Welcome Players!

Gamelab.berlin is a research and development platform at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. We are interdisciplinary researchers and developers in the era of games.


We live in an era of games. This is the cultural theoretical thesis that forms the basis for our interdisciplinary, multiperspectival research into the phenomenon of play. Taking an expanded definition of games as our starting point, gamelab.berlin researches fields such as game thinking, transmedia storytelling, serious games, gamification, persuasive design, engagement science and experience design. Our own development work complements theoretical and historical research from the different disciplines represented in the project. By linking university research and practical design, we hope to help open up entirely new dimensions in the interaction between theory and practice.
The Interdisciplinary Laboratory’s work generates questions that arise from the analysis of university processes on the one hand and imply a much wider relevance on the other. How do the rules of the game become formalised and how can we open them up for discussion again? How do processes and spaces need to be designed to engender critical reflection and a creative drive to design? In the era of games, what new possibilities for knowledge management and transfer, transboundary collaborations and political and media influence are feasible – and perhaps required?
We hope to enrich research into the cultural technique of game-playing with transdisciplinary theoretical inquiry and new analyses. The creative experiments produced in gamelab.berlin will be made available, in part, to the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung« and its members.
Alongside this, gamelab.berlin is in the process of building an international network. Through this network, our goal is to support the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung« and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in achieving recognition in the field of game studies.
gamelab.berlin currently consists of a core team of ten members and several other collaborators who contribute on a project basis. We work closely within the Cluster with the base projects »Health & Gestaltung«, »Experiment & Observation«, »Architecture of Knowledge« and »Analogue Storage Media«, and the exhibition team, led by Frauke Stuhl and Nikolai Doll. Outside the Cluster, we have concrete working relationships with the Bauhaus Dessau, the Technische Universität Braunschweig and the medical start-up Retrobrain.
The projects and plans described below are the result of the core team’s work and these co-operations. In line with its structure and the research interests of its members, the theoretical approaches represented in gamelab.berlin are diverse: the classic themes in game studies feed into our analyses, as do findings from flow research, positive psychology and engagement science. But as our expanded concept of games can also be applied to economic and political fields, we also engage with theoretical approaches and discourses from semiotics, aesthetics, economics and communication studies, and apply these to the issues above.
Our members develop ideas, concepts and scenarios. The best of these are tested in prototypes. If the assessment of these prototypes is positive, we aim to develop them into finished products and publish them as a complement to the Interdisciplinary Laboratory’s portfolio of conventional academic publications in written form.
For example, we are working with the base project »Health & Gestaltung« on a tablet-based assistance system that aims to redefine the doctor-patient relationship in the treatment of chronic illnesses (see Projects). In collaboration with the exhibition team, we are testing and developing new possibilities for game-based, participatory knowledge transfer.
The results of the first symposium in 2015 will be published in an anthology at the start of 2016.


about us

Thomas Lilge

Philosophy/Theatre Studies

Thomas Lilge founded gamelab.berlin in 2013. His research investigates the cultural technique of game-playing and develops related concepts and applications. Engagement Alliance Gamification Expert Level 3 and certified Octalysis Framework User.

Christian Stein

Computer Science/Linguistics

Christian Stein is a computer scientist and linguist. He researches big data and semantic web at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Software developer with sixteen years’ professional experience.

Anna Roethe

Medicine/Cultural Studies

As a doctor and cultural theorist, Anna Roethe is interested in the different methods of knowledge cultures. She is currently engaged in solution-oriented research on surgical workflows and patient treatment in oncology.

Frauke Stuhl

Scandinavian Studies/Exhibition Management

Frauke Stuhl studied Scandinavian Studies and is interested in games as a communicative format in exhibitions. Can games lead visitors through an exhibition like guides do? Can games convey exhibition content?

Sebastian Schwesinger

Cultural Studies

Sebastian Schwesinger studied International Management and Controlling at the FOM University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management and the HZ University of Applied Sciences. He later studied History and Theory of Culture, Musicology and Philosophy at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and London Metropolitan University. He is a research associate at the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung«at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His research examines the history of noise as a conceptual model in market economics contexts. His research interests are grouped around the following areas: cultural practices of taking (in particular piracy), market and infrastructure design from game theory perspectives, the semiosis of sonic forms of thought and the relationship between sound and materiality .

Steven Kawalle

Political Science

Steven Kawalle is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. His research focuses on using planning games to test theories of international relations. For his PhD thesis, he developed the planning game Decide&Survive, which students at different universities across Germany have played. Steven Kawalle is a member of gamelab and is working there on the digital version of Decide&Survive. Within gamelab, he is also working on the applications of games as research tools.

Manouchehr Shamsrizi


 Manouchehr Shamsrizi “is among the most publicly prominent voices of Germany’s younger generation” (Washington Post, 2014) and leads RetroBrain R&D on their campaign to extend mankind’s quality of life years at its source, the human brain — reducing its probability to suffer from dementia and delaying its onset by applying the power of state-of-the-art video games. In collaboration with Microsoft, Caritas, Ashoka and ?the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, their hardware platform, gamification and data analytics enable an approach that is recognized as a benchmark in the therapeutic gamification industry.

Anne Dippel

Cultural Anthropology/History

Anne Dippel has a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology and History. She is a research assistant at the Faculty of Ethnic Studies of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and a research associate at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She came to games research and games development via her current fieldwork on knowledge production in the field of high-energy physics –although as a Montessori child she probably only dreams of one thing when she is working: playing.

Anika Schultz

Interaction Design

Anika Schultz studied Product Design and specialised in Interaction Design. She is primarily interested in how people behave in their daily lives, what their habits are, which technologies and objects they use, with her aim being to use this knowledge to design coherent, useful and living products.

Claudia Lamas Cornejo

Public Relations/Fundraising

Since 2009 Claudia Lamas Cornejo has been communicating artistic and scientific topics to the public. As an arts- and media-manager she is using the concepts of Audience Development and Audience Empowerment in a gamificated way to advise and foster exhibitions, projects and institutions in gaining attention – from both public and sponsors.

Peter Lee

Game Design

Since 2009 Peter Lee is the CEO of Nolgong, a gamestudio in South Korea, which aims to „transform everything into a playground“ (www.nolgong.com). He created groundbreaking games in the field of classic literature and music (Being Faust, Anna Karenina) and develops, together with the gamelab.berlin the game for the Clusterexhibition.

Markus Rautzenberg

Philosophy/Game Studies

Markus Rautzenberg is a philosopher and media theorist. He studied German Studies and Philosophy, and obtained his PhD in Philosophy in 2000 with a thesis on »Zeichen–Störung–Materialität« (Sign–Interference–Materiality). This was followed by a PostDoc research scholarship in the »InterArt« Research Training Group, and a subsequent position as Research Associate at the Institute of Philosophy at the Freie Universität Berlin. He led the German Research Foundation (DFG) project »Evocation. On the Non-Visual Power of Images« at the institute from 2011 to 2014. He has been Professor of Philosophy at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen since 2016.

Einav Katan-Schmid


Einavs main focus of research is philosophy of dance. Her work is in the intersection of practice with theory and deals with questions that have both artistic and philosophical implications. Her book “Embodied Philosophy in Dance; Gaga and Ohad Naharin’s Movement Research” was published with Palgrave Macmillan (2016). In gamelab.berlin she designs a research project for movement possibilities and dancing in VR. The project “Playing with Virtual Realities” questions how embodied practices and technology design and enact imagination and perceptual experience 

Christian Kobsda

Politics / Management

Christian Kobsda is responsible for politics and consulting in the presidential staff of the Leibniz Association. He is an Associate Researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), founder and editor of the blog journal elephantinthelab.org and Senior Scientific Manager of the Global Learning Council. He is interested in scientific policy advice and in digital, social, frugal and open innovations.

Matthäus Oelschläger


Matthäus is indie dev, game designer and programmer and as part of gamelab.berlin he mainly develops VR experiences.

Meik Ramey

German Media Theory

Meik Ramey is research assistant at the gamelab.berlin and is currently working on his master thesis in media theory & media archaeology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His research focuses on the impact of virtual reality on culture, work and society, the transforming power of games and epistemologically oriented media philosophy.  

Daniel Apken

Software Developer

Daniel Apken studied Digital Media with a focus on Game Design and Development at the University of Bremen. His master’s thesis is on “Story and Interaction Elements for Meaningful and Comprehensible Transitions in a Multi-Genre Game”.Between 2003 and 2018, he also worked as a software developer with a focus on application software and backend systems at the medium-sized company neusta software development GmbH.In the project EXGAVINE (exgavine.de), he is currently developing motion games in virtual reality as a form of therapy for neurological diseases with a special focus on mild to moderate dementia as a game designer and developer in collaboration with other consortium partners.

Julia Trinkle


Julia Trinkle is research assistant at gamelab Berlin. She studied Architecture at UdK Berlin and is now enrolled into the Math program at TU Berlin.


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Exzellenzcluster Bild Wissen Gestaltung
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