Initiative: Remembering with Games

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Christian Huberts
Project Lead
Dr Tabea Widmann
Project Lead
The initiative explores in theory and practice how games can contribute to the culture of remembrance.

Since their beginnings, games have used historical events as themes and settings. But addressing the crimes of National Socialism in the context of games is a sensitive topic that requires close attention. The potential of games as a source of ideas and a medium of discourse can be harnessed to keep the culture of remembrance alive digitally – especially considering the increasing relativisation of National Socialist crimes in (German) society and the gradual passing away of the last remaining eyewitnesses of the Holocaust.

Our initial project, ‘Pitch Jam: Memory Culture with Games’, explored the central question of how games can develop a respectful and sensitive approach to history, in particular with regard to the era of National Socialism in Germany. This collaborative effort between game developers and people working in the field of remembrance culture gave rise to unique interdisciplinary approaches. These in turn became the basis of the initiative ‘Remembering with Games’ (‘Erinnern mit Games’ in German) and are intended to provide orientation for the development of interactive digital formats contributing to remembrance culture.

On this website, you will find information and references to similar projects and events, as well as articles on the topic of fostering remembrance culture through games.

Booklet: Remembering with Games – Ten Key Questions on Using Game-Based Digital Formats in Remembrance Culture

How can digital games develop a fitting and respectful approach to history, and to the National Socialist era in particular? The ten guiding questions offer orientation for the development of ideas for game-based formats in the culture of remembrance and at the same time leave enough room for creative experiment and innovation. We also released a compendium containing articles by experts from different backgrounds discussing the ten key questions (only available in German).

Conference: Remembering with Games (German audio only)

On 24 June 2021, we invited experts from the games industry and on the culture of remembrance to discuss how the National Socialist era can be dealt with through digital games in an appropriate way. The discussion focused on the question of what contribution games can make to historical-political education without trivialising the events they take as their subject matter. We held several live gameplay sessions which, analogously to traditional lectures, provided insights into games that deal with National Socialism and its ideological environment. You can find an English text version of Dr Eugen Pfister’s keynote on games as a medium for remembrance here.

Database: Games and Remembrance Culture (only available in German)

Games address the past in a variety of ways, whether as a narrative setting or a game system based on historical processes. Some of them specifically want to remind us of historical events or encourage discussion, others consciously and unconsciously leave gaps in the culture of remembrance or use original means to convey information about the past. In order to provide orientation, the database collects games, curated and classified by experts, that are relevant for remembrance culture.

Podcast: Remembering with Games (German audio only)

How do games tell the story of National Socialism? And what could they do better? This is the topic of the ‘Erinnern mit Games’ podcast by the Foundation for Digital Games Culture. In six episodes, the German journalists Marcus Richter and Dennis Kogel bring together people from two worlds – games and remembrance culture – to ask them how they may learn from each other and how games can contribute to ensuring that fascism never rises again. You can find it on the German version of this page.

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