A Computer Games Museum in Berlin

Mascha Tobe, Curator, Computerspielemuseum

1. In your opinion, what characterizes Berlin’s strength as a games location?

Berlin is an outstandingly diverse city, bringing together people from various backgrounds and parts of the world with their unique points of view, interests and strengths. This melting pot leads to a rich cultural life, which is an excellent base for creative processes and arts to emerge. This gives not only rise to the vibrant indie scene we can witness in Berlin, but also provides a diverse pool of creatives for bigger companies looking for talents. The various educational programs on games in Berlin and the frequently held network events of the scene perfectly pave the way into the games industry for professionals and autodidacts likewise.

2. Why did you take over the curational work at the Computerspielemuseum? What made you interested in it?

I have been working in the field of special exhibitions at the Computerspielemuseum as a freelancer since 2013. Back then, I was simply curious about computer games, their potential as a medium and how people use to interact with it. Throughout the five years of taking part in various exhibitions on computer games and becoming part of the museum’s cultural education team, I did not only learn a lot about games. I did also learn a lot about the people who visit the museum and why they visit – out of curiosity, nostalgia, sheer interest, as someone’s company or a million other reasons. Games are endlessly diverse and will probably never stop giving my own curiosity topics to get hold on. To research games and how they shape our culture on the one hand and to actively shape the cultural landscape with exhibitions about games and to work with the visitors has proved to be an extremely interesting field in which I learn new things on a daily basis. To put these learnings into action and give our visitors the opportunity to see games from a whole new angle is a fulfilling thing to do.

3. What is special about your company?

First of all, the Computerspielemuseum is the first museum worldwide to show the history and cultural implications of computer games as a majorly important medium of our time. Especially in the context of museums in general, we have a special position. Research shows that the general interest in cultural life is to a high degree formed during childhood and the teenage years. As a museum dealing with a medium that is of major importance for most young people, we have the fortunate position of being some kind of stepping stone into cultural interest for many young people, as they witness that arts and culture are indeed things they can relate to and have an understanding of – mostly a better understanding than their parents.

4. What role does your institution play for the games industry in Berlin?

Per year, more than 120.000 visitors come to see our exhibition. Since our visitors come from all around the world, we do not only help shape a picture of Berlin as an actual games capital, we also help people living in Berlin to get a better idea about games, get more interested in the medium or even interested in working in the games industry. This is especially of importance when talking about the numerous school classes visiting us every week, since they get an idea about the innumerable working opportunities in the industry as well as in the academic fields dealing with games.

5. What challenges will Berlin have to face as a games location?

I think a key factor of Berlin not losing its vibrant arts and culture scene is to stay payable and to allow for emerging artists to make a living.

 

Thank you, Mascha!

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