Published by Matthew Gustin
10 months ago
The web game The Founder makes you an aspiring startup founder. But there is criticism behind the block graphics for the Silicon Valley system.
From a small start-up to a powerful global player: This is the way players try to go in the free online game The Founder. At the start of the game, you decide whether to start your startup with hardware or as a web service. Afterwards you choose a founder colleague, and you can start working in your virtual apartment, which must initially serve as an office.
You are always developing new products, with which you must then gain market acceptance in the form of a mini-game. At the same time, you are expanding your company, hire new employees, and trying to make them happy with more or less silly incentives. Initially, The Founder with all its buzzwords and allusions is like a rather mediocre, but ultimately harmless parody on startups’ everyday life. This changes however in the course of the game.
The longer you play The Founder, the more impressive and fantastic the technology that your company is developing becomes. Here your actions has sometimes dramatic consequences for the virtual game world. So your hardware factories are pushing ahead with climate change until flooding and your financial products have an impact on global markets. So do your hardware factories advancing climate change, until it comes to flooding and your financial products have influence on the global markets.
At some point, you start building intelligent robots that are cheaper and more efficient than human workers. In addition, it will be inevitable for you to influence the politics in your favor through lobbying. You must make all of these decisions, but you will not have much else left, as your board of directors expects a constant growth from you.
Here at last is clear that developers Francis Tseng had more than just a harmless parody in mind. Tseng has spent enough time in the world of start-ups. After finishing his studies in cognitive neuroscience, he spent a year at a startup in Beijing and then moved to Silicon Valley.
Tseng told the magazine FastCompany, “Technology is really, really powerful, but the effects it has in the world are very much dependent on the context it’s developed in and is deployed in”. He adds, however, that he does not necessarily want founders to feel guilt because of him. Rather, he hopes that the tech industry starts thinking more critically and being more concerned with the impact of their work.