The Quest Begins

January 16, 2008

On December 13th, 1931, the 57-year-old Winston Churchill was hit by a car while crossing Fifth Avenue in New York.

The incident left him seriously injured. But in a characteristic display of resilience, the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom bounced back, and within just a few weeks he was writing about his escapade in the British press.

Churchill would go on, of course, to become the wartime leader of Britain, inspiring the Allied forces to their famous victory against the Axis powers in the Second World War. But what would have happened had Churchill not recovered from his accident? How would the Allied forces have fared without such an inspirational leader?

It’s on such small turning points that history is balanced.

And it’s on this precise turning point that the new alternate World War II action game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is based. The game supposes that the automobile accident in which Churchill was hit proved fatal – and that without his inspirational speeches to galvanise the Allies, the course of the Second World War changed, with the Axis Powers even invading America.

From a historical point of view, this alternate reality is of tremendous interest. Had the car been travelling slightly faster, or had Churchill been struck differently, the outcome of World War II could have been drastically skewed.

For such a potentially significant event, there’s very little documented. One wonders whether, as World War II loomed, the taxi driver – unemployed mechanic Mario Contasino – ever paused to think of the moment where he could have shaped destiny. We all know what happened to Churchill – but what happened to Mario Contasino? Did he have a family – and do his descendents know of his historical collision with fate?

Google Mario Contasino’s name and there are four results (five now, I suppose). Churchill had yet to truly make his mark. And as for Mario Contasino? He seems to have disappeared.

So some 75 years after the incident, I will be searching out the descendents of the driver of the car that struck Churchill – a driver who, through no fault of his own, nearly changed the course of modern history.

I will recount the fruits of my labours, here, and hopefully, with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I will eventually be able to reveal the current whereabouts of Mario Contasino’s descendants – the descendents of a man who shaped twentieth history; the man who inspired Fall of Liberty.

We would like to officially recognise his descendents. We’d like to find out more about this incredible man, to thank his family for his compassion. Churchill and Contasino became firm friends.

Imagine if this had been a hit and run.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Mario Contasino’s descendants, or suggestions about where to look for them can join the adventure by contacting me on search@codemasters.com .

In the meantime, stay tuned for further developments.

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