Today we look at the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator software, which does so much more than emulate classic arcade machines. What is MAME's actual purpose, and is it legal?
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The royal Caribbean learn more at royal, caribbean dotcom windows. Eleven gives people new ways to get more done organised open windows with snap assessed, switch between work, school and everything else with multiple desktops windows. Eleven brings you closer, what you love discover more ways to get more done with windows. Eleven pcs at windows, dot, com, slash, brings you closer the welcome to tech stuff, a production from Iheartradio, the hey there and welcome to tech stuff. I'm your host Jonathan Strickland, I'm an executive producer with I heart, radio and now the tech area I am for a tech, stuff, tidbits and
was the thing to a recent episode of the best ease. That's a podcast, that's about video games at which has no connection to my show or thy heart network. I just enjoy listening to it and in this particular episode, one of the hosts Russ fresh Dick, was too adding another one of the hosts Chris Plant after plan. I talked about this the coin operated arcade days and at the Reason that Russia was giving his body a bit of a hard time was that both Russen press are a little too young to have spent a ton of time in arcades, so simply ass, was saying, as If you are old enough to remember those days well friend I am not as young as Russ and Chris are, and I spent a lot of time in video game arcades as a kid that actually got me to thinking about maim cabinets. Cause I've? I've actually thought about making
and myself, but I've kind of I've been the holding back on it, largely because there some Phyllis a cool. Challenges that I face that I have not yet reconciled anyway. I thought why not do a text of tidbits on me I've done by name in the past, but I thought it might be good to get a run down this because folks, who are my age they might have nostalgic love of certain classic arcade games by anyone who has even casually looked into the the hobby of collecting arcade games knows, it can be really hard to find some of those classic titles. Some of them are prohibitively expensive, and then, on top of that, you have you think about things like maintenance and repair, because these are systems that
have physical moving parts in those things do break down over time, so we're gonna. Take a quick look at all of that in today's episode. Well, first, let's talk what old, arcade machines had inside them? What made them so The brains of your typical arcade machine was a circuit board kind of like a mother board in a pc and various logic circuits would be incurred, brain into these boards, and these would be specific to but ever title you were talking about so he could think of it in a way as the games are being hard coded onto circuit boards to work a specific, way, and that's why pack ban is different from donkey com which is different from Gallagher and so on and so forth. Now These circuit boards were coupled with a primitive version of bio sets. Basic input, output system, so bios met,
that there was a means for the Circuit board to intervene, operate with the input systems of the game, so the controls for the game. This involves everything from a joystick. Maybe a button or more than one button. Typically, you would also talk about it point slot so that the machine it attacks when someone has inserted a coin that kind of stuff all of those are inputs and the buyers would be handling those signals and sitting I want t the the circuit or do they have the correct output right, the guy Output was mostly shown to the you're through a monitor. That's that was typically ace. The party or cathode ray tube monitor these are those really big monitors big heavy model yes, Sir t televisions. Maybe you still have one- or maybe you used to own. One of these are those
big heavy things, they have a tube in sight of them by the way, those visions and the security monitors that were in arcade machines there also equipped with powerful capacitors. Ok, these answers can hold on to a a really strong electric charge? Not when I say really strong, I mean one that strong enough to kill you, and I say this because it is always good to remember that even a arcade machine or an old crt tv. That's been sitting in storage for years could they'll potentially have plenty of juice stored in those capacitors and if you accidently caused them. Capacitors to discharge. Then you could be in serious danger. So I say that because I mean I was a kid once I remember like you, come across a bunch of old, abandoned stuff and as a kid, My number one.
pollination, was let's break it right because it just sitting there. But when it comes to things like televisions and and monitors and stuff It comes with a real danger to it. So just wanted to point that out anyway overtime. Kate machine companies got a little more sophisticated and they created a standardized control boards, at least four. Her own output right they want like it was standardized across the industry, but like NEO Geo, created its own kind of sir. bored designed so that it wasn't making a new kind for every single title and into these you could plug a wrong chip. Rom or r, o m. That stands for read only memory and as That name suggests it's a type of computer. rate that allows a device like a computer to pull data from the chip, but it doesn't.
While the device to write new data to the check, you can essentially consult the chip, but you can't change anything on it. And we usually put stuff on rod chips, that's necessary for basic computer functionality like Then, through the basic start up steps, you dont want that to get changed, so you and up hard to go to get it wrong and then its effectively set in metaphorical stone. Now, in the case of arcade machines, the game itself would be stored on the wrong chip. so the important thing for the purposes of our discussion about Maim is that the games were on these the gold ships? So we're not talking about software in the traditional sense? We're talking about hardware, hard coded chips. You can't just plugin play so the big downs, I too, the industry using hard coated robs is that there is
easy way to support the experience applying these arcade games on to some sort of homes, system right you couldn't just unless he went out and purchased and arcade cabinet and some people dead me they had the money for it. I didn't so I never did this, but they would go out. They buy a copy of the arcade machine and that they can play the arcade game at home. That was really The only way to do the actual arcade game, because you could not just by a wrong chap and their blood, to a computer and play so. Instead, you had to rely on a port of The kid game parting essentially just meant that the person the port, had to build a facsimile of the arcade game that could be blade on some home system, whether it was a computer or a video game council? more often than not. They would actually pay. Someone else do it behaves who would pay someone else to go through and- and
which lay recreate the game. So programmers of port these are often trying to reinvent the wheel to an extent their aiming to create the same guy playing experience, but that does necessarily mean they're. Gonna fall, follow the exact same path as the original game designers dead when they're making a port they are saying our will? What makes this game? What is what how can we create that same output? And it might mean that the port is actually from of programme level drastically different from the original code. This also meant that your expiring when playing those ports could very drastically. You might look out, it might be that the it feels more or less the same. As you remembered from the arcade, I mean obviously, it'll feel a little different if you're playing it on you know YO game console or your pc and you're. Using a game pad gave beds feel different from arcade control.
But otherwise it might feel like it's pretty accurate. Or you might not be so lucky and it might be that the port is practically unrecognizable when compared to the original title, the one early port that became infamous any classic Videogame Council days was the pack man port for the authority. Twenty six hundred So a tory owners, like myself, were eager to have the up unity to play these simple and yet compelling game of pack man at home, the Arcade pack man's graphics, while not like super sophisticated. Look. Nice like the ghosts. Look, nice, the maize. Look: nice pack, man, look nice! Everything was the sprites were good things We ve got a good club. You had fun sound effects and music to it really was the combination of all of these different elements that made pack man such a fun games to play in the arcade, but the Atari join six hundred port was by contrast.
Ugly at playing the game was unwieldy. It didn't sound. good at all the ghosts flickered in the terrible, because the Atari wasn't able to handle a a solid pack man and for solid ghosts, moving around simultaneously effect. the ghosts collectively had to share a single sprite sprite being a group, fickle element that can actually move compared to the play field of a game and so the way the game compensated for the fact that it couldn't support for simultaneous ghosts on screening it only display one at a time, and they would alternate between the four of them so, like you would see a ghost for us aim and then the next frame. You would see ghosts number two, then, in the next frame Eads he goes number three and in the next, He needs it goes number four when we go back to goes number one so you're getting
Twenty four frames, a second you're, essentially really more, like thirty frames, a second, so they were flickering pretty fast, so you could see them, but they had that flicker the hand it was distracting. It didn't look all like the original arcade machine. The only way you could have avoided that is, if you had only had one ghost you'd have on solid bag man and one solid ghost, because the ghost wouldn't have to share that sprite with its fellow ghosts, nervous, kids, more complicated, but we're not here to talk about the Tories limitations really, but the point that, while pack man the Atari wasn't very good fact. I would say it was pretty bad. Tori sold more than seven million copies of it. Now, unfortunately, Atari manufactured twelve million copies So, while they sold seven million them at five, and we're sitting around unsold, so
even though Pachmann was the best selling a tory cartridge, the company's history it didn't perform to what the company was expecting and ultimately, would become one of many massive mistakes that would lead to the great videogame crash nineteen, eighty three anyway, that's an example of a really bad port, but even a good part of a game often doesn't feel quite the same as the original arcade cabinet, and a lot of different factors can contribute to that, including the bright As the color contrast of the display other sponsors, The controllers, even the style of controllers, can really make a big difference. gallagher on an archive cabinet just feels different than playing with a game control or even with a really faithful, pour the game. I've got a very
Gallagher on Xbox right? That was one of the games that I I purchased and from a game play perspective. Everything except the controls is perfect, like it looks sounds and behaves exactly the way the arcade machine behaved. because I'm playing it on a game pad look again, controller as opposed to the classic joystick and button combo of the arcade. It still not the same now art he's had a fairly brief time in the spotlight here in the United States as little different and other places in the world like Japan are the arcade culture was held the air for much longer and still exists over there. But here in the United States the hey day of Arcade is long in the past and allow different factors led to most arcades closing down when we come back. We'll talk a bit about those factors.
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comes to your financial goals. Potential is the rock you can rely on with our knowledgeable financial professionals. We can help you get to new heights plan, invest in sure, retire visit potential, dot, com, Uzi or Rock Prudential Insurance Company of America of Newark New Jersey. This episode is brought to you by square one if your business could sell anywhere at anytime and open to Bora customers all by making one simple choice: running your business with square means being able to sell just as easily whether it's in listen online or on social media. Your business will also be ready for whatever new sales channels might open. Next go to square dot com, slash commerce, to learn, what's possible square helps you reach customers everywhere they are and you can get paid anyway. You shoes with one convenient place to manage everything square lets you
Add more revenue streams without adding any more work to your day, go to square dot com, slash commerce, to learn. What's possible, this episode of tech stuff is brought to you by Royal Caribbean cruise sounds good right now. Doesn't it now's the time to make the most of your vacation and a royal caribbean group gives you the chance to have an experience, unlike any other choose from over two hundred. Seventy destinations, including Alaska Europe, the Caribbean and even perfect day, island royal, Caribbeans own private, get away in the Bahamas. Go on an adventure aboard some of the world's biggest ships. It we live entertainment, world class, dining and amazing activities. Try shipboard skydiving with Iphone, take a thrill ride on a water slide or try serving on the flow writer weather. Your bonding with friends or gathering the family to make lifelong memories. Royal, caribbean crews isn't just taking a vacation, it's taking vacation for all its work
earth you ve waited long enough. It's time to rise to the vacation. Come seek. The royal Caribbean learn more at royal. maybe a dot com. Ok, just before the break, I talked about how Arcade started to close down in the United States. While the relied different reasons for that, one of the reasons why the rise of the home video game system. Now that did have a big blip in eighteen. Eighty, three, with the collapse of the industry that also affected the arcade industry as well. It wasn't just the home video game, I get. But then the other system, Nintendo entertainment system, came in really turn things around here in the United States and the home video game market recovered and then fly
rushed on a level that it hadn't even approached back in the the first age of home video Games systems, but there was just one factor that lead to arcades losing relevance. Another was that, in order to keep it arcade interesting owners had to add new games fairly regularly right people get tired of playing the same games, but buying a new game to feature in your arcade was expensive, so as arcade attendance was on the decline, keeping things going, eat into revenues more and more right. If you didn't add new games, you would lose even more players overtime, You are buying new games. You are spending a good amount of your revenue just to try and hold on to the customers. You already have you weren't, really seeing a lot of places get new customers, so it was, it was a essentially treading water and all
at least it would lead to a situation where it just became impossible to be profitable and run and our Cade and most of them shut down. There are still arcades out there. I don't mean to suggest they're all gone, but they are nearly as possible or as numerous as they were back in the glory days of the eighties, even into the nineties because there was like other arcade renaissance in them, I mean largely helped I, the emergence of a little game, known as ST fighter to end way. This also meant that those classic arcade games were in danger of being lost to time at work add the various ports right like a lot of these games, had ports on different home councils, but the original version of the games we're still sitting on these wrong chips inside our k, cabinets and the world was moving on. That also included new technologies as well like the sea, our tee, for example, it became file.
a more common for companies that were in the business making, monitors and displays to switch to manufacturing. Displays that you, is Ellie deed technology, for example, and one by one The companies are making see our tease shut down men, those manufacturing lines. So today, if you hunt down a classic arcade machine, you can still find them could still purchase them, but when you do it. You also know that if your monitor breaks and if that's your tea set goes bad It could be really tricky to find a way to repair or replace it. It's getting harder and harder to find parts or replacement monitors so there we have the stage sat right. We've got a technology that is in danger of going entirely obsolete and if it does, it takes with it hundreds thousands of games, some of which are real classics that lots of people love. But now, let's talk about
Nicholas Sumeria. He is a programmer from ITALY and Niccolo became interested. In this idea of using software to mimic or emulate the hardware of arcade machines, that's what An emulator does at emulator is able to mimic something else so that you can get a particular out, but it doesn't have to be video games. A lot of people just equate emulator with the world of video games. and emulator really is just a way to use software to replicate hardware would do when you no longer have access to the hardware. So the the way This work, I mean you couldn't just plug a wrong ship into a circuit board and then you're able to play the game right Even if you went out and you bought a wrong chip of classic arcade game
you don't really have an easy way of playing it, because you don't have the rest of the circuitry that that run chip interacts with in order for the game to work, however, if you were able to create software that could mimic how that, particular arcade machine worked, and then you were able to make a copy of the code that was stored, on the wrong. This is called creating an image. If you were to create an end, edge of the data that was stored on that wrong you I then be able to create what amounts to a virtual arcade machine Software is handling everything that the hardware would have handled and as far as the code on the wrong is concerned its in a an official, legitimate arcade machine, and it will create the output that you need you. We have to build all the though the system
is that will allow that output to have a meaningful expression right, because that output has to go to something like a display and speakers. So there's all their last steps here. It's not to make the the rom work, it's so that the modern technology we're using to access the code, that's on the rom can enter operate with it so this is really complicated. It's not just oh, it found a way to create code that makes this wrong chip. Think that's in a donkey Kong machine it has to involve the support for the various controls. Your using like. Are you using a game pad verses, a classic joystick and button combo? These are really tricky thanks and that's kind of what the color was really tackling in those early days by the way is around ninety. Ninety six. So the
where would serve as of an abstract layer, representing all the circuitry of an arcade machine and nickel of first focused on Pachmann games. a bunch of games, were in the pack. Man family of games an effect originally called the name of his project multi pack, but he saw that there was a to create a means to preserve arcade games in general, not just Pachmann games, but all arcade games they all I had a risk of going obsolete and just being lost two times, so he started to develop his software, so a good essentially trick the Rob code of different types of games into thinking. It was in a physical arcade machine and begin expand. Well beyond the pack man Le Games, and at that stage he this project was only
working for their image dos platform, so in other words the software, the emulator software he was designing, was only compatible with Emma s DOS machine. So we're not even talking about windows at this particular stage, though, that would follow. and ass. He was adding more and more support for early arcade titles. He decided multi back, just isn't an accurate described many more and he gave it a new name. This name was the Baltic arcade machine, emulator or maim these Is we just call it maim? We don't even suggest that you should break it out as if it were an acronym, that's because, it. It now encompasses way more than just arcade machines, but I'll get to that. Thus, Maria didn't tackle all of this on his own. He actually made his project an open source project. Now that means Other people were free to look at what he was doing to look at his code and
to contribute to the project to build onto it. That meant that with more people. You could focus on adding emulation, support for more titles and in fact that's one way. You can look at the progress of may man. It's to see how many number humming for the titles, rather Wade be involved from version to version because, like lots of stuff, where you look at maim as generations of software and indifferent you what's the latest version of name. And that's one way you can look at the history of name, but there are lots of other ones too. and again, it wasn't just title support that was important. It was also important to add to the support for various
all systems that required a lot of work for the main community as well, and then support for the various operating systems, because, obviously it didn't just stick to Emma's dos is compatible with lots of our brain systems out there now. So, when you really boil it down. The goal of name is to create as many ways for modern systems to recreate the experience of playing specific games from the past as possible- and that includes, folks, who want to build their own maim, arcade cabinets which might include classic style, Joyce, Dixon Buttons, or it could include someone who, just once to be able to play classic games on their pc, using a game pad as their controller or one one hundred other systems. Now we're going to take another break, but when we come back I'll talk a bit about the complications of May because if it does get complex
we're, not talking about the technology side, but the business side. I'll explain more. We come back windows. Eleven gives people new ways to get more done. Snap assist lets you organ as your open windows at once with a click multiple desktops make it easier than ever to switch between work, school and everything else. Plus a screen you can actually touch means less typing, more crew. eating. When does eleven? Brings you closer to what you love discover more way, is to get more done with windows. Eleven pcs at windows, dot, com, slash brings you closer. This episode of text of has brought to you by royal Caribbean accrue sounds good right now. Doesn't it now is the time to make them
most of your vacation and a royal caribbean group gives you the chance to have an experience, unlike any other choose from over two hundred. Seventy destinations, including Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean and even perfect day, island royal, Caribbeans own private, get away, in the Bahamas, go on an adventure aboard some of the world's biggest ships joy live entertainment, world class, dining and amazing activities. Try shipboard skydiving with ice, I take a thrill ride on a water slide or try serving on the flow writer weather, your bonding with friends or gathering the family to make lifelong memories. Royal. Caribbean crews isn't just taking a vacation, it's taking vacation for all its
worse, you ve waited long enough. It's time to rise to the vacation. Come seek. The royal Caribbean learn more at royal, caribbean dot com. This episode has brought you buy square one fear. Business could sell anywhere at any time and open to more customers all by making one simple choice: running your business with square means being able to sell just as a lie, whether it's in person online or on social media. Your business will also be ready for whatever new sales channels might open. Next go to square dot com, slash commerce, to learn, what's possible square helps you reach customers everywhere they are, and you can get paid me why you choose with one convenient place to manage everything: Square loves you. add more revenue streams without adding any more work to your day. Good, a square dot com, slash commerce, to learn Watts possible fortune favours the bold, the strong, the brave
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grows are using Linux as the foundation, but they have different user and basis, while the same thing is true, with name really just think of me, as the underlying guts of emulation- and it's not really user friendly is not really easy to navigate and just like pure maim so the versions you typically find out there in the wild, have different user interface systems, then to them to make it easier to navigate maim and here's. The other important bet maim itself. The emulator doesn't include games, it is supportive of thousands of games, but it doesnt actually incurred The games themselves is kind of like if you were to go out and just by a video game console there are no games included on the council, while you ve gotta a device that can play games, but you don't have any games to run, I you have to go out and then get games for it
the same is true for maim so to get games you have to get. old of rom images and technically, the only legal way to do that is to either you'll get official permission from whatever DE holds the intellectual property of that specific wrong or you have to purchase a copy of the wrong. So You can't do this, for example at say, yeah now and you bought an arcade machine of donkey call. You found a classic donkey Kong Arcade machine, maybe it's being sold for a song which, like fifty bucks and its because the person selling it knows that the game is not play in its current state, so the arcade machine still has the original Rahman it like that's in the arctic cabinet, but it is unplayable for whatever reason. Maybe the monitors bust it may be. The circuit board is damaged.
whatever it is. You do have the wrong it's in there, but you can't play it. Well, then you could. presumably download a wrong image of that game and using emulator. And play donkey gone with no penalty because you own a copy of it and you are allowed to make backup copies. we are legally purchase media. That's well, us It must at least here in the United States. It is that if you purchase a copy of something you can make a backup cobby for your own. Personal use and that's That is an exemption to copyright law, it's one of the few, but you can do it. However, let's say you don't own a copy of donkey con. You didn't go out and find a
originally arcade machine with the Roman there and lets say that there is no, where you can go to buy a licence to use the wrong while technically if you can go on and download a wrong image of donkey, call your violating copyright. So while you could Download the main software for free and Maim is totes, legit and totally legal. Downloading. The roms that you will need in order to actually make use of name is a different story. Now this does not mean that the internet is it positively teeming with wrong images out there. There are tons of them. There are groups of of enthusiasts who have collected thousands of games and made an image where all those games are on that image. and when paired with Maim software it means you can actually play all of those games in May.
These images is not easy. It requires a lot of work. A lot of Brahms have copy protection on them, which usually requires some one to find it way around that protection. You're also use You're talking about physical e t king, a wrong chip apart, so that you can actually make an image of the code. That's hard coded on the chip. So it's really tricky stuff, Also, by the way, if you have to get around copy protection, that creates a new problem as well, because while it is totally legal for you to make backup copies of stuff for your own purposes, it's actually illegal here, the? U S to try and defeat copy protection mechanism, they put you in a real paradox right, because you're like well. I am allowed to make a backup copy of something I own of media. I own. That's fine! If I bought a copy of the old, game, then I can make a backup
my legal right. However, if there is copy protection, on the game itself. I am night Lee Golly allowed to bypass that copy protection, so why? Why can legally make a copy? It would be illegal from Do it because I would have to get around the copy protection first fun times it's like saying You can't come into the building unless you fill out a form, what where's the form always inside the building. It's one of those situations anyway there's also the matter that the older arcade games are kind of just sort of fading away, and so from images really are a means of preserving those games like if you do not make those images eventually that hard, where's gonna deteriorate to the point where it might be irretrievable and we just lose it so in some cases this is this is really about preservation. However, new still aren't supposed to distribute it or no play
their whatever. Unless you ve got the permission, verse and in while the cases even determining who the heck owns the copyright first specific game can be difficult or sometimes even impossible. That even the most well intentioned person isn't necessarily going able to find a strictly legal means of preserving the game another companies out there that are in the business of building our main arcade cabinets or they design main kits sometimes they just put together, main rom image file containing tens of thousands of games on it there tonnes in the mouth there. If you were to do a search, many of them would pop up and I'll even gets more complex because mass, the Multi Emil, it are super system merged with maim about seven years ago. Now, I think, as isn't emulator that focuses on video game councils and older computer systems. It is similar to name but but of arcade machines, you're talking about
More than nine hundred different video game systems and older computer systems- and so it's designed so that you can run games that were built for those systems, as well. That means that may now supports even more games, not just classic arcade gaze, but classic console and computer games so for the companies that are offering rom images are built. Health systems that include these games in them, they're kind of operating outside the law, not kind of. our operating outside the law, now, whether the big companies that own a lot of the ips are going to come after these various vendors and merchants? That's because that's really the question If they do, then you can bet that that particular vendors gonna get shut down. I dont think it'll ever go away entirely, as a possibility, so when you see these ads for a main machine that has seventy thou games on it or whatever.
you have to remember that the people selling that probably you don't have the right to include those games on that machine, in fact, most the time My experience when I was looking through these, it was impossible to find a list of the games that were supported, and I I think that's largely so that the vendors can try and quietly skirt any imperial entanglements as Obi WAN might say, so, if you go out and buy a main cabinet, stacked with games are technically engaging in ip theft unless of course, the company that made the cabinet. Actually Does have licences for all of the games that are included on that machine. I suspect that that's not the case. as getting those licences would be incredibly complicated and expensive. My guess is that if you, The had aid arcade machine that Le Jet had all seventy thousand games covered and licences
it would be prohibitively expensive. You would not be able to afford it that wants people from doing it and, like I said, like I've thought about making a main machine, I really would love to have Lincoln and arcade machine just for nostalgia sake. but settling on just one title would be really hard for me, because I've got a lot of Argo titles. The right I truly loved playing And I worry that if I got a sea blockade machine, I would grow so tired of it so quickly that I would then be looking at every time. I looked at just thing like I spent so much money on something. That's just taking up space so, part of my brain is saying. Well, if you gonna do that, then you want to have as many different titles at your disposal as possible. However, doing that is knowing that your skirting IP law and and it actually does bug me not I'm afraid of getting caught, but rather I really Do you feel that the folks responsible for making these
these titles deserve not just credit but compensation for it? It's just that in most Kay, does. There's no clear means of providing that there is no clear means of actually buying these things. Legitimately there are some the arcade one up replicas. are licensed replicas, so that's different, but that still just a tiny fraction of all the games. That out there. So it is a bit of a complicated topic. Any hey that's a run down on the topic of maim without getting to technical in it, and Yeah really is fascinating. I played around with it once in the past, where even downloaded a few robs temporarily, I did not keep them. I didn't even keep them for a full day I tried it out, but when I did it, the emulation of the games I was specifically playing was somewhat lacking, so the performance was terrible
It was weird, or I thought it was weird, because the computer system I was running it on was far more powerful than theirs. What arcade machines. but the emulation of those titles was the issue right. That's why the performance, as good as the original. Kate version was, and that can still be the case like IE. really that's the other thing about simulators is in some cases you might have an emulator for a specific title that just isn't as good as other emulators are, and that gets really complicated. but maybe I'll do another episode about names in the future and go more detail. I just thought I'd be fun to do a little tidbits episode about them today, If you have suggestions for topics I should cover in future, as is the text of maybe topics like what it's like, when blind blonde people show up in the justice trying to close an episode, or maybe the tech that you use
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Transcript generated on 2022-05-02.