The Founder, a game set in a dystopian universe where only growth matters, lets users find talented employees, invest in verticals, and buy out the competition in pursuit of perpetual growth.
Silicon Valley startups, just like companies in any other industry, has their fair share of humorous stereotypes. The growth, innovation and disruption-driven ethos, with cult-like employee morale philosophies, are now inspiration for a new game. The Founder, brainchild of interactive designer Francis Tseng, is a simulated startup management game set in a dystopian universe.
Users play the part of founders and launch a startup in an alternative universe, set in a very similar 2001 to reality, after the dotcom boom and crash. Beginning in a humble apartment, users build their company from the ground up by hiring employees (cone-shaped avatars) and incentivizing them with perks such as ping-pong and butter coffee. Startups level up by targeting disruptive markets, investing in verticals and chasing relentless growth until they’re the leader of a global tech super company. The Founder is currently crowdfunding via Kickstarter with an estimated launch in March 2017 on a pay-what-you-like model.
Through theoretically, the game could give potential founders a taste of what’s to expect, Tseng’s irony-laden, darkly humorous simulation is perhaps trying to dissuade, more than encourage, the culture of obsessive growth-hacking. In their own words: “Winning in The Founder means shaping a world in which you are successful — at the expense of almost everyone else.”
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