20 Frames: A Girl Walks Alone at Night

It’s time to extend 20 Frames to movies! Few days ago me, Henrik, Niklas and Louise went to a public screening of A Girl Walks Alone at Night. I guess the movie can be described as an Iranian vampire western: even though it was produced in the US, the entire movie is in Persian (and I watched it with Swedish subtitles hahaha) and most of the cast is Iranian. It is a vampire movie, but it’s not horror at all; it’s a really beautiful and simple love story.

I was incredibly impressed by every single shot of this art-house movie. Completely in black and white, every frame of A Girl Walks Alone at Night looks so balanced and perfect in so many ways; there is an amazing use of light which of course amplifies the effect of the monochromatic style. I decided to put some of my favorite shots below, and I would advise you to watch the movie if you want to experience something different. I think it’s the kind of movie that you really dislike or really appreciate, so yeah, it’s a bit risky I guess. The movie also features an amazing soundtrack ranging from Iranian to American songs, from folk to techno music. You can click on the pictures to see the entire frames.

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20 Frames: Dear Esther

A couple of weeks ago I finally got my new desktop PC, a tiny VR-ready beast. I will use it to prototype and develop some VR experiments, but now I also have an incredible gaming machine. I’m spending some time playing games from my backlog, but tonight I thought “hey, I should play Dear Esther again”; it’s important to remember how pretty some games can be.  And yes, The Chinese Room’s work didn’t disappoint at all; actually, quite the opposite! Dear Esther was released in 2012 and it’s still ridiculously beautiful. To be more specific, Dear Esther was released in 2009 (when I played it) in the form of a Half-Life 2 mod. After some years, the developers decided that it deserved a full remake and everyone agreed with them.

Anyway, I also couldn’t resist taking the chance for a new post of a new 20 Frames post (previosuly: Firewatch and DRIVECLUB). The game doesn’t feature a photo mode (or at least not that I know), so I just took screenshots as if I was wandering around the island taking pictures with my full-frame :) The game is divided into four chapters, so there’s not so much visual variation, but everything is so beautiful and magical… Dear Esther was one of the most influential games for me when I started making games; it is regarded as one of the first attempts at making art-games, and at the time it felt revolutionary because you could only walk and enjoy the environment (which is also the reason why many gamers didn’t like it). Enjoy the frames and feel free to use them however you want, as long as you credit me.

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Unthinking Majority, Uneducated Democracy

Serj Tankian is by far one of my favorite artists in rock music. His funny nasal voice is clearly love it or hate it (he really makes weeeeird voices while singing); in my case I totally love it. Lead singer of System of a Down, he went on a solo career during George W. Bush presidency, denouncing his mandate and his war politics. Even in the years after, he’s been active denouncing social problems and injustice. Two of his songs I particularly like are The Unthinking Majority (2007) and Uneducated Democracy (2012), both timely considering what’s going on in the UK with Brexit and Donald Trump’s run for the White House. I don’t particularly love the sound of Uneducated Majority, but I think the lyrics are very powerful. If you don’t digest rock, he also made a full orchestrated concert (Elect the Dead Symphony) and another symphony album (ORCA).

We don’t need your democracy.
Execute them kindly for me.
Take them by their filthy nostrils
Put them up in doggy hostels.

We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority

We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority

I believe that you’re wrong
Insinuating they hold the bomb
Clearing the way for the oil brigade
Clearing the way for the oil brigade

I believe that you’re wrong
Insinuating they hold the bomb
Clearing the way for the oil brigade
Clearing the way for the oil brigade

Ooooohahh…

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

Anti-depressants
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable
Making life more tolerable

I believe that you’re wrong
Insinuating they hold the bomb
Clearing the way for the oil brigade
Clearing the way for the oil brigade

We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority

We don’t need your democracy.
Execute them kindly for me.
Take them by their filthy nostrils
Put them up in doggy hostels.

(We don’t need your hypocrisy
Execute real democracy.
Post-industrial society
The unthinking majority
The unthinking majority

I believe that you’re wrong
Insinuating they hold the bomb
Clearing the way for the oil brigade
Clearing the way for the oil brigade

When doors of hope open
To illuminate silence
Release us to the Utopians
Let go of your resistance

As sex scandals dictate
The winding road of realpolitik
The bully runs from his corner
Images rule through the media
Hungry hunger further
The hungry hunger further

Thanks for allowing us to fuck you
Behind closed doors, closed minds
Attractive feudalism
Commercial Orwellianism
[x2]

The final revolution
Will illuminate silence
Release us to the Utopians
Let go, let go

In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
Without an education there is no real democracy
Without an education there is only hypocrisy

Just you
Sitting alone

Open your eyes
Open your mouths
Close your hands
And make a fist
Down with the system
As we lay helpless against the machine
[x3]

As sex scandals dictate
The winding road of realpolitik
The bully runs from his corner
Images rule through the media
Hungry hunger further
The hungry hunger further

Thanks for allowing us to fuck you
Behind closed doors, closed minds
Attractive feudalism
Commercial Orwellianism

The final revolution
Will illuminate silence
Release us to the Utopians
Let go of your resistance
[x2]

In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
Without an education there is no real democracy
Without an education there is only hypocrisy
[x2]

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Touring around Europe, pt. I

In the past two months, I’ve been traveling quite a lot. From time to time I use this blog as a sort of diary, so I think it’s time to write something about the places I’ve recently visited. I traveled around because I found myself in the position of having to find a new place where to stay and, since finding one takes time and effort, I decided to take this chance to visit some good friends and keep my mind busy.

Around the end of April I booked a plane ticket to Berlin (if you live in the Malmö/Copenhagen area, you should know that Norwegian Airlines has some incredibly cheap flights for, like, 20 bucks one-way!) where I visited my friends Dennis and Arie (plus Dirk and Sid who were also being hosted at the same time, WHAT A GANG!). We know each other because we all lived in Breda (Netherlands) where we used to study. Staying with them was super nice and I’m very grateful to them for giving me a couch in their living room. I also got a desk where I could work but, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t focus that well on developing Memoir En Code: Reissue. I made some small progress, but yeah, I feel kinda bad for how long it’s taking me to close this project.

Anyway, Berlin is a really cool city (and terribly noisy), I’ve met some other friends there (ciao Lorenzo), and I had amazing dinners for as little as 13€ (which, apparently, it’s quite expensive for the standard, CRAZY!). AFter a couple of weeks there I took my flight back to Malmö in order to attend Creative Coast Festival and Nordic Game Conference 2016. Creative Coast was awesome (thanks Johan), it was nice to meet again with many of my dev friends (godnondeju Roel!). It was absolutely lovely, I’ve met many people doing super cool stuff, which made me excited about getting back to work. Also, Joonas had an amazing live performance, so thank you Finnish boy!

I had quite some fun taking pics during the gig

Back in Malmö I happily hosted Andrea (the most handsome Italian game journalist) and we joined the Nordic Conference. FANBOY ALERT The highest point was when I met Kojima (who I actually met already at GamesCom around 6 years ago). He signed my copy MGS3 and we took a picture together. He was very kind and he thought I’d use my phone for the pic. When I picked my a7II he laughed, and then he laughed even more when, instead of taking a single pic, I took like 35 shots in Continuous Shooting mode. It was fun, and he confessed he didn’t know Metal Gear Timeline (argh!), but yeah, he was extremely cool and I’m still super happy that this happened. The day after I met him again after his QA session (#NotAStalker), and while everyone was bringing common stuff to get signed, I brought with me a fairly rare disc that I found many years ago in a flee-market in Palermo. It’s usually referred to as the “Kojima Red Disc”, and it’s a soundtrack that mixes tracks from Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. When he saw the disc he was kinda in shock, and he said something in Japanese which the interpreter translated as “he says he doesn’t even have that one!”; it was actually hilarious. I actually have two of these discs (one even sealed) and I think I’d like to try and send it to him if I find a way.

DSC09118

Kojima now embeds the peace symbol in his signature

That week was a very special week, I felt really good for the first time in a fairly long time, but I also had to leave again. Got on a bus, sliding doors close, said goodbye for good. Another flight and I’m back in Berlin, once again abusing the kindness of my friends over there. Arie convinced me to get Overwatch, which is super fun (and I wish I felt like playing it more often these days, I’LL FIX THIS, I PROMISE!) and me and Dennis went to Verdena’s concert. It was such a cool gig compared to the Italian ones (which are usually super big and overcrowded). This time I even found a way to get in the club during the soundcheck (like, 5 hours before the concert started) so I could meet and talk with Alberto, Roberta, Luca and Joseph, the members of the band. It’s quite fascinating how people that you consider absolute idols (I listen to their music since I’m 14), are just normal people doing their own art. I don’t know, it’s kinda obvious but also weird. We talked about music, about their plans, it was so nice, and the gig was super good (I think Dennis was still the only German in the club – you can find all my shots in this Flickr gallery).

More signed goods

More signed goods

 

I arrived back in Malmö on the 8th with the good news that in July I will go and live with Anders and Malle in a nice apartment closer to the city center. But at this stage I’m staying here at home, which feels very empty in a surreal way. Once again, I cannot explain how blessed I am to have amazing friends here and in Italy and all around the world who keep in touch and brighten my days, thank you thank you thank you to all of you (special mentions to Gordon, Anna, Henrik, Shailesh, Martin, Arie, Dennis, Salvo, Giorgino, Robi, Martu). Unfortunately, I’m still kinda unable to focus on work, but I think I’ll slowly get back there. Meeting friends and listening to music is giving me a lot of inspiration to do new things, so we’ll see what happens.

Now there are few upcoming new travels ahead of me for this unexpected European tour I’m doing, so I’ll probably write an update about all of this in July. Thanks to all of you, you know your names :)

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Deactivating my Facebook account

Few days ago I installed an awesome Chrome plugin that allowed me to hide every post from my Facebook timeline. I figured I’ve been spending too much time scrolling down my timeline and having unimportant conversations that really destroyed my already broken mood.

Today I decided to deactivate my Facebook profile hoping that I will be able to focus more on my “real” life rather than my stupid virtual one, where I was too busy arguing with people that wouldn’t change their mind about anything.

When you deactivate your Facebook account you basically put your account on hold. You are not deleting your content (photos, videos, chatlogs), you are only making it unreachable to everyone (including yourself) until you decide to reactivate your account. I am not sure if you could still use Messenger, but I’ve read that you can technically use it even without a Facebook account, but I’m not really interested in this.

One thing to keep in mind is that reactivating the account is – in my opinion – way too easy. You literally just need to log back in, and the account will be automatically reactivated. It’s quite annoying, so I guess you’ll need a strong will if you want to commit to not getting trapped in it again.

To proceed with the deactivation I followed few simple steps:

  1. Communicated my intention to relevant friends/contacts (giving them info on how to keep in touch)
  2. Backed up my Facebook content
  3. Deactivated my account
  4. Uninstalled Facebook + Messenger app
  5. Removed Facebook from my LastPass archive (to avoid easy login)

So, why would you want to deactivate your Facebook account? There are, in my opinion, several pros and cons

Pros:

  • Less time wasted checking who’s online
  • Less time wasted reading (mostly) unimportant content
  • Less overall distraction
  • Less artificial rush for online peer appreciation
Cons:

  • Detachment from work network
  • Communication difficulties

It happened few times already that I thought “I should just delete my account“, but I never really did it because – as a game developer and entrepreneur – it is kinda stupid to get rid of an entire network of contacts. It is, in general, not the smartest move, and even right now I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing (since I’m close to releasing Memoir En Code: Reissue on Steam).

At the same time, I know that staying on Facebook is, right now, a huge disservice to my mental health and the deactivation allows me to take a (hopefully long) break from this crazy social network without forcing me to trash everything out of the window.

As a result, I think I will probably be more active than before on Twitter and – I hope – on this blog that I will try to keep updated more often than I did in the past two months (shame on me!).

It is stupid but it feels almost like…I dunno…quitting smoking, or something like that. Remember that you can always do it too (and you can easily change your mind and log back in), but don’t forget that you’re in control of your life always (or, well, most of the time).

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