The schedule is now final! There might still be some minor changes, but we’ll try to keep them to a minimum. A note regarding the location: the entire festival will take place at Urban Spree this year. Get your ticket for the festival now.

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Talk [clear filter]
Thursday, April 26

10:30 CEST

Breakfast with... Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan on experience design at A MAZE. / Berlin 2018
Join us on Stage 1 before the talks kick off for a relaxed session. Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan will be talking about her experience design efforts at A MAZE. / Berlin 2018. There might be drone music as well. Please note we won't be offering breakfast to attendees, this is a bring-your-own-breakfast kind of thing, but Marie promised she'll get a couple of croissants!

Thursday April 26, 2018 10:30 - 11:00 CEST
Stage 1

10:30 CEST

Academic and Artistic Research on Digital Games: summit with Björn Bartholdy, Gundolf S. Freyermuth, Frans Mäyrä, Katharina Tillmanns, Emmanuel Guardiola, Isabela Granic, Pippin Barr

10.30-10.35 | Opening Björn Bartholdy and Gundolf S. Freyermuth
10.35-11.15 | Opening Keynote Frans Mäyrä
11.15-11.45 | Katharina Tillmanns project presentation
11.45-12.15 | Emmanuel Guardiola project presentation
12.15-12.45 | Isabela Granic project presentation
12.45-13.30 | Closing Keynote Pippin Barr

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The integration of academic and artistic research on games is a central desideratum of game studies - but to a certain extent it is already a lived reality. This Summit deals with the fundamental question of how the procedures and results of academic and artistic research relate to one another. Furthermore, outstanding projects will be presented that embody the interface between academic and artistic research.

Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä (University of Tampere), director of the Finnish Center of Excellence for Game Culture Studies, will open the summit with a keynote on the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in game research. Katharina Tillmanns (TH Cologne) will then present her work on the augmented reality games app Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A., followed by Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic (Radboud University, Netherlands), who will present virtual reality projects in the context of neuroscience. Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola (TH Cologne) will then offer some reflections on the research challenges he faced in the production of the learning app "Antura and the Letters." Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr (Concordia University, Canada) will give the closing keynote on researching game design.

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Prof. Björn Bartholdy, Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth: Academic and Artistic Research on Digital Games

Welcoming and introduction of the Clash of Realitites@A MAZE. / Berlin track.

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Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä: Potentials of multidisciplinary collaboration in the study of future game and play forms

The work in the University of Tampere Game Research Lab (UTAgamelab) has been dealing with some of the key emerging game and play forms over the last two decades, such as location-based mobile multiplayer gaming, pervasive play, games with digital distribution and micropayments, social network games, and hybrid playful designs. Much of such work has been based on a combination of humanities, social sciences and design research work, with an aim to build bridges between theoretical and foundational research, and applied, future oriented work. In this talk, professor Frans Mäyrä will discuss experiences from this kind of combinations of academic and creative work, with reference on how such lessons have influenced the planning of new “Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies” (2018-2025), which he is currently heading.

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Katharina Tillmanns: Art & Artifacts: Location-Based Learning with Augmented Reality

Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A. is a location-based Augmented-Reality game app for smartphones that introduces players to the Roman roots of Cologne. By blending in first-century Roman architecture and artifacts within the contemporary cityscape, the app playfully demonstrates the development and origins of today ́s Cologne city center. Targeted at pupils age 10-15, Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A. ́s cooperative and explorative approach allows for an autonomous learning experience that provides historical facts while establishing relevance and an overarching motivational fundament for further studies. - The game app is being developed at the Cologne Game Lab at the University of Arts, Technology & Sciences TH Köln and currently in an advanced prototype phase. The project is funded by Rheinenergie Foundation and the ERDF program.

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Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola: Research challenges of the humanitarian game Antura and the Letters

Antura and the Letters is an Arabic literacy and psychosocial support free mobile game addressing 5 to 10-year-old Syrian child refugees. After two years of development and open beta the final version is now released along with the results of a large field test report evaluating the impact of the game on the most fragile audience in refugee camps.Throughout this applied research project the team was faced with different challenges: choice of the educational and the psycho-social approaches; game design methodologies integrating educational and psychological objectives; application of humanitarian principles as the ”do no harm” in a game production; integration of refugees in the design and production; design of the evaluation protocols in this complex setting; distribution specificities; communication methods to reach the families; etc. This talk exposes multiple points of view on this multidisciplinary project and highlights contributions in different research fields.

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Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic: The Art and Science of Virtual Reality Experiences that Promote Emotional and Mental Health

Innovative, scalable, deeply evocative and engaging experiences that can address rampant anxiety and depression rates are urgently needed. We combine neuroscience, developmental and clinical psychology with emotionally evocative VR game design to develop experiences that promote emotional health and well being. To illustrate our multidisciplinary approach, I will present DEEP, a novel biofeedback VR video game. In DEEP, your breath is the joystick and through this embodied play, individuals learn skills that decreases anxiety in their everyday lives. The promise of future innovations for applied games that use biofeedback tools and integrate VR and mobile platforms will be discussed. Through the combination of emotionally evocative design and evidence-based behavioural change mechanisms, these tools have the potential to dramatically improve the mental health of the next generation of youth.

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Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr: Materialising Game Design

Game design is invisible in many ways. By the time a videogame is played, the multitude of decisions that were made along the way, from mechanics to technologies to aesthetics, are frozen into place and non-negotiable. It is difficult for a player not to see the result as a monolithic block, unchangeable and unchanging. For the same reasons, it can be challenging for scholars to get a grasp on the living design process itself and they are most often left to analyse and deconstruct its results. Finally, creators themselves, who literally go through the process first-hand, often have no easy way to concretely consider, assess, and discuss their work.

In this talk, Pippin Barr will discuss two versions of "materialising" game design for these audiences. First, he will present a form of videogame design that foregrounds design and technology itself in the finished product, exposing the seams, decisions, and even the arbitrariness of a given game's structure. This represents a way to disseminate videogame design research in the form of videogames themselves. Second, he will outline and give examples of an approach he and his collaborators are calling "the method", a formalised approach to videogame design and development inspired by design research and prototyping theory with a practical focus on documenting the process as it happens for future analysis and consideration. This method yields both extensive materials for post-release analysis and research in the form of incremental builds and design writing in a version control repository as well as the opportunity for the designer to systematically materialise their design process as they perform it.In both cases, the hope is to perform the magic trick of rendering the invisible visible again.

avatar for Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr

Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr

Assist. Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr is a videogame maker, educator, and critic who lives and works in Montréal. He is the Associate Director of the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) Lab, Canada's premier games research centre and part of the Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Björn Bartholdy

Prof. Björn Bartholdy

Björn Bartholdy is Professor for Media Design and Co-Director Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. Björn Bartholdy studied communication design (diploma) at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart and media design (diploma) at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth

Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth

Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth is Professor of Media and Game Studies and a founding director of the Cologne Game Lab at TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany. Gundolf S. Freyermuth is a writer, media producer and co-founder of the Cologne Game Lab (in... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic

Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic

Isabela Granic did her undergraduate and graduate work in Toronto and got her PhD at the University of Toronto in developmental psychology. She is currently Professor and Chair in the Developmental Psychopathology department, in the Behavioural Science Institute, at Radboud University... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola

Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola

With expertise in game design methodologies, Professor Emmanuel Guardiola is a veteran of the video game industry with over 30 titles released for publishers such as Ubisoft and independent studios such as Dontnod Entertainment. His tracklist includes titles from licences as Prince... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä

Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä

Frans Mäyrä, PhD, is the Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, with specialization in digital culture and game studies in the University of Tampere, Finland. Since 2002, Frans Mäyrä has been heading the University of Tampere Game Research Lab, and he has... Read More →
avatar for Katharina Tillmanns

Katharina Tillmanns

Katharina Tillmanns is a transmedia researcher, writer and producer based in Cologne, Germany. In her studies and work, Katharina Tillmanns is exploring and promoting the expressive qualities of games as a means of art and activism. A former co-president and founding member of the... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 10:30 - 13:30 CEST
Stage 2

11:00 CEST

Sagan Yee: Soft-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: Vaporwave and Videogames (replaces Meg Jayanth's session)
Join Sagan Yee on a journey through the world of vaporwave, a music microgenre / Internet meme / legit art movement! Discover why videogames make the perfect vessel for the ghosts of Late Capitalism and the absurdity of modern existence!

(Note: this talk replaces Meg Jayanth's talk, which unfortunately had to be cancelled at the very last minute due to unforeseen circumstances)

avatar for Sagan Yee

Sagan Yee

Sagan Yee is an animator and occasional artsy game perpetrator. She is executive director of the Hand Eye Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring videogames as an art form, and has spoken about her community work at places like GDC, SXSW, Different Games and A MAZE... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 11:00 - 12:00 CEST
Stage 1

12:00 CEST

Bahiyya Khan: Emos in Africa: A Game Developer(?) Postmortem
This talk aims to speak about the kids in game development that they'd never heard about but definitely exist because the speaker is one of them.

avatar for Bahiyya Khan

Bahiyya Khan

Hello I am a girl and I like to write and read and I sulk a lot because I woke up, you know? I make games about these things. I kept having to sit up straight while writing this bio because I’m a sullen slouch. Constantly screaming and crying. Champion of the drab. Pay me.

Thursday April 26, 2018 12:00 - 12:30 CEST
Stage 1

13:00 CEST

Ahmed Elgoni: A Difficult Pitch
A group of people practice their pitching skills and learn a little bit about communication along the way. But with permadeath.

avatar for Ahmed Elgoni

Ahmed Elgoni

Ahmed is a computer sorceror famous for his ability to fail repeatedly and still laugh about it. He's also known to give excellent high fives.

Thursday April 26, 2018 13:00 - 13:30 CEST
Stage 1

13:30 CEST

James Earl Cox III: The Fun is Over, We Have to Get Serious about Games
Players emulate what they play into the community: when games don't take violence and adult topics seriously, they become joke subjects. We need games that encourage players to think and reflect, but it can be hard when the environment fights change. It's time to get serious about games.

Having made over 100 games, James Earl Cox III knows the importance of breaking from established norms for his own sake and for games as a whole. We’ll dive into the ways we all shape the medium, how it shapes us back, and what we can do to continue expanding it and making it a better place. Then, maybe we can add the fun back in :)

avatar for James Earl Cox III

James Earl Cox III

Co-founder of @SeemPoint, James Earl Cox III made 100 games in 5 years. All 100 can be found on his site: Just404it.com, even the bad ones. He thinks everyone should critically consider how they shape games and the impact we all have on the medium. Tweet at him @Just404it.

Thursday April 26, 2018 13:30 - 14:20 CEST
Stage 1

14:30 CEST

ART GAMES – an International Game Jam Network presents: Around the World in 10 Indie Games
Mexico City, Seoul, Boston, Jakarta, São Paulo, Novosibirsk, Athens, and Bangkok: for eight game jams all over the world and beyond, ART GAMES unites programmers and game developers as well as artists and creatives. Along with Berlin-based developers Maschinen-Mensch, they will take you on a tour through indie scenes worldwide. In a series of micro talks, we will learn about the obstacles that game developers face on the other side of the globe. What drives them? How do you talk about issues in a society which is reinventing itself? How do games change their world? These presentations will be followed by a Q&A with all participants of ART GAMES, Maschinen-Mensch, and Lisa Mayerhöfer, project coordinator of the Goethe-Institut.

Drawing from their diversity, creative minds from all over the world developed (digital) games which renegotiate the boundaries between art, politics, and games. A selection of ten games from all locations will be exhibited at A MAZE. Festival 2018. Participants and partners from across the globe will travel to Germany to metamorphose the worldwide virtual network of ART GAMES into an analogue one and to meet you at the festival!​

Learn about the small but vibrant indie scene in Novosibirsk aka Silicon Taiga and why “Choo-Choose” wants you to run over a Big Mac! Find out how abstract shapes in “circled.” question what it means to be close. Or take the place of a radiant sun in “SunShine” and burn your own imperfect utopia to the ground. And if you are ready to leave planet Earth behind and become an alien tribe on another planet, we recommend travelling to the “2984 Little Brothers” in a faraway galaxy. “Struggling Dreams” asks you to look back and evoke memories of better times in order to envision a safer future. With “Babel-o-Rama” you can conquer any language barrier as long as you figure out how to talk to each other. Cooperation is also key in “Chain Reaction”, a lesson that you learn the hard way when you try to escape from a dungeon being chained to other prisoners. To get away with your crimes scot-free in return for showers of cash is the goal of “Make it Rain”. Delve into the beautiful virtual reality of “Cacophony” and conduct a choir of eerie figures. It is up to you whose lips are zipped and whose voice is heard! “Status” also puts you in charge of everyone else’s fate – who will be bedded in roses and whose buttocks will get wet?

ART GAMES is a project of the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Maschinen-Mensch and is sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

Twitter handle and hashtag: @Gr8ArtGames    #gr8ArtGames

Mexico City: circled.
Produced by: Pablo Francisco Montes Romero, Mariana Mena Tello, Omar Ivan Toledano Landero, Nicolás Danziger, Rafael Escalante, Emilio Gerardo Estrada Lucero
Speakers: Mariana Mena Tello, Nicolás Danziger

Seoul: SunShine
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw4oE8C_0bQ
Produced by: Je-won Yoon, Yunjeong Kim, Aram Lee Miller, Hyijin Cho, Saehoon Lee
Speakers: Yunjeong Kim, Je-won Yoon

Seoul: 2984 Little Brother
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HarvWG-TllA
Produced by: Yongjoo Yoo, Ga-young An, Deokwon Kim, Jaemin Park
Speakers: Yongjoo Yoo, Jaemin Park

Boston: Struggling Dreams
Produced by: Jeffrey Campbell, Zhuo (Aslanta) Chen, Joe Marchuk, Daniel Williams
Speakers: Zhuo (Aslanta) Chen, Joe Marchuk

Jakarta: Babel-o-Rama
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfm5uF7q4fo
Produced by: Jeffin Andria P., M. Tomy Kurniawan, Fandry Indrayadi, Siska Butar Butar, Cherina La Rubatt, M. Abdul Karim
Speakers: Tomy Kurniawan, Fandry Indrayadi

São Paulo: Chain Reaction
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/259054321
Produced by: Vitor Santana Melo Silva, Wellington Fattori, Isabelle Linares, Roberto Romão, Yukio L. K. Odani, Orlando Batista, André Mariano, Bruna Correa
Speakers: Vitor Santana Melo Silva, Wellington Fattori

Novosibirsk: Choo-Choose
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRUR919rH6A
Produced by: Petrushkov Mikhail, Grigoriev Konstantin, Kalmykova Ekaterina, Avdeev Oleg, Yustovich Ksenia
Speakers: Grigoriev Konstantin, Kalmykova Ekaterina

Athens: Cacophony
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/258135335
Produced by: Christina Chrysanthopoulou, Vasileios Karavasilis, Anthony Theodorelos, Christos Kasimidis
Speakers: Christina Chrysanthopoulou, Vasileios Karavasilis

Athens: Status
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVsm0Q8VKm4
Produced by: Tasos Protopapas, Michalis Lygiaris, Kiprianos Skafidas, Haralabos Andrianidis
Speaker: Tasos Protopapas

Bangkok: Make It Rain
Produced by: Saranpat Sereewiwattana, Charlie Sitthisakuldech, Thanapat Tassanavijitwong, Chanatip Buranawarodomkul, Swit Khomapat
Speakers: Saranpat Sereewiwattana, Chanatip Buranawarodomkul

Thursday April 26, 2018 14:30 - 16:00 CEST
Stage 2

14:50 CEST

Jonah Warren: The Act of Drawing in Games
From the caves of Lascaux to contemporary art galleries, drawing has held a unique place in history amongst the artistic mediums. Simple and direct, its communicative power is immediately accessible and can overcome cultural and language barriers. Considering its artistic tradition, power for intuitive communication, and intrinsic playful qualities, why is drawing so underrepresented as a mechanic in the history of games? Perhaps it's more common than you think. This talk will take a close look at digital and non-digital drawing games of all kinds.

avatar for Jonah Warren

Jonah Warren

Jonah Warren is an artist and educator who creates playful interactive systems. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Game Design and Development at Quinnipiac University. His interests are in alternative interfaces, educational games, and looking for play in unexpected place... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 14:50 - 15:20 CEST
Stage 1

15:20 CEST

Tim Rogers: The Best Games I Never Made
Tim Rogers’s studio Action Button Entertainment has made a couple video games—such as VIDEOBALL! However, there are plenty of games they almost made, yet didn’t. Tim Rogers will show some of those games. Many of them are pretty stupid!

avatar for Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers is the co-founder of Action Button Entertainment and the designer and director of VIDEOBALL, a game which made no money. He makes videos for Kotaku Dot Com and will publish a novel ("Chronicle of a Tennis Monster") soon.

Thursday April 26, 2018 15:20 - 15:50 CEST
Stage 1

16:30 CEST

Hyper Talks: Anya Combs, Claudia Miranda, Christina Chrysanthopoulou, Claire Morley, Jazz Mickle, Hannah Nicklin, Malena Klaus, Miguel Alva, Natalie Clayton, Xalavier Nelson Jr. + surprise speaker – hosted by Lorenzo Pilia
Hyper Talks are short and fun 5 minute knowledge-injections. Ten speakers (+ a special surprise one) will talk about projects, experiences, failures and sources of inspiration in their work. The Hyper Talks are a platform for both established artists as well as upcoming talents: some of the past hyper speakers ended up being winners of the A MAZE. Awards. The session is hosted by A MAZE. / Berlin programme manager Lorenzo Pilia.

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Anya Combs: 15 of My Favorite Flash Games
I am the former Developer Relations person at AddictingGames. Here are 15 of my favorite flash games.

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Claudia Miranda: How will you know when it is done?
A talk about her experience creating a VR environment / art piece that helped her understand her own use of disassociation as a coping mechanism.

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Christina Chrysanthopoulou: On Art and Virtual Reality
A short talk about the added value that virtual reality offers to interactive works of art and a brief presentation of such paradigms.

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Claire Morley: Accessible creative expression through small tools
Getting started with game development can be daunting, time-consuming, and inaccessible. I taught myself to code and use Unity over a number of years but started using 'small' tools like Bitsy and Flatpack last year, and have found that I am able to use them to articulate and complete my game ideas in a much more realistic time/energy-frame!

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Jazz Mickle: An Alternate History Of Game Development
With 20 years of modding history and progress, with relatively little interaction with other fields, the work coming out of the Doom community has creating completely unique takes on design and technical progress. Here's how it changed my outlook on Everything.

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Hannah Nicklin: N+1, bikes in games
An in depth analysis of bikes in games which are not about bikes but that contain them. By someone who likes bikes. And makes games.

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Malena Klaus: Kickstarted intimacy – Designing intimate spaces for strangers
Are you sick of having the same small talk conversations all the time? Are you craving real, deep connections instead? So were we!That is why we designed "Blanket Space", an analogue, 3-player experience which aims to create intimate, respectful connections between total strangers. And it works!This talk describes how we designed for intimacy, how emotionally straining the process was and how beneficial the outcome.

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Miguel Alva: Future II. Mapping reality.
A hyper explanation of Output, a documentary on games and interactive art designed for screening in 2067.

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Natalie Clayton: Small Train Dreams
A year ago this week, I released my own take on the queer artgame / first person walker genres.
Let's talk about how working alongside tight limitations helped me dream small.

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Xalavier Nelson Jr.: How To Run a Billy Ocean LARP on the Last Day of GDC Without Dying
Interested in how social dynamics and physical presence can affect the games you create? Narrative designer and PC Gamer columnist Xalavier Nelson Jr. walks you through the 5 fundamentals of social role-play and game design, using a real-world example from GDC 2018.

avatar for Miguel Alva

Miguel Alva

Miguel Alva is an expert in video games stored in cassettes. He also has experience in game development acquired in major studios around Europe. He owns the games label Screen Implosion.
avatar for Christina Chrysanthopoulou

Christina Chrysanthopoulou

Christina Chrysanthopoulou was born in Athens, Greece in 1986. She is an architect engineer and holds a Master's degree on "Art and Virtual Reality", a collaboration between the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Paris 8 University. She has several publications in conferences such... Read More →
avatar for Natalie Clayton

Natalie Clayton

Natalie Clayton is a journalist and small game maker, working out of Scotland. She lives, sleeps and tweets in a cold shed, clutching at a coffee obsession. Her work can be found on PCGamesN, Polygon, Eurogamer and more, and she sometimes releases tiny games on Patreon and Itch.
avatar for Anya Combs

Anya Combs

Anya is the Games Outreach Lead at Kickstarter, where she focuses on working with game creators. When she’s not doing games stuff she plays the saxophone in a disco, punk, brass band.
avatar for Xalavier Nelson Jr.

Xalavier Nelson Jr.

Xalavier Nelson Jr. is a freelance game developer specializing in writing and narrative design, as well as a columnist for PC Gamer magazine. He's currently working on a number of Secret Projects, as well as the upcoming Hypnospace Outlaw, and an accessible, free tabletop ruleset... Read More →
avatar for Malena Klaus

Malena Klaus

Malena Klaus became a game developer to fulfil a lifelong desire to invent things. She is wrote her master thesis in game technology at the IT University Copenhagen, in cooperation with UsTwo, worked there for a while. Currently she is travelling and continues to invent worlds, stories... Read More →
avatar for Jazz Mickle

Jazz Mickle

Revolutionary composer and video game developer.
avatar for Claudia Miranda

Claudia Miranda

Claudia is a Mexican new media artist living in Oakland CA.
avatar for Claire Morley

Claire Morley

Claire is a self-taught programmer and artist outside of her day job as a SQL developer, and has been making games in her spare time for most of her life. She is also passionate about helping others do so by organising game jams and workshops around Bristol, where she is based.
avatar for Hannah Nicklin

Hannah Nicklin

Writer, game/narrative designer & producer working at the confluence of performance, writing, activism & game design for the past 10 years. She has a PhD in games influenced theatre/theatre influenced games. She makes works of playful art that find the best way to ask people to engage... Read More →
avatar for Lorenzo Pilia

Lorenzo Pilia

Programme manager for A MAZE. / Berlin festival. Also founder of BerlinGameScene.com, organiser of Talk & Play, producer at Maschinen-Mensch (Curious Expedition 2) and outreach manager for Codecks, the project management tool for game developers. Member of the Saftladen Indie Game... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 16:30 - 18:00 CEST
Stage 1

16:30 CEST

Under the Hood: Eyal Stern, Jennifer Schneidereit, Johan Gjestland – hosted by Martin Nerurkar
Bare it all!

In Under The Hood, three developers take the stage to show off the naked innards of their current project. Each team has 25 minutes to show the inner workings of one part of their game to the live audience. Come by, learn how the sausage is made and ask the most probing of questions!

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Eyal Stern (Mad About Pandas): Narrative Control in Hitchhiker
Take a close look at how we built a comprehensive narrative system suited for a narrative director to piece together the story piece by piece with complete control.

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Jennifer Schneidereit (Nyamyam): A comedy written in the stars: Astrology gameplay and storytelling in Astrologaster
Astrologaster is a comedy game based on the real-life casebooks of 16th century medical Astrologer Simon Forman. Players take on the role of Forman to help patient’s with problems, by interpreting answers found in the stars. In this session we will have a look at how the team at Nyamyam employs the use of real Astrology as core gameplay mechanic and storytelling device. We will also cover “Star Kit”, Nyamyam’s in-house design tool specifically created for Astrologaster.

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Johan Gjestland (Team Fugl): The joy of level creation in Fugl
Watch Johan Gjestland show and explain his GPU based level interactive editor to procedurally generate beautiful levels filled with towering rocks for the flying-game Fugl.

avatar for Johan Gjestland

Johan Gjestland

Johan is a newcomer to the indiedev scene, having previously worked with graphics design, motion graphics and filmmaking. After completing his first game in 2014, Melodive, he got bit by the bug and is now working full time with a small team to complete the free-form and ring-less... Read More →
avatar for Martin Nerurkar

Martin Nerurkar

Martin lives a double life as a freelance designer/developer by day and independent gamedev by night. His current project Nowhere Prophet is a roguelike deck-building game for desktop computers set in a decidedly non-western post-apocalypse. He also organizes regular local gamedev... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Schneidereit

Jennifer Schneidereit

Jennifer Schneidereit is a German game designer and programmer, with a background in computer science. In 2010 she co-founded Nyamyam, a small independent game developer in the UK, with the goal to create beautifully crafted games with unique concepts.
avatar for Eyal Stern

Eyal Stern

Eyal Stern is a young professional living and working in Berlin. He got his start making mobile games at Tabtale and quickly moved on to bigger projects taking a design role with Moon Studios working on Ori and the Blind Forest DE. Moving to Berlin over a year ago, he joined up with... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 16:30 - 18:30 CEST
Stage 2
Friday, April 27

10:30 CEST

Breakfast with... Charlene Putney: breathing & light yoga session
Join us on Stage 1 before the talks kick off, for a relaxing breathing & light yoga session with Charlene Putney (writer at Larian Studious).

avatar for Charlene Putney

Charlene Putney

Charlene Putney is a writer based in Dublin, Ireland. She writes for Larian Studios, most recently on Divinity: Original Sin 2. When she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her teaching interactive narrative at Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology or the Irish... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 10:30 - 11:00 CEST
Stage 1

11:00 CEST

Adriaan de Jongh: Hidden Folks: A Mess of Art and Business
A very open talk about the work, the luck, the emails, the numbers, the art, the practicalities, the team, the money, and the success of Hidden Folks.

avatar for Adriaan de Jongh

Adriaan de Jongh

Adriaan is a game designer best known for awkward finger-rubbing game Fingle, mobile ballet dancing game Bounden, and interactive searching game Hidden Folks.

Friday April 27, 2018 11:00 - 12:00 CEST
Stage 1

11:00 CEST

Digital Exhibits and the 2nd Spring of Virtual Art Spaces: panel with Peggy Schoenegge, Colin Northway, Merle Leufgen, Philipp Stollenmayer – moderated by Thorsten S. Wiedemann
This will be a conversation about the a new generation of virtual art spaces. As we exhibit this year at A MAZE. quite some works that come in an art-bundle like "Data Mutations", or as a virtual space to experience digital art like in "MOR - Museum of Other Realities" and "The Zium Museum". And then the work "Fountain" that builds an exhibition around one infamous art work to interact with it in unusual ways, that opens up to new imaginaries of presenting art – exspecially digital art, games, playful media in the future.

This conversation invites you to think forward of how game engines have an impact in the art world and where the time will lead us to.  

avatar for Merle Leufgen

Merle Leufgen

Merle Leufgen is an artist deploying highjacked commercial software. Her current work examines non-human intelligence, emergent ecologies and the concept of “ending” in times of steady data streams⛓.
avatar for Colin Northway

Colin Northway

Colin Northway and his wife Sarah have made indie games since 2007 and are well known for traveling full-time while making games. While traveling Colin made Incredipede and Deep Under the Sky while Sarah worked on the Rebuild series. Colin is now working in VR on the Museum of Other... Read More →
avatar for Peggy Schoenegge

Peggy Schoenegge

Peggy Schoenegge studied art history at Humboldt University and Technische University in Berlin. Since 2016 she is a curator and project manager at peer to space. Amongst others she assisted realizing the VR exhibitions The Unframed World, Reset III and Virtual Reality and curated... Read More →
avatar for Thorsten S. Wiedemann

Thorsten S. Wiedemann

Thorsten S. Wiedemann is founder and director of A MAZE.. He produces and curates under this international label festivals, exhibitions and workshops on the intersection of games, games culture, digital arts and playful media. With "A MAZE. / Berlin" and "A MAZE. / Johannesburg" he... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 11:00 - 12:00 CEST
Stage 2

12:00 CEST

Leena Kejriwal: Missing Game for a cause: Why we do what we do.
Why did we make the The Missing Game for a cause? What is its part in the larger campaign, the Missing Public Art and awareness campaign? Why is the use of art and technology important to engage the public? How has The Missing Game used the gaming space to address this serious issue? How can we move beyond empathy?

The Missing Game is a part of a larger campaign to engage the public on the role they play in the heinous issue of sex trafficking. There are 3 million people trafficked every year of which 1.2 million are young girls. The Missing Campaign uses art and technology to engage and break the status quo on this grave issue. The average age of a girl getting trafficked has dropped from 13 to 11 and now 9 years.

avatar for Leena Kejriwal

Leena Kejriwal

Photographer/installation artist. Her work reflected a preoccupation with human-trafficking and finds a new language in the public artwork MISSING. Her brainchild, the MISSING campaign leverages art and technology for social change through initiatives like street-art stencils and... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 12:00 - 12:30 CEST
Stage 1

12:00 CEST

Vladimir Storm: Indie VR Hentai and Sexuality in VR
Warning: this talk will feature explicit sexual content.

The talk is based on 4-year research and reveals the ecosystem behind indie VR adult games subculture. It shows in details how existing fandom, indie artist and internet fetish based communities express themselves in VR and how indie developers create tools which form new communities.

The talk covers the current state of interactivity and hardware and explains future movements such as holoporn and XR based fetishes.

But most importantly, you will hear how VR helps people to express sexuality and how it brings to life wild fantasies to let people experience fetishes which aren’t possible in real life. As well as, how VR scene reframes content distribution and let individuals make sustainable projects while working with the communities.  

avatar for Vladimir Storm

Vladimir Storm

Vladimir Storm is focused on creative and art direction, VR/AR/MR, VFX, interactive real-time computer graphics, computer human interactions and AI. He‘s got 10+ years of experience in game development, interaction, UX and game design while working on various software, game, tech... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 12:00 - 12:30 CEST
Stage 2

13:00 CEST

Devolution of SUPERHOT – Piotr Iwanicki in conversation with Sos Sosowski
An in-depth interview with Piotr Iwanicki about the development of SUPERHOT, conducted by Sos Sosowski. How to break out of the FPS genre and evolve a game into success? How did the game change during its development? Why? Which features were added? Which were taken away? When? What were the interesting design challenges? What was the original vision of the game? How did the idea emerge? How did certain features evolved into their final version?

The conversation is a part of Devolution #4: SUPERHOT, a cooperation between Devolution, A MAZE. / Berlin 2018, SUPERHOT Team and Game Design // UE.

avatar for Piotr Iwanicki

Piotr Iwanicki

Piotr Iwanicki is a game designer and studio lead responsible for SUPERHOT. He started his career developing games for flash portals and his projects slowly grew and became more visible. He started SUPERHOT as a game jam project and as the game gained recognition, Piotr transformed... Read More →
avatar for Sos Sosowski

Sos Sosowski

Mad scientist of video games, creator of McPixel, Thelemite and million other games nobody ever heard of. Currently working on Mosh Pit Simulator

Friday April 27, 2018 13:00 - 14:00 CEST
Stage 1

13:10 CEST

Federico Fasce: Journalism in Virtual Reality. The power of context.
Journalism can use virtual reality both to convey complex meaning in a simple and effective way but also as an entrance point to stimulate in-deep reasoning and more research and attention in readers. By looking at the journalistic content produced for the Guardian VR App and by analysing how the journalistic content is delivered both through interactive and non-interactive approaches, the talk will explore the peculiar features that the VR language is showing more and more.

avatar for Federico Fasce

Federico Fasce

Federico Fasce is an Italian game designer. In 2010 he co-founded the experimental game studio Urustar. In 2014 he started the game collective Game Happens. From the UK Federico explores relationships in game spaces; he’s working with the Guardian as a creative technologist for... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 13:10 - 13:40 CEST
Stage 2

13:40 CEST

Owen Harris: Working with Scientists
Independent game developers and academic scientists make surprisingly good and symbiotic partners. Owen has two of these collaborations in progress right now. Deep, a mental health game controlled by breathing, and Theia, a virtual reality cancer lab. In this session we'll take a quick look at these two different projects and how they are structured. We will talk about what is wonderful about working with scientists and why you might consider it. Finally, we'll take a look at some of the challenges in communication between these two groups.

avatar for Owen Harris

Owen Harris

Owen Harris is a Game Designer, VR designer and lover of all things playful. When not working on DEEP, he designs games and VR experiences for the University of Cambridge, Cancer Research UK, Gambrinous and others. He has taught Game Design in DIT and  has spoken all over Irelan... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 13:40 - 14:10 CEST
Stage 2

14:30 CEST

A MAZE. Masterclass: Colin & Sarah Northway in conversation with Jonatan Van Hove
The A MAZE. masterclass is a 1 hour long in-depth conversations focusing on the work of a veteran of the game scene. This year Jonatan Van Hove will be talking with Colin & Sarah Northway, a husband and wife indie team responsible for Fantastic Contraption, Fantastic Contraption VR, Incredipede, the Rebuild series, Word Up Dog, and a few other cool indie experiments, like Shader, the game that only exists on a single, Internet-and-external-connection-free laptop. They lived all over the world including Thailand, Japan, Turkey, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Scotland, France, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, The Philippines, Argentina and Brazil. Currently they settled back in Vancouver, Canada.

avatar for Jonatan Van Hove

Jonatan Van Hove

Joon is an independent game designer, event organizer, and arcade builder living in Reykjavik. He's an advisory board member for GDC, hosts the Tech Toolbox session and he's been involved in a myriad of events in the European indie scene, both on and off-stage. Joon co-founded a tiny... Read More →
avatar for Colin Northway

Colin Northway

Colin Northway and his wife Sarah have made indie games since 2007 and are well known for traveling full-time while making games. While traveling Colin made Incredipede and Deep Under the Sky while Sarah worked on the Rebuild series. Colin is now working in VR on the Museum of Other... Read More →
avatar for Sarah Northway

Sarah Northway

Sarah is the creator of the Rebuild strategy series, and a programmer and designer on Fantastic Contraption VR. She spent 5 years traveling the world with her husband and making indie games in remote places, and now explores the worlds inside her Vive.

Friday April 27, 2018 14:30 - 15:30 CEST
Stage 1

14:50 CEST

Rob Bogucki: Practical Alchemy, new Rituals and VR Counterculture
Having dedicated three years to solo-building his very recently released VR experience GNOSIS, Rob will be quasi- ritualistically getting some of that insanity out of his system in form of a synesthetically enhanced stream of consciousness. Sharing his influences, personal motivations, "post-mortem" reflections and deep technical trivia, Rob will be also very happy to engage in some discussion about what's around the corner for VR and the role it may yet play in society.

avatar for Rob Bogucki

Rob Bogucki

Rob Bogucki is a VR developer, versatile problem-solver and worldbuilder with a deep passion for computer graphics, music and their immersive intersections. Coming from a background spanning engineering, HCI, Ocean Mapping and artistic performance, he strives to deliver striking... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 14:50 - 15:20 CEST
Stage 2

15:20 CEST

Dogson: talk about ANYTHING
A short introduction to collaborative virtual reality improvisation, ANYTHING and Q&A session with Dogson, the platform's creator. Come prepared with important questions about life, art, and the nature of virtual existence.

avatar for Dogson


Specializing in a collaborative virtual reality improvisation called ANYTHING, the international performance artist known as Dogson has been trapped inside a digital existence for longer than memory serves. Stuck in this isolation, he (she?) relies on us to supply contents to work... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 15:20 - 15:50 CEST
Stage 2

16:00 CEST

Neuroflow Game Art as practical neurophilosophy: panel with Margarete Jahrmann, Stefan Glasauer, Thomas Wagensommerer
FLOW as arts game mechanics, concept of immersion and VR with Neurointerfaces.
The panel will introduce and premiere the experimental Game Art Neuroflow Game, http://www.neuroflow.games


Margarete Jahrmann, game artist Neuroflow Games, Zurich/ Vienna
Thomas Wagensommerer, lead developer Neuroflow Games, Vienna
Stefan Glasauer, computational neuroscientist, LMU Klinikum Munich

Supported by the Computer Games Museum Berlin and funded by Capital Cultural Fund Germany.
Unterstützt vom Computerspielemuseum Berlin und gefördert vom Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
Special thanks to Andreas Lange.

avatar for Stefan Glasauer

Stefan Glasauer

Stefan Glasauer is a neuroscientist, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He is interested in general principles underlying perception, action, and sensorimotor control and co-authored more than 200 articles and book chapters. After studying Electrical Engineering with a focus in... Read More →
avatar for Margarete Jahrmann

Margarete Jahrmann

Margarete Jahrmann, pioneer game artist (2018 Game Art Neuroexperiments at ArtsInnovationLab Gallery Vienna, Nybble Engine 2003 at prix ars electronica) and epistemologist, is founder of the AR, Pervasive and Urban Game design and research association Ludic Society, http://ludic-society.net... Read More →
avatar for Thomas Wagensommerer

Thomas Wagensommerer

Lives and works as a media artist in Vienna, Austria. Studies of Digital Media Technology at theUniversity of Applied Sciences St. Poelten, Philosophy at the University Vienna, Transdiciplinary Art(TransArts) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Lecturer for Experimental Media... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 16:00 - 17:00 CEST
Stage 1

16:30 CEST

Yotam Rozin: Homescape: darkness and memory in virtual reality
Walking alone at night, at the edge of my village, I flash the dark landscape with my camera. A series of images spark a passionate vision and urge me to go on an adventure - to independently create VR indie game Homescape with no prior game development experience.

Homescape is a hypnotizing and mysterious Virtual Reality art-game. Wearing the headset, players go through guided meditation and dive deep into a dark landscape, whose design is based on the fields surrounding Ma’as, the artist's Israeli hometown.

In the midst of the native biota, vestiges of colonial British rule, and ruins of Palestinian settlements, players encounter the inhabitants of the cultural unconscious, who reside together to form the sites of the artist’s childhood memories.

The independent exploration of this vast digital landscape evokes moments of cognitive uncertainty and form an alluring, poetic, and thought-provoking experience.

In this talk, I will outline the process of creating Homescape - a project that challenges the borders between film, game, and art. I will discuss the place of philosophy and poetics in Virtual Reality, and think out loud about art, friendship, childhood memories, darkness, technology, and politics.

avatar for Yotam Rozin

Yotam Rozin

Born in 1989, Indie game developer, media artist and independent designer/animator. Yotam’s work rewires poetics and politics with both cutting-edge and prevalent technological media in order to expand the borders of human experience. Since 2013, his works have been exhibited and... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 16:30 - 17:00 CEST
Stage 2

17:00 CEST

Beatrix Moersch: Breaking the Frame: Storytelling Frontiers in VR
For generations we have experienced stories which were presented in a frame before us - the television set or screen has after-all been a window into other worlds for over a hundred years. But now, as we enter the VR world, we are crossing that threshold. And with this change much of the narrative language we use to tell and understand stories is no longer possible. In this talk Beatrix Moersch will explore the impact which working in the VR medium has on our traditional storytelling tools, and how we can reinvent some of these tools for the new realities.

avatar for Beatrix Moersch

Beatrix Moersch

Beatrix Moersch is a sound designer whose recent works include VR projects Anamorphine and Museum of Symmetry, both A MAZE. / Berlin 2018 Nominees. She has created sound for visual experiences for over a decade. Interactive audio inspired her entry into the world of games for its... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 17:00 - 17:30 CEST
Stage 2

17:30 CEST

Paloma Dawkins: The making of Museum of Symmetry
Spoiler: it wasn't easy, but it was very fun.

An absurdist mind-and-body romp through the highest clouds to the ocean deep, Museum of Symmetry is the explosive feel-good alter-universe of cartoonist and animator Paloma Dawkins—a room-scale VR experience with 2D animation in a 3D playground.

avatar for Paloma Dawkins

Paloma Dawkins

Paloma Dawkins is a Canadian cartoonist working with virtual reality and videogames as mediums for psychedelic landscape art. Dawkins work disrupts conventional game storytelling to take players on an absurdist romp through the highest clouds to the ocean deep.

Friday April 27, 2018 17:30 - 18:00 CEST
Stage 2
Saturday, April 28

12:00 CEST

Open discussion: Videogame Censorship in Germany: Kai Bodensiek, Marie Berthoumieu, Vit Sisler – hosted by Marcus Richter
The German criminal code rightly prohibits the display of unconstitutional content with the exception to “further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching”. Video games, unlike film and other forms of art, are however excluded from this definition. As a result, video games like Attentat 1942, a nominee for the A MAZE. Awards cannot be sold or displayed in Germany.

The open discussion about video game censorship in Germany will discuss the implications of §86 of the German criminal code and subsequent (mis)rulings of German courts for video games. What role can video games carry to "further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching"?


Marcus Richter is a radio host and moderator. He will be hosting the panel discussion.

Vit Sisler is the game developer of Attentat 1942.

Kai Bodensiek is a lawyer and expert on the legal aspect of the topic.

Marie Berthoumieu in charge of web content at ARTE.

avatar for Kai Bodensiek

Kai Bodensiek

Kai Bodensiek is a partner with the media law firm Brehm & v. Moers. Kai is experienced as a legal advisor for game publishers and developers, which includes the project funding, drafting and negotiating of development and licensing agreements. Among his clients are multinational... Read More →
avatar for Marcus Richter

Marcus Richter

Marcus Richter grabbed a microphone in 2006 and hasn't let go ever since. Besides working for Germany's top radio stations including Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Fritz (rbb), he moderates events and workshops for institutions like the BMFSFJ (Ministry for Youth and Family), the Bundeszentrale... Read More →
avatar for Vít Šisler

Vít Šisler

Vít Šisler is an Assistant Professor of New Media Studies at Charles University in Prague. His research focuses on serious and educational video games and information and communication technologies in the Middle East. He is also a lead designer of the award-winning video game on... Read More →

Saturday April 28, 2018 12:00 - 13:00 CEST
Stage 2

13:30 CEST

Jesse Darling & Christian Kokott: Making Bardo – a collaborative stroll through the algorithmic underworld
In partnership with A MAZE. and the Volksbühne, we created a narrative game set in a machine learning powered underworld. And we will talk about how that is going!

avatar for Christian Kokott

Christian Kokott

After forging his programming skills in traditional software and game development, Christian moved to Berlin to find things that matter.Nowadays doing installations and thinking out loud.

Saturday April 28, 2018 13:30 - 14:00 CEST
Stage 2

14:00 CEST

Limpho Moeti: Video Games as a Subversive Art
This talk is about the ways in which the indie dev scene in video games push the boundaries of the medium of video games in various ways. I'll be focusing in the ways in which our games subvert the expectations of players both narratively and structurally and why is not only a good thing, but an important thing as well.

avatar for Limpho Moeti

Limpho Moeti

A young creative trying to find her space in the game dev world. Current Admin Systems Specialist at Free Lives (prefers the title Minister without Portfolio). Super Villain in name only.

Saturday April 28, 2018 14:00 - 14:30 CEST
Stage 2

15:00 CEST

Lyndsey Jane Moulds: Future-proofing 101: How to Preserve Your Game
Have you ever lovingly crafted a video game, only to find it later rendered unplayable by an operating system or browser update? Predicting how software dependencies outside your control will change is tricky. However, there are ways you can mitigate the risk of not having a playable build of your game. This talk will discuss best practices for future-proofing your game, plus some approaches for attempting to resurrect your oldest and dustiest projects.

avatar for Lyndsey Jane Moulds

Lyndsey Jane Moulds

Lyndsey Jane Moulds is a programmer, writer, and researcher interested in interactive fiction, procedural generation, and general weird internet stuff. She works at Rhizome, where she is paid to attempt to run Internet Explorer 6 on platforms not at all designed to run Internet Explorer... Read More →

Saturday April 28, 2018 15:00 - 15:30 CEST
Stage 2

15:30 CEST

Ben Rausch: The Shape Of Punk To Come
“The Shape Of Punk To Come” is a love letter to the future of disruptive pop culture and revolutionary entertainment. 

Arguing that, while rock/ punk/ DIY music acted as the most defiant media of the 20th century, with the passing of time, punk music is no longer the subversive force it once was. If punk is dead, in it’s wake, we need a new noise. We need a fresh tip of the spear of change, thrust into the heart of a stagnant old world. The Shape Of Punk To Come.

While acknowledging both the renegade creators that shaped video game history, as well as the many artists actively re-inventing games today, The Shape Of Punk To Come focuses heavily on the future. A future where small groups of passionate misfits and outsiders band together, imagining and manifesting better worlds through games.

The Shape Of Punk To Come was originally delivered at A MAZE./ Johannesburg 2015, immediately becoming a living manifesto for my own game punk band, Team Lazerbeam.  For it’s European debut, the A MAZE./ Berlin edition of the talk will include reflections on how the talk informed our work as Team Lazerbeam, and assert why, in 2018, radical games are more important than ever.

avatar for Ben Rausch

Ben Rausch

Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Ben is a game dev, animator, illustrator, DJ, VJ, cat-buddy & cool bio writer. He makes cute, surreal things with game punk band Team Lazerbeam, & throws alternative games parties with Super Friendship Arcade.

Saturday April 28, 2018 15:30 - 16:00 CEST
Stage 2