In between nefarious activities it appears the Italian mafia have enough time to get some gaming action in… well if you're the boss at least and not one of those henchmen lower down the ranks.
Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was finally captured yesterday after being on the run for 30 years, with his arrest in Palermo, Sicily, where he was being getting chemotherapy for colon cancer. The Mafia boss was known for his taste in cars and women, but the Italian police revealed that he had another love, one that SNES owners might remember fondly (via Stealth Optional).
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Denaro was a close associate of Salvatore "Toto" Riina, who was chief of the Sicilian Mafia and known by the nickname U Capu Di 'i Capi ("the boss of bosses"). Denaro himself is known as U Siccu ("Skinny) and was considered not to have the qualities of a traditional Mob boss, with one of these being his obsession with gaming. While Denaro has been on the run it seems the Mob boss has stayed largely within his home territory, while his last confirmed sighting was in Tuscany in 1993.
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While Denaro was high up an organisation known for murder, kidnap, mass murder, bombings, and theft, it seems he also found time to indulge in one of his favourite hobbies: gaming. According to letters between Denaro and his partner Maria Mesi, it's revealed she'd hoped she'd able to secure some games for him. "I read that soon shops will start selling the cassette of Donkey Kong 3. I hope I can get that for you, as well as Secret of Mana 2, which I haven't been able to find yet," she wrote him.
While Mesi mis-names it, we can assume she means Donkey Kong Country 3. While gamers may know the original Super Nintendo classic, modern gamers may not know it spawned two sequels. Donkey Kong Country 2 focused on Diddy and Dixie Kong and features many levels set on pirate ships, while the third instalment centred on Dixie and Kiddy Kong and included more animals to ride, such as a spider that shot webs you could jump onto.
These games came out in the 1990s and were not so easy to come by in southern Italy so it's no wonder that Denaro's lover had a hard time getting the likes of Secret of Mana 2. But with emulators being common nowadays, the arrested Mob boss could find it easier to get his gaming fix, although whether that's allowed behind bars is another matter.