Whether you just moved here yesterday or have been settled for several years, we are all well familiar with the joys of flat hunting in Berlin. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories, scamming stories, funny stories, and even the nudist stories.
And now this collective flat search experience has been transformed into a hilariously cathartic online game known as Berlin Flat Quest.
Created by Bastien, the man who runs the Settle in Berlin blog, Berlin Flat Quest commemorates this rite of passage by combining people’s flat search stories gathered from the Facebook group berlin EXPATS.
The first thing you see when you open the game is the gorgeous 8-bit artwork of Oberbaumbrücke against a sunset backdrop and the classic yellow U-Bahn riding across the screen.
As you click through the prompts, you start building your player profile, which introduces you to some typical Berliner stereotypes including the “Creative Talent” and “David Dowie” characters.
Bastien also takes this opportunity to include social commentary on the state of Berlin housing with the Qatari prince character and a big red “coming soon” label.
“The subtext here is that the large investment companies are buying out the city, and soon the Qatari princes are coming as well,” Bastien said.
Next come the details of your character, including whether you have a German or a foreign name, and how good your Schufa is. The level of difficulty for the next part of the game is determined by these selections – a subtle way to address some social issues and educate newcomers on what factors are considered when searching for a flat in Berlin.
Taking inspiration from games such as Startup Simulator, Dumb Ways to Die and Game Dev Tycoon, Berlin Flat Quest combines shooters, role-playing, and storylines to bring you the flat search experience in an entertaining format. It’s funny, delightful, frustrating and maybe hits a little too close to home for some of us!
Bastien said some players even reached out to him to say “I had to stop for a second [while playing] because physically I am that character in that game!” as well as comments such as “the address that I got is actually two houses down my street!”
Clearly, this game speaks to many of us as it hits the nail on the head with inside jokes that only Berliners will understand. As Bastien puts it, the game is “cathartic and brings common relief,” providing a sense of community as we realize that we’re all in the same boat with our collective experiences.
After my first playthrough, I am now living in a nudist flatshare in Mitte and I owe the landlord thousands of euros. Let us know what you ended up with in the comments!
You can find more information about Berlin Flat Quest here.