The Sims 4

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The Sims 4
The Sims 4 Box Art.png
Developer(s) Maxis
The Sims Studio
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Producer(s) Kevin Gibson
Grant Rodiek
Ryan Michael Vaughan
Designer(s) Eric Holmberg-Weidler
Matt Yang
Artist(s) Magnus Hollmo
Samantha Miceli
Steven Ross
Writer(s) Danielle von Mayrhauser
Composer(s) Ilan Eshkeri
Series The Sims
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • NA: September 2, 2014
  • EU: September 4, 2014
  • AUS: September 4, 2014
  • UK: September 5, 2014
  • WW: February 17, 2015
Genre(s) Simulation
Mode(s) Single-player

The Sims 4 is a life simulation video game developed by Maxis and The Sims Studio and published by Electronic Arts. The Sims 4 was originally announced on May 6, 2013, and was released in North America on September 2, 2014 for Microsoft Windows.[1] A Mac compatible version of the software was made available for digital download on February 17, 2015.[2] The Sims 4 is the first PC game to top all-format charts in two years.[3] The game has received mixed reviews since its release.[4] Since its launch, it became the best selling PC game of 2014 and 2015. The Sims 4 has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.[5]

The game has the same concept as its predecessor, The Sims 3; players control their Sims in various activities and can form relationships. The game, like the rest of the series, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is nonlinear. The Create-a-Sim and Build Mode tools have been redesigned to allow more versatility when creating game content. Emotional state plays a larger role in game play than in previous games in the series, with effects on social interaction, user interface, and personality.[6][7]


The Sims 4 is a life simulation game, similar to its predecessors. Players create a Sim character and control their life to explore different personalities which change the way the game plays out. Sims can multitask such as talk while doing a task. Sims' moodlets also change the gameplay. For example, a Sim can do a task while being either angry or totally excited.[6][7][8]

Similar to previous Sims games, player-created challenges abound. One of the most prevalent is the Legacy Challenge, in which players create a single Sim and try to make its family line last for ten generations.[9]

Create A Sim[edit]

One major change to the Sims 4 Create A Sim is that sliders have been replaced by direct mouse click drag and pull. Through mouse click and drag and pull players may directly manipulate the facial features of a Sim. Players can also directly manipulate any body part including the abdomen, chest, legs, arms and feet. This is a new feature and was not included in previous Sims games where only the fitness and fatness can be manipulated on a Sims body. However, fitness and fatness levels may still be adjusted in Sims 4 with sliders as in previous games.

The base games comes with over 40 hairstyles for both men and women. There are up to 18 hair color options per hairstyle.

Selections of premade designs of Sims are available to choose from, ranging from different body shapes to ethnicities.

Six life stages are available including baby, child, teenager, young adult, adult and elder. Although the baby life stage is accessible only through the birth of a Sim and not available in Create A Sim.

Traits have returned with each Sim having three traits and an aspiration containing its own hidden trait.

Compared to previous Sims games where everyday, formal, sleepwear, athletic, party and swimwear wardrobes were restricted to having their own clothing options, all clothing options are now available across all forms of wardrobe and players are allowed up to 5 outfits per category. There is also a filter panel where clothing options can be sorted by color, material, outfit category, fashion choice, style, content and packs.

In a Summer 2016 update, a big step was taken and gender options were expanded in the game, allowing any gender expression. Now all the haircuts and outfits can be worn by any Sim of any gender, and pregancy can become a possibility regardless of the gender. This update was well received by many fans on social networks such as Tumblr.

Buy/build mode[edit]

In The Sims 4, build and buy modes have been combined and is now treated as a single feature.

A detailed build-and-buy system is present along with neighborhoods and landscaping. Some locked buy mode items may be unlocked through the progression of career levels.

Entire buildings and rooms can now be moved across the lot. Wall heights can also now be adjusted.

There is also a pool tool feature, with a custom version and triangular, square and octagonal pool tools too.

There are build mode cheats such as "motherlode", which enables the player to automatically gain §50 000 (simoleons) to buy things with.

There is now a search option to search for build and buy mode options. When building a house for your sim you can buy already made rooms which can help but costs a lot of money depending on the style of the room.

The Gallery[edit]

The Sims 4 includes social features, such as importing Sims and houses other people have made from The Gallery into the player's game. This impacts the world around the player's Sims. Players may publish their creations into the Gallery for other players to download into their game instantly.

On January 9, 2015, EA released a version of The Gallery for iOS and Android devices.[10]


The Sims 4 base game originally shipped with two worlds; Willow Creek and Oasis Springs. Both worlds contain five neighborhoods and a total of 21 lots. Newcrest became available with a free update, having three neighborhoods with five empty lots in each, for a total of 15 lots.[11] Magnolia Promenade came with the Get to Work expansion pack. Windenburg was introduced in The Sims 4: Get Together expansion pack. [12] The City Living expansion pack, released in November 2016, introduced the new bustling city of San Myshuno.


The Sims 4 was developed by The Sims Studio, a division of the Electronic Arts subsidiary Maxis, and was distributed by Electronic Arts.[13] This is similar yet different to the development of The Sims 3, which was developed by The Sims Studio standalone from the (at the time) diminished Maxis.

The Sims 4 is a single-player game,[14] and does not require a constant Internet connection to play. Players will however need an Origin account and Internet access during the initial installation process for game activation.[15] Ilan Eshkeri serves as the composer for the game's orchestral soundtrack, which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.[16][17]

On April 25, 2013, several screenshots from mock-up flash videos of the user interface were leaked online.[18] On May 3, 2013, Electronic Arts sent out an e-mail to several fansites stating that there would be a big announcement on May 6, 2013, which many speculated would be The Sims 4.[19]

On August 20, 2013, The Sims 4 was revealed via gameplay demo and release trailer at Gamescom. Previews of the building and character creation systems debuted earlier in 2014. Additional game footage and the release date were revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 9, 2014.[1]

Gameplay was unveiled during Gamescom 2013, held at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. Unveiled features focused on the improved Create-a-Sim with an all-new click-and-drag feature omitting the use of sliders and the addition of emotion-based gameplay.[20] Select players called Yibsims who mostly manage fan sites and YouTube videos were invited to Sims Camp to see the game before the public and press, consequently the game received minimal coverage outside fansites. Maxis stated the game would run better on lower-end PCs than The Sims 3, which was plagued with performance issues on low-end and high-end PCs.[21]

It was suspected that The Sims 4 was scheduled to be released in early 2014, but it was later revealed it would in fact be released September 2, 2014.[1][22]

On May 14, 2014, producer Ryan Vaughan unveiled another Create-a-Sim trailer on the official The Sims YouTube channel. This included a preview of what the premade Sims Bella Goth and Mortimer Goth would look like in The Sims 4.[23] The development team unveiled another trailer on May 28, 2014 that showcased the new Build Mode features. Players will now be able to choose between three different wall heights and adjust the location of a window on a wall, as well as be able to move an entire room from one position to another.[24]

EA unveiled another gameplay trailer including more gameplay footage and announced the release date of the game, September 2, 2014, during a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 9, 2014. The Sims 4 was released on September 2 for North America and September 4 for EU, Australia and Brazil.[1]

On June 28, 2014, a video was released showing the "originality" of each sim and their emotions.[25]

In January 2015, Maxis announced Outdoor Retreat, the first paid DLC for The Sims 4.[26] The DLC focuses on outdoor activities in the national park.

There are currently no plans for a console release.[27][28]

Mac development[edit]

Upon first announcement, EA stated that The Sims 4 was in development for both for Mac and Windows, both to be released in 2014.[29] However, closer to release date, the company stated that they were "focused [on] Windows"[30] and had "no updates on the Mac at this time".[31] In October 2014 further information was disclosed suggesting the future release of a Mac version. Vaughn told International Business Times that the team was "working on a Mac version right now."[32] On January 13, 2015, EA confirmed the release of the Mac version as being February 2015.[33] On February 2, they announced via the official The Sims Twitter feed that the Mac version of The Sims 4 would be released on February 17.[2]

Features controversy[edit]

On June 25, 2014, EA and Maxis announced the omission of several gameplay features in The Sims 4 that had been included in previous games. These omitted features include swimming pools, swimming wear, and the "toddler" life stage; this announcement also noted the lack of an open-world found in The Sims 3, stating neighborhood gameplay would be separated by loading screens.[34][35] Earlier in the development process, a fan-site interview with a producer had revealed Create-a-Style (CASt), a customization feature introduced in the previous Sims game, would not be added to The Sims 4 in lieu of other features.[36] The developers then announced through a series of tweets that the game would ship with a 'stripped-down' version of story-progression (a gameplay mechanic controlling neighborhood autonomy), and that basements, grocery stores, and school and work locations would not be featured in the game. While careers and schools would still be featured, they would be represented differently from The Sims 3, more akin to the way they were featured in The Sims 2.[37][38][39]

These announcements sparked unrest among many fans who speculated that the exclusion of arguably core features were intended by the developers or parent company to be left out for later paid content, or in order to make rushed deadlines.[40][41] A petition was launched by some fans to have the features restored for the initial release, even if the release date were to be pushed back.[42]

Maxis contended that it was not possible to include every feature in the new game that had been added over time in the six years The Sims 3 was in development, and that these could always be added at a later date, although they did not confirm exactly how this would be done, or whether it would be free or at a cost.[41] Some have speculated that many new features would be released through paid expansion packs, but others speculated that some of the more "basic, core" content (i.e. pools, toddlers) may be released as free patch updates, similar to how some new features were patched free into The Sims 3, such as basement features.[43]

Questioned as to why some features, such as a cupcake machine, were implemented over what many viewed as key gameplay, Maxis and The Sims producer Graham Nardone attributed the sacrifice to time constraints, the workload and distribution of developers (and the comparative lack of available developers to some areas of production to other areas), as well as risk factors:[44]

You can't weigh features by how much you want them in the game, you have to consider how many development resources it takes to create them. The tram? A couple of days from one of our FX guys and it's finished... very low risk, very low complexity (using entirely existing tech), and adds a nice visual punch to the neighborhood. I can’t recall ever scoping against FX... they always have time to be adding more stuff.

Our FX folks submitted their own long list of things they wanted to work on because there wasn’t enough for them to do. Now, you can’t take the FX team and ask them to add pools to the game. They don’t have the work skills to do it; neither do I. Pools, toddlers... they’re extremely complex features that require months of man hours of work across multiple disciplines and introduce significant risk.

If we were to have added one of those to the game, there would have been two choices for us... cut many small features, or cut one other significantly large feature.

Maxis and The Sims producer Rachel Rubin Franklin later elaborated in an official blog post, acknowledging the concerns of fans, and explained the issue on the developer's focus on The Sims 4's new core game engine technologies, and that the sacrifices the team had to make were a "hard pill to swallow":

It begins with new technology and systems that we built for this new base game for The Sims... the vision for The Sims 4 is a new experience... to do that, our technology base needed a major upgrade.

...when we sat down and looked at everything we wanted to do for this game, all the new tech we wanted to build into it, the fact was that there would be trade-offs, and these would disappoint some of our fans. Hard pill to swallow, believe me, but delivering on the vision set out for The Sims 4 required focus.

Franklin stated new features such as Sim emotions, advanced Sim animation, interaction and behaviours, as well as the new Create-a-Sim and build mode tools as a large part of the reason that detracted focus from features such as swimming pools and the toddler life stage.[45]

However, on October 1, 2014, Maxis confirmed that one of its missing features, swimming pools, along with other new updates and features, would be added into the game for free in November, and this happened in the form of a game patch.[46][47][48] Other features like basements have later been added in subsequent patches.

Significant features added via game patches
Patch release date Significant features added[49][50][51]
October 1, 2014 Added Ghost, a new type of sim that is an optional addition to the game, the Deathflower plant, and the "Ambrosia" cooking recipe; Star Wars costumes: Yoda, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader.
November 4, 2014 Swimming pools; various swimwear
December 16, 2014 Two new active careers: Business and Athletic; Paid Time Off and Family Leave options.
February 3, 2015 Genealogy panel, displaying a Sim's family tree.
March 26, 2015 Basements, down to two levels down, and an additional above ground floor, bringing the total floors available to six; the Notebook feature on the phone, which catalogs a Sim's gardening or fishing discoveries; Paint by Reference option on the easel
May 4, 2015 New Star Wars costumes: Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and Aayla Secura; revamped loading screen.
June 11, 2015 Newcrest, a new world containing fifteen empty lots within three new neighborhoods; the Welcome Wagon from new neighbors; the Custom Room Tool
July 9, 2015 Half walls; locked doors; King’s and Queen’s Door, which allow only just the men or women to pass through it, respectively; towel full body outfits.
August 6, 2015 A dishwasher is added to the appliances, which needs to be slotted into an existing non-island counter.
September 24, 2015 New trait Jealous; Limited Interaction Trick or Treat; Claiming beds; Resizeable rugs; Underground Saunas.
November 3, 2015 New Hire Service: Repair Man.
December 4, 2015 64-bit executable; Automatically disable mods after patch; Change in Sims groups; New NPC Interaction; Fire and Death Reaction Systems; New Venue Type: Pool and New Option to color water; World maps updated; Put grills in inventory.
January 7, 2016 Modified Sims reactions to inappropriate neighbors and fights; New Wall Decorations;
February 4, 2016 New Trait: Kleptomaniac; New Hire Service: Gardener; New Aspiration; New Content in Build Mode.
April 21, 2016 Returning NPC: Tragic Clown.
May 19, 2016 Females are given two male hairstyles.
June 3, 2016 All Create-a-Sim content is available to both sexes, as well as gender customization[52]
June 23, 2016 Child Sims can now experience a 'Monster-Under-The-Bed', appearing as tentacles which children can either befriend or ask Adults to Spray. Adults cannot see this Monster, however. A light for warding away the Monster has also been added, which features an image of the new character 'Coolala'. This character will appear in the new Kids Room Stuff as well, set to be released June 28, 2016.
July 14, 2016 Nannies have been added, and the ability to adjust all lights in a room in one go has been introduced.
August 18, 2016 Sim Cell Phone covers can now be customised.
September 27, 2016 Mexican 'Day of the Dead' CAS Items are now available, including some new Build/Buy Mode items too. A Mexican dish, Pan De Muerto, has been added to the cooking recipes too.
October 27, 2016 Patch released in preparation for City Living. 8 new lot traits have been added to the base game. A copy paste function for build mode has been added.[53]

Marketing and release[edit]

SteelSeries and Electronic Arts announced a series of themed peripherals to promote The Sims 4, including a pair of headphones, a computer mouse that lights up in accordance with Sims' in-game emotional states, and a mousepad featuring a render of various Sim groups.[54]

A demo was released to the public displaying the new Create a Sim partition of the game in which is supplied, free of charge to anyone.[23][55][56][57] TV spots were also produced narrated by actor Charlie Day.


On May 9, 2014, it was reported that The Sims 4 has been rated "18+ (Prohibited for children)" by Russia. This decision was based on the game's portrayal of same-sex relationships contravening the Russian LGBT propaganda law that prohibits portrayal "of non-traditional sexual relationships" to children (see also LGBT rights in Russia).[58][59] Previous entries in The Sims series have routinely been rated as suitable for lower ages; for instance, The Sims 3 was considered suitable for ages 6 and up in Germany.[60]

On July 8, 2014, the Australian Classification Board classified The Sims 4 as "M (Mature)" for "violence and sexual references". An "M" rating defines the content as having a moderate impact, and recommends it suitable for teenagers aged 15 and over, although does not legally restrict access or use of the game for any age. This rating is in line with previous titles in The Sims series, although no other Sims game in Australia has attracted consumer advice for "violence".[61]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 69%[62]
Metacritic 70/100[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10[63]
Game Informer 6.75/10[64]
Game Revolution 3.5/5 stars[66]
GameSpot 6/10[71]
GamesRadar 3/5 stars[65]
GameTrailers 6.5/10[67]
IGN 7.5/10[68]
Joystiq 3.5/5 stars[69]
Maximum PC 8/10
PC Gamer (US) 79/100[70]
Polygon 6.5/10[72]
Hardcore Gamer 2.5/5[73]

EA did not provide review copies of the game until September 1, meaning that critics were unable to review the game before release.[74] In the absence of initial reviews it was indicated that players were generally dissatisfied with the game, especially the ones who were familiar with the previous games in the franchise.[75]

At the aggregator site Metacritic, The Sims 4 received a score of 70 based on 74 reviews, indicating "mixed or average" reception.[4]

Hardcore Gamer gave The Sims 4 a 2.5 score out of 5 and commented "it’s a half-hearted experience wrapped in a neat and pretty package that beams a potential to both fulfill and crush your inner-Sims’ dreams." They criticized the game for the lack of content and having many bugs.[76]

Jim Sterling of The Escapist, in a mixed review of the game, found there to be an "overall lack of engagement." Although noting some positive changes he was critical of the game in comparison to previous entries in the series, declaring that "The Sims 4 is basically The Sims 3, but shrunken and sterile," and recommending that game be played instead. He also complained of being "harassed" by tutorial messages. His final score for the game was 2.5 out of 5 stars.[77]'s reviewer Derrik J. Lang praised the game for being "remarkably more intuitive at the start," stating that the Sims are now smarter than before, have emotions that affect their moods, and are able to multi-task. Despite the praise, Lang awarded the game with two stars stating that he encountered annoying glitches and that he misses content from previous games, like dishwashers.[78]

Kevin VanOrd of Gamespot gave this game a 6 out of 10. Despite praising the visuals, audio, and the new multi-tasking and moods system, he states that he misses the two main features of The Sims 3: "Create-a-Style" and the open world. His conclusion is: "The Sims 4's biggest problem is that The Sims 3 exists".[79]

Other reviews were more favorable. mentioned in an article that "the awful user reviews indicate a strong backlash." However, the website added that "Sims fans who haven’t paid much attention to the ongoing controversy surrounding the game may look at those Amazon review scores and, without knowing that many are immediately dismissing the game due to its cut content, decide that they won’t purchase it."[80]

Kallie Plagge of IGN gave The Sims 4 a 7.5 out of 10. She was disappointed by the lack of content from previous games, and the lack of "cool" objects that could adequately replace them; and the too frequent, albeit short, loading screens. The score she gave is relatively high, though, because "The Sims 4 does succeed in being a deep and complex game when it comes to Sim interactions, with lots of entertaining emotional potential [...] Plus, excellent building tools make architecture more fun than ever". Her conclusion is that "it’s a good start to what may eventually be expanded into a great Sims game, but it’s not there yet".[81]

The Independent's Jack Fleming praised the game for "The Gallery" feature that allows users to showcase their creations easily, the new multitasking system, the visual design, the personalities and emotions, the unusual careers (that, for example, allow the sim to travel into space), and the new build mode. On the other hand, he voiced his frustration with the loading screens, the new camera controls (while noting they can be reverted to The Sims 3 style), and noted the lack of content from previous installments (such as swimming pools and toddlers) made many fans upset. In conclusion he writes: "The Sims 4 is an easy game to get into (though the constant tutorial-ising at the start can actually get a bit frustrating) and the reasons that people love this series are still present. The game’s creators have tried to make the appeal as diverse as possible and have in most ways succeeded. However, I couldn’t help but wish I could actually go to space and drive that spaceship around..."[82]

Nick Tan of Game Revolution states that the game is a case study for loss aversion. He explains that the reason for Sims fans expressing so much anger and dissatisfaction with it is because people "strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains". That, combined with the hatred for Electronic Arts that greatly intensified after the release of the latest SimCity game, resulted in such a backlash. Tan gave The Sims 4 a 3.5/5, calling it "woefully incomplete, despite being unexpectedly solid and entertaining in its current state".[83]

Expansions, add-ons and editions[edit]

Expansion packs[edit]

Name Release date Description
Get to Work
  • NA: March 31, 2015
  • EU: April 2, 2015
The first expansion pack adds three new playable, active careers: Doctor, Detective and Scientist. Get to Work also gives the opportunity to build your own retail store and start your own retail business. The expansion pack also adds a new neighborhood called Magnolia Promenade, and planet Sixam, an alien home world, as well as playable alien Sims. It also adds two new skills (Baking and Photography), new objects and clothing.[84]
Get Together
  • NA: December 8, 2015
  • EU: December 10, 2015
The second expansion pack was announced on August 5, 2015 at Gamescom. Get Together adds many features that Sims can do with their friends, such as clubs, DJ booth, dancing and DJ skills, and natural pools. The expansion pack also adds a new neighborhood called Windenburg.
City Living
  • NA: November 1, 2016
  • EU: November 3, 2016
The third expansion pack features a new city called San Myshuno with four unique neighborhoods. City Living introduces new careers reflective of our time including the returning politician career and two new brand new fields never seen in the franchise: social media and critic. The expansion pack focuses on city life and reintroduces apartments into the city, ranging from fixer-uppers to penthouses. There are many new lots and activities for Sims to explore such the Spice Market, Karaoke Bar, Geek Con with video game competitions, the Spice Festival with curry eating contests and a Romance Festival for love-seeking Sims. Apartments will feature lot traits which can be assigned to any lot. The new lot traits will also be available to players who do not purchase the expansion via patch. [86][87][88]

Game packs[edit]

Name Release date Description
Outdoor Retreat Microsoft Windows
  • WW: January 13, 2015
  • WW: February 17, 2015
Adds a new world called Granite Falls. Within the new world Sims can vacation outdoors in a national park. This pack also adds a new skill (Herbalism); a new collectable (insects); and several new Sims traits, achievements, aspirations, outfits, objects, and game interactions related to outdoor activities.
Spa Day
  • WW: July 14, 2015
Adds a new building type, the spa. This pack also includes a new skill (Wellness) as well as several new outfits, objects and game interactions related to the typical features in a spa like massages, meditation, mud baths, saunas and yoga.
Dine Out
  • WW: June 7, 2016
Allows Sims to visit restaurants, as well as build and run their own restaurant. Those that own restaurants can experiment with new foods, employ staff and succeed in cooking. This pack also comes with a variety of items in Create a Sim.

Stuff packs[edit]

Name Release date Description
Luxury Party Stuff[89]
  • WW: May 19, 2015
Includes several luxury party outfits and items, including buffet tables and a table-top cheese/chocolate/drinking fountain.
Perfect Patio Stuff[90]
  • WW: June 16, 2015
Includes patio furniture, including hot tubs, as well as new outfits.
Cool Kitchen Stuff[91]
  • WW: August 11, 2015
Includes kitchen counters, cabinets and appliances, such as an Ice Cream Maker with over 30 different flavors.
Spooky Stuff[92]
  • WW: September 29, 2015
Includes Halloween-related costumes, items including spider webs and a pumpkin carving station, and a new spooky-themed party that Sims can throw.
Movie Hangout Stuff[93]
  • WW: January 12, 2016
Includes Bohemian-styled clothing, home theaters, and items such as the Popcorn Maker.
Romantic Garden Stuff[94]
  • WW: February 9, 2016
Includes garden objects, new outfits, and new gameplay modes.
Kids Room Stuff
  • WW: June 28, 2016
Includes items for children's rooms, including new beds, a puppetry, a new game, and new hair and clothes for children.
Backyard Stuff
  • WW: July 19, 2016
Includes items for the backyard such as slip 'n' slide and bird feeders, and new hair and clothes.

Additional downloadable content (DLC)[edit]

Name Release date Description
Digital Deluxe Upgrade Life of the Party
  • NA: September 2, 2014
  • EU: September 4, 2014
Included in the Limited Edition and up. Adds the Flaming Tiki Bar and additional outfits.
Awesome Animal Hats Included in the Digital Deluxe Edition and up. Adds a collection of animal hats.
Up All Night Included in the Digital Deluxe Edition and up. Adds the Laser Light show, face paint, additional party decorations and outfits, two new party types, and new cooking recipes.
Holiday Celebration Pack
  • WW: December 16, 2014
A free downloadable content pack. Adds winter holiday decorations and outfits.


Features Standard Limited Edition Digital Deluxe Premium Edition Collector's Edition
In-store or Origin download Origin download only In-store only
Core game Yes
Additional downloadable content
Life of the Party No Yes
Awesome Animal Hats No Yes
Up All Night No Yes
Digital soundtrack No Yes
Creators' guide book No Yes
USB interactive plumbBob by SteelSeries No Yes


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External links[edit]