Monday, May 25, 2015

1920s Berlin Project – Weimar Republic Role Play SIM

[On assignment with Avi Choice Magazine, I wrote the following feature article with accompanying pictures for the February issue under the category of SIM Exploration.]

Although listed as a Role Play SIM, the 1920s Berlin Project is much more than that.  It’s interactive history with artfully crafted displays. 

The journey begins seven hundred and fifty-one meters above the SIM, in a beautiful vintage reconstruction of a downtown shopping district, called Market Street.  Although the landing is directly next to the train station, which brings visitors down the role play area, Market Street is so well built that it merits the time spent viewing the displays.

Freebies are offered at the landing point.  Visitors to the ground must be dressed in period clothing.  It is also required that avatars be realistically proportioned, i.e. avatar height should be the same as a real life human’s height in the 1920s.  All of the furnishings and buildings are sized for those proportions.

Once dressed appropriately, visitors can board the train at the Bahnhof Teleportplatz to be taken down to the SIM.  Inside the train station take a free copy of the Berlin Guide which provides background and touring information. 

The year is 1929 and Germany is a republic.  Berlin is a liberal and tolerant city.  Hermann Müller is the Reichskanzler (Chancellor.)  Paul von Hindenburg is the Reichspräsident (President) and Gustav Böß is the Oberbürgermeister von Berlin (the Mayor of Berlin.)  The train from the landing point brings visitors to Bahnhof Berlin Alexanderplatz train station.

Historically accurate, visitors find opulence and poverty. 

The ornate Hotel Adlon, with its crystal chandeliers is located a few blocks away from injured, sick war veterans, who beg for money and homeless orphans that huddle in the snow beneath bridges and elevated train tracks. 

1929 Berlin was the final year of the Golden Era, which had brought culture, art and social liberalism to the city.  Theaters and museums can be found, along with numerous dance clubs.  The most famous of which is the Eldorado, a cabaret frequented by the LGBTQ community.   It was a time of enlightenment and a time of strife and great political upheaval. 

Trains pass overhead and even higher, a dirigible flies above the city, while a trolley passes, carrying visitors to numerous stops, including the famous Hotel Adlon.  Posters and pamphlets litter the city streets, announcing the Mayday Communist Party demonstrations.  It is these demonstrations that led to bloody riots in which thirty people were killed (including the mayor), two hundred were wounded, and twelve hundred were arrested.

The 1920s Berlin Project is an immersive journey into the past.  Visitors can experience the look and feel and history of Berlin during the final days of the Weimar Republic.  Role players can choose to live in the city, renting a house or an apartment, hold jobs, and enjoy the role play experience.  There are regularly scheduled events in the ballrooms and clubs along with changing exhibits in the museum.

For anyone seeking to experience life in the 1920s, this is a perfect destination.

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