First of the year.
We need to start somewhere, after all.
New mail, who dis?
So, if you’re receiving this, there is a good chance that you were a subscriber of my previous newsletter. Hope this is not bothering you but if so, just unsubscribe. Or maybe stay a while and see where I go. Everything you need to know is here.
Yeah, I feel like I’ve started this newsletter, among other things, to try to start building again after 2020. It’s been a very difficult year, full of changes and also new things. So now it’s time to move on, I guess. New beginnings.
Last year I used YearCompass to plan my 2020 and wrap up 2019. As you can imagine, things didn’t really go as planned (or did they? My booklet is stuck in my office and I haven’t had the chance to get it and review 🤷♂️). But still, I think this is a great exercise, so I’m doing this for 2021, which starts with so many questions.
As some of you might know I have a daily Tarot practice, which helps me thinking and focusing. I will write about it occasionally in this newsletter, especially if you are interested. For now, in the last days of 2020 I did a Yuletide spread. One card a day, for 12 days, to think about the coming year. It’s been interesting and you can follow all of it on my Instagram here.
This is a hyperlocal thing. Last year I made a weird game about a concept which is typical from my hometown. It’s called Maccaja, and it’s a particular metereological phenomenon characterized by low clouds and a warm and very humid wind. It is associated also to a melancholic and somber state of mind. This word, which comes from my dialect, has become famous in Italy through a particular song (Genova per Noi) by jazzist Paolo Conte, who uses six words to describe it:
Mist, fish, Africa, sleep, nausea, fantasy.
There is an Italian shop making risograph prints inspired by the singer songwriter Italian tradition, and one of them (or better, six of them) is inspired by that song. I find this set really beautiful and I’m seriously thinking about it.
Look at everything Ciao Discoteca Italiana has in stock. It’s pretty cool.
Also, listen to Paolo Conte’s song. It has the perfect Maccaja mood.
You can play my game here, if you like (it looks weird, it was for a PS1 style competition, it has also been made in like 3 hours, so don’t expect too much).
Something to watch today.
Even if you don’t have any time, make a minute of your life better. This short is so sweet and makes me badly want to learn puppetry. What is normal? Nothing, really.
And something else to consider watching
When the things told in this Italian docuseries happened, I was just a kid. And yet, I remember a lot of this story, in a nebulous and confused way. And I know for non-Italian readers this might not be as interesting as it has been for me. However, I think SanPa - Sins of the Savior, which you can watch on Netflix, is a really well made piece of media.
It tells the story of one of the biggest drug rehab facilities in Europe, San Patrignano. A community founded by a quite eccentric person. A community bordering on being a cult. A story of some lights and many shadows, all coming from the central figure of his founder, former parapsychologist Vincenzo Muccioli and from some of the people that lived in that community, and that later became important parts of it. It also tells a lot of Italy just before the first Berlusconi government, a country which had seen, not many years before, the violence and tension of terrorism.
I have seen many friends and schoolmates dying from heroin. At some point in my life, it was pretty everywhere. And this community was something I heard talking about without ever realizing the big picture, what was actually happening (I guess that’s the same old story of the fish and the water). Now I’m detached enough to understand. And I recommend you to have a watch, even if you don’t know much about Italy.
And something to play
This newsletter is supposed to talk about games, and I just reckon I didn’t do it in this first issue. I don’t want to leave it without something on topic. So, here’s a game that I played in 2020 and which somewhat I keep thinking about and it has partly inspired the PhD in games anthropology I’m about to start.
Made by Chella Ramanan and Claire Morwood, under the label 3FoldGames, Before I Forget tells the story of Sunita, a woman living with early dementia. The game lasts about one hour but is dense in content, well designed and a good example of why this kind of short games really need to exist. I will come back to the idea of small, meaningful games, and how and why we need to support them, but in the meantime give it a play. You can find it here.
During the first lockdown I attended a short course in graphic narratives at the Royal Drawing School in London. It wasn’t my first class there, but it was the first entirely held on Zoom. As much as I missed a bit the studio life, I absolutely enjoyed the dynamic between the group of students and our amazing teacher, Sarah Lightman.
So much that we ended up making a zine all together. I really loved working on this and I am extremely honored to be among all these exceptional artists. We are selling them now on our website, so, check us out!
So, this is it. The first issue is done. See you in a month, if you like. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you!
Sending love ❤