EIszeitwelten Neanderthal Museum

Ice Age Worlds

Eiszeitwelten Spiel zur Eiszeit von Playing History - Screenshot aus dem Spiel
Low-threshold prototype about life in the ice age

Together with the Neanderthal Museum, the Prehistoric Museum Blaubeuren and the Vogelherd site, we developed a comprehensive prototype about life in the Ice Age. The aim was to sharpen the basic picture of the Ice Age, especially in the immediate vicinity of the sites of the participating museums. What did Europe look like 40,000 years ago? What did flora and fauna look like then compared to today? What kind of people were there, and how did they interact? The idea was not to copy an existing analog experience, as is the case in a virtual exhibition, for example. The idea was to create something completely new.

The mobile game Eiszeitwelten (Ice Age Worlds) extends the physical museum space and offers a first, simple access to the topic "Life in the Ice Age". The digital journey of discovery is aimed at a young audience and can be played independently of the museum visit. In three exciting, independent stories, players* can explore the world, collect materials to make tools, hunt or complete tasks for their group. Each world is assigned to one of the three museums involved in the project, and each story focuses on a topic appropriate to the museum. For example, in "The Monster" the players explore the dangers of the Ice Age as Neanderthals and prove themselves in hunting. In "Save the Feast" and "The Test," the players take on the role of an anatomically modern human being and learn what role art and music played more than 40,000 years ago. They are supported by a loyal, animal ice age companion: the snow grouse.


Development for and with the target group

Right at the beginning of the project, the project managers emphasized that they wanted a user-centered product. The wishes and needs of potential users were therefore the focus of all conceptual and design considerations from the very beginning. Visitors to the Neanderthal Museum were regularly presented with current ideas and designs and their opinions were sought. In addition, several on-site testings with pupils between 8 and 12 years of age took place. The feedback from the observations, individual interviews and focus group surveys was directly incorporated into the further development process in order to make the prototype as user-friendly as possible within the limited project period and the available resources.

In the design, we made sure that people with visual impairments or developmental disabilities could enjoy as equal a gaming experience as possible. The visual design focuses on clear contours and color gradations. This makes it easier to recognize characters and relevant objects in the game world. In addition, there are short, simply written texts that can be displayed longer or shorter depending on reading speed preference. Instructions and feedback relevant to the main quest have been lovingly set to music. Professional voice actors were hired for this purpose.


Screenshots from the game
Game world based on current research

The reconstruction of the European landscape 40,000 years ago is close to the scientific findings on flora and fauna of the last cold period. The design of the various characters also reflects current research - from clothing to skin color. Genetic comparisons, for example, show how skin color genes changed. The light skin in Europe is - at least in Homo sapiens sapiens - a relatively recent mutation. Europeans were dark-skinned until they settled down about 7000 years ago. The fictional stories are based on real archaeological findings, which give us an understanding of the way of life of people in Upper Paleolithic Europe. The most beautiful and famous archaeological finds from the partner museums have found their way into the app. These include the mammoth figure, which is between 45,000-32,000 years old, or the flute made of swan bones from the Geißenklösterle - an archaeological site in the Swabian Alb. The Ice Age journey is accompanied musically by a soundtrack created using replicas of Stone Age instruments.


Download and play now for free

The mobile game is available free of charge in the popular app stores (Google Play, App Store).

Ice Age Worlds was developed together with the Neanderthal Museum, the Urgeschichtlichen Museum Blaubeuren and the Vogelherd site. The idea for the project and a possible further development arose within the Ice Age Europe Network of Heritage Siteshe concept for the game and its implementation in its current form came from Playing History in Berlin. The project was made possible by the support of KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN within the framework of the funding program Neustart Kultur from the Kulturstiftung der Länder.

Prizes & Awards

Longlist DIGAMUS Award – Die besten Digital-Projekte der Museen

Skip to content