Clash of Realities Conference

Since 2006, the Clash of Realities – International Research Conference on the Art, Technology, and Theory of Digital Games has brought together a diverse selection of experts from academia, science and research, economics, politics, and the game industry. Over the years, participants have discussed pressing questions concerning the artistic design, technological development, and social perception of digital games, as well as the spread of games literacy.

The 13th Clash of Realities in the fall of 2022 was the final conference edition!

Looking back on 12 conference editions within the last 16 years, we are proud to have turned the conference into a thriving outlet for ideas from different disciplines. At the Clash of Realities, theory and practice come together, enriching each other and offering opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue.

Time and again we have been able to attract a star line-up: Among around 500 speakers there were Jussi Ängeslevä (ART+COM / UdK Berlin), Sam Barlow (director & writer), Ian Bogost (Georgia Institute of Technology), Karen Collins (University of Waterloo, Canada), Robin Curtis (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Maxime Durand (Ubisoft Montreal), Cara Ellison (narrative designer & screenwriter), Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam), Christopher Ferguson (Stetson University, Florida), Clara Fernández-Vara (NYU Game Center), Tracy Fullerton (University of Southern California), Alexander R. Galloway (New York University), Isabela Granic (Radboud University), Celia Hodent (consultant & author), Jennifer Jenson (York University, Canada), Jesper Juul (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, CMS/W at MIT), Rilla Khaled (Concordia University), Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris (The Tiniest Shark, NYU Game Center), Johanna Koljonen (Participation Design Agency), Rachel Kowert (researcher & author, Take This), Colleen Macklin (Parsons New School for Design), Frans Mäyrä (Tampere University), Nick Montfort (author, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Janet Murray (Georgia Institute of Technology), Alison Norrington (writer, consultant & educator on transmedia storytelling), David O’Reilly (filmmaker & artist), Carolyn Petit (editor & critic), Dan Pinchbeck (The Chinese Room), Christopher Power (University of York, UK), Nathalie Pozzi (Parsons School of Design), Yifat Shaik (York University), Miguel Sicart (IT University of Copenhagen), Julian Togelius (New York University), Joost van Dreunen (NYU Stern School of Business), Mark J. P. Wolf (Concordia University Wisconsin), Dylan Yamada-Rice (Royal College of Art), Nick Yee (Quantic Foundry), and Eric Zimmerman (New York University)!

The Clash of Realities started out biannually, but has taken place every year since 2015. Hosted by the University of Applied Sciences of Cologne (TH Köln), the concept and program layout is developed in close partnership with the Institut für Medienforschung und Medienpädagogik of TH Köln, the ifs internationale filmschule köln, the Institut für Medienkultur und Theater of the University of Cologne, Electronic Arts and AG Games. The target audience of this English language conference includes game developers, humanists, social scientists, specialists in education and media, up-and-coming creative talents, students, and all those interested in and excited by digital games.

Since 2018 the conference has expanded its network and collaborated with the A MAZE. / Berlin – International Games and Playful Media Festival as well as the Quo Vadis game development & business conference, both integral parts of gamesweekberlin.

The 11th International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games was the first one that was co-organized and co-hosted by the Cologne Game Lab (TH Köln) and the Department for Media Culture and Theater (University of Cologne). The three-part event took place in 2020 & 2021 as a digital conference that included the Young Academics Workshop, and international Keynote speakers. The 12th edition of the conference was held directly after, in November 2021 – online and on site.