If you've ever wanted to play through a cynical take on Silicon Valley in a Sims-like fashion, Francis Tseng has a game for you. It's called The Founder and this dystopian look at the founding and success of a startup comes in the form of a browser-based game. You start out in 2001, plotting to take over the world after naming your company, picking a business and adding your first employee. Of course, you're working in an apartment like all new companies do.
Before you know it, it's 2020 and you're building government drones and developing brain implants. There's even a parody version of TED talks called DENT for you to participate in. Of course, growth and profits are the only indicators of success and you'll have to make some decisions along the way that may seem just fine during the course of the game, but they come at a huge cost.
Tseng says his experience working in the real Silicon Valley shaped his idea for the game. He explained to Fast Company that while a lot of good things were happening during his time there, he felt like a lot of innovation was going to waste.
Tseng says it took him about a year and a half to build the startup simulator in his spare time. The goal here is that as the game progresses and technologies get more insane, players will eventually realize that the startup is part of a world you really don't want to be a part of anymore. After hitting Kickstarter to crowdfund the final product, the game was released online today. However, you really shouldn't expect to have a good time playing it. As Tseng notes, "The only way to win is not to play."