Clash of Realities 2019

From November, 19-21 2019 the tenth Clash of Realities (#CoR2019) took place at the Cologne Game Lab (CGL), TH Köln. The artistic-scientific research conference is an interdisciplinary forum for internationally renowned experts from science, research and industry. It focuses on questions concerning the social impact of games. In addition, the theatre performance “Momentum Nostrum” by the G.I.F.T. Ensemble was presented on the opening night. The conference was accompanied by the touring exhibition “Gameskultur in Deutschland. Milestones” by the Computerspielemuseum.

The conference kicked off on November, 19 with an opening keynote by Jörg Friedrich. The developer of the award-winning game “Through the Darkest of Times” discussed how games trivialize fascism and why this should concern the community. His message: There is no neutral stance when it comes to hate!

Afterwards, the interactive theatre performance “Momentum Nostrum” by the G.I.F.T.- ensemble, developed with CGL-students, posed the question: Why do we actually “play” war? Why does the audience play along? Or can it give the spectacle another twist through its interactions?

On the following two conference days, the social impact and aesthetic design of digital games were discussed. The topics ranged from political education through games, the issue of authenticity and creative freedom when it comes to the presentation of historical events in games, and the diverse “paratextual” environment of digital games, to the unique spatial experiences offered by digital games.

In the run-up to the conference, the Young Academics Workshop dealt with the relationship between mental health and the act of playing.

Touring exhibition “Gameskultur in Deutschland. Milestones”

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary, the interactive touring exhibition of the Computerspielemuseum “Gameskultur in Deutschland. Milestones” opened its doors at CGL. The exhibition presents the most significant games in German history and takes a close look at important social events such as the debates on the protection of minors and the establishment of the German Computer Game Award by the German Bundestag. It offers eight playable exhibits, including the historic video game machines Nürburgring and Poly-Play.

Conference Program

On November, 20 the “Summit Day” offered lectures and workshops on the following topics: - Game Studies: Paratextualizing Games - Media Education: Digital Games and Children - Game Development: Strange Worlds – About Spatial Experiences in Digital Games - History in Games Summit: Contingencies of an Authentic Past - Film and Games: Crossing Boundaries in Narrative.

On the main conference day, November 21, the different strands of the conference came together, as the following keynote speakers took to the stage:

Prof. Dr. Ian Bogost, Author, Independent Game-Designer and Professor for Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. „The Weird History of Windows Solitaire“. Maxime Durand, Franchise-historian at Ubisoft ( for Assassin’s Creed) „Speak about the research on AC, museum partnerships and the Discovery Tour.“

Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic, Head of the Department of Developmental Psychopathology at the Behavioral Science Institute of Radboud University in the Netherlands. „The Science of Identity Development: Principles and Practices for the Next Generation of Social Digital Design”. Johanna Koljonen, Designer, Game-theorist, Author (e.g. Nordic Larp) and Co-founder of the Swedish production company Rundfunk Media. „Hamlet on the Analogue Holodeck: Alibi Design in Narrative Experiences”.

Prof. Dr. Angela Schwarz, Historian at the University of Siegen „Quarry – Playground – Brand: Popular History in Videogames“

Dr. Dylan Yamada-Rice, Senior Tutor for Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art and Senior Research Manager at Dubit Limited „Including Children in the Design of Play”

Further information on the complete program and the speakers:


The Clash of Realities 2019 is organized by TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. Those responsible for the Clash of Realities concept and program layout are the Cologne Game Lab and the Institut für Medienforschung and Medienpädagogik of the TH Köln, the ifs internationale filmschule köln GmbH, the Institut für Medienkultur und Theater of the University of Cologne, the Working Group on History and Digital Games, Electronic Arts (EA), as well as AG Games.

Project sponsors include TH Köln, the Film und Medien Stiftung NRW, the city of Cologne, the federal state of North Rhine-Westfalia, the Consulate General of the Netherlands, EA and MedienNetzwerk NRW.

The TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences offers students and scientists from Germany and abroad an inspiring environment to learn, work and research in the social, cultural, engineering and natural sciences. Currently there are more than 25,000 students enrolled in over 90 undergraduate and graduate programs. The TH Köln creates social innovation – this is our main idea as we approach the challenges of today’s society. Our interdisciplinary thinking and acting, as well as our regional, national, and international activities, have made us both a valued partner and a trailblazer in many areas. The TH Köln was founded as the Fachhochschule Köln in 1971 and is regarded as one of the most innovative universities of applied sciences.