The Italian Almanac

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fighting for Italian Unity

Play for Unity

A videogame simulating the 19th-century struggle for Italian unity was released online. The launch of "Gioventu' Ribelle" - "Rebel Youth" - was timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Italian unity March 17.

The game offers a mix of fact and historical fiction. In a typical mission, a player is assigned the role of an anonymous officer of the Risorgimento riflemen. General Raffaele Cadorna, the Piedmontese count and a key military leader in the fight for Italian unity, orders the player to deliver an ultimatum to Pope Pius IX, demanding surrender of the Papal States on the eve of an attack on Rome. Italy's Youth Ministry spearheaded the initiative both to celebrate the young heroes of the Risorgimento and to tell their story to young people on their own terms.

"The history of the Risorgimento was written by brave 20-year-old guys who built what we have today with their own lives," Youth Minister Giorgia Meloni said at the game's presentation in the Maxxi contemporary art museum in Rome. The game is intended to transmit this message to young people, and to teach them that by "investing in generosity and solidarity" we can change the course of future generations.

Meloni defended the choice of the videogame as medium saying, "We often make the error of having a repressive approach with (popular) devices and we do not ask how to use them to our favor". She added that videogames represent 53% of Italy's entertainment industry, outpacing cinema and DVDs.

"Rebel Youth" was created at no public expense. The first level of the game can be downloaded for free at the website www.gioventuribelle.it. Two additional levels, dealing with the siege of Gaeta and the Roman Republic, will be made available between May and June, to coincide with other unity celebrations.