Game of the Year by Alessandro Redaelli was born from a noble attempt: to tell the world of Italian video games in the round, involving the independent development scene and those of professional players, streamers and youtubers. With a dry language, but in its own way empathetic towards the subjects he has chosen to stage, with the author’s point of view that emerges very clearly in different sequences, for example when he superimposes the commentary of a Riccardo victory ” Reynor “Romiti, one of the strongest professional StarCraft II players in the world, to the images of the bus driven by Simone” NoCS “Rosi, after the closure of his team of Rainbow Six: Siege, due to the arrest of the coach, Redaelli tries to tell the difficulties of video game careers in our country, focusing on dreams, repeated attempts, passion, successes and often failures embodied by the protagonists who have agreed to participate in the making of the documentary.
Let’s discover this interesting project in ours review of the documentary Game of the Year.
There are Alena “CiaoMia” Zueva and her husband Alessandro Allocco, who try, who as streamer and who as manager, to transform the former into a star of Twitch and the second in a professional streamer manager. There is the aforementioned Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti, who at 16-17 managed to qualify for the Korean StarCraft II World Cup, win the Best Esport Player award at the IGV 2019 and join a French team of professional players. , definitively launching his career, thanks also to the splendid support of his family. There is Michele “Sabaku No Maiku” Poggi, symbol of the youtubers who have made it, with his more than 300,000 followers, who signs autographs at fairs and appears as a kind of guru of the sector. There is Mattia “Attrix” Actress, very successful streamer, among the first in Italy and there are several developers, such as Simone Granata and Davide Isimbaldi of Kibou (Timothy and the Mysterious Forest, Blood Opera Crescendo), Matteo Corradini and Diego Sacchetti by Morbidware (The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bible) and Giuseppe Mancini and Francesca Zacchia by Yonder (Red Rope: Don’t Fall Behind, Circle of Sumo and the next Hell is Others). Finally there is Simone “NoCS” Rosi, whose history we have already mentioned.
A patchwork of various humanity
Altogether it is a beautiful fresco, plus a patchwork in reality, made up of scenes of everyday life, of sequences in which the work of the various protagonists is resumed, of interviews in which the dramatic intensity of the various interventions is modulated through the shot plans, of moments recorded during sector events ( fairs, events, tournaments and so on) in which the public adoring its new heroes enters the scene, but who ignores those who have not yet made it. If we look at Game of the Year from a human point of view, it is a story that works, albeit expressed with a conventional film grammar, because, in fact, it stages fragments of life framed within an industry too often presented as made only of sequins and fun, but which hides many dramas, large or small; a homemade version of the twentieth-century entertainment industry in which everyday life becomes a set and a prison and the relationship with the public becomes solely self-referential.
What Raedelli’s work is not is the story of the “video game industry” system in Italy, which remains largely off-screen, with its (few) virtues and its distortions. If the dramatic function of all the protagonists is clear, however, their positioning in a broader and more organic context is missing, which explains the dynamics of the reason for the occurrence of certain situations and the persistence of certain conditions. Probably whoever wrote the documentary wanted to concentrate on the other aspects, already mentioned, magnifying the passion and creativity of those involved, but depriving them of their real role, beyond a myth of individual effort that explains everything and nothing.
So if the individual stories certainly appear beautiful, with some particularly effective sequences, such as the closure on the events of the developers of Kibou, which shows a new, painful departure towards yet another event in search of a publisher interested in publishing their games. It is the whole that does not seem never mix really, where a generic viewer could get to wonder what binds developers, streamers and professional players and what is the sense of supporting the effort of some local development teams to stay (or enter) in the video game market, with glories or failures of professional players, who benefit from titles made by multinationals that allocate on the production and maintenance of individual products figures that the Italian developers added together do not see in a whole year.
What role do web platforms like Twitch and YouTube play in all of this? How do they fit together in industry? How do they influence the development studies represented? And again: what links the scene of professional players to that of streamers? They are all questions that remain hanging, because no one seems to have the courage to do them, with the gaze of the director who cannot link the various phenomena except within very elementary dichotomies, such as success / failure or passion / interest.