Ever since I decided to dedicate more time to this blog, I made myself a promise:

Some things I will do to grow this blog further, but above all however, some things I will do for fun.

What’s the point of trying to be an independent blogger if I can’t use some of my time for that? The pandemic disrupted much of the “serious” plans I had anyway. With 2 kids at home and no daycare at hand, it’s hard to fulfill ambitions when quiet focus time is far and few in between. Fun projects however, that’s doable and they keep help to stay productive & creative.

The result of all that is Berlin Flat Quest. You can play now via the following link & learn more about it below.

Play Berlin Flat Quest here

Playable on almost any browser & almost any device.

The original idea

We all heard crazy stories from friends, colleagues & family. Everybody has a story to tell when it comes to searching accomodation in Berlin. People share them on social media as well. It usually starts with: “I went to see this flat and…” or “I emailed this flat share and…”. What follows is often a description of wild events, characters or situations:

  • and there 8 people in the flat-share with only one bathroom. The room was the size of a closet.
  • and 85 people showed up to the viewing.
  • and the main tenant asked if he could take pictures of my feet.
  • and the shower was in kitchen.

I have heard many of those myself over the years. Beyond the sense of disbelief, I always loved the comedic potential of those situations. It also provided a small escape from the otherwise dreadful reality of flat-hunting in Berlin. I was always wondered; was there not potential to use this comedic potential & turn into something fun?

The production

Berlin Flat Quest is a family business. My brothers are at a head of a young and ambitious game studio. In February, we realized that they had time window to help me put it together, before they started production on their next game.

After some weeks refining the approach & the concept, we started production in March. What follows was a mixed of Zoom calls interrupted by kids, Whats App calls to discuss artwork, music, game mechanics, writing, etc. We hired 2 wonderful artists for some of the assets used in the game (Hello Andrea & Margarita).

And then, there was a lot of bug fixing. There were also a lot compromises due to time budget/time constraints & part-time availability for all of us. In early May, it was ready to launch.

The message

Beyond the fun aspect of coming together around a collective catharsis, the game also tries to convey a few things through gameplay & writing. It tells a story of inequality, randomness & unfairness during the process & how forces bigger than us decide where we can live in the city.

There is also subtext about the role of the city in the current shortage of living space due to poor public policy choices (e.g: the sale of 65 000 public housing units by the former administration to the private sector, & well documented discrimination against tenants/applicants based on name or origins.)


Screenshots

Click here to download all images in one zip file.

Credits

Berlin Flat Quest was inspired by the following games:

The following media were used under creative commons license:

Georg Feitscher – Skyline with the Fennpfuhlpark
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56299

Leopold Von Schliwiju – Alte Nazarethkirche 
CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43870809

Alexanderplatz By Christian Wolf (www.c-w-design.de)
CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42699482

KaDeWe von Jörg Zägel – Eigenes Werk,
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27373115

Berlin – Hochbahn U2 Eberswalder Straße by Pedelecs,
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24785493

Oberbaumbrücke by Udo Schröter
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordelch/21817960344/in/photostream/

Charlottenburg Palace By ernstol – Own work,
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32303892

Metro Centric by Metro Centric
CC BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/16782093@N03/5833830950/

Treasure+ assets by SciGho
CC0, https://ninjikin.itch.io/treasure

Racing assets by Groovee McGee
https://groovymcgee.itch.io/car-game-pixel-art

Racing assets by VanHunter
https://vanhunter.itch.io/asset-pixel-pack-street-racing

Big thanks to my wife for support <3