Rami Ismail

S1 EP 1 – Ft. Rami Ismail

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Episode Transcription

FLOR: Hi, everyone! Welcome to a new episode of Open World. Hi, Ale, how are you?

ALEX: Hi, Flor! Hi, everyone!

FLOR: Today we’re gonna be interviewing Rami Ismail. But before we do that, shall we check the LocFact of today?

ALEX: Hi, guys! Welcome to another Open World LocFact! I’m Alexis and today, Flor is joining us to talk about transcreation.

FLOR: Transcreation is often applied in humorous and pun-intended content. One of the first games with this kind of content that I remember playing is The Secret of Monkey Island.

ALEX: Monkey Island tells us the story of Guybrush Threepwood, who is a pirate wannabe who is in love with Governor Elaine and who would always face Zombie Pirate LeChuck. This graphic adventure takes us across the Caribbean visiting several islands and meeting cheerful and unique characters along the way. The hilarious interactions between the cast along with naming and logic behind this game is something still remembered even after more than 10 years of the release of just the last part! Do you remember Murray, the Demonic Skull that would constantly terrorize Guybrush?

FLOR: Oh, yeah, how could I forget Murray? Yeah. As we said, in The Curse of Monkey Island, you would first meet Murray bobbing on a board along Guybrush’s prison. Guybrush would ask him, “Can I call you Bob?”… which actually made me laugh a lot, but once I could understand it in English, because myself, I’m a Spanish speaking native, and I didn’t get the joke if I read “Bob” right away. Right?

ALEX: Totally. I mean, this joke had to be transcreated for the Spanish-speaking players. I mean, it happened the same thing to me. When I played it in English, I didn’t get it the first time. So even though “Bob” does sound like a name, the pun with “bobbing around” would have been completely lost. So, in the Spanish version, Guybrush would ask him, “¿Puedo llamarte Calvicio?”… which in English means, “Can I call you Boldy?” referring to, well, the skull not having hair, right?

FLOR: Yeah, so jokes are often transcreated due to their cultural nature. Dialects and regionalisms are also worthy of mentioning.

ALEX: As you might imagine, the Monkey Island universe is crowded with disrespectful and violent pirates. So in English, we can hear lots of “er,” “aye!”, “ahoy, matey!” Insults, verb concordance errors and double negatives are also part of their peculiar speech, right? But this is not characteristic in every other language. So, going back to Spanish, this is not so characteristic, but the translator chose to portray this feature through common expressions used in some regions of Spain and Caribbean Spanish. I mean, they had to be careful because this could lead to some really different misleading stereotypes, right?

FLOR: Oh, yeah, for sure. You have to be really careful indeed. But that’s something that is part of the daily job of a translator, actually. Transcreation often requires not only knowledge about the language and the culture, but also the skills and the creativity to convey the intention of the original text in the target language. So, yeah, we would love to learn if you played this game and how the joke was translated into your native language. So feel free to leave us a comment below.

ALEX: Yeah, we would love to know, guys. This has been great, but now it’s time for the interview, so let’s go, shall we?

FLOR: Welcome back, everyone. Well, today we have here with us Rami Ismail. Rami is a Dutch Egyptian industry ambassador and he is an independent games developer with over 20 titles across PC, console, web and mobile. His development of tools like the industry standard presskit().com, his prolific and popular public speaking, and highly regarded consultancy and insights have helped shape industry opportunities for game communities and independent game developers of any kind in any situation and pretty much anywhere. Welcome, Rami. How are you today?

RAMI: Hi! I’m good, yeah. It’s… It’s a day, isn’t it? It’s another day. It’s been many days.

ALEX: It’s the last day.

FLOR: Yeah, I know. 2020 is almost over. Can you believe that?

RAMI: I mean, I’ve literally been running the website is2020over.com, so I’m very aware of the slow, slow march of time this year. It should start counting down very soon. I programmed it to actually count down the last few days, so I hope people are excited for that.

FLOR: Oh, really? I’ve been following that website closely. I’m not sure if you Lore or Ale have seen it, but I’m gonna share with you guys. He’s done a remarkable job on keeping track of the particular events that have happened throughout this interesting year.

LORE: There have been a few.

RAMI: It’s been a remarkably depressing thing to keep up with because, at some point, when I’m…

FLOR: I bet.

RAMI: It started as a joke, but then it started like gaining traction and people started emailing me every day with the worst news of the day, with like, “Hey, should this be on the website.” So for the past year, my mailbox was like, “Hey, you wanna talk about this. Here’s a business deal. Here’s a team that needs some help. Did you read that like 500 people are homeless now?” And I was just like, oh, my God, why did I do this to myself?

ALEX: So you’re keeping optimistic all through 2020, right?

RAMI: Right. I’ve been trying to just be like, hey, it’ll be fine. But, God, a lot happened this year. It’s almost cartoonesque how much has happened in 2020.

FLOR: Yeah, absolutely.

ALEX: The good news is that, when this episode goes live, it will be 2021.

RAMI: Happy New Year!

ALEX: Happy New Year, everybody!

LORE: Guys, we made it!

ALEX: We made it.

RAMI: I hope there are still people to listen to this.

LORE: This video cast playing into a void.

RAMI: Yeah, I just… This is what they find in millions of years when aliens find Earth, and they’re like, “Wow, this was the last culture ever created.”

LORE: This is what they spent their time doing.

FLOR: No pressure, all right?

RAMI: I mean, it’ll be a good podcast, honestly. So they’ll have a good time.

ALEX: It will be cool-looking and interesting, that’s for sure.

FLOR: Absolutely. So, yeah, I mean, we wanted to have you here, Rami, because, well, as you know, I’m pretty active in the indie community, especially in the Latin-American, Argentina community, and through the years, I’m tired of listening to indie developers that close a deal with a publisher and they handle the localization to the publisher. And whenever the their game is launched, they get feedback from their audience and from their gamers saying that the localization is pretty much shit in Russian or in any other language that it’s not English.

RAMI: Right.

FLOR: And so I wanted to know, what are your thoughts on that and what would you recommend for the indie community to do in those cases? Because they are so afraid of bringing this subject because, at the end of the day, the publisher is the one that’s giving them the money and has a lot of power, and they have pretty much no control over what’s going on on the localization front.

RAMI: Right. Yeah. I mean, in general, what I would recommend for indies, especially if localization is important to them or if they wanna make sure the localization is good, is that, when you’re negotiating with your publisher, make sure that there are some checks and balances on the localization done, right? There’s basically two major schools of how to get your game localized in indies. If it’s a small game, you’re a small developer that doesn’t have a lot of funding or might not have a publisher, you see a lot of community-level efforts. And even though those are usually nonprofessional localizers and they miss sort of that ability to translate jokes, to translate specifics, sometimes those actually end up better than the teams that publishers work with, just because the publishers sometimes just don’t really care. And that’s honestly unacceptable, how much good localization talent there is in the world and how many good teams there are that could do that work. So I think, in many cases, it’s just making sure that your publisher can’t get away with just getting it localized and not really checking it, or doing localization QA, right? Like making sure that your localization gets a check. And it’s why so many games still end up with broken Arabic, right? Like Arabic that, on first glance, even to a non-Arabic speaker, is wrong because it’s just written the wrong way or the letters are not connected. It’s just nobody’s doing QA, nobody’s checking for that. So enforcing a localization QA pass in any publisher contract is a good idea. That said, some of the better indie publishers actually have that in their process. And, you know, if you’re looking to work with a publisher, it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for, like, how is the localization received. If that is important to you, if the language is important to you, and it should be, then that should be one of the things that you check your publisher for.

ALEX: Yeah, communication. Just making sure. QA.

RAMI: Right. And that it’s one of those things that makes so much sense, right? I think a lot of people are a little scared, honestly, of localization, right?

FLOR: Yeah, that’s the key, I think.

RAMI: Because they look at it and they’re like, “Okay, we’re gonna get this thing done, and I have no good way of gauging whether it’s good.” Right? Like, I personally… Like, if you speak English, right? And that’s how you speak, and you get back this file in Arabic or, you know, Russian or French or whatever, you look at it, you’re like…

ALEX: How do I know that it’s okay? How do I know?

RAMI: Can I actually verify this? So people kind of, they feel scared to look uninformed. So instead of checking it, they just go like, “Well, let’s copy paste it.” And usually, you end up doing a huge disservice to your game, honestly. Something you work, you know, years of your life on deserves that little extra check at the end to make sure that the language is correct, and the language renders correctly and the language is translated correctly, and the context of every sentence is correct. And I think a lot of that is just process that a lot of indies haven’t gone through and haven’t worked on. For that reason, I think it’s important to talk about how to do it properly, right?

ALEX: Yeah. Totally.

LORE: I mean, if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right. So you touched on a couple of these topics in your 2015 GDC presentation called We Suck at Inclusivity, and we’ve all been talking about this a lot.

ALEX: We loved that.

LORE: We’ve really been enjoying it, and we’re super excited to pick your brain about it a little bit more. And I know there’s no single answer to this question, but what would you recommend to those of us like myself, who are really quite privileged to be native English speakers living in a country with, you know, relatively easy access to the education and the resources necessary to get into the gaming industry? I mean, how can we suck less at inclusivity?

RAMI: Well, I think one of the first things is just to, every time you go to anything that requires you to fill out something, just take a moment to see if there’s any other language that is in, right? And, honestly, that is one of the biggest things that I’ve come across. Like over the years, I’ve worked with independent developers around the world, right? And not just in North America or Europe, but I’ve extensively traveled South America, Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific region. I met with developers there that just… I couldn’t necessarily speak to, right? I speak a little French, I speak a little German, I speak Arabic, I speak Dutch, I speak English and some ancient languages that no longer exist out of education. The Dutch teach a lot of languages because we’re a tiny language and nobody speaks Dutch. So instead, we get taught to speak all the other ones. But even then, it was hard for me to communicate in most of those places and I would need translators. And the thing I realized is, you can’t really get a feeling for just how hard it is to communicate anything unless you’ve ever been in the situation where nobody understands what you’re saying. And if you’re an English speaker, that is exceptionally hard, right? To end up in a location where nobody understands what you’re trying to say, and the only thing you have left is like gesturing. Like you could go to the middle of… to the middle of nowhere in most countries and you will still find somebody who at least has a little English and can go like “left” or “right” or “that way” or “sorry.” Well, in most languages, you wouldn’t even be able to… For most people around the world, if they go to a country where they don’t speak the language, they wouldn’t even be able to communicate the word “sorry” across that line. So one of the things that I found is, whenever you type anything into a field on a website or whenever you have to submit anything to… anything at all, just look around to see if there’s any way to do that in a different language, right? Because the reality is that, even though most of the world speaks English at some level, it’s just not high enough to fill out an entire form of complicated questions or to… for talks, right? To communicate what a talk is about. Or for a game, to fill out the requirement form. But it’s like, “Okay, well, what game are you making?” And then we’re just talking about the language, right? Like, these are the language barriers. On top of that, there’s the economical barriers and geographical barriers. There’s a ton of other barriers that are out there. But just language is such an invisible barrier around the world to a lot of people, that just making yourself aware of it is honestly quite fascinating. One thing I always recommend is for people to switch their keyboard to Arabic, and then, at Google, instead of going to Google.com, go to the Arabic Google page and just type something in the… Really, Google? You’re gonna…?

LORE: Guest appearance by Google.

RAMI: Right. And then just browsing an Arabic website, right? Like, I’m sure the Arabic website… Because a lot of those won’t have an English language option either. And then just kind of good luck finding anything, right? Or on the Arabic Wikipedia, try to get to the page for philosophy, right? Like the joke on Wikipedia is that every page eventually leads to philosophy, right? Try and get to the Arabic page for philosophy without ever cheating by looking at the English translation for a page, right? That’s how hard it is for a lot of people to navigate your, you know, diversity page, like to submit to a diversity initiative or to submit to a game or to submit to a grant, submit to a fund, submit to a talk, give a talk. That’s how hard it is. And if it’s that hard, then it’s not fair, right? That’s not how hard it should be. So I think the best thing you can do is put yourself in that situation and genuinely just experience how distressing it is to realize that you are not even a consideration somewhere.

ALEX: Yeah. Equalize the experience for everybody, right?

RAMI: I mean, ultimately, everybody would have easy access to something, right? But the difference in how much… the difference in accessibility is so enormous that it’s not even on the radar for most people. Like most people have never considered language. And that talk, the We Suck at Inclusivity talk in how language creates the largest invisible minority for games… I get a lot of messages from people still that are like, “Yeah, we have literally never considered that. This seems to be a problem. How do we fix it?” I was like, well… that’s how invisible it is. Like even the most well-intended people forget about the world, right? Because English does well enough for them. That’s a shame.

ALEX: Yeah. I mean, it’s five years old and it’s relevant still today.

RAMI: It’s never good news.

ALEX: On that note, on making, I mean, I was thinking about games, but making things more inclusive, right? Let’s talk about games. What would you say that is the most difficult aspect for titles, right? Mostly indie titles. I mean, a bunch of them don’t really have text or conversations or that much words to localize, right?

RAMI: Right.

ALEX: But what about those games that are based on non-spoken or non-written languages? What things they should consider? Or what do you think that it’s the most difficult aspects?

RAMI: So the thing is that there’s two sides to this discussion, right? You’ve got the Western-inspired, Western-based games that need to localize into other cultures and languages. And then you’ve got the non-Western made or inspired games that have to localize into the Western market. And it turns out that the one way is relatively easy, right? If you wanna go from a Western-inspired game about Western mythology, Western culture, or Western history to any other culture or language, that’s relatively straightforward, right? We all know what a dollar means, even without expressing what a dollar is, and we all know what an interstate is without having to explain that this is a big road that people travel large distances on and that it has sort of like this mythology of road trips. Like, we all know that because we’ve seen Home Alone, we’ve seen Die Hard, we’ve watched the movies with, you know, the big dusty road onto the horizon with like a little hay bale like going across. Like, we know instantly what it means, right? You can imagine. Seriously, if I tell you, like, imagine an intersection there and it’s like one interstate with two dusty roads left and right. I can ask you to imagine the mailbox, and I can guarantee you that I know which mailbox you’re imagining, right? And it’s a little rusted and a little crooked, and the door is a little open. And there might or might not be a little flag there. It might have fallen off as well, right? But you can imagine that. If I asked you the exact same thing in the Netherlands… nobody would know, right? So for somebody to use that sort of cultural shorthand becomes really hard for other places. So this question has two sides because you go, okay, how do you culturalize and localize a product made in a culture that most of the world understands and has a feeling with? The question is relatively simple. You make sure that the text that there is communicates well, right? And that there is nothing that is specifically upsetting to the specific culture in there, right? For our games, for example, as an Arab Muslim, we’ve done a lot of post-apocalyptic games, right? And in most Western-based, post-apocalyptic fantasies, alcohol would be a relatively big presence, right? Like an empty bottle, a beer here or something there to deal with the stress of the world. None of my work has ever included that, right? Like none of the games I’ve worked on, even though it was not Arabic productions or Muslim productions. But it just didn’t make sense for me to make a game in which you deal with loss or hurt by including alcohol, because that’s not what I would do, right? So it’s not just language that localizes, right, that has to translate across. So from Western to other places, mostly you just don’t… don’t make people angry. The other way around, though, is much harder, because if you want to translate a certain feeling that is culture-based or locale-based, you want to express a phrase that only works in one language or that only works with the cultural understanding of that language, it’s a lot harder. Like if I told you that there was sort of a slang in Arabic that sort of denotes the poorer part of the population, you would be able to translate that to an English thing, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would be close, but it wouldn’t have that connotation, right? The same connotation that it would have in Arabic. And I think… In Arabic, we have a phrase… [speaks in Arabic]. Like, “I hope you bury me.” Which sounds really dark, like I hope that you bury me.

ALEX: Yes, it kinda does.

LORE: Little bit.

RAMI: But it’s actually meant as a complement, right? Like, I would much rather you bury me than me have to deal with the pain of burying you.

ALEX: Right. Okay.

RAMI: Which is actually meant as, like, a loving statement. Good luck translating that.

FLOR: It’s sweet, though.

RAMI: Like, good luck finding a way to communicate something that is so based on the idea of death and love in a specific culture, a culture that treats those things very different to the Western one that most of us are familiar with, and just realize that we’re losing games there, right? Because those games don’t get made. And the amount of indies I talk to that… Coffee Talk, from Toge Productions in Indonesia, for example. Wonderful game about running a café. It is a Dutch consideration, right? I wanted to say “coffee shop,” but in the Netherlands, a coffee shop sells weed, not coffee. So I stop and go “café.” But like a place where you buy coffee in Seattle, right? Instead of in Jakarta or Indonesia. Because explaining their world was complicated enough without also having to explain their culture or their locale, so I kind of sneaked it in.

ALEX: Right.

RAMI: So many games get set at the safe location because it’s easier. It’s risky enough making games, especially if you’re in emerging territories, especially if you’re in a place where the industry isn’t that strong yet, you know? And it hurts… It genuinely hurts seeing that these developers have to make this choice. And I don’t hold it against Toge to do that because of course you do. It’s hard enough. Come on. But it would be good if there were ways around that. And I think it’s just empowering the developers around the world, like give them the safety and the security to take those risks. Because I can’t wait for those, right? I can’t wait for the small stories from different cultures, right? From the wide variety of cultures around the world.

FLOR: Last week we were talking with Daniel Monastero from Brazil, and he is eager to make a game that is based specifically on Brazil.

ALEX: Specifically in Brazil. São Paulo culture.

RAMI: Right.

FLOR: Yeah. São Paulo culture.

ALEX: Hardcore São Paulo culture.

RAMI: But that’s it, right? That’s the wonder. Like that’s the wonder of our medium is, if you play a game, you become the people in it, right? And you assume that role. That’s the beauty of it. I’ve been in Western boots too often. Like genuinely. And my feet are tired of them. I just want somebody else… You know what they say, you can be in anybody’s shoes. I don’t know, anybody looks a lot like the same people to me. I’m just a little tired of it. And I think that’s… I didn’t realize how tired I was of it when I gave that talk. I was just angry. I gave that talk because I was angry that we were… the industry was so proud of its inclusivity, and I’m like, “Hello! Have you met… all of Earth?” But now I’m just sad because I know that every year that passes, we’ve missed on like dozens of games like that, where somebody set off with that idea. And I hope it works, right? I hope this game works, but usually it gets watered down so much to make it palatable, or in the translation, so much is lost because it gets westernized to be understandable or simplified to not be as dependent on understanding the culture, that it’s a shame. So I hope for a stubborn and brave game that is without excuses and apologies about São Paulo.

LORE: It’d be nice. I’m hearing…

ALEX: I mean, he…

LORE: Oh, go ahead, Ale.

ALEX: No, no, please, Lore.

LORE: I was just gonna say, I’m here in Wisconsin, the United States, and in a rural part of Wisconsin, on top of it. I mean, I’m in an area where people think that even going to Chicago is a giant culture shock. So, yeah, it’s very needed. And it would be refreshing to get something actually different, you know? We are so set in our ways here. Like you said, I mean, there’s just so much out there.

RAMI: Right. And the thing is, like, one of the sad things about this, one of the difficult things about this one is that America is not monolithic either, right? Like the U.S. is… I should stop saying America. I’m making an intentional effort to stop saying America, start saying the U.S. A few years ago, I was doing an interview after a panel I did, a panel called #1ReasonToBe at GDC, where it brought developers from all around the world to talk about the opportunities and challenges of making games in the countries they’re from. And afterwards, one of my favorite journalists was interviewing that group, and he said like, and he asked one of my speakers from South America, “So how does it feel to be in America?” He looks to me, like, “I was born in America.” He said, “You were born here?” He said, “No, I was born in South America. That’s also America.” Like, “I don’t know why you all keep saying America.” Like, “I’m from America.” He shared with me this amazing cartoon of Captain America, I’m sure you’ve seen it, where Captain America… It’s in Spanish, I think, and it has Captain America, right, at a desk with his name tag. And somebody calls and it’s like, “Captain America, Captain America, come help!” And Captain America is like, “What can I help with?” And it’s this old lady, and she’s like, “I’m in Chile, and somebody stole my bag.” And he’s like, “No, you don’t understand. I’m Captain America.” She’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Chile, America. America.” The next frame is him looking at the world map, and then the final frame is him sitting at his desk, and now the name tag says “Captain United States.” And he sent that to me and I laughed about it.

FLOR: It feels sad because it’s like that.

RAMI: It is exactly true, right?

ALEX: I don’t know if I should laugh or if I should like be sad about it or something. But it’s funny or it’s sad because it’s true, either way. Either way that it struck you, it’s true.

RAMI: So the United States is not monolithic, right? So even within the United States, there are so many narratives and stories that we’ve never heard that deserve to be celebrated. At the same time, part of me is like, even when it comes to that, there is that cultural shorthand that we talked about before. Part of that still remains in those stories, right? I will 100% champion games from not the usual places in the United States. And there’s so many cultures and so many places out there. But that would be such a minor fix to a major problem, right? Giving those people the ability to tell their stories is important and it should happen, but if that’s where we stop, if that’s where we go, like, “We fixed it,” then… we didn’t. We just did like the simplest fix to the entire problem.

ALEX: It’s a nice first step, right? A nice first step.

RAMI: Right. Every step is a good step. I’ve stopped… I used to think that the only way you fix things is by fixing them. And I’ve come to realize that that’s not how it works. You fix things very slowly, very painfully, very tiny steps. And it’s taken me ten years. Like I’ve worked on this problem for ten years. No, seven years, to be really fair, of going to all these places around the world and I’ve helped set up developer communities and developer associations, I’ve connected people that normally would not be able to go to events with events. I’ve connected them with publishers, I’ve scouted for people. And I’ve made maybe like 1% progress, right? You look back and it’s like the change is minimal. But then, at the same time, in South America, you see that they’ve realized that one of their biggest strengths in the region is that they all understand each other. And you get this amazing collaborative effort across the entire continent of South America, where just people are like collaborating with each other and like help each other. There’s a few countries up in the north of South America, I guess, that aren’t fully included in that. But most of the continent is working together at this huge push, presenting, helping each other. And it just makes me happy to see that, right? Because the first time I went to the continent, it was like cities. Cities have communities, right? And they were not talking to each other. And now you’re looking at it, it’s just like… Wow, the momentum here is incredible. And I could’ve been sad about, you know, only being able to help in tiny cities every now and then, but you see that these small changes create awareness, right? And awareness changes the world in general. So… Awareness is increasing, but a long way, because we’re not talking… Language is one of the most complicated topics on earth. Like for localization, like the amount of respect I have for anybody in localization is just through the roof, right? Like, it’s… I do not understand how you do your job because… the amount of…

FLOR: Well, we can be hours talking about localization, for sure.

RAMI: The amount of weight there is to a word, right, beyond just the meaning of it is preposterous. And it’s so easy to forget that the way people express themselves through language is so soft. It’s so soft, it’s so undefined, it’s so… You know, like using a word in the wrong way can be meaningful. But how do you translate that across, right? How do you do that? How do you translate that to another language?

FLOR: That’s the beauty of localization and the job of every single linguist out there that is working their magic, right?

RAMI: So wonderful. So wonderful.

FLOR: So, yeah, I mean, we could be talking for hours and hours, and I know that you have a super busy schedule ahead of you today and the next couple of weeks, probably for the holidays, but we wanted to close because I don’t know if you’re familiar with this section, but every single episode we close it with a meme round to end on a high note.

RAMI: Oh, I already used my Captain America one!

FLOR: We prepared a couple of good ones that I hope you enjoy, so I’m gonna go ahead and share my screen now.

RAMI: This is the most… Yes, this is me.

ALEX: Yeah. Don’t touch my PC.

RAMI: I mean, I think I was usually the cousin, to be honest, growing up.

FLOR: Oh, really?

RAMI: We never had a… We never had a gaming PC. We were like… I grew up relatively poor, so we never had a console or anything. So whenever I was at a cousin’s place, I would play with their Game Boy or their GameCube, and they would literally do this into the room to make sure I didn’t overwrite their saved game with, like, 149 caught Pokémon, and I just started a new game. And they’re like, “Do not save! Do not save!”

ALEX: “But I chose Bulbasaur.”

FLOR: So, yeah, the next one.

ALEX: How do you handle that?

FLOR: Yeah.

LORE: You can hardly be mad.

RAMI: Yeah. I think this is… I think if my life was video, it would probably just be this over and over. It’s like, “It is… acceptable.” You know? That kinda…

LORE: Begrudgingly allowing it.

RAMI: This is my Twitter.

FLOR: Yeah, I was gonna mention that. This is you over Twitter, right? By the way, if everyone tuning in doesn’t follow Rami over Twitter, you should, because it’s very, very entertaining and it can get a little steamy over there.

RAMI: Right.

ALEX: But it’s full of true things. It’s all true.

FLOR: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

RAMI: I try. For any of the jokes or puns I post, the reaction you’ll probably have to them is on the screen right now. Most of my jokes hit that level, so.

LORE: Oh… Yeah.

RAMI: You know, I literally use this in design talks where I teach design to people. I use this to explain human-computer interaction, or the way our brain brings a certain intent to a game, and then you press a button, the game processes it and then outputs what happens back to your brain so you can have a new intent. I use this as an example to explain the most basic version. You know, a logo comes up on the screen… You’re booting up the game, the logo comes up on the screen, your brain goes, “In most games, I can skip this with Escape.” So what do you do? Your press Escape, and then the logo does or doesn’t disappear. If it does disappear, you go, “Right, I can do that in this game.” And then every time the game starts, you do that. If it doesn’t work, what does your brain do? It goes, “Okay, maybe Spacebar.” And then, you know, like that’s how kind of that loop works. It’s just, in games, it happens 30 times a second. Actually, can you send this to me? Because this could be really helpful.

LORE: Yes.

FLOR: Absolutely.

ALEX: Yeah.

FLOR: Oh, the next one.

LORE: Oh, why is that so true?

FLOR: I know, right?

RAMI and ALEX: This hurts.

RAMI: Yeah, it hurts.

ALEX: You don’t need to localize that. I mean, it’s understandable in every single language in the world.

FLOR: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, this one is one of my favorites.

ALEX: I love this show, man.

FLOR: Yeah.

LORE: Me and my husband playing co-ops.

RAMI: Right.

ALEX: I go for the knee, just to keep it safe. Just in case.

RAMI: I have a friend, and she literally… One time we were playing The Division, and the one thing she wanted to know if she could shoot animals. And she shot a dog and we quit the game, because it was just, it was done. She could not play the game anymore. Like her character had shot a dog, and she’s like, “I’m out. I did not think that would work. It worked. I feel awful. Let’s never play this game again.”

ALEX: First thing?

RAMI: It was literally the first thing she came across. It was like an hour into the game, we’d done the tutorial mission, and she’s like, “A dog! Let’s see if I can shoot it.” And it was like, bam!, the dog went… [yelps]. It just went down. And she’s like, “Okay, we’re done.”

ALEX: Like playing Animal Crossing or something like that.

RAMI: Right. So that’s why I play Destiny, where you can’t shoot the dog.

FLOR: Yesterday we were talking about John Wick, the first one, and I couldn’t go past… I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I’m gonna do a big spoiler here. But I couldn’t pass the scene where they killed the dog. I was like, “I hate this movie! I cannot watch it anymore.” So I feel your friend.

RAMI: I mean, to be honest, the one thing I will say about John Wick is that the revenge for the dog is very worth it.

LORE: It makes it worth it, yeah.

RAMI: I mean, it’s shit about the dog, but…

LORE: Yeah. I mean, he’s killed hundreds of people and it feels 100% justified, you know?

FLOR: Oh, absolutely. But I had to take a couple of minutes to collect myself.

LORE: I understand.

ALEX: How many people get shot in the face just because they killed the dog?

RAMI: It’s like 100+ people or something.

LORE: There’s someone online that has the number of it.

RAMI: I think my favorite thing is, at the end of that movie, you just genuinely sit there like, “Yeah, that seems fair.“

LORE: Yeah. That’s so right.

ALEX: Sounds about right.

RAMI: It’s really weird. Oh, no. I literally have the bottom controller. So, like, it’s sitting right there off screen. Because I’ve been playing flight simulator so much.

LORE: What?

RAMI: So I have, like, the throttle thing and the steering wheel. I have all of that sitting here, so I feel a little embarrassed by it.

ALEX: So your controller is like the bottom picture?

RAMI: I literally have like maybe like the bottom quarter of that. The left bottom quarter of that setup is just sitting like literally right there.

FLOR: That’s impressive.

LORE: That is impressive.

ALEX: That’s impressive.

FLOR: And this one, for all the game developers out there.

RAMI: Oh, no! No. No!

ALEX: Now you know, Rami. Now you know.

RAMI: I have about 700 unfinished prototypes in a folder, like, that’s… I guess…

FLOR: Only 700?

RAMI: Yeah. Yeah. But I made 20 out of them, right? Oh, no. This is horrifying. You said this was lighthearted, that it would make me feel better. This was fun.

FLOR: It was an absolute pleasure. Yeah.

LORE: So much.

RAMI: Thank you so much for having me.

ALEX: Thank you very much, Rami.

FLOR: I hope you have a lovely holiday season, and hope to see you again next time, hopefully in person, because last time we had a great time in Mendoza, at the EVA Mendoza. So I really look forward to seeing you soon, and take care. Stay safe. Wear a mask.

RAMI: Right. Yeah.

FLOR: And I hope to see you around soon. Thanks, everyone, for tuning in to this episode.

ALEX: Thank you, everyone. Thank you, Rami.

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