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Gaming: A New Arrow in the Educational Quiver

How has gaming become a useful tool for education? Erin Torbiak joined Raymond Hawkins to discuss this revolutionary topic on this episode of Not Your Father’s Data Center.

Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Erin has had a long career as a developer, especially in the educational gaming area, and is now the General Manager of the ever-popular Addicting Games, the largest online games website in the US, that also englobes TeachMe, a gamifying system to produce educational content for students.

Raymond and Erin discuss the road the industry has taken and pay tribute to some of the great games that helped shape the industry where it is today, like Tetris. They look at the future of these gaming capabilities and where education sits in that pile.

Read the full episode transcript below:

Raymond Hawkins:        Hello, hello. This is Raymond Hawkins, chief revenue officer, Compass Datacenters, the host of Not Your Father’s Data Centre. We are joined from the frozen north, out of the great Canadian Province of Alberta. Erin, general manager of, I got to get this right, Addicting Games, owned by Enthusiast Gaming, partnered or buyer of TeachMe, right? Did I get all that right, Erin?

Erin Torbiak:                 TeachMe was the original startup.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. I got it out of order. Okay. TeachMe was the startup bought by Addicting Games…

Erin Torbiak:                 We bought Addicting Games.

Raymond Hawkins:        You bought Addicting Games…

Erin Torbiak:                 Yep.

Raymond Hawkins:        And then Addicting Games was bought by Enthusiast Gaming.

Erin Torbiak:                 Correct.

Raymond Hawkins:        And you are the GM for Addicting Games?

Erin Torbiak:                 Yes.

Raymond Hawkins:        All right. Got it. Excellent. Okay. From there, tell us what you guys do, but tell us what you do after you tell us who you are.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. So grew up here in Alberta, started out way in the boonies, down in the Prairies, living on a farm, being homeschooled, did a lot of educational games while being homeschooled like Math Blaster, Number Muncher, stuff like that.

Raymond Hawkins:        Hold on, Erin. If someone tells you they’re from the boonies and they grew up in Alberta, they really mean the boonies.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        I mean, the boonies in Alberta is out there.

Erin Torbiak:                 Our neighbour was a dairy farm.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. You’re out there. Okay. All right.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yep.

Raymond Hawkins:        Got it. Got it. Cool.

Erin Torbiak:                 But we didn’t farm though. We only had two cows. Only two.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. So you’re growing up in Southern Alberta, on the Prairie, homeschooled. Go ahead. We gotcha.

Erin Torbiak:                 Moved into the city around grade two. My parents actually ran an educational toy store. They’re really passionate about it, so I remember that was basically my school from grade two to grade six. I’d go into the store, do my homework, play with the things, I don’t know. Adjusted to normal school. Went to university in Lethbridge. Transferred to University of Alberta halfway through because I got a job up here at Syncrude, a big oil company, and then finished. And that’s how I started at TeachMe for a summer job, writing math questions. It was supposed to be programming, but I ended up writing word problems for the math questions, like how many pizza cats are in the attic if two of them leave? Stuff like that.

Raymond Hawkins:        So was this while you were at university?

Erin Torbiak:                 yep.

Raymond Hawkins:        You were doing summer jobs in the university. Got it. Okay.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. Yeah. Went back after I finished school and went along for the ride with my two bosses.

Raymond Hawkins:        So all those questions I got wrong in school where it was, if a train is travelling 60 miles an hour and it’s got 200 miles to get to Edmonton, and it leaves an hour ago, how far away is it from Edmonton? That was you?

Erin Torbiak:                 At least on mathgames.com, yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, that was you.

Erin Torbiak:                 Up to grade 6.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. I just want to know who I had to blame because I got all those wrong.

Erin Torbiak:                 It’s okay. As soon as we hit grade five, I have to pull up my calculator on the website anyways, so it’s fine.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay, good. All right. So you’re writing questions, you’re doing that through school. What’s your degree in?

Erin Torbiak:                 Computer science.

Raymond Hawkins:        Computer science. All right. You graduate with a computer science degree, and then what?

Erin Torbiak:                 Went back to TeachMe as a developer. Back then, we had just gone through Y Combinator as a company. So luckily I didn’t have to go live in hacker houses in Redwood City because I was doing my last semester at school.

Raymond Hawkins:        Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 So I came back on right after that. So lots of funding and connections, lots of conferences, funding. And then my bosses, Bill Karamouzis and Rhys Jones had actually built up AddictingGames.com way back in the early ’00s and sold it to Nickelodeon for a couple million bucks. And we reacquired it when Defy Gaming went under. So now we went from a three-person educational startup to now a four times bigger recreational gaming company with employees in Los Angeles.

Raymond Hawkins:        And that’s its current iteration, Addicting Games.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, Addicting Games.

Raymond Hawkins:        Got it. Okay.

Erin Torbiak:                 So it was just a bigger company, more employees. So we put TeachMe underneath that and started integrating educational and recreational together, which was… Yeah, there’s a lot of policies that needed to be made, a lot of managerial things, so I ended up helping with that, just trying to pull things together, keep things moving smoothly, because the process of Addicting Games going under was a little rough. So just getting the employees comfortable, getting the products moving again. And then once we hit our stride and were smooth sailing, we got acquired by Enthusiast Gaming for $35 million.

Raymond Hawkins:        Ooh.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        I know who to call when I need a loan. Got it. Okay. So Enthusiast Gaming’s acquisition was when?

Erin Torbiak:                 2021.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. So still fairly recent.

Erin Torbiak:                 Quarter four. Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        All right. And you said you introduced the phrase recreational gaming. For me, well, we’re going to get really deep into my gaming experience. It goes from Pong-

Erin Torbiak:                 Nice.

Raymond Hawkins:        … all the way up to Ms. Pac-Man.

Erin Torbiak:                 Ooh.

Raymond Hawkins:        I mean, I’ve got very deep gaming background. I mean Pong, was it when I was started, that was all there was. So yes, again, dating myself. At my house, we were the popular house because the Pong game in most of my friends’ houses, the little dials that you moved the paddles were on the console, so you had to hunch over the console, and everybody had to hunch by the console and turn the dials. And we were late to the game, and we actually had a cord that stuck out of our console, and your dial was detached from the console, so you could sit back on the couch and do it. And that was fancy.

Erin Torbiak:                 The first controller.

Raymond Hawkins:        That’s right. That’s right. It was a controller, and it was very complicated. It had a dial on it. So even I could function with it, I could operate it. Yes. So I just want you to have, as we get into talking about gaming, I just want you to know I’ve got incredible street cred with that kind of experience. So you probably won’t lose me at all in any of this.

                                    And then I graduated from there, of course, to Space Invaders and Asteroids, and then of course, into the Pac-Man. I mean, come on. And then my gaming stopped, and then I enter back into the world of gaming. And somehow Super Mario and first-person shooters and the world is just taken over. So anyway, all of that.

                                    Tell me, though, between educational gaming and recreational gaming, kind of talk me through both sides. Talk me through what you guys do.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, so TeachMe underneath, we have mathgames.com. That’s more an interactive online textbook. We do Common Core curriculum in the States. We have 20 to 30 other curriculums. Some provinces do their own thing, states, provinces.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, same. Got it.

Erin Torbiak:                 We also do some other countries.

Raymond Hawkins:        We speak Canadian here.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. Postal code, zip codes.

                                    And then on top of that, we actually wrote a Math Games API. So game developers can make games with math as the central. So we have this other game where you have to find the right bubble with the right number for the equation above. Students can do their assignments by playing games.

Raymond Hawkins:        So are school districts the customers for teachme.com?

Erin Torbiak:                 For the first three years, we actually didn’t even have advertisements on the site. We added them, and nobody got overly upset either. We’ve been really careful about partnering with companies that do kid-safe ads. And then we put up subscriptions that were more for teachers, teacher-priced, and we’ve just gotten into doing districts and schools in the last few years. We actually signed the entire province of Nunavut of it last year.

Raymond Hawkins:        All right. Okay. So providence-wide, they’re running TeachMe games.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yep.

Raymond Hawkins:        Got it. All right. So most of the customers, then, are one-off teachers saying, “Hey, I want my kids exposed to this,” or “This is a good way for them to learn this”? That’s how most of the customer base was built?

Erin Torbiak:                 And we also offer parent subscriptions as well for supplementary practise.

Raymond Hawkins:        And did you grow up on the school side, the educational side? I guess that’s a better way to say it. It is that that your background was the educational side, or were you both educational and recreational?

Erin Torbiak:                 I was doing both. Yeah. I was definitely playing Pitfall! and Oregon Trail at the same time as doing these educational games, and then played games all through childhood, played a lot of GTA III unsupervised at a very young age. I don’t know if that should have been allowed, but…

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yep.

Raymond Hawkins:        So if I log in to some of these games where they do them in stadiums and stuff, what is your username? What does your avatar look like?

Erin Torbiak:                 Usually Torboto.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay.

Erin Torbiak:                 Avatars, they really vary across games these days. My PlayStation one’s a duck.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. All right. Torboto. All right. Play off your last name. Got it. Okay.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, you got it.

Raymond Hawkins:        Got it. All right. All right. So the recreational side, how does that tie into Enthusiast Gaming?

Erin Torbiak:                 So under the TeachMe side, there’s still TypeRacer.com, which was a very popular type-

Raymond Hawkins:        Literally typing?

Erin Torbiak:                 … racing game. Yep, type racing. And so you get in a room with five to 10 other people, and you just type the same sentence, and you see who types it faster. So we acquired that back before AG, and it hadn’t had an update since, I don’t know, 2007, maybe.

Raymond Hawkins:        It needed one.

Erin Torbiak:                 It needed one. So we did a big redesign. We were really worried about spooking the community because they’re… I don’t know, stenographers and keyboard nerds. But it went over really well. And then it started getting picked up by keyboard-

Raymond Hawkins:        Wait, wait, wait. So the people who race are court recorders and stuff like that?

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        They race each other? People that are professional typers?

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. So you’ll see most people can only type like 120 is pretty good. A few people are just starting to reach the 200 word per minute level on a computer-

Raymond Hawkins:        Oh, my goodness.

Erin Torbiak:                 But stenographers can hit 300. So I remember when we acquired it, I had played it back in the day, and I was like, “Who are these people that are typing 300? It’s not physically possible.” But yeah, it’s because they used a lot of shortcuts and stuff, but-

Raymond Hawkins:        Ah, they’re stenographers doing shortcuts.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. All right. I’m dating myself, Mavis Beacon. I don’t even know if you know who Mavis Beacon is.

Erin Torbiak:                 No, I grew up on Mavis Beacon. Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. All right. I’m not that old. I’m so happy not to be old.

Erin Torbiak:                 My parents really believed that typing would be important in my future. So I was doing it. We had a Pentium 1, and I was doing Mavis Beacon, yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        So here’s the thing I can’t understand, Erin. If you ask me to tell you where a key is on a keyboard, I can’t tell you, but I can type all day long without looking.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, it’s very muscle memory.

Raymond Hawkins:        I don’t understand how my fingers know where the L is, but if you ask me what row, what side of the keyboard L is on, I have no idea. I couldn’t begin to tell you. You could give me 10 guesses and I wouldn’t get it right. But if you type ask me to type the word lab rat, I’m fine to type the first letter. I don’t understand how that works.

Erin Torbiak:                 I think it’s the same for T9 for cell phones. I feel the previous generation could probably tell you where each number is, but if you ask me what my passcode is, I’m like, “I don’t know.” It’s a shape. I couldn’t tell you the numbers. I have to point it out.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. You’re just drawing the image, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 It’s just muscle memory. Yeah, I’m the same way. And numbers on the keyboard are just, I don’t know.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, I don’t get it. And 120 words a minute? I think my Mavis Beacon high was about 40. So it’s a good thing that I don’t type for a living.

Erin Torbiak:                 It’s a little bit below average.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. I’m below average. It’s not the first time I’ve heard I was below average, Erin, just so you know. I’m used to it. I’ve got comfortable with it.

                                    All right. So got the educational part down. I got how that works. I got what we’re doing. I love the idea of type racing. I’m actually going to go home and Google that. That just sounds like… Because I can go in and be below average. Talk to me about the recreational side.

Erin Torbiak:                 So recreational side, we acquired Addicting Games and shockwave.com. shockwave.com is actually a strange cohort. It’s women in their 40s to 60s. A lot of receptionists. It’s like daily jigsaws, daily word problems.

                                    And then Addicting Games is the younger crowd. It’s quick, easy games that you can play for, I don’t know, 30 seconds, get a high score, go play another one. And then we also run iogames.space, which is the new web game. So we went through console games, web games were big for a bit, like Addicting Games, and then we went to apps, and I think kids got annoyed with apps because you need permissions to download every single game, right?

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, you got to go ask mom and dad every time you need to download. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 So we are coming back to web games. And so .io games are just quick games that you can get in and play online with other people in your web browser.

Raymond Hawkins:        So they’re still doing it on their phone, but they’re doing it on a browser on their phone.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yep, a lot of them are still mobile friendly, and then they’ll make apps if you can get the apps and you can play with the same people. But yeah, it’s where gaming is going, which is cool that we’ve gone full circle in what we were doing in the early ’00s is coming back.

Raymond Hawkins:        It’s all back around again. Yeah. That’s a lot of how it goes, that’s for sure.

                                    So I got to admit, I know our data centres run lots of big, crazy online gaming things, and you already talked about the consoles. And then we went to the consoles. And then the recently last, I know I’m not supposed to talk about dates, but last week Facebook came out with their new headset, I guess I want to say VR-

Erin Torbiak:                 Apple.

Raymond Hawkins:        … and I just… Apple. Yeah, that’s what it was. Apple competing with Facebook. That’s right. So are there games in there? Are they in the headsets or are those just interfaces for the games?

Erin Torbiak:                 The team currently working on Apes.io, our latest game, actually did do some development on the VR headsets back in the day. But they’re not quite where we need them to be. And not a lot of kids have them, right? They’re thousands of dollars.

Raymond Hawkins:        They’re expensive.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. What Addicting Games has really gone for is accessibility. So Apes.io, our latest first-person battle royale. You can run it on a Chromebook, which is what kids get in school.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 And that’s the same approach that we were doing for Math Games, it should run on any device that a kid has access to. So just really aiming for accessibility.

Raymond Hawkins:        They don’t need massive graphics processors and cooling device. They don’t need all that crazy stuff. “Let’s make it where anyone can run it,” is what you’re saying.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, exactly.

Raymond Hawkins:        I’m with you. In our business, people talk a lot, so in the data centre space, you’ll hear people talk a lot about edge computing. The use case for edge computing is we’re going to have all of these augmented reality and virtual reality interactions with the world, and it’s going to start with gaming, and it’s going to take over everything. And to your point, I just don’t think that we’re there from a bandwidth perspective or we’re there from the network, meaning bandwidth-specific, or there from a processor standpoint. I just don’t think we have ubiquity of the processing power to do the things that you need to do. Not that we’re going to get there, but we’re not there yet. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 Even now, your web browser runs pretty slow once in a while. You barely surf the web at amazing speeds with a device that’s a few years old.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. If you said, “Okay, we got these super accessible play on any device, happy for everybody…” What’s next?

Erin Torbiak:                 A lot of it is just building these portal websites, new games, building the communities along those. And yeah, we’re basically a game studio that does educational and recreational games, integrating with Luminosity, the team under Enthusiast Gaming, doing some eSports competitions with typing. Apes is competitive enough that it will hopefully get used in a tournament in the near future.

Raymond Hawkins:        Are there more than one game that gets played in tournaments? Do they have multiple disciplines, or are they just playing one game?

Erin Torbiak:                 Usually it’s just one game. We are thinking of almost doing kind of a company Olympics-type thing, competing across games that we own. But yeah, lots of streamers will use… I forget what they call them, but just loader fillers. So they’ll go do a few typing races while they wait to get into a lobby for Call of Duty or something that they’re actually streaming. So a lot of the games we have fill those little niches.

Raymond Hawkins:        I gotcha. It’s a place to hang out in between some other interaction you’re having online. I gotcha.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, because we have a lot of casual games, and Apes is one of our more competitive ones, but Little Big Snake. It’s a fancy Slither. Very cute. Very fun to play. I waste a lot of time on it. A lot of people play that in between their loading times as well.

Raymond Hawkins:        Little Big Snake.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        I don’t know it. You got to coach me up on it. What are we doing on Little Big Snake?

Erin Torbiak:                 Did you ever play Slither?

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 It’s kind of like Snake. You eat orbs, you try to cut off bigger snakes and then eat their orbs, things like that. But it’s very pretty and has, I don’t know, pets and stuff.

Raymond Hawkins:        So coming to the future, we may see an Enthusiast Gaming decathlon or something, eight or 10 of your games all competing against… People play all of them and how their scores add up, that’d be kind of cool.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, I think that be really neat.

Raymond Hawkins:        Enthusiast Gaming decathlon. Yeah. I like it. I like it. All right. Well, my friends in Alberta doing gaming or you’re in the oil business. Those are your two choices. And you’ve done both.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. Oil business sucked. I remember I didn’t get a computer for the first two weeks. They just gave me a book on SQL, and they’re like, “Read this.”

                                    I’m like, “Cool.”

Raymond Hawkins:        “Oh, nice. Yeah, thanks.” Yeah. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 And then using Windows XP…

Raymond Hawkins:        “I always wanted to know about database queries. Thank you.”

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, like I don’t already. And then Windows XP in 2012 using .NET 2.0, which was 10 years outdated, and just reinventing the wheel and not being able to, for security reasons. And it was very slow moving, and my bosses at the end, they’re like, “I hope we haven’t put you off of programming. Maybe you should try a startup or something more modern. Because we know you really didn’t enjoy it here.”

Raymond Hawkins:        What? You didn’t like the manual with SQL? I can’t understand that.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, I know.

Raymond Hawkins:        How did they know? That’s kind of interesting, now that I think about it. So we’re sort of like you here in Texas about every other person works in the oil business here, and it is a feast or famine business, right?

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        When business is good, they can’t hire fast enough and life’s uncontrollable. When business is terrible, laying people off, and it’s awful. It’s a very cyclical business. Very, market-sensitive business.

Erin Torbiak:                 We compare Houston to Calgary and Austin to Edmonton.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Erin Torbiak:                 It’s very similar.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. Okay. Very good. Except that you guys have the cold versions of both of those cities.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        For sure.

Erin Torbiak:                 It makes you stronger. You just have to adapt to the weather.

Raymond Hawkins:        That’s right. Hardier. Hardier people. That’s right. Much hardier. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. I bike commute all winter and it’s great.

Raymond Hawkins:        Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Nobody in Dallas bike commutes. Nobody.

Erin Torbiak:                 No. You can’t.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, it’s funny. So we have people from our Canadian offices come here and they’ll check into the hotels around the office, and they’re like, “Hey, I’m four tenths of a mile away. I’ll just walk.”

                                    And then they walk outside the hotel and they’re like, “There’s no sidewalks. There’s no way to walk.”

                                    It’s like, no, you can walk down the freeway, but then you’re going to get killed. We’re just not set up for it.

Erin Torbiak:                 I found it very annoying when I was in Houston. I was like, “You can’t go anywhere.” It says it’s an hour walk, even though it’s only a few kilometres, you just, yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. There’s no walking.

Erin Torbiak:                 Isolated.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, that’s exactly right. The concrete jungle. All right. Give us your screen name one more time.

Erin Torbiak:                 Torboto.

Raymond Hawkins:        Torboto.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        So when the next time I log into… What’d you call it? Apes?

Erin Torbiak:                 Apes.io, yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Apes.io. I can look for to Torboto and get destroyed in whatever game I’m playing.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Without a doubt.

Erin Torbiak:                 I’m a little rusty on shooters these days. I haven’t played since early Fortnite days. We played a lot, and my partner was actually top ranked in Canada for a little while, and then the kids just… I don’t know. We couldn’t keep up.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. Yeah. The kids take it over. You mentioned Oregon Trail. I played that, but that’s been years. I cannot remember how long I played Oregon Trail, but that was in early-

Erin Torbiak:                 Would you consider it an educational game?

Raymond Hawkins:        To some degree, I would say. Yeah. Yeah. Because it helped you understand the history and the process and all of that. For sure. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 Like resource management.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 I see it on lists every once in a while. I’m like, “Oregon Trail?” I’m like, “Yeah, I guess I learned some things from it.”

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, I guess I learned something. Yeah. Yeah.

Erin Torbiak:                 There’s actually a pretty neat remake on, I think Apple Arcade a little while ago, so I replayed it last year.

Raymond Hawkins:        What I’m interested in seeing, and I guess my generation, were the first video games were a central part of our lives. Arcades were a thing, and I’m interested to see how they’re remarketing those brands back to us. I mean, I already mentioned Pac-Man or whatever, but you see, get these, I saw somebody the other day, they had a console that was about twice the size of their iPhone, and it had 250 games on the little handheld, but they were all… forgive the term, classic games. They were Pac-Man and Asteroids and all these games, and I guess they just had figured out some way to give you sufficient interface on the little handheld device to play all of them.

Erin Torbiak:                 I actually got my nephew some for Christmas. Because I was like, “That’s rad.” And it’s not a phone, so it’s a little different. But yeah, I still play a lot of Tetris. There’s a version on the Switch where you compete against each other.

Raymond Hawkins:        Okay. Greatest game.

Erin Torbiak:                 With more rows? Yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. Greatest game ever.

Erin Torbiak:                 Tetris will live forever.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. It’s the greatest game ever. What I love about Tetris is that it just keeps going, right. You don’t have to stop. So that’s one of my all time favourites. You had to have watched the movie, yes? Come on.

Erin Torbiak:                 No, I actually haven’t.

Raymond Hawkins:        You’re in the business, and you haven’t watched the movie, the Tetris movie?

Erin Torbiak:                 I’m behind on my video game movies. I really need to catch up.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. I think it’s on Apple+.

Erin Torbiak:                 Okay. I have that.

Raymond Hawkins:        But it’s the history of the Russian guy who wrote it, and how it became a commercial business. It tells you the background story of how the game got out of Russia.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. Because he didn’t get credit for it for a long time. Right.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah. You got it. Yeah. Don’t give away… Okay, listeners blame Erin if she’s the give you-

Erin Torbiak:                 Spoiler alert.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, spoiler alert. Hold on. Get online and blame Torbo… something. What is it? Torbotron?

Erin Torbiak:                 Torboto.

Raymond Hawkins:        Torboto. Yeah. That wasn’t me that gave away the end. Yeah, no, that’s right. He didn’t get credit because it was still very much closed off communist Russia when he wrote the game and he did a deal with some dude in England, and then that guy lied and cheated about it. And then they did a deal with the guy in the United States, and he did a deal with Japan. This was right when Nintendo was becoming a thing. And so it tells you the whole story and it ends happily, so it’s not too bad a spoiler alert. You got to go watch it.

                                    Well, our next episode with you will be reviewing Tetris, the movie. That’s what we’ll do.

Erin Torbiak:                 I’ll also watch the new Mario one. I promised my nephews I’d take them to that.

Raymond Hawkins:        Oh yeah, I haven’t gotten that one. The new Mario movie.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. And what’s the next one that’s coming out? There’s another video game movie.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, there isn’t one. The Pac-Man one was terrible. Can we just say that?

Erin Torbiak:                 Was it?

Raymond Hawkins:        It was awful.

Erin Torbiak:                 Oh, I didn’t see that one either.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, you need to skip it. It was horrible. It was a couple of years ago. It was awful. Don’t waste your time.

Erin Torbiak:                 Not even worth it. Okay.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, still it was awful. Don’t watch it.

Erin Torbiak:                 Oh, I think they’re doing a Zelda one, aren’t they?

Raymond Hawkins:        They’re doing a Zelda one, and Tron. Yeah, that’s another one. Tron.

Erin Torbiak:                 Oh yeah.

Raymond Hawkins:        Shouldn’t have ever been made in a movie. Tron was terrible.

Erin Torbiak:                 Was it that bad? I remember being okay.

Raymond Hawkins:        Oh!

Erin Torbiak:                 That was way back in high school, though.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, that one just goes way back, that’s for sure. Yeah. Tron the movie was awful. I’m just going to follow down on the side of, we shouldn’t make movies about video games.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah, most of them don’t have enough content.

Raymond Hawkins:        That’s the moral of our podcast today. If we’ve got to come up with a signature line, that’s it. Don’t turn your video game into a movie.

Erin Torbiak:                 To be fair, I feel very strongly about that, so I’m not even upset.

Raymond Hawkins:        Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Excellent.

                                    Well, Erin, it’s been fun chatting. We’ll just say this, that video games are certainly… Because people, if I would get asked, they were part of my life from the beginning. They’re great. Whether they’re teaching kids stuff or just providing entertainment, they’re a huge part of our lives. They’re certainly part of the digital infrastructure, which is all about what we do for a living, and we’re grateful to get to laugh about them and chat with you about them and meet somebody behind the scenes who makes these things possible. And we’re so grateful you joined us.

Erin Torbiak:                 Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.