After being on the run for thirty years, head of the Mafia criminal organization Matteo Messina Denaro was finally caught yesterday. Alongside his well-known love for cars and women, the police revelead anotherr obsession after years of investigations: a love of SNES classic Donkey Kong Country.
Denaro, which is also known as "O' siccu" (a Sicilian word meaning "the thin one") and "Diabolik", had been on the run from the law since 1993. He was the last one in the line of the original Mafia bosses, after the capture of Salvatore "Totò" Riina. Denaro had also been nominated one of the most dangerous wanted men in the world.
The former boss has been arrested in Palermo, while attending a chemeotherapy session to treat colon cancer. Denaro attempted to flee the building, but police already had him surrounded. Denaro has been brought to a temporary secret location and will later be jailed in a maximum security prison, awaiting trial for multiple counts of murder, mafia association, mass murder, possession of explosive material and theft.
But, apparently, the boss also liked to spend his time playing games on the Super Nintendo. According to letters between Denaro and his lover, Maria Mesi, she wrote to him professing her love, while also promising something else. "I read that soon shops will start selling the cassette of Donkey Kong 3 [sic]. I hope I can get that for you, as well as Secret of Mana 2, which I haven't been able to find yet."
Despite calling it Donkey Kong 3, we can safely assume Maria Mesi meant Donkey Kong Country 3. The third chapter in Rare's platforming series originally came out in December of 1996 in Europe, around the same time as the previews on Secrets of Mana 2 were being published. As we know, Squaresoft's RPG was not relased outside of Japan, coming in the West only on the Secrets of Mana collection on the Switch in 2020.
Denaro’s love of Nintendo games was not publicly known until now. With Nintendo games notoriously difficult to come by in late-90s Sicily, even an infamous mob boss wasn’t able to get his gaming fix. Hopefully, in the last 30 years, Denaro learned of emulation, finally giving him access to his now-retro gaming loves.