Bob De Schutter calls the digital game Brukel his personal passion project. Digital game image courtesy of De Schutter.
Bob De Schutter calls the digital game Brukel his personal passion project. Digital game image courtesy of De Schutter.

Bob De Schutter's digital game wins gold medal at international competition

‘Brukel’ to be featured at Smithsonian exhibit in August

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

Bob De Schutter’s digital game, “Brukel,” won a gold medal at the International Serious Play Awards 2019 in Los Angeles on June 18. It was recognized in the category “games for good,” designed for use in educational settings.

Brukel,” an interactive game that recreates the narrative of a reminiscing elderly female World War II survivor, is based on the experiences of his Belgian grandmother Bie Verlinden. She was born and raised in the Brukel farmhouse.Bob De Schutter with his grandmother

De Schutter with his grandmother (photo courtesy of De Schutter.)

De Schutter learned this week that the Smithsonian Institution plans to include the first-person exploration game in its Smithsonian American Art Museum Arcade exhibit in August.

“Brukel” intends to sensitize players about the impact of war on the lives of innocent bystanders. Players visit the abandoned farmhouse and are taken on an emotional journey through some of the traumatic events Verlinden lived through. The game won runner-up at Meaningful Play 2018. 

De Schutter, the C. Michael Armstrong Associate Professor of Applied Game Design who joined Miami in 2013, received Miami’s Junior Faculty Scholar Award for sustained excellence in business, education and social sciences in 2018.

His unique role in the College of Education, Health and Society (EHS) is to advance the shared interests of EHS and the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS) with respect to games and learning.

Bob De Schutter in classroom

De Schutter talks to a Miami student (photo by Jeff Sabo.)

“One of the reasons Miami’s game program is ranked among the best is that we study and build games beyond 'Candy Crush' and shooting games,” said Glenn Platt, the C. Michael Armstrong Chair of Interactive Media and director of AIMS.

Miami ranks 11th overall and third among all public universities in Princeton Review’s 2019 Top Schools for Game Design list.

“Games like Bob’s demonstrate the best that games can be: They make you think, learn and engage in ways that other media cannot,” said Platt, professor of marketing and interactive media.

De Schutter said, “Even though the game is obviously my personal passion project, some of our amazing students got involved and donated their creative talents to its development.”

The game is mostly finished and will be released to the general public later this year, De Schutter said. Read more about the game's creation in James Loy's Q-and-A with De Schutter or go there to hear an extended version of the conversation on Loy's Reframe podcast.