked up ear
  • Announce messages seemed like a gimmick until I was busy on my computer and Siri read my incoming texts unobtrusively
  • The case looks bigger, but the just turned it on its side and stretched it a little, so it totally still fits in that 5th pocked on jeans
  • Also enjoying improvements from Gen 2, since I’m coming from G1- Hey Siri and wireless charging are handy to have
  • If you’re in the market for some new ANC headphones these are solid, but if you’ve got a good pair or are already using AirPods 2 then they’re a little harder to justify

Blizzard president J Allen Brack took a moment before the Blizzcon opening ceremonies to apologize for their punishment of professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung’s public support of Hong Kong’s protests

  • In the toothless statement he went on to say though that “Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together in a tough Hearthstone esports moment”
  • A few problems here:
    • It wasn’t a “tough Hearthstone esports moment”
    • He passed up another opportunity to “bring the world together” by saying anything at all in support of Hong Kong
    • He said nothing about the groveling they did to China on social media after the fact
    • And they still punished not only Blitzchung but also the commentators that were interviewing him

Overwatch 2 was announced, as expected, and we’ve got all the details

  • So it looks like this is kind of a pseudo-sequel; they’re releasing an updated game UI with revamped/remastered graphics and gameplay, along with multiple new heroes, maps, and a game mode, all for free for existing Overwatch players.
    • The new Push game mode, coming to quick play and competitive, has the two teams competing over a neutral payload that gets pushed in either direction based on who controls it
    • There will be four new maps: Toronto, Gothenburg, Monte Carlo, and Rio De Janerio
    • We also got a sneak peak at a couple of the upcoming heroes- Sojourn, the first Canadian OW hero that uses a cool gun that looks like a covenant sniper rifle, and Echo, an omnic that’s been teased in the base game for a while now
    • All skins, cosmetics, and other progress will carry over seamlessly
  • Where Overwatch 2 itself comes in to play is a new look for all heroes, a new co-op story mode and hero missions, and new hero talents for the PVE modes
    • The new modes seem to be permanent co-op modes like Halloween Terror or the Archives missions
    • Hero talents will have you levelling up and customizing hero abilities and ultimates to suit your playstyle
  • One nice thing with the new stuff coming is they can grow the canon inside of the game itself- right now we get lore dumps online but it has no real impact in-game
    • Overwatch re-forming and characters meeting or reuniting will have actual impact, instead of the current PVP grab-bag of characters having amusing interactions inside the dropship
  • If you want all of that stuff, you’ll have to buy the new… expansion, I guess? Plug-in? when it comes out at some point in the future for some currently undisclosed price
  • All in all it looks like they’re doing a fair amount to breath new life into the 3.5 year old shooter, though you’ll end up buying it again to see everything they have to offer

Tidbits

  • Real-time multiplayer is coming to Mario Kart Tour, but for now it will be limited to a beta offering only for Gold Pass subscribers
    • There aren’t any details on if it will require a subscription once it’s fully released, but if it does I can see it being a pretty sparse game with the subscription price costing more than their main console offering, Nintendo Switch Online
  • Sony’s PS4 is officially the second best selling console of all time, with about 2/3rds of the sales of the PS2
    • It’s doubtful that it’ll ever be number 1 though, as even though Sony says they’ll support it until at least 2021 the PS5 is expected to hit in 2020’s holiday season
  • DeepMind’s AlphaStar AI has officially hit Grandmaster status in Starcraft II, beating 99.8% of ranked human players with all three races, and I for one welcome our new robot overlords
  • Rudy Giuliani, one month after being named Trump’s cybersecurity advisor, apparently had to go to an Apple Store to wipe and restore his iPhone after getting it locked down from 10 unsuccessful passcode attempts
    • Many experts criticized the move, saying that there’s too much risk of employees gaining access to sensitive government information on the phone or in his iCloud backups
  • I don’t know how I missed this, but ghostwriter is getting rebooted on Apple TV+!
    • 90’s kids might remember the series running from 92 to 95 on PBS

Alan recommends QCode podcasts (Carrier, Edge of Sleep)

Literally Misleading

Last Week:

This Week:

 

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Netflix has a fun update that flew under our radar. Bungie breaks free from EA. This week’s bad description, might be too easy. Alan gave a movie a shot when he expected the worst.

I want to not have to use ‘fans’. Cause they are the friends we haven’t met yet, and friends are just the family you aren’t born to. That logic, I’m going to refer to our listeners as ‘fanily’

Netflix has a cool little update!

Bojack twitter posted an update

  • Unflattering pic

You can change your profile pic to be a character from many other Netflix exclusives

  • Bojack
  • Big Mouth
  • Stranger Things
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Defenders
  • Total of 25 different categories
    • Including “The Classics” which is the updated original pics

Choose Your Own Adventure publisher suing Netflix over Bandersnatch 

  • Bandersnatch is really interesting! 
    • Choose your own adventure show
    • Part of the Black Mirror universe/collection? 
  • Thanks to Alaina for telling me to check it out!

Sonic Crash Course Board Game 

BoardGameGook Details

  • 2 – 4 Players
  • 30 – 45 min playtime
  • Weight 2/5
  • Designed by Sean Mcdonald
    • Train Heist (2013) 6.7 on BGG
  • Published by IDW
    • Machi Koro

Best review is based on the Kotaku Review

  • Review written by Luke Plunkett
  • Pick your miniature!
    • Sonic
    • Tails
    • Knuckles
    • or Eggman
  • Gameplay has players building the track as they move forward
    • Items appear to give players a boost
    • Almost like Mario Kart
    • Spikes and enemies can also pop up on the track
  • I am interesting in playing it at a cafe
    • The theme looks on point
  • The concern is variety
    • The variety of track pieces seem lacking
    • Luke suggests a board game called Battle Racers, for a more in-depth race experience

Reminder- The Wii Shop Channel is closing on January 30th!

  • Make sure you’ve purchased and downloaded anything you wanted and put it on the consoles you like, because everything from re-downloading to the Wii System Transfer Tool will be shut down

Update: The Twitter account for the Westworld mobile game we talked about last week has announced that it has been removed from app stores effective immediately, and it will officially be closed on April 16th. In-app purchases have been disabled, and any users with in-game currency left over should spend it before things are shut down

  • It looks like the “amicable solution” here was for WB to completely bail on the entire product

Big news from Bungie- after 8 years they’ve officially cut ties with Activision

  • It seems like things came to a head after Activision expressed disappointment with the new Destiny expansion during an earnings call, basically complaining that it was too focused on end-game players and how they want to “drive stronger engagement and in-game revenue generation”
    • Many were worried that this was a signal the micro-transactions would go back to how bad they were when Destiny 2 first launched, with a lot of content locked away behind dollar signs
  • Bungie released a statement thanking Activision for their partnership, and announced that the publishing rights to Destiny will go with Bungie when they leave
  • Looks like even though they’re working on new projects the Destiny community can still look forward to content and support while Bungie self-publishes their content
  • That said, it’ll be interesting to see how the game evolves- Activision likely wasn’t behind all of the problems with Destiny, but if nothing else this will mean the game stays more true to a single company’s vision. Time will tell what that vision is like

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is in the news this week after its director apologized for forcing characters into a heterosexual marriage

  • The game has previously been hailed as a step forward, in which you can play as a man or a woman (a series first) and, though you’re presented with a potential partner of the opposite sex, you can choose to pursue same-sex romance options (or just run around and not romance anybody, as you prefer)
  • Unfortunately the latest DLC pack, Legacy of the First Blade, breaks that thread and has your character getting married and pumping out a kid
  • It may seem like it’s not a big deal but these kinds of games have players building up a personal story for the characters and how they interact, and this kind of sudden jarring change removes a whole layer of immersion for many players
    • A lot of fans feel that it’s entirely at odds with how the main character is developed leading up to that point, with little to no motivation for the sudden personality switch
  • According to creative director Jonathan Dumont the intention was that it was a child to carry on your bloodline to the lineage of assassins shown elsewhere in the series, and to let players choose between a utilitarian view of continuing your legacy or forming an actual romantic relationship, but the clarity and motivation was poorly executed
    • There are no plans to change the current DLC, but he’s said that future chapters will be mindful of how they missed the mark

Apparently EA just can’t get enough hate as it is, so they’ve gone ahead and cancelled yet another Star Wars game

  • This one has a bit of a history- it started at Visceral Games, and would have been a linear action-adventure game directed by Amy Hennig, the same woman that directed the Uncharted franchise
  • Then EA closed Visceral back in 2017, and rebooted the game at EA Vancouver into something open-world with the excuse that single-player linear games are dead
    • Thank you Spider-Man and God of War for proving them oh so very wrong
  • There are rumours that this one (where you would play as a scoundrel or bounty hunter exploring various open-world planets and working with different factions) was cancelled because it wouldn’t come out soon enough, which seems like a weird reason to keep rebooting projects
    • Apparently they might be starting work on another smaller-scale Star Wars title, but people aren’t holding on to much hope that it will amount to anything
    • For me, hope for a good SW game from EA died with 1313
  • On the plus side, Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order is still slated for a fall 2019 release. So that’s something

Interesting legal news from the US- federal judge Kanis Westmore has ruled that FaceID and TouchID can’t be compelled by law enforcement

  • Ruling basically applies the same rights against self-incrimination to biometrics that previously applied only to passcodes
  • Westmore wrote: “If a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode because it is testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device. The undersigned finds that a biometric feature is analogous to the 20 nonverbal, physiological responses elicited during a polygraph test, which are used to determine guilt or innocence, and are considered testimonial.”
  • This could still be overturned, and there are already cases where judges have allowed authorities to compel biometric phone unlocks in the past, but it shows that the legal system is slowly catching up with modern tech
  • In the meantime, just a quick reminder since I’m a paranoid guy, if you restart your phone or bring up the emergency screen on an iPhone by hitting the power button 5 times quickly it will disable TouchID and FaceID, and force a passcode unlock which has always been protected

Tidbits

  • Netflix is being sued over their interactive movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
    • Apparently they’ve been in negotiations with Chooseco, a publishing company specializing in children’s books, over the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark for years but never actually gained permission to use it
    • Chooseco is suing for $25M in damages, saying Bandersnatch benefits from association with the Choose Your Own Adventure series without actually getting the license to use the name
  • The final season of Game of Thrones will be coming on April 14th, and they released a teaser on YouTube to get the hype-train rolling!
  • PlayStation VR has released its third digital “demo disc”, featuring superstars like Moss, Thumper, Superhot VR, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission
  • There’s an interesting theory going around that Facebook’s ’10 Year Challenge’ could be a way to train facial recognition on age progression
    • Rather than having to comb through user photos, they’re having clean, simple, helpfully labelled sets of photos that they could use to teach computers what people are likely to look like as they get older

Titans mini-review

  • Pretty solid, once they got “fuck Batman” out of their system
  • Took the characters in interesting directions, and gets you invested right before the evil season finale cliffhanger

Recommend Venom (2018)

  • I was expecting some mindless action, but I found myself caring about the plot and characters
  • The symbiote’s characterization is a little sudden, but it felt fresh and interesting
  • Solid superhero movie even for people that don’t like Spider-Man

Like when we covered God of War back on PS2J 196. I decided this would be a good opportunity to do another episode that covers the lore of a video game franchise, rather than the development. And being this special episode falls on Halloween, get ready for a spooky episode.

With a total of 22 games released, this franchise has been infecting gamers for 21 years. At this point, it would be fare to call it a Biohazard. You should think of mixing your green and red herbs, we’re about to learn the story behind Resident Evil.

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With the largest franchise in all of gaming, beating out the second place contender by over 200 million. This icon has saved, built up and revolutionized gaming in nearly every conceivable way. With a combined 528 million sales, we look at the portion of 310 million, that make the Super Mario franchise.

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB

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We look at 20 years of Pokemon games. And how they have evolved over these many years.

Pokemon Mini

 

And here is a link to our old Pokemon-centric episode.

PS2J 32 – Pokemon 20th Anniversary with Jo, Dana and Veronica

 

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PS2J has a Patreon and it’s better than ever!

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A coroner wants warning to not use phone chargers in the tub, there a Wii emulator that can access the official shop channel. Josh recommends a comedy movie and Alan has an easy reading book series to let you know about.

For our info on this episode, support our Patreon to get all our show notes.

PS2J has a Patreon and it’s better than ever!

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