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Our response to the Hinz & Kunzt online game

 Hinz&Kunzt (Germany) 16 May 2019

(Originally published: 03/2010) With online gaming as popular as ever, 42-year-old graphic designer Ernst-Ludwig Galling has developed a new game with a twist. The player becomes a Hinz & Kunzt street magazine vendor. Their mission? Sell as many papers in two minutes. (738 words) - Beatrice Blanck

Hinz&Kunzt 1

Courtesy of Hinz&Kunzt

Ernst-Ludwig Galling developed the new online game in which one can enter the skin of a Hinz & Kunzt vendor. Our expert Joe has already tested it. Hinz & Kunztler Joe Lechner has to sell more newspapers without fail, otherwise he will never make it to the top of the list. But he soon enough found a new approach in the new Hinz & Kunzt online game Egoseller. In real life it was so similar: "When I started selling Hinz & Kunzt, I also had just as hard a time. But then I got into it, "says the 28-year-old.

Joe sold the Hamburg street magazine almost every day in the city centre. "Now I can roughly guess who would buy a newspaper. If I approach people kindly it often works". He now pursues this strategy in the online game too, which he has tested as a specialist in advance.

Ernst-Ludwig Galling looks at Joe over his shoulder. The 42-year-old graphic designer has developed and put in to practice Labor 1, his company for "on-and offline self-amusement". The idea of Egoseller? the player puts himself in the situation of Hinz & Kunzt sellers.

The name Egoseller derives from the shooting games genre. Here, the armed player travels in a virtual world. As the Hinz & Kunzt vendor, the player hauls a stack of magazines instead of a grenade launcher and enters a virtual restaurant. Now we have a sales pitch and a given dialogue to get through. Here the player can choose between three options to respond to his customers in order to get rid of as many newspapers in two minutes.

Joe has to decide in the trial version whether he'll offer the street magazine with a friendly "Good morning", a factual "The Hamburg Street magazine, hot off the press" or a flippant "Coffee or an issue of Hinz & Kunzt?"

"That's not right at all," says Joe on addressing customers informally and not greeting them. Well chosen, his virtual customer is interested.

"What's in it?" they ask.

"Really cool things about Hamburg, which you can't find anywhere else," promises Joe - and succeeds.

The Hinz & Kunzt sellers always read the latest issue right after it comes out. "Many customers ask about the content, and then I have to be able to chat to whoever about it"

The new Hinz & Kunzt Egoseller should be informative and fun. Ernst-Ludwig Galling from Labor 1 stresses the importance that the online game is not a lesson. "It shouldn't be viewed as educational" says Galling, but not neglect the seriousness of its background. "Especially in winter, no one can seriously maintain the subordination of a happy life as a deadbeat."

The "Pennergame", or online game, draws in its internet fans with the slogan: "Now, for free and without any further risks, become homeless." In order to go from being a bum to the owner of a castle, the player can collect bottles, fight against others in a group and buy a pet with a click of the mouse in order to be more successful at begging.

Joe is not too impressed.

"I've seen this Pennergame before but firstly, it's boring, and secondly it's also quite discriminatory. A bum for me is someone who goes around heckling or attaches himself to motiveless people. But collecting bottles and not having apartment doesn't mean you're a bum."

Hinz & Kunzt chief editor Birgit Müller also sees the "Pennergame" as discriminating: "I think it's bad to trivialize alcohol consumption and crime in the game. The homeless are being moved into the vicinity of violent criminals, so that prejudices are confirmed and the flames are fanned.

According to the developers of Egoseller their game draws attention to the issue of homelessness.

"With Egoseller, players can sympathise with what its like to talk to strangers and maybe also what it's like to be treated negatively" said Ernst-Ludwig Galling. The next logical step is "that the players think about: what would I say?"

"That's why Galling has programmed an editor function, in which any conversation histories can be entered, which will be played by all users. The so-called user-generated content (content that would be introduced by the players themselves) is important so that the game is also exciting.

Joe is fascinated by the game's tests during his time playing Egoseller - even after the fifth or sixth round. Finally, he must register with 640 points, ranked 1st.

His tips for selling newspapers, whether real or virtual: "First, be friendly and secondly, remain friendly"

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