Pietro Righi Riva’s Portfolio

I’m an Italian game designer, born in 1985, currently based in Milan, Italy.
In 2010 I co-founded the indie game studio Santa Ragione and in 2014 I defended my PhD in Interaction Design. This is my portfolio of games and other endeavours.

Hi! My name is Pietro and I am an Italian game designer.

A selection of the games I worked on that are currently for sale.

Experiments, prototypes, jam games, and smaller endeavours.

My PhD thesis and a list of publications, articles, and lectures.

An updated curriculum vitae with all the stuff I have done.

Get in touch via email about a project or job offer.

Commercial Games

A selection of the games I worked on that are currently for sale
or the result of professional collaborations.


Escape From the Aliens In Outer Space is a card game of strategy and bluff set on a badly damaged deep space research ship.

Street Song

A music exploration game based on Matthew Dear’s song of the same name, commissioned by Pitchfork Media.

MirrorMoon EP

A space adventure that begins on a red planet and its unique moon. Independent Games Festival finalist for the Nuovo Award.


First-person one-button game about jumping, sense of speed and discovery. The key is timing, the goal is traveling flawlessly through the environment


Game experiments, prototypes, jam games, and smaller endeavours.
The majority can be downloaded directly from this website.


A tribute to video rentals and great movies from the 90s. We want to convey what it is like to explore a collection of forgotten gems.

The DustJacket

A game about books, real books: how they feel, the paper they are made of, the beautiful covers that get worn-out after many reads.


A series of exhibitions to display experimental independent games: games with innovative aesthetics or interaction models, developed without the support of major publishers.

Mariposas Amarillas

A "single-shot" game inspired by a scene in Gabriel García Márquez's masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The Mads’ Garden

A game based on history, comedy, and the love for Milan, in which players compose poems in a beautiful villa at the beginning of the 19th century.

Extravisual Space

My master’s degree thesis project in the form of a boardgame for designers that want to make games that are accessible to the visually impaired.

Codex Lucis

A game about receiving and deciphering a message from space, made for a jam at the SETI Institute.

Final Candidation

A satirical game that lets you play as your favorite candidate of the 2013 Italian Elections and gain the popularity needed to become Prime Minister.

The Myth of Medusa

A narrative-driven game about discovering one’s own identity by observing the consequences to our actions, made for GGJ 2014.


An experimental arcade game in which two players share a controller to guide two little ships connected by a rod.

Rulers of Milan

Short film about Milan, its missing town plan and the abuses perpetrated by landowners and how they affect the quality of life in the name of profit.

This is Living

A map that defines actors, streams of responsibility, needs and bureaucracy in the city of Milan, with a focus on the yearly budget.


"A music-puzzle game accessible to the visually impaired: the game is based on sound patterns and repetition combos. Available soon on mobiles."

The Best Gift

A TV spot to promote the HIV test, showing the importance of sharing this information with our partners.

Awkward Sex

A game that explores the representation of sex in interactive media, in an effort to use technological limitations to in an expressive way.


See even more prototypes and early projects.


A selection of the things I have studied and researched.
Feel free to download my PhD thesis or have a look at the research I have published.

Designing Playful Artifacts

Designing Playful Artifacts – The exploration of play as a process and the limited role of the designer is the PhD thesis I defended in March 2014. Today, successful games are made in genres and about topics that defy traditions of an industry rooted in action and fantasy settings. This dissertation argues that many of these games share common elements – namely, the absence of stated objectives, and the presence of interaction that is not task or objective-driven. My aim was to provide a framework for creating games that rely on player initiative in a way that is not objective-driven.

Publications and Talks

2014 The Philosophy of Computer Games ConferenceIGP Panel
2014 GDC Europe – “MirrorMoon EP: A True Sci-Fi Game Postmortem”.
2014 GALA Conference – “Beyond Gambling Temptations”.
2013 Arse Elektronika – “Awkward Sex, Exploring the Uncanny Valley”.
2012 GDC Europe – “Games Happen: Design Lessons in MirrorMoon & Fotonica”.
2012 GDCExperimental Gameplay Sessions.
2012 VS-Games – “The Unimportance of Flawless Game Mechanics”.
2012 ECREA pre-conference – “Exotic Orientation Systems as Gameplay Devices”.
2012 Italian GAME Journal – “Designing Non-Objective Oriented Games”.
2011 Swiss Design Network – “[Game Mechanics] & [Phenomena in Cognitive and Social Psychology]: Experiments in Emotional Design for Communication”.
2011 Com. a Misura d’Uomo – “Visual Impairment and Digital Entertainment”
2010 Luce su Luce – “Designing Entertainment”.
2010 Dataflow Vol.2 – “This is Living!”.

Curriculum Vitae

Everything I have been up to in the last few years,
including awards, exhibitions, and press.

CV / Résumé

This download includes a concise résumé of my activity as a game designer on the commercial projects I worked on, and full CV, that is an exhaustive list of everything I have been up to, my publications, teaching experiences, etcetera.


2014 Paris – La Gaîté Lyrique.
2014 Kyoto – Bit Summit MMXIV.
2011 Venice – 54th International Biennial of Art.
2011 New York – Kill Screen Videogame Film Festival.
2011 Berlin – Delta.
2011 Stockholm – FFeaturing.