Andreas Lange (*67) is founding director and curator of the Computer Games Museum in Berlin. He studied Comparative Religions and Dramatics (M.A.) at Freie Universität Berlin. Besides this he is member of the advisory council of the Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur as well as the jurys of the German Computer Game Award and the World Video Game Hall of Fame of the Strong Museum. Lange is president of EFGAMP (European Federation of Game Archives Museums and Preservation Projects) and member of the „SIG Creative Industries“ of the Berlin chamber of commerce and industry and the SIG “Cultural Heritage” of the German Cultural Council.
In your opinion, what characterizes Berlin‘s strength as a games location?
Berlin is Germanys largest and certainly also most diverse city. This is particularly decisive for the sector of games, due to their incomparable range with any other cultural asset or medium. Games have been in the center of the digital revolution for over four decades and have points of contact with almost everything that is connected with the accompanied changes in our everyday and working worlds.
In Berlin games companies not only find many applicants for the different requirement profiles and partnership opportunities but also suggestions and the best testing opportunities. The networks of games:net or BerlinGameScene guarantee an easy and reliable access to this exchange of experiences.
In addition, Berlin based national networks and events such as Games Week Berlin, games – der Verband der deutschen Games-Branche, Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur or the European Federation of Game Archives, Museums and Preservation Projects (EFGAMP) offer opportunities for international exchange without long journeys. Last but not least, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg is one of the most active German funding institutions for game productions at regional level.
How did you come up with the idea of founding your company? Why in Berlin?
When we opened the Computer Games Museum in 1997 we were convinced that computer games are an important and interesting part of our culture. To show this as impressively as possible, we used the museum as an institution, which has been established as trustworthy in our culture. The reason that we founded the museum in Berlin was simply due to the fact that all involved parties are located around the area. But the fact that we stayed in Berlin and developed so well has something to do with Berlin's openness to contemporary culture and current trends. The Berlin Cultural Senate of the Senate Chancellery and the Lotto Foundation Berlin have made it possible to set up our current permanent exhibition. But just as important for us is the amount of potential visitors Berlin has to offer. Not only Berliners themselves, but also the large number of tourists attracted by the city‘s flair and the attractions.
What is special about your company?
Apart from the fact that we are the worlds first museum for computer games, our exhibition stands out by its cultural approach. On the one hand we integrate computer games into our overall culture and open up new dimensions of knowledge for gamers. On the other hand we offer visitors, who aren’t familiar with games, a new connection to the gaming culture, encourage their understanding and support them to make their own judgement.
What role does your institution play for the games industry in Berlin?
With over 100.000 visitors a year, the Computerspielemuseum is an international flagship of Berlin's cultural landscape. We also support Berlins reputation as a city which is open to computer games. In addition, our exhibition and collection offers a special place for events with unique furnishing possibilities and historical exhibits for the Berlin games scene. With our Gamefest Festival we have been a partner of Games Week Berlin right from the start.
What potential do you see in the future for Games Capital Berlin?
Through many state and private games education institutions and the location factors already mentioned, I expect further growth for Berlin as a game location. I see particular potential in the cultural sector. With the support of the German Bundestag in 2016, the international collection of computer games will arise to the world's largest collection of computer games. Although it is not certain yet where Germany will physically establish the collection, Berlin has the best opportunities to recommend itself as a location through initial support from Medienboard and the fact that involved partners like USK, Potsdam University, Stiftung Digitale Spielkultur and Computerspielemuseum are located here.