Nicole is thrilled that she managed to get into her first choice school and is looking forward to experiencing college life there. However, as soon as she moves into the university dorms, she finds out that there’s been a series of mysterious disappearances going on around the campus!
User reviews: Mixed (34 reviews)
Release Date: Oct 17, 2013

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"Otome dating sim."

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October 4

Nicole updated to 1.0.6 beta

Hi all,
in addition of having the game in a 33% discount this week, I've also uploaded a beta version for anyone wanting to test it.
It uses new libraries of my framework, so should run faster and resolve some compatibility problems.
The game itself wasn't changed, so if was working fine for you before, no need to try the beta.

To test the beta you need to right-click on the game name in library and then in the BETAS tab choose to opt-in for the beta version.

If anyone tries it I'm interested to know if the achievements on the Windows/Mac version still works :) thanks

1 comments Read more

About This Game

Nicole is thrilled that she managed to get into her first choice school and is looking forward to experiencing college life there. However, as soon as she moves into the university dorms, she finds out that there’s been a series of mysterious disappearances going on around the campus! So far, three girls have already gone missing and Nicole could be next if she’s not too careful – not quite the ideal college experience Nicole had in mind.

Nicole is a dating sim that revolves around your day-to-day life as a college student. You can take up part-time jobs to earn money, explore various locations, do recreational and extra-curricular activities, and meet intriguing characters like Darren, Kurt, Jeff and Ted. You might even get to date the culprit!

Choose which actions to perform each day with a simple and intuitive interface. Improve Nicole's skills and keep her morale and energy well balanced, otherwise she won't be able to perform well in her daily activities.

The game features four male romance options and an additional four female romance options which will be released in a separate game version within a few months. You may focus solely on dating, or gather enough clues and solve the mystery to unlock an extra ending for each of the datable characters!

You can use items that can be bought from the in-game online shop or visit various locations within the game to perform certain actions, which can improve your stats and your relationship with the characters. At the end of the day, you’ll get a summary of your progress.

What are you waiting for?

GAME FEATURES


  • Four different boys to date: Jeff, Ted, Darren & Kurt with 10 different endings
  • Discover the true identity of the culprit. Careful, you could be dating him!
  • Life simulation gameplay with several places to visit and activities to choose from
  • Deluxe version with wallpapers, chibi and full game soundtrack in mp3
  • Classic dating sim with several statistics and items to buy

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1Ghz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
    • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS 10.4
    • Processor: 1Ghz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 1 Ghz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
71 of 73 people (97%) found this review helpful
19.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Nicole is one of those games that I have a hard time understanding why I like it as much as I do. With tedious gameplay that is neither engaging or interesting and a predictable storyline riddled with clichés and unbelievable situations, you'd think I'd have played an hour or two and tossed it in the "File and Forget" bin of my library. On the contrary, I found myself plugging 15+ hours into the game, playing through all four character routes, and falling in love with each of the guys along the way (well, 3/4 of them anyway). Perhaps this review is my way of figuring out just what makes the game so appealing to me despite so many flaws.

So, Nicole starts out with the title character arriving at college for her freshman year. She's a plucky, perky 18 year old girl who has spent most of those 18 years loving fashion, getting straight A's and finding herself amongst the popular group of girls in high school. Oh, and she's never had a boyfriend or been kissed before. Not exactly the most realistic protagonist in the world, but she's likeable enough despite being a tad annoying at times. After getting settled in, she stumbles across an article detailing the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of 3 female students who inexplicably have no memory of their time gone, but are so rattled by the experience they either drop out or transfer to another school. One would think campus kidnappings would have Nicole practicing a little caution, but it's not long before she's contacted by the kidnapper and warned that she'll be next. Logically, going straight to the authorities is out of the question; Nicole has no choice but to investigate the kidnapper herself. Yeah...the story has some issues, but the mystery isn't what kept me playing.

As I mentioned previously, the story is predictable and the character routes are cliché-fests. BUT...I couldn't stop reading. For an OELVN (Original English Language Visual Novel) the writing is exceptionally good. Aside from a bit of annoying slang here and there, the characters are all well developed with their own distinct voices (something so many of these games lack), and the dialogue is fluid and for the most part believable. On top of that, I may have caught maybe 2 typos throughout the 4 routes, and that's pretty dang impressive considering how so many games in the genre are littered with typos, misspellings and awkward phrasing. So, despite my boredom with the overarching storyline, reading through the game was a pleasant experience.

And then there are the boys. Yes, they're your stereotypical romance tropes, but they're written believably well. If I had to boil it down to the one thing that kept me playing, it was the romance between Nicole and the guys. Watching the relationships go from acquaintance to friend and ultimately on to something more was enjoyable and interesting. The gradualness of the friendships and Nicole's slow realization of her own feelings was refreshing. Much of the romantic dialogue and situations were hilarious, other parts touching and some scenes downright steamy. For an otoge, they hit a bullseye with the character romances. Granted, the premise for getting Nicole and each guy in the same room for the relationship to flourish was kind of boring and predictable, but easily forgiven considering how much I enjoyed the result of those encounters.

On the visual side of things, the artwork is quite impressive for the genre and a highlight of the game. This artist has worked on previous Winter Wolves titles, and I'm a big fan of hers. The style has a soft feel to it which is accentuated by the pastel palette used to color the work; this complements the romantic tone of the story quite well. The character designs are not particularly detailed or inspired, but they're nicely conceived and pleasant on the eyes. My only disappointment is that we don't get any CG's outside of the character endings. But this is a small price to pay to have polished and professional looking artwork for the entire game.

Now, to detail the most boring, drudging, soul crushing aspect of Nicole, which is the simulation gameplay. Even though I generally don't find life sims to be that engaging, Nicole's gameplay felt so much worse. You spend a good 80% of the 4 game months picking the same activities over and over to level up your clues in order to further the mystery storyline while also leveling the requisite stat for the guy you're pursuing. And that's it. You can literally go weeks without a single event scene triggering, and when all I want is to get to the next steamy romance bit, facing days upon days of nothing but the same monotonous activities again and again is torture. We're not even given flavor text after each activity to spice things up either. Unfortunately, by the time I realized how mind-numbing the gameplay was, I was already hooked on the feels that I forced myself through for that next romantic scene. Thankfully there's a skip button (hidden away in the options menu, by the way, but at least it's there) that helped me fly through things a bit faster on subsequent playthroughs, because I don't know if I'd have survived it otherwise.

The rest of the gameplay consists of visual novel reading with a few dialogue choices tossed in to level up affection with the guys. Honestly, the game would have been much better as a straight visual novel using dialogue trees to further the storyline, although it would have probably cut the play time down by at least half. I wouldn't have minded this myself as I feel it would have made the experience MUCH more enjoyable, but I think it'd be hard to justify the $20 price tag for maybe 6 hours of game time.

In the end, I can only recommend Nicole to other female players who enjoy otome and a good romance now and again. Unfortunately, there's just not enough meat to the story to pull the guys in, and I'm not sure most would be interested in the romance aspects which is the game's biggest strength. Still, for a game that was painful to play at times, there are much MUCH worse examples of the genre out there. I'd suggest either getting one of the 50% off coupons that are floating around or wait for a good sale to pick it up. At the right price it's worth it for the steamy bits alone.


Bottom Line: 6/10
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94 of 112 people (84%) found this review helpful
17.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
I would say this is probably my second favorite dating sim from Winter Wolves at the moment (the top one being Roommates).

The game can get a bit grindy as well. You have to raise certain stats to garner the interest of one of the love interests, balancing it with keeping your rest up, and increasing the clue stat to uncover the mystery. It is a shame they didn't do more with the stats to affect the game.

First, I liked Nicole; she isn't a perfect character, and I appreciate this is a girl who will try to get things done on her own (one problem I had with Always Remember Me is the character seemed to cry more than anything else).

Be warned this game is definitely darker in tone than other Winter Wolves dating sims, especially if you decide to dig further into the mystery surrounding the missing girl. Without trying to give away any spoilers, while it is darker, don't expect any R rated violence and blood.

The male love interests are a bit of a mixed bag, some definitely hitting stereotypes like jock and nerd, though the writing for them is still well done.

As seems to be par for the course for Winter Wolves Games, some people may find the price a bit high. Be aware Winter Wolves does hold several sales throughout the year, and this includes to their Steam games.

One disappointment I have is that the GirlxGirl version still isn't ready yet, though it is definitely in the works.

Finally, if you are new to Winter Wolves games, I highly recommend trying the demo available on the developer's website. This will get you used to the game, and give a good idea whether this is the game for you.
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28 of 35 people (80%) found this review helpful
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
I had high expectations for Nicole after reading the positive reviews on it. However, I was highly disappointed within the first 5 minutes of playing it. The writing is extremely cheesy, like a middle-school girl writing fanfiction. I did my best to overlook it and continued playing through 3 of the 4 character routes. It's very obvious in the beginning who the culprit is, and each character has a stereotypical personality. The only one I particularly liked throughout the progression was Ted and maybe Darren. It was very difficult to find Jeff or Kurt appealing. The story is brief and non-engaging, and I felt like there wasn't much to explore, even with the dialogue options. It was very linear and tedious, what with the last month having nothing to do but gather clues and randomly clicking activities just to get the days over with. It was such a pain to go through that since there were no more stories or events going on for that whole month. Even the ending was quick and unsatisfying. Another problem was that the characters all pretty much looked the same aside from Darren. And Nicole? She's really pretty but her personality just made me cringe half the time.

Aside from that, I found myself enjoying it when I went through Darren's route and Ted's. I was just irritated that the story halted for that month as if they ran out of ideas. The game seemed very half-♥♥♥♥♥, and the after school "activities" were horribly boring.

On a good note, I enjoyed the art, and the story wasn't too bad. The music was nice and set up a pleasant ambience, though I don't particulary pay any attention to that for more than a few seconds. All in all, Nicole is a very lacking game that is definitely not worth $20. I have quite a bit of regret spending that much on such a short game with little to do aside from clicking what stat you want to raise. Over. And over. And over.

If it ever drops to at most 10 bucks, I'd recommend it then.
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24 of 39 people (62%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 4
This game is rather boring. I mean, the characters are funny and it's nice to see the dynamic between them and Nicole, but I wish there was something more to the game than just choosing an activity to do and waiting for something to eventually happen. It gets old.

And I really do wish there was more to the mystery element, and that it felt more chilling. I can't be afraid of this mysterious person because they don't injure anyone. For all we know, they take the girl out on a date and it was just such a phenomenal date that they black out for three days.

It could happen...

That being said, It feels like they added the mystery on because they took a look at their game and thought, it's missing something. And instead of thinking about puzzles, or more male characters, or anything like that, they thought it would be a good idea to fabricate some false urgency to spice up the game.

This game reminded me of Fatal Hearts, which I greatly prefer, and I was hoping Nicole would live up to.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 9
The writing is *painful*. The primary appeal of this genre is in the writing and development of different plot threads. I understand that college is an awkward experience for many people, especially women, who have to deal with misogyny, sexual violence, and any number of other threats. But nothing is *this* awkward.

I look forward to the developer trying again.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
Nicole is an otome visual novel with a mystery element released by Winter Wolves and made by the same team that created Always Remember Me.Nicole has just secured a place at her first-choice university when she discovers that there have been a string of mysterious disappearances. Three girls have gone missing in the past year, and Nicole could be next.The mystery is well done and quite scary. Won't go too much into it but it’s well done.Male characters while well written are typical stereotypes. Kurt the Jock, Darren the introverted Nerd, Ted the hard ♥♥♥, and Jeff the 2 faced ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.Nicole Graves the main character while interesting also is a severe ♥♥♥♥♥ at times.The other characters are just as well rounded and actually they all have pleasant surprises with them. Gameplay though becomes a bit of a chore, honestly the problem is Diligence which there are the fewest activities to do, you won’t really start building it till the market opens.There are different activities throughout the game that increase skills and clue meters by an factor based on your morale and energy. Such as in the image above, However as I stated Diligence is by far the hardest to increase. As while most skills have area’s that increase between small and large, diligence only has small increases. While yes this makes becoming diligent more accurate, this impedes actual gameplay.This should be balanced out slightly more.The sound track of the game though is amazing.Now overal this game is a slow build for the male endings, but by day 35 it picks up and gets going really well. Once it starts you get really drawn in and the first 35 are not much longer than the rest of the game, but it feels like it should have written a little faster.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
48.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Its a good game however know it's
too expensive
not enough choices to make
relationships are short and shallow

the plot is there but the execution is not
good art though

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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 6
The story is incredibly shallow and so are the characters. Predictable stereotypes.
There is no 'mystery', anyone can figure it out immediately after you meet all the characters.
Solving the mysteries involves leveling up a 'clue' stat that unlocks cutscenes, and doesn't have any interactions related to solving the mystery yourself.
The game is easy because it's predictable, but if you're not immediately sure who to date, it's punishing.
All-rounding stats is simply not possible because of the sheer amount of points you need in a single stat.

Overall, VERY disappointing. When I bought the game, the reviews were positive.
It's at least a relief to see it sliding to Mixed, already.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
If only I could've given this a neutral rating, then it would've been better.

At the beginning, I did enjoy the game though that could be a result of my favorite kinds of characters being in it, but it all went downhill after that. Well... Let's just start with pros and cons.

Pros:
-Good art for the price
-Music is suitable for the changes in mood
-The stereotypes actually worked out rather well for the characters

Cons:
-The story felt incredibly rushed. Especially in Jeff's route. Not only that, but I feel like things were just thrown in to fix inconsistencies in the storyline
-Finding out who the killer is was way too easy. It made it feel like there was no point in collecting clues in the first place.

If you like playing a game more heavily leaning towards the dating sim side than the mystery side, then yes, this game would be good for you. Otherwise, I'd can't really say that I'd recommend it. I find the story to be equally important for dating sims or for visual novels, so I was a bit disappointed.

Storyline: 4.5/10
Art: 8/10
Music: 8/10

Play the game when it's on sale is pretty much all I have to say. Would I play it again? Probably not, but I still recommend this game with a thumbs up for the art and music.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
22.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
If you're into otome/dating games, like a bit of fluff, and don't want to think too hard, this is the game for you. It's not a perfect game, but it's fun and charming if you're willing to enjoy it without over analyzing it.

The mechanics can be a little challenging at first, only because it doesn't clearly explain that in order to get the best 'true' endings, you have to really balance the order in which you max your stats by a certain time frame, and not before, or the game won't give you the 'true' ending, much to my chagrin. There's a lot of walk-throughs and guides out there for the game, but most of them fail to mention that first you work your guy's correlating stat, but not to maximum, then spam the clues stat to full, then complete your guy's stat, all before November. It's pretty simple to do on 'easy' and seriously, there's no negatives to changing the setting to easy, seriously, it'll save you a lot of headaches if you do, in case the random stat generator isn't kind to you and you put in all that work just to get the bad or normal endings.

Other than that, it's a pretty cute game. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I found it very addicting, I played through all the characters and endings in a few days. Once you get the hang of the stat system, it's easy to grind and enjoy the cut-scenes (even though it is, yes, a little grindy). The artwork is pretty and the story and character development is vastly superior to other games by the same developer.

If you can get this game on sale or discount, I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up. Just make a lot of saves, have a walk-through open to help you if you don't want to waste your time making 'wrong' choices, and enjoy the ride.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 5
So, I dont know how I ended up logging so many HOURS into this game.
I got it no more than a week ago (week ago~) and I really cant stop. But I cant really say if the game is good or not. I just want the damn guy to fall in love with me so I have to raise the stat he likes most. Then I have to be nice and even buy them gifts or they wont end up liking me. Man, men are so needy.
So I got the "good" ending and we took a selfie. Do you know how ♥♥♥♥ed i...was? a DAMN selfie?
Now I must play again and get the sexy (or it might just be sweet) ending.

Get this game
Dammit
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
I've finished the game for all normal, special, and other endings - takes about 15 hours. Overall, I really enjoyed this game. I thought the writing was great. Nicole seemed like your modern day college student. Her wit was memorable, and I'm pleased that she had faults as well, giving her a more well-rounded personality.

The mystery was not particularly difficult to figure out, but seeing how each romance dealt with it was entertaining. There were some creepy moments throughout the game - nothing scary, but it was still well done.

I suppose if I had to change something about the game, it would be less repitition. Your entire semester is identical for each path, so you start to skip the dialogues and scenes. Short of zeroing in on one of the boys' paths, there was no deviation. I felt like that may have been the intention at one point during development (Nicole breaks the fourth wall and tells you who one of the characters are - but you already know this because you've been forced to play those scenes already).

I also would have preferred more choices. It's a massive grind to get your clues and primary stat up, and I think more dialogue choices would have helped with that. Overall though, I really liked playing it and would recommend it to others interested in visual novels.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
Overall I found this game charming. I didn't think the stat gain/drain was too unbalanced (though I did notice morale plummeted 2x as fast as energy when on my Jeff playthrough) and the men started out as typical cliches (the jock, the nerd, shy guy, and country bumpkin) and then they were expanded upon. There were a few typos but they were easily overlooked because of ho far apart and few there was. My biggest complaint would have to be that sometimes the memes slipped in were eyerollers. Like, there's a pop culture reference/meme reference slipped in just about every other text block. Like, chill out you "Rollr" nerds.

I do want to say kudos though, as this is the first otome I have played where I actually liked the protagonist. I thought she was cute, if a little illogical at times. The music in the game was not bad but I found if you muted the music volume then try to put it back up you'd think it was on mute. But it doesn't seem to play the music again until there is another actual cue for the music in the Ren'Py script (my guess at least).

I am definitely going to buy the ladies segment when it comes out. Though considering there are maybe only 3 noteworthy females other than the room mate (Bethany only being mentioned in Jeff's route) I am not quite sure on how the devs will do that. Unless there are like 20 females hiding in the Ted or Darren route, I have not done either of those yet.

Also, the fct that during triggered scenes with one character you could have another boy there and raise both stats at once was a nice addition that made it feel more realistic. The boys didn't live in worlds completely independent of one another.
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6 of 11 people (55%) found this review helpful
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
Not nearly enough content for the price, it's only three months long.

If you don't do everything perfectly (and very early) you get nothing but the basic ending. Your relationship meter, clue and associated stat all have to be fully capped to get any ending whatsoever, and that's only if you did everything early enough.

The art was good, and the characters actually had personality.

I regret paying even the sale price, though. Wasn't worth it.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
I recommend this, This is very boring at the beginning, but when you start getting a part-time job, money and start getting boyfriends.. It gets interesting
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 19
Not gonna lie, I was bored at first and with all the parts without the mystery or the boys. However, once I met them and started interacting I found the game started to get fun. The game is basically an interactive with a soundtrack and no voice actors, but I believe that's common for a dating sims.

Alright, the good points; The boys are all fun and not just one-sided, the art and music are beautiful. Nicole's not bad to play and she's even fun at parts.

And here's the bad; the mystery isn't too engaging after the beginning and Nicole is a bloomin' IDIOT in how she deals with it. The replay can be boring when trying to romance the boys and if you'll probably spend your time doing some random clicking if you fill your needed stats early.

This is by no means a bad game, it's fun for what it is and very cute. While I wouldn't recommend paying 20 dollars for it, I do say give it a try. Again, the boys (the main reason we're here) are absolutely adorable and worth getting to know.

In other words, I recommend.
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6 of 13 people (46%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
I actually flipped a coin about whether to reccomend this game or not. On one hand, the characters are almost all interesting (I could have done without Kurt, as there's more than enough sexual harrassment going on in real life for me to tolerate it in my games). On the other hand, the story line is fairly boring. Partially this is because, despite the tags and the teaser, Nicole is NOT (I repeat NOT) a mystery game. In fact, the game basically tells you who the culprit is in week two (I spent the rest of the game on my first playthrough hoping desperately that was a red herring... to no avail). So, Nicoe is 90% dating sim and 10% mystery which, okay, would've been fine if it weren't for the part where even the 90% dating sim relied on completing activities and waiting for stuff to happen. You get about 8 actual cut scenes throughout the game and the rest of the game is mindlessly clicking buttons until you can generate one of those cut scenes. Worse, the autoskip feature becomes next to useless as you have to stop to mindlessly click activity buttons for "dawn, day, afternoon, dusk, and night.'

Despite the game play mechanics being annoyingly boring and the overarching mystery being, well, silly (I could go on and on and on about exactly how silly but this would involve spoilers), I found myself enjoying the interactions with Darren, Jeff, and Ted enough that I don't feel as if I wasted the money per se. I'd still recommend, if you're interested, grabbing the game when it's on sale.

(For the record, tails -- don't recommend -- won the coin toss.)
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 3
i r8 8 out of 8
g8 b8 m8
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 26
I decided to buy this since I got a 50% off coupon for it. It is very enjoyed and has a nice story and characters. Except Kurt. ♥♥♥♥ Kurt
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4 of 12 people (33%) found this review helpful
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
This was a very intriguing game, even though I got the very bad ending lol. I enjoyed every aspect of it!
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