Lifelong Games announces the release of its award-winning exploration game, Brukel, for Windows PC on Steam, Itch.io and Game Jolt. With a release date of November 3, game designer Bob De Schutter commemorates the 75th anniversary of Belgium’s liberation from German occupancy with a game built around the authentic audio recordings of a person who lived through the German occupation – De Schutter’s own grandmother, Bie.
Brukel is one of the first, if not the first, video games that explores a genre that De Schutter has coined “gaminiscing” – an interactive strategy that combines oral history and gameplay. Authenticity plays a large role in the game’s personal and immersive atmosphere as players listen to Bie’s recollections of the war and live through some of her most traumatic experiences.
Bie Verlinden, who will soon be celebrating her 94th birthday, was born on the game’s eponymous farmhouse, the Brukelhoeve. Equipped with a camera phone, players document artifacts from Bie’s past and hear her reminisce about her formative years in a family of tenant farmers and their story of survival as the World War II frontline moved to their back yard.
With its unique combination of education and horror, De Schutter hopes to sensitize players to how civilians are affected by war, noting that “the stories make you feel for war refugees and ask yourself, ‘how would you manage to live in a war-torn country?’”
The short game can be played in about 90 minutes and is likened to experiencing an interactive feature film or documentary. It features light puzzle solving, reminiscent of Gone Home, Layers of Fear and This War of Mine.