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‘Berlin Flat Quest’: French Expat Creates Realistic Browser Game

You are a newcomer in Berlin. Your task is to find a place to stay before you run out of money. But every time you want to look at a vacant apartment, hundreds of prospects are already waiting in line. This is what will happen to you in ‘Berlin Flat Quest’.

Berlin, May 22nd, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — You just finished high school and you develop the brilliant idea to study in Berlin, because the city is so international, open-minded, full of culture and crazy parties. Besides, the Germans do not charge exaggerated tuition fees. Finding an apartment will be easy as pie, right? Sure. But after ten months, you still sleep on your friend’s living room sofa. How come?

Shooting Out E-Mails

Bastien Allibert from Toulouse is 31 years old. Ten years ago, he came to Berlin. Just now, he released the browser game ‘Berlin Flat Quest’ in which only the very best will manage to get an apartment. So, how did he develop the idea? He had a paragon, namely the reality in Berlin which he knows very well by now. To newcomers, the enthusiasm about having arrived in Berlin can dissolve rather quickly, once they realize they will not get an affordable place to stay unless they are extremely lucky.

Bastien Allibert learned about Berlin’s affordable housing crisis the hard way. Photo: Bastien Allibert

In ‘Berlin Flat Quest’, which can be accessed in any Interner browser free of charge, the player first picks a character. For instance, you can be a student, a ‘Tech Evangelist’, ‘David Dowie’ or a ‘Brexit Escapist’. Then you pick your employment status and say whether you have a name that sounds German or not. With each feature, your chances increase or slump. Then, once you picked a district to live in as well, you literally have to shoot out as many application e-mails as possible. It is a long process.

Corrected Expectations

Then, just as you thought you were becoming a good apartment hunter, a global pandemic hits and further decreases your chances for success. So, what made Bastien Allibert include a virus? No clue. He must have read too many novels. At some point, you are finally being invited to view a vacant flat. But the question whether you will even get to see it depends on the decisions and actions you take on site.

“Game over” it says. “You patiently wait in the queue but the door closes just before it is your turn”. No more applications are being excepted. “Try again.” Indeed, ‘Berlin Flat Quest’ could not be more realistic. In reality, many doors are being slammed in the faces of people who are looking for a flat in berlin. The game basically trains people for this situation. And it corrects their expectations. Once they finally sign a lease, they will find out their apartment has flaws.

Valuable Advice

The browser game is part of Bastien Allibert’s website ‘Settle in Berlin’ which provides valuable information and advice to newcomers in Berlin, the very same people who should play ‘Berlin Flat Quest’ to prepare themselves.

‘Berlin Flat Quest’ can be accessed and played here, free of charge. Bastien Allibert’s website Settle in Berlin can be found here.

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