House of Gossip > Open-source game developed by the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology

House of Gossip is an open-source downloadable game (developed by the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology of the HU Berlin) that stages and creates the grounds for reflection on conflicts regarding housing and the different viewpoints in a volatile real estate market.

A first prototype of the game was developed – in collaboration with colleagues at the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZK/U) – in a hackathon together with MA students of the Studienprojekt “The only game in town? Anthropology and the housing markets in Berlin” (2018-2019) at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie (HU Berlin), and showcased in the “Open Form neu denken” exhibition (organized by Z/KU at the Werkstatt of Haus der Statistik in October 25–27 2019). In the last two years we’ve been working on creating a downloadable and playable version of it.

Image by Vasylysa Shchogoleva

Credits

Game concept (in alphabetical order): Tomás Criado, Ignacio Farías, Lena Heiss, Marie Aline Klinger, Lilian Krischer, Leonie Schipke & Tan Weigand. 

Game art by Vasylysa Shchogoleva

CC BY NC SA 2021 Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology, HU Berlin

Context

Berlin, late 2010s, all across the city real estate is changing hands fast, the market is hot and many are investing, houses are revaluing. As it tends to happen, this situation has at least two different sides:

Scene 1

– “What about this building? Might you have found a good opportunity here?”
– “It indeed looks nice, but have we explored if it’s in good condition?”

– “The architect sent me this report, look, all clear.” – “It certainly looks promising.”
– “It’s time to act fast.”
– “Ok, yes, let’s go for this house!”

Scene 2

– “Hi, how was your day?”
– “Nothing special, yours?”
– “I heard rumours, two neighbours speaking in the corridor: the building is finally going to be bought!” – “Yes, there was a letter in the mail, look”.
– “But… What will happen to us? Will we have to move if they raise the rent?”
– “We have to do something…”
– “But we know nearly no one in the house.”

“When an apartment building is to be sold, every single alarm bell sets off for the residents. In view of the horrendous purchase prices, there is a danger of being displaced by higher rents or even conversion into condominiums.”

Rationale

House of Gossip is  an open-source downloadable game that stages and creates the grounds for reflection on conflicts regarding housing and the different viewpoints in a volatile real estate market. In the game, you will have the opportunity to play either as a resident of the house or as a covert buyer, acting as one of the house’s residents.

In a process where no one can be certain about anything, gossip abounds: In the game you will have to gather information form alliances and find your way to save (as residents) or buy (as the buyer) the house! Think twice about who and when you want to share your information with!

During the course of the game you will repeatedly encounter your neighbours in the stairway to exchange gossip. Your main goal is not just to understand to whom you’re talking to, but also to perform in front of others and form alliances for one of the two competing purposes of the game: Buying or saving the house.

Those who manage to gather the necessary gossips will in the end win the game. Will the house community manage to resist or could the buyer succeed in acquiring the new property?

Download link

The game can be downloaded here.

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