Gabriele and Alex were together already in high school, later on in the university they also met Andrea. Even though studying different courses (Alex – Artificial Intelligence, Gabriele – Business Project Management and Andrea – Virtual Reality), they somehow managed to start working together in different projects which finally lead to game development. One of their biggest projects was an artificial robot project called Lunar and it was actually something which was developed to the product they have got today. Alex and Gabriele thought of applying the same algorithm used in Lunar to create something more fun like a soccer game, and later on, to create games about all other major sport team games in the world.  So, they presented their idea in the Turin Startup Weekend 2 years ago and  won it! Andrea joined the team shortly after.

These guys heard about GameFounders through a friend of theirs. As we all know, it is really all about connections! You might also call it fate, but whatever it was, this is how it happened: their friend Claudio is currently participating in the Startup Chile program where he met one of the GameFounders co-founders – Sven. Then everything went its own path – the information was exchanged and passed on to the SportSquare team. “Voilà!” – here they are now. Already 9 weeks in Estonia!

SportSquare team admits that before the programme they didn’t even know what to expect, therefore they are quite happy about all the action going on here.  “We just decided to trust in GameFounders”, says Gabriele. According to them, in Italy it is quite difficult to find people with a good track record in gaming industry and mentorship focused on gaming. Basically they were lacking of adequate advice: “We are a gaming startup and need game-focused advice. It is so different from normal startups”.  All three of them highly appreciate all the mentor help they have received and contacts they have now access to.  Andrea summarizes: “A whole new world has opened before us!”

Gabriele, Alex and Andrea are  together pretty much 24/7 . Living in the same room (around only 20m²!) in the hostel and working together every day doesn’t leave much space to breathe in privacy. Fortunately they don’t let themselves be bothered by that and take it as a fun experience. Being 3 guys without a feminine touch in the room, they sometimes have some minor cleaning issues: “We have wardrobes in the room, but we use armchairs for the clothes”, nothing too relevant though. “I have never seen the color of this chair during our 2-month stay”, admits Gabriele when thinking about his chair in the hostel. Fortunately, Andrea knows it is yellow, so problem solved.

All three of them are fairly happy about living in a hostel as it can be really interesting – they enjoy meeting cool people from different nationalities. One thing they do not like is people talking really loud behind their door early in the morning or late at night,  not to mention long waiting queues to get to the bathroom in the morning. The joys of sharing your space with other people.

What these guys miss the most is their loved ones at home, but also (being Italians and all), they can’t help mentioning the food and wine. “One of the biggest mistakes we made here in Tallinn, was buying a pizza.  So our advice for next Italian teams: bring your own pizza!” says Gabriele, laughing. What is surprising is that according to Andrea and Gabriele, they do not miss the Italian weather and are glad to have experienced the cold and snowy weather during the first month. Alex disagrees with them though. He prefers to enjoy the “endless sunset” and likes the warmer weather: “When going out in the weekend, it might seem that the sun is always out – going out when it’s still sunny and returning home when the sun is already up.”  Never-ending Estonian days.  Alex mentions missing his daily routine back home in Turin: “I enjoy it here but sometimes I miss my routine and my normal life – going to the center of Turin, having a coffee with my girlfriend, buying a gelato or doing something with my friends”.  Also all three of them miss doing sports – they just don’t have enough time for that here. However, they still don’t regret taking the chance and coming to Estonia, knowing that in a couple of weeks’ time they will be back home and return to their daily routine.

Talking about cool events and experiences they will certainly remember, the field trip to Helsinki (check out some pics from our previous blog post: came up. Having the possibility to visit top companies in gaming world and to have a little glimpse around town too was the reason why they recommend it to the next cycle teams too.

One of the most memorable activities for these Italians was the snow fight with their fellow team – Yellow Monkey Studios. They didn’t experience the whole thing though – that day it was too cold and the snow too powdery. Therefore some future advice: you definitely have to know when to organize a proper snow fight. It’s all about timing. And weather conditions.

Whenever somebody is hungry, Alex is the guy to head to in the kitchen. He is the team’s pizzaiolo, their pizza chef. Once he even organized a pizza evening at the German team Pfeffermind Games’ headquarters where he stunned everybody with his master skills. All of those present can’t forget the taste of this homemade pizza with simple ingredients that Italian kitchen so generously provides – tomatoes, basil, mozzarella. Those who haven’t tried, don’t know what they are missing.

On Estonian people, Andrea, Alex and Gabriele agree that in the first meetings they seem a bit cold. But the more you can get to know them, they more they melt and the friendlier they get. “Even in the cafeteria we eat every day, the first few days they were never smiling, just typing the price, but now they already know when we want espressos, so we just have to walk up and they  bring it right away”.

Unfortunately Alex has a dark story to tell as well. He was robbed while sleeping in the apartment of a friend. He noticed that somebody had broken in only when he wanted to leave the house the next day and he couldn’t find his bag.  With the help of the police he managed to get some things back (like his passport, luckily), but most of the things are gone.  From now on he will check the locks twice every time.  Just in case, because you never know..

However, having both good and not so good moments, SportSquare Games appreciates their time in Tallinn, summing it up: “The best thing about GameFounders programme is to work together with other teams in this co-working space, exchange ideas and talking about projects, games etc. This is really awesome!” Their advice for newcomers for GameFounders sounds like this: “Enjoy your experience from the first day. Prepare to work a lot. Don’t sleep. AND never ever take the black taxi”.

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SportSquare Games in Tallinn (from left): Andrea, Gabriele and Alex