Month: June 2020

Behind the Games – Interview with Lunaris Games

Hey Hey Blerdy Tribe, I’m back with another Behind the Games post! For those of you just joining the party, Behind the Games is a segment where I interview the folks ‘behind the games’ I review. Giving you guys a chance to get to know the developers that spend so much time carefully crafting the games you enjoy.

Last time, I spoke with Tida and Charissa, founders of the indie game studio, Oracle and Bone—their first project is the yuri visual novel A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986. This time around, I had the chance to chat with members of Lunaris Games, the team behind the LGBTQ+ visual novels When the Night Comes and Errant Kingdom.

The team released their first game, the supernatural fantasy visual novel, When the Night Comes back in 2019. The game has received a great deal of praise for it’s immersive story and diverse cast of characters—featuring a main cast that consists primarily of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals.  In the game, you play as a Hunter who has been called to the quiet town of Lunaris to assist the local Enforcers with an investigation into a series of increasingly unsettling, supernatural murders. When the Night Comes was originally released episodically, with each new chapter drawing you deeper into the rich fantasy world of the game. Earlier this year Lunaris games released Errant Kingdom, a queer high fantasy visual novel which promises to be just as engaging as their first game—bring with it a new cast of characters and imaginative world building.

I was one of the many fans eagerly awaiting new chapters of WTNC, so I am super excited to have the chance to chat with the members of the team that brought such an amazing game to life. Kris, Anna, Kevin, Nadine, Lennox, and Marina, gave me a chance to pick their brains about their work with Lunaris Games and I just had to share with you!  So without further ado, let’s turn things over to them…

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Melanin Monday: Lovestruck

Hey there Blerdy Tribe, it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I’m spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party—every Monday I spotlight games that feature Black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me—there are almost no “diverse game” tags on major game sites—so, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color… unless you already know where to look.

This week I’m doing things a little differently, instead of spotlighting one game I’m going to cover the story app, Lovestruck. Now, I will readily admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Voltage’s decision to move all of their original English language content from the pay-per-route model to the freemium format. But, it is what it is and there’s no point in crying over spilled milk. What I want to talk about instead is how from day one representation has been a big part of why I love Lovestruck and the Voltage Inc. original English language titles.

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Steam Summer Sale – Boys Love Edition

It’s that wonderful time of year once again! The annual Steam Summer Sale is LIVE and with thousands of titles available at a steep discount this is the time when most folks pad out their gaming library and who can blame them—some games are listed at up to 80% off!

Steam

The sale started on June 25th and will run for two weeks until July 9th 10AM PST! With so many titles on sale, it can be a bit overwhelming, so I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of all the Boys Love games I could find! Check out the below list and take advantage of this amazing sale!

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Steam Summer Sale – Otome & Romance Visual Novel Edition

It’s that wonderful time of year once again! The annual Steam Summer Sale is LIVE and with thousands of titles available at a steep discount this is the time when most folks pad out their gaming library and who can blame them–some games are listed at up to 80% off!

Steam

The sale started on June 25th and will run for two weeks until July 9th 10AM PST! With so many titles on sale, it can be a bit overwhelming, so I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of all the Otome Games and Romance Visual Novels I could find! Check out the below list and take advantage of this amazing sale!

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5 Reasons You Should Play Collar x Malice

Collar x Malice is the newest otome game localization to make its way to the Nintendo Switch—the console that is quickly making itself the hub for otome fans after the death of the Playstation Vita. Anyone who played the game back when it was released here in the west will tell you that Collar x Malice is one of the best otome games to make it’s way stateside—with it’s engaging story and stellar cast of characters—this is one of the games that I most recommend to folks looking to make the jump to otome games.

Collar x Malice is a detective mystery otome game that was published in Japan by Idea Factory under their Otomate brand of games in 2016. The following year in 2017, Aksys Games released an English language localization of the game for the PS Vita. Collar x Malice follows a rookie police officer who is unwittingly drawn into a series of gruesome crimes when she is kidnapped and collared by the terrorist organization, Adonis. It’s a race against the clock and failure isn’t an option. With her life on the line and the fate of the city hanging in the balance, Ichika must team up with a group five strangers—some of which are former police officers—in order to uncover the truth behind the X-Day Incidents and Adonis.

So, if you are still on the fence about whether or not to snag a copy of this game now that it’s available on the Swith, here are 5 reasons you should totally be playing Collar x Malice!

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Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #57

Hey there Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s once again that special time of the week—Thrifty Thursday!

In a world where it’s all about the almighty dollar, sometimes it’s a little tough to make our pennies stretch enough to accommodate our hobbies. But, there are plenty of ways to balance your budget while still enjoying the things you love, you just have to be a little thrifty about it. So, I created Thrifty Gaming in order to spotlight some lesser known indie titles that are both entertaining an affordable.

If you’re a new follower or someone who has been following since my Nice Job Breaking It Hero days and have been gone for awhile, here’s a refresher… Thrifty Gaming, is a weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels that are under $10.00. These can be mobile games, PC games, and a few times I have found some nice indie console titles too. The list used to focus on just otome games and romance visual novels, but after requests from a few readers I have since expanded to other gaming genres. I don’t include sales or limited time offers, each title has to be consistently priced at $10.00 or less without any promotions to be included in this line up.

Broke.gif

Note, these are not reviews, rather recommendations so your mileage may vary with some of these titles. This week’s post will include a brief synopsis and links to each game so you can add them to your gaming library! You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your hobbies, so save a little bread and check this week’s thrifty gaming picks!

Continue reading “Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #57”

Behind the Games – Interview with Oracle and Bone Studio

Hey Hey Blerdy Tribe, I’m back with another Behind the Games post! For those of you just joining the party, Behind the Games is a segment where I interview the folks ‘behind the games’ I review. Giving you guys a chance to get to know the developers that spend so much time carefully crafting the games you enjoy.

Last time, I spoke with Dani, Alexis, Lisa, Percy, and Kevin, members of the ValiDate team—their first project is the upcoming LGBTQ+ visual novel ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area. This time around, I had the chance to chat with Tida Kietsungden and Charissa So the founders of the indie game studio, Oracle and Bone, and the creative team behind the 80’s themed yuri visual novel, A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986.

A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is a yuri visual novel and  Oracle and Bone’s debut title—follow the story of Michelle and Sam, and how their chance meeting evolves into a deeper relationship. Set in vibrant Hong Kong in the year 1986, it is an original story about love, family, and culture. Inspired by Hong Kong cinema and 80’s anime, A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is loving homage to one of the most memorable periods of time.

I recently had a chance to chat with Tida and Charissa, about their work on A Summer’s End, so without further ado, let’s turn things over to them…

Continue reading “Behind the Games – Interview with Oracle and Bone Studio”

Being an anime fan back in the day was a STRUGGLE

I was browsing Crunchyroll and I ran across the anime Demon Lord Dante and man did it trigger some serious nostalgia. For those of you that don’t know—Demon Lord Dante is a supernatural horror series by Go Nagai, the man behind Devilman and Cutie Honey. The 2018 ONA,  Devil Man Crybaby is based on Nagai’s Devilman series and if you thought that was trippy, you NEED to check out Demon Lord Dante, because MAN IS IT WILD—religious allegory, satanists, demons, monsters, naked women being sacrificed, and just a hint of incest to top it all off…and it’s AWESOME (and terrible). Just watch it (dubbed) and see what I’m talking about.

Now, technically, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh were my first “official” anime watches, but back then we had no clue that what we were watching was anything other than cartoons. So, in my head I have a hard time thinking of those series as anime, because growing up they were just “cartoons”.  It wasn’t until I was well into my teens that I realized there was a difference and began actively seeking out anime.

Continue reading “Being an anime fan back in the day was a STRUGGLE”

Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Chronotopia: Second Skin’

Hey Blerdy Tribe, it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I’m spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party—every Monday I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me—there are almost no “diverse game” tags on major game sites—so, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color… unless you already know where to look.

Chronotopia Hair Combing Scene

This week, I’m spotlighting the dark fantasy visual novel, Chronotopia: Second Skin from Träumendes Mädchen. Unlike some of the previous games in this segment, Chronotopia is still in development, but a beta demo is available for free. Chronotopia is a retelling of the Donkeyskin fairytale and promises to be a more mature take on the tale. Princess Kionna lives a peaceful existence in her castle, enjoying her days with her best friend and confidant, Nahima. That is until her father, gone mad since the death of his beloved, decides he should wed her instead. Kionna has to find a way to escape from this fate, but how? She doesn’t know it yet, but it’s the beginning of a long nightmare that will take her to the edges of madness…

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A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 Game Review – Press Play on this Engaging Retro Yuri Romance

A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is the debut LGBTQ positive yuri visual novel developed by indie game studio Oracle and Bone.  Follow the story of Michelle and Sam, and how their chance meeting evolves into a deeper relationship. Taking us through the various stages of their relationship—from their first fateful encounter to the confusion and joy of falling in love. Set in vibrant Hong Kong in the year 1986, it is an original story about love, family, and culture. Inspired by Hong Kong cinema and 80’s anime, A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is loving homage to one of the most memorable periods of time.

A Summer's End Hong Kong 1986 Game Review

Game Details

  • Yuri, Romance, 80’s Inspired, Story-Based
  • Available on Windows, Mac, & Linux | Steam 
  • Price: $14.99
  • 5+ hours of gameplay
  • Optional Adult Content Patch

Continue reading “A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 Game Review – Press Play on this Engaging Retro Yuri Romance”

Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #56

Hey there Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s once again that special time of the week—Thrifty Thursday!

In a world where it’s all about the almighty dollar, sometimes it’s a little tough to make our pennies stretch enough to accommodate our hobbies. But, there are plenty of ways to balance your budget while still enjoying the things you love, you just have to be a little thrifty about it. So, I created Thrifty Gaming in order to spotlight some lesser known indie titles that are both entertaining an affordable.

If you’re a new follower or someone who has been following since my Nice Job Breaking It Hero days and have been gone for awhile, here’s a refresher… Thrifty Gaming, is a weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels that are under $10.00. These can be mobile games, PC games, and a few times I have found some nice indie console titles too. The list used to focus on just otome games and romance visual novels, but after requests from a few readers I have since expanded to other gaming genres. I don’t include sales or limited time offers, each title has to be consistently priced at $10.00 or less without any promotions to be included in this line up.

Broke.gif

Note, these are not reviews, rather recommendations so your mileage may vary with some of these titles. This week’s post will include a brief synopsis and links to each game so you can add them to your gaming library! You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your hobbies, so save a little bread and check this week’s thrifty gaming picks!

Continue reading “Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #56”

Wholesome BL Reads to Add to Your Reading List

Boys Love used to be a dirty little secret fujoshi and fudanshi enjoyed in the dark recesses of their bedrooms—and I will admit that there was a time when I wouldn’t dare admit that I liked anything even remotely related to the genre. But, times have changed and BL media isn’t the taboo it once was—hell I remember the days of watching BL OVAs on YouTube and reading poorly rendered manga scans on questionable sites. But, now BL media is readily available with series like Dakaichi and Given getting full anime series and publishers like Juné and SuBLime licensing entire series for English speaking audiences. And, a lot of that has to do with the gradual shift from the smut heavy boys love stories to more wholesome romance stories.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of boys love series that glorify sex, but more and more series are striving to tell more realistic romances. This de-sexualization of boys love media makes them more accessible to folks outside of the target demographic. Even, as a seasoned fujoshi, I welcome this change, because it opens up the genre to more varied stories and proves that relationships between men are more than the stuff of rampant fangirl fantasies. So, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite wholesome boys love manga series to add to your reading list!


Continue reading “Wholesome BL Reads to Add to Your Reading List”

Behind the Games – Interview with the ValiDate Team

Hey Hey Blerdy Tribe, it’s been awhile since I did a Behind the Games post—but I figured it was high time I revived this oft forgotten series. For those of you just joining the party, Behind the Games is a segment where I interview the folks ‘behind the games’ I review. Giving you guys a chance to get to know the developers that spend so much time carefully crafting the games you enjoy.

Last time, I spoke with Chu-3, the founder of the indie game studio, RoseVeRte Games—the developer of the Eroolia and Cafe 0 series. This time around, I had the chance to chat with the team behind the upcoming LGBT+ positive romance visual novel, ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area.

Validate Struggling Singles in Your Area

ValiDate is a romantic visual novel about 12 adults in Jersey City navigating new relationships and the harsh realities that come alongside them.

Plot Synopsis

Anywhere can be the city of love if you’re willing to try hard enough, and some of these folks from Jercy City are desperate. ValiDate presents a smorgasbord of relationships to bear witness to— but the dating scene is difficult even when you aren’t marginalized in six different ways, so happiness continues to fly just out of reach for these unlucky lovers.

The team working on ValiDate consists entirely of people of color and they each bring their own experiences and unique voice to the project. What makes this game so exciting for me is that, like the development team, the main cast of ValiDate is very diverse featuring characters from a wide range of backgrounds, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And with 12 playable characters and over 30 routes, this game promises to shake up the indie gaming scene when it is released Q1 2021. In the meantime, four of the members of the ValiDate team—Dani, Alexis, Lisa, Percy, and Kevin—let me pick their brain about the upcoming project! So, let’s turn things over to them…

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Without a Voice Yuri Game Review – A Melancholy Fairytale

Without a Voice is a dark fantasy yuri visual novel developed by L3 for Yuri Game Jam 2016. The game borrows elements from fairy tales with some subtle nods to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, but with a darker twist. Without a Voice follows Cassidy, an exhiled princess living alone in a small cottage in the woods. It’s a far cry from her comfortable life in the palace in the kingdom of Veromere, but she has made the best of her circumstances spending her days exploring the forest and reading. One day, while out on a walk she encounters a mysterious woman resting in the shade of an ancient wisteria tree. Captivated by the beautiful woman, Cassidy spends her days getting to know Elowen–but, unbeknownst to her, the wheels of fate have already begun to turn, and the pair will have to fight for their happily ever after.

Without a Voice Review 1

Without a Voice takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to get through and there are 8 unique endings to unlock. It’s available for PC either through itch.io or via the Steam platform. Like most of the older fairy tales, Without a Voice does get pretty dark in some of the bad end which can be triggering to folks sensitive to blood and/or death.

Game Details

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[Pride Month 2020] Even More LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels

Hey Hey Blerdy Tribe, it’s LGBT Pride Month, the annual celebration dedicated to the richly diverse LGBT+ community!! Now more than ever, representation matters, especially in the wake of the recent string of injustices carried out here in the United States and abroad.

These past few years I celebrated Pride Month with lists of 10 LGBTQ positive visual novels–2018’s List and 2019’s List–and  I highly recommend giving those a read, there are some seriously great titles there that definitely warrant a look. Because it’s June once again, I have compiled another list with even more LGBTQ+ positive Visual Novels!

I tried my best to choose games that presented members of the LGBTQ+ community in a positive light, focusing less on sexual orientation or gender identity and more on telling meaningful stories that focus on the human experience. As in previous years, I have include links to each of the games, a synopsis of the story, and a short summary of the types of representation you’ll find in the game. So, without further ado, here are Even More LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels that you should totally check out this Pride Month!

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Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #55

Hey there Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s once again that special time of the week—Thrifty Thursday!

In a world where it’s all about the almighty dollar, sometimes it’s a little tough to make our pennies stretch enough to accommodate our hobbies. But, there are plenty of ways to balance your budget while still enjoying the things you love, you just have to be a little thrifty about it. So, I created Thrifty Gaming in order to spotlight some lesser known indie titles that are both entertaining an affordable.

If you’re a new follower or someone who has been following since my Nice Job Breaking It Hero days and have been gone for awhile, here’s a refresher… Thrifty Gaming, is a weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels that are under $10.00. These can be mobile games, PC games, and a few times I have found some nice indie console titles too. The list used to focus on just otome games and romance visual novels, but after requests from a few readers I have since expanded to other gaming genres. I don’t include sales or limited time offers, each title has to be consistently priced at $10.00 or less without any promotions to be included in this line up.

Broke.gif

Note, these are not reviews, rather recommendations so your mileage may vary with some of these titles. This week’s post will include a brief synopsis and links to each game so you can add them to your gaming library! You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your hobbies, so save a little bread and check this week’s thrifty gaming picks!

Continue reading “Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #55”

What Did You Eat Yesterday? – Volume 1 Manga Review

I am a huge boys love fan, but looking back at some of the series I own, a lot of them aren’t exactly what you’d call “wholesome”. I’m not ashamed of this, I like smutty BL as much as the next fujoshi, but every so often I like to pick up something a bit more tame—so during one of my RightStuf hauls I snagged a few copies of Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? I’d run across the series a few years ago in the dealers room at a Con and back then I wasn’t ready to invest in a longer series, especially when each volume is $12.95 a pop. But, when faced with extra time at home, I figured now was a good time to start adding to my manga library and I have not regretted my purchase! What Did You Eat Yesterday? is one of the most wholesome boys love manga I have read in a long time.

A hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food. After long days at work, either in the law firm or the hair salon, Shiro and Kenji will always have down time together by the dinner table, where they can discuss their troubles, hash out their feelings and enjoy delicately prepared home cooked meals!

-Synopsis

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Night in the Woods Game Review – Growing Up is Scary AF

Every so often I switch things up and play a game that isn’t an otome game, sometimes I need a break from the rose colored world of bishies and romance—what can I say, variety is the spice of life. Since picking up my Switch I’ve been branching out more and the eShop has been pretty accommodating, it’s a treasure trove of indie titles. On one of my eShop browsing expeditions, I picked up Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods. This wasn’t completely a blind buy, I’d heard a bit about the game before, generally positive feedback, so, I figured it was a safe bet.

Night in the Woods Review 5

In Night in the Woods, you play as Mae, a 20-year old college sophomore, returning to her hometown of Possum Springs after deciding to drop out of school. But, nothing is as she left it—the town is on the brink of collapse after the closure of the coal mines and her old friends have changed in the two years they’ve been apart. While Mae struggles to reconnect with her friends and family, she is plagued by strange dreams that may be linked to a series of mysterious disappearances and sinister secrets some in the town would rather stay buried.

Game Details 

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The Blerdy Tribe – Black Creators You Should Be Following

So, it occurred to me that my Blerdy Tribe was looking kinda thin, so I quickly set out to correct that and wound up discovering some truly amazing Black creatives—and I just had to share! With everything going on right now it is extremely important that we share our own stories and connect with one another, because at the end of the day we are all stronger together!

And as the media continues to drown out Black voices and tries to paint us as thugs—but we are people and our voices deserve to be heard! So, I’m gonna do my part to amplify some great accounts run by wonderfully unapologetic Blerds! I urge you guys to go out and show each and every one of them some love because they are out here proving that Black people are MAGIC!

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A New Life Game Review – How Will You Fill the Pages of Your Story?

Angela He just dropped her newest visual novel, a new life the sequel to her game, missed messageswhich explores the importance of communication, as we explore the relationship between a young college student and her roommate, May. Despite living together, the two rarely interact and when May begins to distance herself further, you must decide whether or not you will reach out and bridge the gap. missed messages deals with some heavier themes related to self harm and suicide, which can be triggering for some individuals. However, despite that missed messages manages to tell an emotionally driven story that will stay with you long after it reaches its conclusion.

A New Life Review 1

a new life brings back the main characters from the first game, following August and May as they embark on their happily ever after together as a couple. But, sometimes life has other plans—a new life gives us an intimate look at their relationship as they navigate the emotional highs and lows of life and love. Like Angela’s previous visual novels, a new life doesn’t hold back on the emotional punches and there are a few heart-wrenching moments, but ultimately, it is worth the experience.

Continue reading “A New Life Game Review – How Will You Fill the Pages of Your Story?”

Last Day of Spring – Game Review

Last Day of Spring is the sequel to npckc’s LGBTQ positive visual novel, One Night, Hot Springs—which followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The game focuses on Haru’s experiences during the trip and the affect they have on her—One Night, Hot Springs delves into many of the anxieties Haru has over not being treated as the woman she is and while it does have its fair share of heavy moments, the game is ultimately very positive.

Last Day of Spring Review 8

During the trip, Haru meets Manami’s friend Erika and while they have a shaky start, there are opportunities for the two to spend more time together and eventually become friends. Last Day of Spring, picks up a few months after the first game and follows Erika, who at this point has become really good friends with Haru. At the start of the game Erika learns from Manami that it’s Haru’s birthday and decides they should do something to celebrate. So she sets out to plan a special spa day for her, Haru, and Manami.

Continue reading “Last Day of Spring – Game Review”

NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘Divilethion’

I originally planned to keep my NaNoRenO 2020 reviews contained to the month of May, but what the hell, I’m having a lot of fun with this—so I’ll keep cranking these bad boys out till I’m satisfied! Next up is the dark comedy fantasy visual novel, Divilethion developed by Nemlei. This is their second NaNoRenO submission, the first being, Jack-in-a-Castle, and like their first title, Divilethion has the same smart writing and a macabre comedic tone that will have you in stitches!

Divilethion Review 1

You play as Lynn, one of the high priests serving the benevolent and illustrious god, Divilethion, the protector of your village. But, Divilethion’s protection comes at a price, a trifle really—the occasional human sacrifice—no big deal. Lynn has more important things to worry about, like his strained relationship with his younger brother Marrow. But, when you’re the high priest to a high maintenance (and jealous) god like Divilethion, sometimes sacrifices have to be made…

Continue reading “NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘Divilethion’”

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