Belgian computer game ‘Brukel’ wants to remember true WWII stories
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    Belgian computer game ‘Brukel’ wants to remember true WWII stories

    The game was never created to win prizes with, according to De Schutter, but to keep the memories of his grandmother alive. Credit: Brukel Game/Youtube screengrab

    A video game, ‘Brukel’, which was made by a Belgian professor Game Design, Bob De Schutter, to remember his grandmother’s wartime stories, is in the running to win several prizes at the Belgian Game Awards.

    The game is based on the stories Bie Verlinden told her grandchildren, including Bob De Schutter who created the game, about the Second World War and how she experienced it as a little girl.

    “I flew to Belgium to interview my grandmother, who was 92 then. That resulted in an entire series of stories that form the starting point for the game. In ‘Brukel’, which is named after the street she lived on, you go and discover the farmstead of the Verlinden family,” said De Schutter, who was a Professor Game Design in Miami, reports De Morgen.

    By zooming in on certain objects, the player can hear stories related to it, told by Bie herself, and provided with English subtitles for people who do not understand her Kempen dialect. In the next level, the gamer ends up in the middle of the war, again with commentary by Bie.

    De Schutter launched Brukel on the online gaming site Steam, where it was overwhelmed with positive reviews, and gamers worldwide showed how that they were touched by what was happening on their screen.

    “People are not used to bumping into stories that are real in a game. Very personal stories, too. Brukel opens a window that makes it possible to look inside a person’s soul,” De Schutter said. “And because you really experience those stories in a game like this, they hit much harder than if you were to read them in a book or see them in an image fragment,” he added.

    As a next step, De Schutter wants to introduce the game into education. “Those war stories are still very important today. When you go to Breendonk or Auschwitz as a 16-year-old, it is a wake-up call,” he said. “But those kinds of trips are not an option for every school. A game like Brukel makes it possible to bring those stories into the classroom in a very direct way all over the world,” he added.

    The game was never created to win prizes with, according to De Schutter, but to keep the memories of his grandmother alive, even after she dies. He hopes to create a new gaming genre, which he calls “gaminiscing,” made from gaming and reminiscing.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times