Meet the family; 1 minute with... Rohan van den Braak and Daan Simons of BlewScreen

27 July 2021

MindLabs is not only an association with dreams and ambitions, we are also a partnership of many different parties. One big family, with members and partners we are all proud of. In the section 'Meet the family; 1 minute with...' everyone will introduce themselves to you in turn. Very briefly, because the family is big. What are they doing with their business and why are they doing it? In this edition: Rohan van den Braak and Daan Simons, the founders of BlewScreen.

Rohan and Daan, to get straight to the point: What's the core business of BlewScreen?
Rohan: "We make games. This is, of course, a broad concept but we mainly focus on serious games in which we convey information or aim to change behaviour. We do a lot of work for educational parties and institutions. Museums, for example. We manage everything in-house. So we develop the games and contribute to the thought process from start to finish."

What is your dot on the horizon?
Rohan: "Over the years, we have gradually realised that we mainly want to do the larger projects for museums. Because finding ways to present museum content in an interactive way is just a fantastic process. By the way, we still make themed games. As far as the dot on the horizon is concerned, it's really not set in stone for us. But interactive education just seems to suit us really well. Educationalists often think in terms of the material they want to convey. We approach it differently: we think in stories. That combination produces great results. And it also allows us to keep on delving into things that are unknown to us. Making games, that is our expertise. That's what we're good at. But the topics we create around are often unknown worlds to us.

Daan: "When we start working for a customer, there is usually already a concept or an idea. But often we are completely free as to how we interpret it. When we started in 2006, it was a different time, especially in the field of serious gaming. We have seen a lot of changes in our field since then and we have grown with them. Those museum assignments are indeed absolutely extraordinary. Often the material can be fairly dry. So it's up to us to introduce the fun factor but without compromising the educational aspect. These kinds of assignments broaden your world because you're constantly receiving new information. We'd really like to spend the majority our time doing that in the future."

Motivated by ambition? Idealism? Or passion?

Rohan: "It started from our interest in gaming. We've been working on this since childhood. Games on Commodore 64, Amiga and the old school Nintendos, for example. From there, we developed a passion for making games. And it's still there. Especially when we can use an interactive game to move people, make them experience something new, and the information stays with them. We often get that wow feeling."

In what way are you connected to MindLabs?
Daan: "We're junior partners of MindLabs. So we really are part of the network."

And how long have you been in the family?
Rohan: "For a little over six months."

What's the holy grail in this cooperation as far as you are concerned?
Rohan: "We don't want to have something in particular in mind too quickly but rather see what develops. Cross-fertilisation, for example, can take many forms. It would be nice if we could increase our visibility through this cooperation. Because even in Tilburg, we are still quite unknown, let alone in the rest of the Netherlands. MindLabs has many contacts in the world of education; a network on another level. Also with larger companies, where normally we wouldn't be able to just walk right in. And the idea that it's a non-profit organisation is very nice."

And what do you gain from it in the meantime?
Rohan: "We've already had some exploratory talks with other parties. Just getting to know each other, combined thinking and brainstorming about what we could do for each other. So, nothing concrete yet but determining the directions. And as for the rest, we're curious to see what the future will bring..."