My Favourite Game Kumail Nanjiani
Edge|January 2018

The comedian and actor on Commodore 64 bootlegs and looking for emotion in game.

Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian, actor and writer. Featuring in television, film and also a few games, he is best known as Dinesh in HBO’s Silicon Valley. While shooting its fifth season, he took some time out to talk about narrative and diversity in games, his performance-capture debut, and dubious Pakistani piracy.

What is your earliest memory of playing videogames?

I had a Commodore 64 when I was very young. I would play a game called Street Surfer, and Paperboy. There was a game called Barbarian that I never figured out but I would try and play just because the graphics were cool and I like fantasy.

You grew up in Pakistan. What was it like getting hold of games there?

My Commodore 64 games were all bootlegs. What would happen is, you would look in the newspaper, and in the Classified sections there would be different people advertising games. So my dad and I would go to some random guy’s house – it was different people each time – and you’d tell them what you want, and then wait around while he copied all these games for you. I’m not proud of it, but it was the only way we could get those games.

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