Do you remember the game Don't Make Love? It was a little indie title about two mantises going through relationship issues, as they explore the desire to make love with each other for the first, and ultimately last, time.
It was game I reviewed back in 2017, and a unique, quaint little text adventure that fully explores relationships and their purpose between two people who really care for each other.
Unfortunately, one of the developers of Don't Make Love, Italian Game Designer Dario d'Ambra, who passed away in July of 2020.
D'Ambra was a student at the Cologne Game Lab, where he was mastering in Game Development and Research in 2017. He also held a master degree in Digital Humanities, and a bachelor degree in Modern Literature, which combined into his focus on narrative and storytelling in game development, a lifelong passion found in the works he did develop.
In 2016, d'Ambra was one of the founders of Maggese, the Italian-based indie developer responsible for not only Don't Make Love, but several smaller titles such as A Ghost in the Static, In Her Spirit, and Aboreity. All of these quirky, almost experimental games are found on their website, and are also free to download either through a zip file or itch.io. Don't Make Love is the developers only official commercial release.
D'Ambra was also active in the gaming development scene, apparently writing several articles for Gamasutra on storytelling and imputing dialogue systems in games.
The new of d'Ambra's death was barely reported in July of 2020, but it was only on October 16th that his co-workers of Maggese, including founders Giorgio Carlino and Nina Keil, decided to make Don't Make Love free to download on Steam in tribute to d'Ambra.
"This game was developed by a great human being out of the need to communicate personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions." notes a statement on the game's Steam page. "It isn’t meant to portray just a relationship problem, but also the difficulties that every one of us encounters when facing a crossroad in our life. Dario’s dream was, indeed, to create a game that could reflect that. Something that could be not only a short and entertaining distraction, but a small and intimate life experience, and to do so, he poured his own soul into the game. To remember him and allow everyone to catch a glimpse of his beautiful soul, from today, Don’t Make Love is free to download."
This is a gesture that Dario d'Ambra, from storytelling idealist to experimental game developer, would certainly appreciate.