• Portrait Prof. Thomas Bremer, HTW Berlin

    Prof. Thomas Bremer, DE:HIVE Game Hub, HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences

For most of us, games are associated with fun and entertainment. However, for Professor Thomas Bremer, Head of the DE:HIVE Game Incubator at the HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin) which was founded in 2016, they are above all an exciting research topic. 

“My research is all about games and methods of playing. It concerns games in general as well as digital games in particular. One focus of my research is on the rules and mechanisms of games. In other words: How these correlate with our actions and perceptions,” explains Brain City Ambassador Thomas Bremer. What fascinates him most about his field of research is that games have the potential to become one of the most interesting aesthetic forms of expression of the  21st century. “We can negotiate civic, cultural, social and aesthetic questions in them and play them out in the truest sense of the word. To do so however, a critical examination is required.” 

As a scientist, Thomas Bremer is concerned with uncovering and questioning established game principles and rules in society, reflecting on the society-changing potential of games – and also trying out the creative powers of games artistically. The study of fine arts at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (HFBK Hamburg) and a simultaneously awakened interest in new technologies and computer science originally brought the game researcher to digital games, “because both combine here in a fascinating way. I can bring my scientific as well as my artistic interests together in this field in a variety of ways. This is hardly possible in any other discipline.” 

But game design skills can also be transferred to other areas – which is another aspect of research at DE:HIVE. An example: the SMART GAMES project. “This is about the development of game mechanisms that implement cognitive training methods. In this way, games can be created that have a positive influence on our brain functions.”

The great variety of scientific institutions in the city offers excellent conditions for implementing cooperative projects – at the same time with short distances. 

Right from the start, Brain City Berlin offered Thomas Bremer the opportunity to pursue his research interest intensively, which was still rather unusual at the time. “When I designed the Game Design course at HTW Berlin in 2008, the city and my university had the corresponding openness to set up such a field.” Today the game researcher and his team work together with various scientific institutions in Berlin, including the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB) and the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. Berlin theatres and museums are also among the DE:HIVE project partners. 

Thomas Bremer values the great diversity and openness of the scientific and cultural institutions in Berlin: “The city offers excellent conditions for implementing cooperative projects – at the same time with short distances,” says the “Berliner-by-choice”, who came to Berlin in the mid-1980s, then left the city for longer stays in Hamburg and New York, but since 1995 is firmly anchored in the city again. “For me, Berlin has many advantages. A beautiful surrounding area and lively, distinct neighbourhoods. I like the charming gruffness of the city. And I hope that it will remain like that.”

Tomas Bremer recommends one thing above all to young scientists from his field who want to come to Berlin: “To build a good network and to find the right place for yourself that allows openness.” 

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