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Now 301 redirects are the best way to do this according to my understandings.
Are you telling me to change that RewriteMatch in my code above with RewriteRule?
...we need to know where the query is coming from. mod_alias didn't simply invent it; it had to be there already.
RewriteRule blahblah [R=301,L]
don't quit so easily or you have wasted my time, lucy24's time and g1smd's time.
1. get rid of the 301 and leading slash
2. replace it with a ^ which is a start anchor
3. get rid of the ? in the character group
4. escape the literal period with a backslash
5. add a $ to the end of the pattern which is an end anchor
6. add a ? after the substitution string so the query string doesn't pass through to the redirected url.
RewriteRule ^play-([0-9a-zA-Z-]+)-online http://www.example.com/online-games/$1.html? [R=301,L]