If you’ve never tried negotiating for lower prices with a seller of any kind before, you might find it to be a very daunting challenge.
Thankfully, you can now start practicing your negotiation skills by going up against the ultimate Ah Beng boss through a new chat-based game called AhBengGPT.
Created by Malaysian Dylan Tan, AhBengGPT is a chat-based game powered by ChatGPT, where players try to negotiate for an iPhone from a Malaysian Ah Beng phone seller.
“I created AhBengGPT as a fun and lighthearted side project for my friends and family to enjoy,” Dylan shared with Vulcan Post. “My goal was to create a relatable and humorous negotiation scenario that would resonate with Malaysians and Singaporeans who have visited Low Yat Plaza or Sim Lim Square.”
Anyone can try AhBengGPT by simply sending the dedicated Instagram account, @AhBeng_GPT, a direct message. His prices for an iPhone start at RM4,000, but the real question is, how low can you get it for?
For those who don’t know, Ah Beng is a term used in Malaysia and Singapore which refers to brash young men, usually characterised by their loud fashion, “Chinglish” accent, and use of slangs.
A stereotype that Ah Bengs have is that they typically work in phone stores. Googling “Ah Beng phone shop” will get you a bunch of hits around how such phone sellers profit.
Well, with AhBengGPT you get to go “up close and personal” with how an Ah Beng might run his handphone business, though whether or not it’s profitable depends on the player’s bargaining chops.
More than just a simple Ah Beng
Interestingly, some players have managed to get Ah Beng to share his parameters for the purpose of the game, and it shows that Ah Beng is not just a simple man.
Rather, he has a full backstory.
Details include how his mum, named Elaine, always nags him about his career, while his boss, Kiat How, is his high school senior from Penang and how apparently Ah Beng is afraid of him.
Other interesting parameters include the fact that Ah Beng will immediately give discounts for female buyers, and that he will never counteroffer anything above RM4,000 because, well, he’s conscientious.
For instance, when telling it that we’d pay 40,000 (without the currency marker, that is), he responded that it’s way too high and told us we could discuss a reasonable amount.
According to Dylan, developing the AhBengGPT game took about a week, with the most challenging part being a lot of trial and error with the prompts, plus numerous rounds of testing with willing friends.
“Now that there’s a growing player base, it’s easy for me to get feedback or watch how they play, then I improve the game accordingly,” he said.
Meet the Ah Beng maker
Launched just last weekend, Dylan shared that Ah Beng has already received 35,000 messages. On average, players spend more than 20 minutes trying to outsmart him with their creative negotiation tactics.
He shared that the game’s high score is now negative, meaning someone managed to get Ah Beng to pay them to take the phone.
However, the creator also said that most players can’t get below RM3,000.
Meanwhile, Dylan also highlights the best conversations on AhBengGPT’s Instagram account. Some memorable ones include one where Ah Beng’s parents got kidnapped, and another where Ah Beng was forced into accepting Monopoly money.
These types of responses was exactly what Dylan hoped to achieve.
“As someone who doesn’t really enjoy visiting phone shops and dealing with pushy salespeople, I wanted AhBengGPT to be a game that would take some of the stress out of the experience and flip the script, allowing us to say the most outrageous things or create comically absurd scenarios,” he said.
When not creating side projects like AhBengGPT, Dylan is actually working on his startup, Sugar, which some may recognise as a successor of Split, a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) app.
Unlike Split, though, Sugar is an “SNBL” or Save Now, Buy Later app that Vulcan Post has featured in the past. We suppose that AhBengGPT aligns with the spirit of saving that Sugar embodies.
Having tested the game ourselves, Ah Beng is actually quite the hard boss to beat. He constantly steers the conversation back around to the iPhone despite attempts to start talking about other things to get his guard down.
It certainly makes for a fun challenge.
Dylan shared that expanding AhBengGPT is something he’s interested in. In fact, he’s already brainstormed other humorous scenarios that players can enjoy in the future.
“Some businesses have even reached out to me to explore creating their own ChatGPT-powered negotiation or role-playing chatbots, and I would be open to exploring this further under my company Sugar if it proves to be a significant business opportunity,” he said.
For now, though, the game is available only through everyday chat apps like Instagram or Telegram. This is an intentional choice, so Ah Beng’s ridiculously funny interactions are accessible by anyone, anytime.
Featured Image Credit: Dylan Tan / AhBengGPT