Talk:ROM hacking

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Sonic the Hedgehog[edit]

You guys forgot about Sonic the Hedgehog hacking, and the founding of Sonic 2 Beta ROM. I fixed that for you.

~A mysterious Sonic Hacker

Although never widely popular (or ever even implimented?) should the UNIF format be included in this article?

  • Well, the article is about editing the game data, not about the encapsulation format (iNES, UNIF, etc) per se. On the other hand, UNIF has properties that make it difficult to perform hacks, since the corpus of hacking information (data offsets, etc) is iNES-centric, and the various "chunks" in UNIF can be arranged in any order, therefore UNIF is a pertinent concern for a ROM hacker. On the third hand, though, UNIF is still very much a niche format, so mainstream hackers will not likely encounter it. I think the issue of iNES-vs-UNIF, or at least game ROM formats in general, is a topic worthy of discussion, but perhaps in a separate article instead of in this page. -- Vystrix Nexoth 10:07, Apr 3, 2005 (UTC)
Who are you Sonic Hacker? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I was wondering, shouldn't scripting be mentioned in this article? I Rom hack GBA Pokémon games nad I have t oscript a lot. So, should it be mentioned, or not?--Kevin mills (talk) 17:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

usa censorship[edit]

"as censorship laws for video game games were much stricter in the United States than Japan or Europe"

any proof on this? I always thought it was just self-censorship (for example nes america was known for it)

I think there is an example The latest "Lary" game (a game with a guy that tries to find a girlfriend) in EU countries was permitted for children above 15 years old. Yeah I think they exagurated a bit but I find them much better than US were the game was considered as "adults only" since only if you were above 18 you could buy it :0 LOL !!! Noumenorian

There was a version which was rated adults only, which meant most stores wouldn't carry it, but the US has never in any way banned, censored or restricted sales of a video game excepting copyright issues and The Guy Game, which turned out to have an underage model (in and of itself not illegal, but it meant her signature on the release wasn't legally valid). Ace of Sevens 07:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paragraph in Etymology section[edit]

I removed the big paragraph that was put in the Etymology section. Said paragraph, from what I could gather, covers two topics (physical ROM vs. ROM "image", and the legal issues of emulation), both of which are addressed in the ROM image article. Furthermore, the ROM-vs-ROM-image thing is only peripherally related to the etymology of the term "ROM hacking", and the legality of emulation is not related to said etymology at all. I appreciate the contribution of these topics, but, as noted, they're addressed elsewhere. -- Vystrix Nexoth 10:13, Apr 3, 2005 (UTC)

If there are no objections, I'm going to remove the whole section. Not only is its meaning clear based on the definitions of "ROM" and "hack", but it reads like an idiot wrote it. Of COURSE anything-hacking can be spelled with "h4x0r|ng", but that holds no bearing on the ascual "something" being discussed. - anon 12/7/05 Hacked Rom Reviews[edit]

I don't believe this link should be here. To include it here would be to misrepresent ROM hacks and ROM hackers - most ROM hacks are much more thoughtful and much less delinquent than the examples given.

- Tzepish

I love Blackman 2 from i-mockery. It isn't a particularly well done hack, but toad with a fro and the line "please kill whitey" never cease to crack me up. This is an important part of the rom hack world I think - the ridiculous hacks with only a few graphical changes for comic effect. A large majority of the hacks out there fall into this category...

... Most romhacks DO NOT fall under this catagory. If they are made they are usually ignored by the romhacking communites. 17:17, 6 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yep, such hacks are indeed ignored by the majority of ROM hacking community. But even among ROM hackers we like to make fun of thoose "crap hacks" too, and some of thoose reviews are quite funny so I would just leave that link alone.Ailure 01:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the topic of self-promotion[edit]

This article is meant to explain what ROM hacking is to those who are not familiar with it. It is not personal advertising space. One hack screenshot is sufficient, we don't need screenshots of every hack covering every minute detail of hacking (let alone covering no new detail of hacking and being there just for self-promotion).

Also, we don't need to create a list of popular hacks, that just begs for blatant self-promotion, such as by creating the Hacks section and adding two hacks: Outlands, and some random 10-minute hack that happened to be made by you. If such a section is created (which I don't object to per se), then it ought to be limited to a few hacks, only a handful considered the best of their kind. This way there's only a few hacks to keep track of, not worrying about whether a given hack meets some criteria. If it meets the criteria, you'll know it does. Plus, having only truly excellent hacks listed will make it more obvious when someone adds their latest Mario-with-a-Penis hack at the bottom (or top) of the list.

On a somewhat less bitchy note... about this Sonic the Hedgehog 2 editor, I don't feel it is really relevant to the section on ROM expansion, as it is a specific way to address a specific game. Perhaps it would be worthy to mention the approach taken by that editor (storing and editing levels separately and re-assembling them into a ROM when done)-- with a passing mention of that one editor that implements that technique, if you must have your self-promotion-- but as it was, it had basically been put there for the purpose of getting that editor's name on the page and not so much to speak on the issue of ROM expansion in a general sense (remember, this article is not here to discuss ROM hacking techniques and methodology in depth, but mainly to kinda gloss over them so someone unfamiliar with ROM hacking can have at least a rough impression of what it's all about. The links section has some links to ROMhacking-related Wikis in which in-depth information would be more appropriate).

Basically, if it contributes to a user's understanding of what ROM hacking is, then by all means add it to the page. If it contributes only to your ego, then you're not good enough a hacker to not have to resort to such petty advertising (not that I expect you to take the time to read this anyway, but what the hell. :P) Vystrix Nexoth 01:29, 6 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

U.S. censorship laws[edit]

I removed the part of the article that claimed the U.S. had much stricter censorship laws than Japan or Europe. THe U.S. has never had any legally mandated censorship of games and it would, in fact, be illegal to make such laws. The U.K. and Germany did have considerable censorship at the time being referred to. Ace of Sevens 11:13, 23 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Spoiler" image[edit]

The image Zelda-challenge_sword.png was removed from the top of the article because it was a spoiler (according to the person who removed it; I haven't played the game). It was added back according to WP:NOT ("Wikipedia is not censored"). This is true, but spoilers still should not appear at the top of the article without warning. In fact, they shouldn't appear without warning at all, but especially not at the top. What should we do? - furrykef (Talk at me) 04:18, 26 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The reason I added it, is that it illustrates the idea of ROM hacking (at a conceptual level) extremely well, since (A) you normally start out with the sword, but here you don't get it until you're already in the first level; and (B) you find Zelda here rather than at the end of the game.
As for the concern about it being a spoiler, I might point out that the screenshot is of the first dungeon of the game: not very far into it. It's not like it's a map to and of the final dungeon or anything. -- Vystrix Nexoth 02:14, 19 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, then it probably should remain. - furrykef (Talk at me) 04:49, 19 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tile molesters websitre is gone.[edit]

I removed the link, there is a version of it at zophars domain that it could be replaced with.

Lunar Magic screenshot[edit]

I restored the Lunar Magic screenshot to what it originally was. The previous image was too cluttered, and this image-- which was what I had used in this article to begin with-- very clearly illustrates the idea of level editing-- it shows the user dragging-and-dropping a structural component of the level!-- which is the purpose of the screenshot. It is un-cluttered and to-the-point: anyone remotely familiar with video games will be able to see what's going on in that image.

In fact, I think the image might work well as the top-of-the-page image, to replace the Zelda: Outlands shot currently there (and would also address the spoiler concerns raised earlier). The main difference is that the Lunar Magic screenshot illustrates the process, whereas the Outlands screenshot illustrates the result. But, I think either one does a fine job of illustrating what the article is about, and that's the very purpose of the image. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Vystrix Nexoth (talkcontribs) 07:24, 20 December 2006 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Another thing: although the previous screenshot is good at illustrating what Lunar Magic is, the screenshot used in this article is better at illustrating what ROM hacking is. Keep that in mind.

And this time I'll remember to sign the comment... had removed a paragraph (along with the signature) before finalizing the previous comment... oops! -- Vystrix Nexoth 07:39, 20 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For the same reason, I got rid of the Pokemon Brown screenshot. For all I know, it could be a screenshot of the original, unhacked game... the point being that, unless you're already familiar with that particular game, the screenshot will have no significance to you. The purpose of the images in the article is to illustrate ROM hacking, not ROM hacks. Besides, it just reeks of self-promotionalism. -- Vystrix Nexoth 01:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It shows what can be done with ROM hacking. Just showing the world map of Brown's world tells the viewer that the entire game has been changed, and that this can apply to any hack - changing the entire game into something different. Luckydoubt 17:58, 30 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For it to show what can be done with ROM hacking, we also need a pic of the world map from the original game for comparison. That sounds reasonable to me. - furrykef (Talk at me) 19:14, 30 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the interests of preventing an edit war over the Pokemon Brown image, I'm removing the image again until the above condition is satisfied. If you want to illustrate what ROM hacking can do, you must demonstrate in the image how it is different, not merely the end result. As Vystrix Nexoth pointed out, you can't even tell it was hacked unless you've played the original game. So you need to either upload a second screenshot showing the original map, or you need to upload a single image that has a side-by-side comparison. Otherwise, the image doesn't show a thing to most people. - furrykef (Talk at me) 01:02, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point, I'll make a comparrison image tonight. Luckydoubt 02:26, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That looks good to me. :) - furrykef (Talk at me) 19:45, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Somebody added a screenshot of Pokemon Naranja that has the same problems that the old Pokemon Brown screenshot did. Do we really need more than one Pokemon example, anyway? - furrykef (Talk at me) 19:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe, I put that screenshot because I like that hack, but now I understand your point of view and I am agree that only a screen don't whow the changes. Anyway that hack-rom is really very popular and it could illustrate perfectly the distribution: despite the author claim his work is free, there are illegal selling on ebay which were not consented by its author, and an image like this would be illustrative about this issue.--Colnce 23:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Editing non-ROM games?[edit]

Like editing the textures of PC games and such... although along the same lines as ROM hacking. Should it be called just "Game Hacking" instead? Or "ISO Hacking" in the case of console rips? -01:24, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

People usually call it romhacking even if the images are ISO's. Which makes it especially funny when they turn around and bitch at people for calling PSX games roms, but I digress. (talk) 00:49, 27 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whats the Hack called[edit]

Where you can port game characters to different games like putting HUNK from resident evil to War Rock. I need you to tell me what it is and where I can find stuff like that. Adam the Stampede 09:18, 19 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This really is not the place to ask. I don't know the answer, in any case. - furrykef (Talk at me) 01:03, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

citation needed-spamming[edit]

It seems that a "citation needed" has been added for *every statement* in the Communities section. This is excessive and ugly. Perhaps I should just remove them - one does not fix an article that does not cite its sources by inserting a "citation needed" for every statement. Amaurea 17:16, 27 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


some1 should add the translation thingy i dont know--Aqmaster 21:46, 24 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair use rationale for Image:Advance map screen.png[edit]

Image:Advance map screen.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 08:22, 27 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair use rationale for Image:Comparebrownred.PNG[edit]

Image:Comparebrownred.PNG is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 22:32, 29 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply] - wee may be useful for.. something —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IPS merge not carried out[edit]

It was recently decided (with only one vote other than the nominator's... but I digress) that the IPS article should be merged into this page. However, as far as I can tell, this has not been done. Instead, as usually happens in decisions like this, the offending article was simply deleted (though it can still be viewed by those who click on the "history" button).

I'll try to incorporate some of the information from that deleted article into this one, and hope that others will continue the work... Esn (talk) 02:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We can all agree that the distribution method is not illegal as it doesn't contain the original data and 'conspiracy to commit hax' isn't a crime (yet). But I'm wondering about the legality of the act of patching a ROM image, changing the original data in a way that was not originally intended. Would that be a violation of the game's copyright? My thoughts are that it would, but my searches couldn't find anything pertaining to that part of hacking. --Thaddius (talk) 20:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately we can't all agree that the distribution method isn't illegal either! You see, a large part of ROM hacking is making translations, and the patch must necessarily contain the translated text, which is a derivative work of the original game. Other types of hacks may include copyrighted data as well, but certainly not all of them. As for your question... I don't think it's that easy to answer. I think people are generally allowed to do what they please with their own copies of something as long as they don't distribute them, but then the purpose of a patch is undeniably to create a derivative work. It's all kinda fuzzy. Luckily, nobody really cares... - furrykef (Talk at me) 09:08, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was my understanding that since the games hadn't been translated by the company that made it that they didn't hold the copyrights to, say, an English interpretation. Not only that but I'm not sure if having transcripts of a game's text is illegal. But I will concede that it too is at least dubious. I wonder if patches are only frowned upon because they often involve 'illegal' ROM images and sometimes the use of reprogrammable cartridges\burned discs. But yeah, it's a lucky thing that no one is really campaigning against rom patches. --Thaddius (talk) 15:17, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
IANAL but this is how I understand the law. Translators do not own the copyright on their translations unless the translation is a "creative translation", i.e., it deviates enough from the original that another translator working independently would not be likely to end up with a similar result. If you're just trying to change the language so that more people can understand the work, it's very unlikely your translation will deviate enough from the original to qualify. Even creative translations are derivative works, which require the copyright holder's permission (excepting fair use cases and the like, which this wouldn't be). Full transcripts are definitely copyrighted where there's a significant amount of text. You might get away with a game that has almost no text (think Asteroids or similar arcade games) because then the text might not qualify as a creative work in itself nor a significant enough part of the full game to be considered infringement. Do those games really need translating though? I'm not anti-ROM hacking here, IMO it's harmless for the game co's and great for the fanbase, and I'm actually trying to learn a little of it myself. But for safety's sake, ROM translators might want to know where they stand with the law. If the issue ever does come up, distributing your translation as a patch isn't likely to keep you out of trouble. -- (talk) 00:57, 18 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Developers' Opinions on ROM hacking?[edit]

Has anyone official from nintendo commented on their opinion of hacks/ROM hacking?

Notability Concerns[edit]

No notable sources were used in the creation of this article. Unfortunately, it seems that this article does not even qualify to be an article, according to WP:Notability guidelines, which require significant coverage and (or?) reliable sources. To be perfectly clear, I have no personal inclination against this article. I'd like to see this article stay, but unless we can pony up some sources from notable publication or through any other method, that may not be possible. In the meantime, though, I've gone ahead and added a {{notability}} tag. Thanks,  Aaron  ►  08:10, 5 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What? You are joking right? M00npirate (talk) 04:21, 1 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia want trustworthy source (10 or more), not a couple of notable. The differnce beiing a trustworthy source can be trusted and notable source is simply that will, regardless of whether or not their will know for lying or will know for honesty.

Icedog (talk) 22:05, 5 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“Notability” doesn’t seem the right tag, given that “ROM Hacking” has a large community and 171,000 Google hits. I’ve added a number of references (to an academic paper and several books), so while additional refs are appreciated (I’ve left {refimprove}), I’ve remove {notability}, as I believe concerns are addressed.
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 08:39, 20 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External Links[edit]

There's too many of them.

  • I kept Project 64 because it is a notable (unofficially; I mean this as in "oh hey, I'm pretty sure it's important). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Seoul Guy (talkcontribs) 08:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I weeded out, as it courteously informs me I am visitor #4895 on the network, and the last post was in 2005. Also, there seems to be no relevant documentation regarding ROMhacking on the front page.
  • I kept Zophar's Domain because it was updated 10h ago at the time of this edit and seems to contain reliable and relevant information. The abundance of "My"'s scared me a little, but let's not be stingy. Or actually, let's, but "let's" in a sense that means "you".
  • I wanted to remove Hacking CulT, because the last post was in 2007 and it seems like a personal site, but there was some useful-looking information such as a guide on MD programming.
  • I removed themushroomkingdom because it is simply a collection of downloads with no encyclopedic or even useful content.
  • I kept the Wikia link because those are typically useful and left alone.
  • I kept the Data Crystal Wiki because it seems to include a good amount of useful information.
  • I removed because it contains no useful information regarding ROMhacking; it is simply a collection of hacked ROMs containing 8-bit nudity and such. Interesting, but trivial.
  • I removed GBX because it's simply a collection of ROMs.
  • I kept because I was intimidated.

All in all, I removed four links in all, bringing the grand total down to a still-too large number of 7. If you have any questions regarding my reasoning for removing these links, please post them here or on my talk page. Also, I would like to request that anyone with the time take a look at WP:EL and sort through the links themselves. Thanks,  Aaron  ►  08:30, 5 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A mistake in a comparison??[edit]

I don't know if this is supposed to be this way, but when Pokemon Red and the "hacked" Pokemon Brown are compared, the maps are from different eras of games. Brown (I believe) is a hack of Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal, not Red/Blue/yellow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that make the comparison Baseless? Nameless9123 (talk) 15:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, Pokémon brown is a hack from Red, while Pokémon Prism is a hack of Silver and Pokémon Rijonadventures is a hack from Pokémon Fire Red. The comparison is correct as such. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 6 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Machine-codes hacking[edit]

I have made machine-codes hacking, without disassembling or anything like that (actually this is the only ROM hacking I have ever done, I have never hacked graphics, levels, or anything else, I have only hacked the machine codes). It says ASM hacking, but I'm thinking whether or not, should it say that disassembler are not required? Disassembler are not require to make the hacking but a cheat-finder is useful to search for memory addresses. Also, some machine codes are more easier to understand than another, like Z80 is easy to understand machine-codes but ARM machine-codes is too confusing to understand. --zzo38() 05:56, 24 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hacked game[edit]

Perhaps its useful to make the article Hacked game to describe how games without copy protection may be played. This includes pc games, and console games. For the PSP console, see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

breathe new life?[edit]

I think that there are some major flaws in this article. I'm not an expert so I don't really have any info to replace it with. If my opinion counts. (talk) 23:25, 12 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Care to point them out so we can fix them? Spikeman (talk) 13:01, 18 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is it bad Hacking ROM's?[edit]

Because im a ROM hacker too i hack much time Super Mario 64 and im a little bit scared now. so is it bad hacking ROM's?

I am not a lawyer, take my comments with a little caution. Depending on how you're hacking it and what you do with the resulting hack, it's probably illegal. AFAIK, though, it's "only" a civil issue, not a criminal one, and the laws against ROM hacking are not really enforced. Whether it's "bad" is a lot harder to say; it depends on personal opinion and your particular situation. In most cases, personally, I'd say no, it's not bad. I've never heard of a ROM hack that hurt the livelihoods of the original game's creators. If anything, a hacked ROM is less likely to hurt them financially than an unhacked one, since you could play a hacked version and a legit purchased version and get two different experiences. Aside from that, you'd probably have to *try* in order to come up with a hacked ROM that's unethical, like by making the content itself hateful or otherwise unethical. -- (talk) 00:57, 18 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Very Nice work...[edit]

Finaly someone has taken his time and wrote an article like this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 23 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This seems to be modding to me, someone has to point out the differences between this so called "hacking" and modding. When you edit the game and add extra content, or levels, fix bugs, modify the data, the graphics, the names, etc. total convert or change the game elements or its playability, that's what a mod does. --†_JuanPa_† (talk) 18:45, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is basically no difference. But you might tend to use ROM hacking, to specifically mean editing ROM based games. --Mariomadproductions (talk) 13:04, 24 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's correct. ROM hacking is a specific kind of modding. (talk) 09:09, 1 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

game disassembly?[edit]

Few ROM hacking communities do host the source code (in a disassembly format from an emulator's debugger) to aid modifying the game's code, still without the intention of violating copyright by distributing the ROM or any other infringing material not considered fair use.

But my concern is the legality behind that. Because the game's aspect are copyright-able, several game assets are released on the internet never or extremely rarely got taken down:

  • VG resource, this includes models, sprites, images, fonts, character, sounds, etc.
  • game's soundtracks hosted on youtube

There is a site dedicated to editing Super Mario World called SMW Central. It does host the disassembly code of the ROM called “SmwDISC”. This file isn't in a assemble-able format, it's loaded with comments describing the code's purpose, function and behavior (comments by the way are made by the disassembly team, not stolen or leaked from Nintendo). Nintendo have not take any legal action or send cease and deist on SMW Central's site owner, despite that nobody even asked permission. However, due to a large amount of effort contributing to this, I've feared that Nintendo may in the future would nuked that file.

I'm not sure if the purpose of hosting game disassembly for ROM hacking is enough to be considered fair use or not, the line between infringement and fair use is blurry and hard to determine. What is your thought about this?

Joeleoj123 (talk) 01:50, 15 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]